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Travel and Global Warming: See While You Can

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Almost every day there’s a story about the catastrophic effects of global warming. You only have to walk outside or watch the nightly news to see record temperatures, hurricanes, floods, and droughts. We live in San Diego County where we have had both hot and cold record-breaking, weather year after year. The effects of global warming have now forced us into considering global warming when planning our travels. No country or destination is immune from its effects – but to some popular vacation spots the damage is already is devasting.

Plan on visiting a national park or taking an Alaskan cruise? Jonathan B. Jarvis, Former Director of the National Park Service warns, “I believe climate change is fundamentally the greatest threat to the integrity of our national parks that we have ever experienced.”

In the last 50 years, Alaska’s annual average temperature increased at more than twice the rate of the rest of the United States. Southeast Alaska winters are 5 degrees warmer. Glacier Bay is expected to become warmer and drier, and Alaska has, reduced sea ice, shrinking glaciers, and earlier spring snowmelt. These manifestations increase bark beetle infestations, shoreline erosion, and significantly increase the devastation caused by forest fires. The impact is likely to dampen enthusiasm for Alaska cruises and vacations.

We have moved up our travel plans for visiting Antarctica before it melts into something else. Global warming is triggering not only significant physical changes to the continent but to its animal and fish populations as well. Penguin colonies who try to find survivable sea ice conditions are in trouble. Emperor penguins, which breed on sea ice, face virtual extinction with a 50% population decline in some of their colonies. Most of the glaciers and ice shelves have retreated with some completely disappearing. We want to see it before it’s gone.

Recently we heard a report about how oyster farming along the Pacific Coast of the United States is being devastated by acidification in the Pacific. Acidification which is caused by dramatic increases in carbon dioxide and sea-level rise threatens coastal tourism infrastructure and natural attractions everywhere in the world. Ski resorts are hurting because of shorter seasons. Rising of sea levels will eventually submerge small islands like island nations of Tuvalu and Kiribati, in the South Pacific, and will wreak havoc on coastal regions around the world, including all of our coastal cities and towns.

Africa’s fabled Mount Kilimanjaro will be ice-free in just 15 years, and droughts and floods will dramatically affect the wildlife. Scuba and snorkelers should take notice that in the past half-decade 27 percent of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed due to increased water temperature with another 30 -plus percent in jeopardy. Global warming will broaden the range of malaria-bearing mosquitoes, affecting tourism destinations around the world – think of what the Zika virus did to South American tourism.

Our planet is under threat, see it while you can; and try to convince our knuckle-headed leaders, who pretend there’s nothing wrong, to get their heads out of their political behinds and do something about it.

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Cruising the Rhine on the Cheap

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We have long considered doing a river cruise down the Rhine. Our interest was spurred by those slick Viking commercials, complete with soaring music as ships glided past splendid castles and enchanting German villages. While planning our trip to Rüdesheim, we discovered that we could enjoy the some of the same experience for a fraction of the cost of a river cruise. Of course a Rhine river cruise visits more than the Rhine Gorge, but for our purposes – seeing castles and scenic villages, we opted to board one of the modern passenger ferries that ply the entire Middle Rhine.

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A Walk From Hell Along the Rhine

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What started out as one of our most pleasant experiences in Rüdesheim turned into a bit of a nightmare.

Our plan, one cloudy morning in Rüdesheim, was to hike the Ostein Route through Niederwald Park perched on the bluffs overlooking the Rhine. Supposedly the easiest of the Rhine Gorge walks, with relatively level trails and well maintained and marked paths, it traversed the “fairy tale forest” of beach and oak, created by Count Graf von Ostein in the late 1800s complete with a temple, enchanted cave, castle ruins and a hunting lodge.

What could go wrong, unless perhaps you were Hansel and Gretel?

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Wadi Rum: Where Camels & Martians Roam

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As avid world travelers, my wife Mary and I are always on the lookout for exotic locales to visit. In the last few years we’ve traveled to breathtaking otherworldly places like the Ganges in India at sunrise; the ghostly limestone islands and caves of Vietnam’s Halong Bay and the moonscaped lava fields of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. But our most recent trip topped the exotic scale. We spent three days on Mars. Well not exactly; but we visited a place that could – and has – passed for the Red Planet.

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Home Sweet Home

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Ron & Mary James at Sailaway to Hawaii

We’re getting ready for our next travel adventure, flying out in two days for Hawaii and then on to New Zealand and Australia. It seems as if we just got back from our last outing – six weeks of travel in the Middle East and Europe that ended right before Thanksgiving.

Obviously we love to travel. But, we also love to be home as well. It’s our current yin and yang of living.

The adrenalin rush of travel is addictive. Different cultures, politics, places and people – in fact just being “out there” invites thrills both good and bad. It also can be exhausting. Unpacking and packing, moving from place to place, coping with the unexpected take a physical toll after a couple weeks.

Then there’s the discovery of different cuisines and beverages. Yes it’s a top reason hopping on a plane or ship, but it too can be problematic, causing great discomfort for a few days. Being on the road also exposes you more sick people than you are likely to encounter if you didn’t travel. On a cruise, elevators, cafes and such can seem like hospital wards, given the cacophony of coughs, sneezes and nose blowing going on around you.

Our beloved cat Shadow also is a bit confused by our prolonged disappearances – although we provide her with very loving house sitters, who make sure she gets her quota of kitty treats and playtime. Almost all travelers feel guilty about leaving their pets – especially when they curl up in your suitcase as you’re packing or follow you around the house with sad, accusing eyes. All traveling pet owners wish they could explain – “Don’t worry – we’ll be back soon.”

So after three weeks or more travel adventure, the safety, normality and certainty of home becomes very attractive. Absence makes you appreciate home life and everything connected to it. You look forward to starting new projects, relaxing on the couch and petting a kitty. You yearn for the relative tranquility of no shore excursion mishaps or conversations with strange strangers at dinner.

So travel makes home sweet home even sweeter, and life as a whole better. But as good as home can be, in two or three months the siren call of travel has us checking airfares and making hotel reservations. Pretty soon we’re packing our bags, again in the company of a sad eyed kitty.

This issue illustrates all of these points – whether on a camel ride on “Mars” or tasting wine in Provence, visiting the royal yacht or pigging out on sausages and beer at a German Christmas Market. We hope you enjoy our stories and make some stories of your own on your next travel odyssey. We’re ready for another adventure, but we’ll inevitably be looking forward to being back in our sweet home with our reluctantly forgiving cat Shadow.

Have safe travels and happy homecomings,

Ron & Mary

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It’s Always Something

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As you read the stories in WDT, you’ll discover certain common threads expressed by our writers. All have to do with a passion for living – a thirst for adventure, beauty, friendship and discovery. Travel takes us out of our comfort zone thrusting us into strange and sometimes risky situations – situations that can be very uncomfortable even painful at the time — but once survived provide memories that put a smile on your face the rest of your life.

Travel can certainly be dangerous — especially for thrill seekers who search out adrenalin-laden activities like cliff diving, rock climbing or running with bulls. But most folks who read this magazine like their adventures in less aggressive forms. But, regardless of how and where you travel, misadventures will occur – it’s a law of the travel universe.
Getting sick from food, drink or a fellow traveler is one of travel’s most common downsides. We actually expect to get some kind of bug at least once on every long trip. It’s happened to us everywhere in the world. As much as we try to play it safe, we love to sample local cuisine and drink and that regularly challenges of digestive systems with unfamiliar food and the bugs that sometimes tag along.

Some misadventures come out of nowhere. On a business trip to Fiji to cover a surfing tournament, Ron landed in the middle of a military coup. Things actually got worse, when he found himself wading a quarter mile through coral reefs crawling with poisonous sea snakes

And who can forget crazy taxi drivers encountered on every continent. In our experience speeding cabbies in New York can be just as reckless as India’s notorious tuk tuk drivers or China’s full-throttle fearless van operators.

No matter how adventure-proof you try to make a trip, the mundane can easily become a hair-raising experience, even on a luxury cruise liner in the Baltic or a private food tour in Istanbul. It’s this possibility of adventure, even if we’re not looking for it or frankly trying to avoid it – is, for us, one of the reasons that makes travel addicting.

In this issue, two of our writers come down with a bug that colors their journeys, making them more memorable than if they had stayed well. Maribeth Mellin shares the silver lining she found when got sick in Machu Picchu and Jody Jaffe, felled by a bug in the Yucatan, uses the day to luxuriate in a lovely inn. “If I had to be sick,” Jody said, “I can’t think of a better place.”

Since getting sick or hurt is sometimes part of travel, it pays to be prepared. Veteran traveler Amy Laughinghouse offers some funny, but sage advice about preparing for those moments in her “Disaster Planning” column in this issue.

So take heed and enjoy the adventure. It’s why you left home in the first place.
Wishing you safe and exciting travels. ~ Ron & Mary James

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Our Award-Winning Magazine

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Ron & Mary James in China

This issue will mark the first full year of publication of Wine Dine & Travel Magazine. Little did we imagine when we decided to venture into travel publishing that we would come so far so quickly. The overwhelming response from our readers and our contributors all confirmed that we were moving in the right direction. Their accolades have been justified as The Society of Professional Journalist announced an unprecedented eight major awards in the print magazine category, including Best Food Story, Best Magazine Design, Best Photography and Best Feature Design. Wow, that about covers the bases of what a good magazine can do.

It’s a tough act to follow, but we think you’ll agree that this issue meets the mark in all of those categories. This month we focused on Canada and Mexico with stories that show that you don’t have to travel to Asia or Europe to have a great adventure. Our trip to Quebec City and our leaf peep cruise opened our eyes to exciting destinations that were right under our noses. And Mexico, despite its lawless reputation still can be a safe and enchanting place to recharge the batteries.

Over the last year we have pointed out the outstanding work of our writers and how a quality magazine attracts quality talent. Joining our line-up of world-class writers are our old friends, Jody Jaffe and John Muncie. Both are veteran authors and travel writers, whose work has been published in the major newspapers on both coasts. We are honored to have then as part of our family. We are also happy to welcome Marine Room Chef Ron Oliver who loves travel almost as much as he does cooking and offers us a delightful look at his trip to Ireland.

We hope you enjoy our eclectic offerings as our magazine explores the world in a way few publications do nowadays – full-length stories reflecting our professional travel writers’ thoughts and feelings. It’s nice to be recognized for our hard work this last year, but it’s even more gratifying to be working with great writers and receiving accolades from you the reader.

We wish you safe and memorable travels.

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Welcome to Wine Dine & Travel Magazine

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Ron & Mary James in Hawaii

Welcome to the premiere edition of Wine Dine & Travel magazine – written and published by veteran professional journalists who have a passion for travel and great food. Our goal is to enlighten and entertain readers and travelers who delight in exploring our planet.

WD&T is a logical extension of our award-winning-regional online magazine Wine & Dine San Diego. We will continue to cover Southern California and the West Coast, but have extended our editorial horizons globally.

WD&T will publish quarterly, mainly because everyone involved in this project travels – a lot. So two months travel and one month production seems quite civilized to us. The website,, however, will be updated regularly with real-time coverage of our travel and culinary adventures.

Our magazine is free on all platforms through our online distribution partners. There are also special free apps for iPad and iPhone. But for many, print is still the gold standard. Our technology partner MagCloud offers an innovative print process that delivers our readers a glossy, perfect-bound magazine – just like the ones on newsstands. We feel this broad distribution strategy serves our readers best for this time of sweeping technological and social change.

In the end, neither technology nor distribution will make us successful. Readers will buy the magazine or read the digital version because of the quality of the stories and features. We couldn’t deliver that without our great contributors – friends and journalistic colleagues who are award-winning, experienced and expert travel, food and wine writers. (Learn more about them all on the next page.)

We hope you enjoy our new magazine and will consider it to be a valued resource in planning your journeys. Like travel, publishing is an adventure – and we hope you enjoy the ride as much as we do.

Ron & Mary James

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