Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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War: What Is It Bad For? Images at War Photo Limited in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Some people may argue that we live in safer times, that the occurrence of war is less frequent than only a century ago, and that the seemingly endless stream of violence that inundates us is really the result, not of actual rising numbers of belligerent actions, but of manipulative media executives and lightning-fast technology that brings the latest flare-ups into our homes immediately. Others say the world has become alarmingly dangerous, that no safe place exists, and that today’s headlines verify it all: North Korea’s aggressive saber-rattling, an unstable and benighted U.S. president constantly vomiting warlike rhetoric, sanguinary Islamist extremists happily murdering everyone, from senior citizens to infants to themselves, without a second thought.

What does all this have to do with travel? Quite a bit: It has closed off entire countries to us, has put us at unease in even “safe” locations, and has lengthened security queue times everywhere, from airports to museums to arenas. Fortunately, many of us will never experience war firsthand. But if you want a good look at its endless ramifications, War Photo Limited, a fantastic little museum in Dubrovnik, Croatia, is one place where you can experience it — safely — through the work of talented individuals with cameras, an instinctive sense of timing, and a touch of luck. The gripping and disturbing images on display will haunt you, but they will also make you appreciate everything that you have. Read more >

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A Home for War Blimps: Tillamook Air Museum, Oregon

Tillamook Air Museum, Tillamook, OregonToday, the only time you’re likely to see a zeppelin is when it’s hovering over a football game or a parade, advertising Goodyear, for instance, or MetLife. But not that long ago, zeppelins were being touted as the next big thing in travel. A little disaster called the Hindenburg almost single-handedly sent that idea up in smoke. Zeppelins continued to be of great importance to the military, however, and the Tillamook Air Museum in Oregon provides a fascinating look at a massive World War II blimp hangar and what it meant to the defense of the United States during the war. Read more >


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Beauty and History in Montgomery’s Best Buildings

State Capitol, Montgomery, AlabamaNamed for Richard Montgomery, an Irish-born soldier who became a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, Alabama’s second-largest city has earned numerous national accolades, including being cited as an All-America City by the National Civic League and the Best Historic City by USA Today in 2014. It was the first U.S. city to install city-wide electric streetcars, the setting for parts of the Academy Award–nominated movie Selma, and the birthplace of Nat King Cole, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Hank Williams, Sr. Walking around this historically rich city, I could feel its legacy oozing from its built environment, whether it was the Baptist church where Martin Luther King Jr. served as pastor, or the executive residence of Jefferson Davis at the start of the Civil War. These are my top five buildings in Montgomery. Read more >


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The Five Best Canadian Museums

Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, British ColumbiaIf you find yourself in Canada during the winter and are not an avid winter sports enthusiast or polar bear seeker, you’re probably going to want to stay indoors a lot. Icy temperatures and abundant snowfall are a great excuse to check out the excellent museums from coast to coast. These are my top five museums in Canada. Read more >


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Traveling the Mission Trail in San Antonio, Texas

Mission San José, San Antonio, TexasFour missions along a 12-mile road in San Antonio provide an intimate, hands-on glimpse into the era of Spanish colonialism in Texas. These self-contained communities from the 1700s are historic, beautiful, and serene, and you can easily understand and appreciate their original purpose, made self-evident by their buildings and layout alone. And they’re all better than the Alamo. Read more >