When you think of “arts festivals,” what comes to mind? Do you think of massive crowds swaying before headlining musical acts? Or do you picture refined galas with arts patrons in black tie attire? There is likely an arts event that matches what you envisioned, but there are also many more that you might not expect! The world is wide and the art is everywhere. Here are just a few festivals to give you some ideas for your next (or first!) foray into the arts world.
1. Art Basel
Of the three, this is probably closest to a traditional arts festival. It takes place in Miami Beach, USA; Hong Kong; and Basel, Switzerland. Each location emphasizes artists from that particular region, with Basel being the most international of all. You’ll find modern and contemporary art that draws in artists, curators, and art lovers from around the world.
Bluedot happens near the Jodrell Bank Observatory in England, and it is part music, part visual art, and part science festival. It has panels featuring astronauts and physicists, as well as “intergalactic family areas” with workshops and activities suited for younger festival-goers.
Pictoplasma is in Berlin, Germany. This is all about character design for film and other media. Enthusiasts can walk throughout the city of Berlin and find film screenings, performances, and panels on digital media.
There are far too many arts festivals to create a comprehensive list, but these are a few more you might be interested in:
Port Eliot Festival
St. Germans, England
Visual art, music, writing, comedy, and workshops (fashion drawing, acting, cooking). Family-friendly and has outdoor activities.
Stars of the White Nights at the Mariinsky Theatre
St. Petersburg, Russia
Ballet and classical music
Contemporary art, film, and music by international artists
Traverse City Film Festival
Traverse City, Michigan
Annual film festival that has free and paid events for adults and families
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
International contemporary and modern visual art festival.
Music, light sculptures, and seminars on art, technology, and commerce
Echigo Tsumari Art Field
In over 200 villages of Japan
Art festival occurring every three years with the intent to display humans’ connections with nature. Volunteers from local villages help to create the art installations.
If you’ve ever traveled hundreds of miles to get a taste of sautéed crab from Maryland, if your bucket list of places is organized by the foods you want to try, or if you simply enjoy food that is authentic to the region in which it is served, you probably merit the title of “foodie.” And you’re not alone; with the advent of food tourism services like Eatwith, Airbnb experiences, and Withlocals, trips to satiate the cuisine-curious are on the rise.
Food tourism goes beyond indulging in a few dishes prepared by expert chefs; people who travel for food do so with the intention of connecting more deeply to the region. The source of the ingredients matters. The way it’s prepared and who’s doing the preparation are also things to consider. Tasting some amazing pasta is nice, but going to Italy and having an Italian nonna teach you how to make homemade tagliatelle while she regales you with tales of her youth is even better.
The term “culinary tourism” can sometimes come off as elitist, but people engaged in this sort of tourism are just as likely to be found queueing up for some street food among hungry locals as they are in 3-star Michelin restaurants with the well heeled. The price of the food isn’t what makes the trip special; it’s about engaging with the locals and their authentic cuisine to become more fully immersed in the place.
Eatwith, a service dedicated to connecting foodies to local providers, offers dining experiences, food tours, and cooking classes that allow those hungering for more than food alone to engage with the culture. Instead of taking a classic walking tour of Athens, why not sample phyllo pies on an evening food tour led by a local Greek? Rather than trying your luck on the first few macarons you see in Paris, how about taking a macaron-making class with a MasterChef and sipping champagne as your creations bake?
Eatwith has over 25,000 hosts in 130 countries, all eager to share their generational knowledge with those interested. If the foodie in you is intrigued, contact me so we can start planning your culinary adventure!
If you are a parent, you may know that taking trips with kids requires a little extra planning; if you are a grandparent, you may be doubly familiar with this sentiment. Traveling with little ones can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved - it just takes a slightly different approach from planning adult-only travel.
Thinking ahead is key. First off, children are often scheduled in myriad activities, so even just finding the time to take a vacation can take some doing. If you’re a grandparent taking your grandchildren without their parents, you will be coordinating with the parents’ schedules; you may also need a letter of permission from the parents if you are taking your grandchild out of the country.
Aside from those initial logistics, it’s a good idea to try and make the actual traveling process - the planes, trains, and automobiles part - as smooth as possible. You can apply for the TSA pre-check program to minimize your time waiting in airport security lines, select your seats to ensure that you are sitting together and in the seats you want, book nonstop flights to decrease layover times or transfers, and arrange for ground transportation ahead of time so that you have fewer logistics to think about when you arrive in a potentially unfamiliar location. Your travel agent can help you get all of these things in order.
When it comes to the destination itself, plan now to make things easier later for both you and the children with whom you’re traveling. Even the most seasoned travelers can get turned around in a new place; being responsible for children at the same time can compound the stress of the situation. Booking a guide for your activities can help take some of the pressure off your shoulders. Also, building in down time and giving the kids some space (whether that’s an adjoining room or a workshop for kids) will keep everyone in better spirits.
Introducing children to traveling at such a young age can be a fantastic way to give them exposure to new cultures and worldviews, while at the same time deepening the bond that you share with them. All it takes is a little planning, which is something I’d be happy to help you with. Let me know when you’re ready to begin planning your next family adventure!
We often bring up wine at Life’s Journey Travel, but not every place you visit is a bustling wine region. However, most places do have a signature cocktail or two, and there’s often a good story that goes along with it. Today, we’re bringing you the backstories of 5 signature cocktails from around the world - plus links to recipes so you can try them out for yourself!
Negroni - Florence, Italy
This is one of the few cocktails whose origin has a documented history. The year is 1919 and Count Camillo Negroni enters a Florentine bar. The Count, a fellow who had traveled to the United States and spent time as a cowboy in the Wild West, orders his favorite cocktail: an Americano. But he asks the bartender to give it more teeth; the man obliges by swapping the Americano’s club soda with a healthy dose of gin. Thus, the Negroni was born.
Caipirinha - Brazil
The zesty Caipirinha has a muddled history. Some people think that it was intended as a remedy to the Spanish flu in the early 20th century--it originally contained cachaça, green lemons, honey, and garlic, instead of sugar. Others say it simply got started in the regions of Santos and São Vicente, because that’s where the first cachaça distilleries were.
Manila Sunshine - Philippines
Like the Singapore Sling, the Manila Sunshine is also a cocktail dreamt up by a hotels seeking to engage more visitors. In conjunction with the Philippines Department of Tourism, the Makati Shangri-La hotel added the Manila Sunshine to its repertoire in the hopes of attracting more foreign visitors. What makes it unique? Its base of lambanog, or coconut wine. Add to that some pineapple and mango juice with some triple sec and rum and you have yourself a taste of the Philippines!
Pimm’s Cup - London, England
Pimm’s Cups also began as a medicinal tonic. James Pimm, owner of a 19th-century oyster bar in London, marketed his new recipe as a drink to improve one’s health. It got so popular that he began selling the drink around the world. It’s still immensely popular, especially at the Wimbledon tournament.
Sazerac - New Orleans, United States
Some say that the Sazerac is America’s first cocktail. That may or may not be true, but what is known is that Antoine Amédée Peychaud, a native to Haiti who landed in Louisiana, created the drink. Peychaud ran a drug store in the Big Easy and offered his clients toddies mixed his own bitters and Sazerac cognac. The rest is history, but it’s now the signature cocktail of New Orleans.
Thinking about making one of these? Let me know how it goes!
For weeks now, people of all ages, genders, races, income brackets, and political affiliations have been protesting the murder of George Floyd. They aren’t just protesting what happened to one man of course; at the core, these protests are about systemic inequities within the United States and elsewhere around the world that make it possible for a group of people to be treated differently (and worse) than another.
If you know me personally and have spoken to me about these issues recently, you know where I stand. I don’t often bring up sensitive topics on my business platforms, but there comes a point when silence becomes compliance, and I cannot allow my silence to be construed in that manner any longer.
I have struggled to find the right words to say… Every one of us has friends and family members who have different opinions on what is happening in our country; we have people in our lives who will misconstrue our words and view a statement like black lives matter as white lives don’t, or they will interpret our support for social justice movements as an acceptance of the violence that has accompanied some of the protests.
I cannot control these reactions, but allow me to unequivocally state this: Black lives matter. If this statement sparks something in you and you want to talk about it, I welcome your comments below.
Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.