Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Namibia’s Diverse Attractions Promise Something for Everyone

Sunset, Swakopmund, NamibiaUpon landing in Windhoek on my very first day in Africa, I knew this would be a markedly different type of vacation. After all, it’s not every day that you spy a family of baboons along the road just outside the airport of a capital city or a couple of feral horses galloping through a punishing landscape. Over the next two weeks, surprises and indelible moments unfolded (you will never be unable to forget the frisson you feel the first time you see a 20-foot-tall giraffe pop up from behind a tree just a few feet from your car), and Namibia very quickly started to surpass all my expectations. With a broad range of sites and activities, from lolling about on lazy afternoons on a beach along the Atlantic Ocean to skydiving over the orange dunes of the Namib Desert, this country in southwestern Africa offers plenty of activities for everyone. Read about the top five things to see and do in Namibia >

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A Mountain Oasis in an Overcrowded Town

Aries Hotel, Zakopane, PolandThe mountain village of Zakopane seems to always be too full. In the winter, snow aficionados flock to the ski resorts of this southern Polish town near the Slovakia border. In fairer weather, hikers scale the trails of the impressively scenic Tatra Mountains. And all year long, everyone jams the main strip to shop, eat, and admire the unique wooden architecture that has made this a notable town. There’s no escaping the crowds — except for when you check in to ARIES Hotel & Spa, a welcome oasis that’s still in the heart of town. Read more >


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Five Fun Things to See and Do in Europe’s Emptiest Country

Skógasafn, IcelandHigh in the North Atlantic, Iceland floats just below the Arctic Circle, the perfect resting spot for travelers shuttling between North America and Europe. Here in the Land of Fire and Ice, the most sparsely populated country in Europe, you can easily see both, sometimes in spectacular and awesome displays of erupting volcanoes or calving icebergs. Not everything here is so dramatic, of course, and you can appreciate this island nation of fewer than half a million people with much more sedate activities, like soaking in a geothermal pool and spying the most adorable birds on earth. Read more about the top five things to see and do in Iceland >


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Drinking Your Way Around Mendoza, Argentina

The Argentinean wine industry has been around for a few centuries, thanks in large part to Italian immigrants, but it wasn’t until very recently, in the 1990s, that it really took off and became a global player, bolstered by the region’s production of rich Malbec. Today, nearly 1,000 winery estates, or fincas, spread out around the city of Mendoza at the foot of the Andes Mountains. One of the best ways to experience these fincas and sample their output is to leave the driving to someone else. So, with my private driver, Pablo, at the wheel, I headed out on an increasingly intoxicated road trip. Read more >


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Five Reasons to Be Bowled Over by Boulder, Colorado

Celestial Seasonings, Boulder, ColoradoSometimes you need a couple of days to adjust to the vibe of a new locale, such as deciphering the byzantine mazes of Venice or ramping up your pace in midtown Manhattan. Other times, you instantly feel comfortable, as if you’re a native returning home to a place where you’ve always felt at ease. For me, Boulder, Colorado, was one of those rarities when I was instantly lovestruck. Rich in outdoor recreational opportunities, a thriving arts and culture scene, and a diverse array of restaurants, from Tajik to Brazilian to Italian, Boulder boasts everything a small city could possibly offer — and drops it all amid astounding scenery. Read more about the top five things to see and do in Boulder >


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The Best of Tenerife’s Best

Basilica of the Royal Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Candelaria, TenerifeDriving a rental car with progressively fewer and fewer mirrors around Tenerife, the largest and most populous of the Canary Islands about 62 miles off the coast of Morocco, presented increasing automotive challenges. But it also gave me the chance to develop a comprehensive picture of this Spanish island, from its surreal landscapes to its characteristic architecture to its nearly perfect climate and all that that permits. Read more about the top five things to do in Tenerife >


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Life of Signs

Washington, D.C.

#2: Pizza for mathematicians in Washington, D.C.

Many of us often look for some sort of spiritual or mystical sign to guide us. If only I could have a sign that…she’s the right woman to marry, or some probative indication that my deceased friend is resting in peace, or a signal that giving up everything I know to live in Lisbon for a job opportunity is the right thing to do. Sometimes, the signs we’re seeking are more mundane: the exit on an interstate, an advertisement, or the section of a stadium that matches the one printed on our concert ticket. Then there are those that just pop up as you’re going about your day and elicit an appreciative response from you because they’re smart, funny, profound, or clever — and these are the ones that you’ll remember for a long time. Read more about the top five signs >