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Transitions Abroad Magazine March/April 2007 Vol. XXX, NO.5
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Feature

Beyond the Tour Bus (magazine only)
Like many of Transitions Abroad’s readers, international travel journalist Judith Fein and her husband, photographer Paul Ross, had shied away from packaged travel until recently when the duo opted to join a cultural tour to Turkey. With humor and insight, Fein shares her story of moving past her reluctance to make the most of a group tour.
Best in Travel Class
If you have only two weeks for a learning adventure, we’ve got 100 inspiring ideas!
No matter your budget, comfort level, cultural interests, or physical aptitude, there’s a trip designed for you to get behind the scenes of your destination to meet its people, experience its culture, and discover its environment in a positive, respectful, and sustainable manner.
Our selected travel providers will bring you further and deeper into the real world—and you’ll never be the same again

Web Editor's Note: See TransitionsAbroad.com's Cultural Travel page for a selection of Cultural Travel Programs.

Interview
Warren Rovetch: The Creaky Traveler by Alison Gardner

Columns

International Career Adviser by Jean-Marc Hachey
Debunking the Myths
Facts for Young Professionals Seeking International Jobs (magazine only)

Back Door Travel by Rick Steves
What’s New in Europe in 2007 Country-by-Country News to Plan Your Itinerary

The Resourceful Traveler by Tim Leffel
Double-Duty Gear Innovative Products that Earn Their Space in Your Backpack

Local Encounters by Michele Peterson
Discover Paris by Bike Take a Solo Ride or Join a Tour in This Cyclist-Friendly City

The Independent Traveler by Rob Sangster
Choosing the Perfect Partner The Rewards—And Rules—for Travel Companions

Lifelong Learning

Deepening the Experience of Travel Mara DelliPriscoli
Perspectives from a Volunteer in China Adina Matisoff
Volunteering in Tanzania Jan Taylor
The Secrets of Traditional Italian Cooking Linda Lappin
The Benefits of Touring Melissa Kelly
Learning Vacations Guylaine Spencer
Study Abroad is Important at Any Age Gloria J. Bennett
Short-Term Volunteering in Costa Rica Sandra Flanagan
Inside the New Venezuela Mary Vivian Pearce
Mammal Monitoring in Australia’s Grampians Inger Vandyke

Living and Working Abroad

Living in the Limousin Volker Poelzl
Au Pairing in Italy Devon Brown
Globetrotting Adults Denene Brox
Germany’s Leisure Gardens Kelly Schierman
Make Your Move to Germany Tera Florian
Starting a Career in the U.K. Brenda Hamlet
Teach at K-12 Schools in the U.K. Jo-Anne Woodward
Lessons Learned: Advice for Educators: Taking Students Overseas Jody Rafkind
Leading a Student Trip To the Galapagos Vivienne Mackie
Ask the Expat: Making Your Dollars Last Abroad Volker Poelzl

Departments

Information Exchange

Explorations
The Man in Seat 61
Calendar Ann Jareckie
Best Blogs Jennifer Crystal Cucina Romana
World Music Bret Chenkin
Is the Sacred for Sale? Deborah McLaren
Book Reviews Anna Bolognani
Armchair Travel Jennifer Crystal & Felicia Karas
Off the Radar Travel Adventures Christina Heyniger

Abroad at Home
Savory or Sweet: Making French Crêpes Lori A. Davis

Activist Responsible Traveler
Pay it Forward, Make a Friend Michael McCarthy

First Person
Take the Kids to Flanders Fields Sheila Scarborough

Endpage
At Home in the World Michael D. Kerlin

From The Editor

Many of us live hurried lives these days, and we have only a few weeks’ vacation time, which we want to maximize. Like many of you, we at Transitions Abroad have always felt that the most life-enriching international experiences come from independent travel; however, times are changing and travel providers are creating more innovative and interactive itineraries that enable you to make a real connection with a place and its people, even in a short period of time.

Independent-minded travelers today have a growing number of options, from well established educational travel organizations such as Elderhostel and Smithsonian to smaller, owner-operated outfits founded by people just like you, who know the value of living, working, volunteering, or studying abroad. They have a vision and a mission around which they develop trips that bespeak their mottos, such as “learning adventures,” “meaningful travel, “reality tours,” “cultural adventures,” and “travel for the hungry mind.”

You can visit Rwanda to track mountain gorillas and meet with farmers whose lives are improving thanks to the country’s burgeoning coffee industry (page 57), learn to cook traditional Chinese food with a family in a Hutong village (page 58), volunteer in a Holocaust historical preservation project at Poland’s Auschwitz Memorial (page 63), or trek among the wildlife of Kamchatka peninsula in Siberia and spend time with the people indigenous to this area (page 65).

In addition to the obvious time-saving benefits and safety net these organized trips provide, their true value comes in the knowledge, skill sets, and deeper understanding of the world that they offer. The companies we feature employ guides who, if not native, are proficient in their destination’s language and well-educated about the cultures and issues of the countries in which they guide. Through their local knowledge and contacts these travel planners provide access to private venues and facilitate meetings with community and indigenous leaders, artists and environmentalists, politicians, academics, and explorers.

By spotlighting selected tour companies we hope to recognize an admirable and growing group of travel providers, many of which put their values ahead of their profits. While our roundup is by no means comprehensive nor perfect, we strove to choose longestablished companies and programs with long-term local connections in the places they operate. Many of these travel providers take measures to ensure that travel is sustainable for future generations: they minimize their impact on the environment, provide immersion into local cultures, facilitate respectful interaction with host communities, and employ incountry services and suppliers. In some best case examples, tour providers are going the extra mile to offset their travelers’ carbon emissions or direct a portion of their revenue toward locally based initiatives and nonprofit organizations. Volunteer programs are consulting with community members to develop needed and culturally appropriate projects, and they are also making a commitment to provide continued support.

The richness and depth of the tours and trips we researched made for a fun experience. We hope the many hours we spent talking with company founders, program directors, and travelers will save you time and help you narrow your choices. We ourselves would be hard-pressed to choose even our top 10 favorites! If you participate in an upcoming trip, please write to us about it. We welcome your feedback and articles.

And for those of you lucky enough to have more than a few weeks’ vacation or who cannot imagine not mapping out your own journey, we promise to bring you all the resources and tips you need for organizing your own independent and long-term travel in Transitions Abroad’s July/August “Overseas Travel Planner” issue.

Sherry Schwarz

Transitions Abroad Magazine

Publisher and Editor
Sherry Schwarz
Founding Editor and Publisher
Dr. Clay A. Hubbs
Web Content Editor
Gregory Hubbs
Design
Nashima Gokani
Advertising Manager
Kate McGrail
Office Manager
Patricia Bolognani
Editorial Assistant
Jennifer Crystal

Contributing Editors
Susan Griffith (Work Abroad )
William Nolting (International Education and Work)
Jean-Marc Hachey (International Careers )
Volker Poelzl (Living Abroad)
Rick Steves (Budget Travel)
Rob Sangster (Independent Travel)
Tim Leffel (The Resourceful Traveler )
Zahara Heckscher (Volunteering Abroad)
Edward Trimnell (Language Immersion)
Deborah McLaren (Responsible Travel )
Ron Mader (Ecotourism and Latin America)
Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson (Gap Year)
Cynthia Harriman (Family Travel)
Bill Mohan (Teen Travel)
J. Mara DelliPriscoli (Lifelong Learning)
Michele Scheib (Disability Travel)

On The Cover
Kayakers explore Antarctica’s stunning scenery at “elbow height” as part of a Lindblad Expeditions voyage. Paddling kayaks through iceberg fields, travelers hear the Antarctic “seltzer” (gases escaping from dissolving icebergs), the cries of penguins, and the huge silence of this vast wilderness. Lindblad has been recognized for its commitment to the environment and conservation. Read more about Lindblad’s “White Continent Trip” on page 78. Photo by Stewart Cohen

Mission Statement
Founded in 1977, Transitions Abroad is the only publication dedicated to work, study, living, volunteering, and immersion travel abroad. Its purpose is the dissemination of practical information leading to a greater understanding of other cultures through direct participation in the daily life of the host community.