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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

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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, www.winedineandtravel.com, 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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The Fear of Travel

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Ron & Mary James in Athens

In today’s world, fear is rampant in almost every aspect of our lives – global warming, the economy, healthcare, international politics, and yes, even travel. Even the unintended consequences of American presidential actions induces fear among travelers. We can’t do too much about most of these fearsome subjects, but we can shed some light on fear of travel.
A little fear is OK. It’s a survival instinct that has served humans well since they started walking on two legs. It rears up while traveling since you’re out of your comfort zone – out of familiar environs and routines.

It may be dangerous commuting 30 miles to work going 70 mph on a freeway full of wacko drivers. Though we don’t look forward to it, we don’t fear it because it’s familiar, a known quantity, a routine. You prepare for your daily commute by checking traffic and weather conditions before you go. You make sure your car is in good repair and you keep your cell phone in your pocket while driving. You are prepared and experienced, so you don’t fear it.

Most experienced travelers do their homework too. They are prepared, substituting knowledge, awareness and caution for fear. Travel veterans are accustomed to stepping out of their comfort zones, even if they have the President’s Suite on a Caribbean cruise. They understand that stuff happens, whether its hurricanes in the Atlantic or pick pockets in Bermuda. They are aware of the risks, and they do everything they can to mitigate potentially bad outcomes, whether it’s scheduling the cruise out of the hurricane season or not wearing flashy jewelry.

Unreasonable fear keeps folks from living a fulfilling life. For dedicated travelers, exploring the world is one of the joys of living, and in some ways, it’s necessary for their wellbeing. Besides the pleasures of exploring exotic places, discovering great food and making new friends, it is the sense of adventure that makes travel so appealing. And adventure often comes from unexpected

experiences whether it’s getting lost in the streets of Rome or, as you will read in this issue’s cover story, cruising through pirate-infested waters in the Middle East.
Fear of travel is trumped by knowledge, appropriate caution and preparation. It is mitigated by our need to see new things, meet new people and find adventure.
After all of our years of travel, our only real fear is missing the boat.

Just do it – safe travels,

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Airline Greed or Opportunity Missed

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Ron & Mary James at Hobbington, New Zealand

After days of dominating the news, Hurricane Irma is taking a backseat to what will be a lengthy recovery by areas the powerful storm battered in the Caribbean and Florida. Now comes the assessment of how all of the key actors, public and corporate, did to aid the millions who faced and became victims of Irma’s might. The report card on the role that airlines played is still incomplete, but by and large, their image took another deserved beating, adding to an ongoing series of shoot-yourself-in-the-foot actions. It didn’t need to happen that way.
After thousands of complaints about ticket-price gouging in Florida, U.S. Representative Charlie Crist wrote to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao calling for an investigation of airline behavior during a crisis.

Responding to angry constituents, U.S Senators Blumenthal and Markey responded immediately, “Airlines certainly have a right to a reasonable return for services rendered and vagaries in pricing are to be expected; but airlines have no right to impose exorbitant, unfair prices on Americans simply trying to get out of harm’s way.”

The depth of airline greed was unavoidable on social media where screenshots of soaring ticket prices during evacuations shows some tickets jumping from $547 to more than $3,200. Industry supporters suggested that it was business as usual, computer generated increases based on supply and demand. The airline later claimed that these occurrences were technical glitches or anomalies. Anomalies or whether they were Legal or not, the optics are terrible for an industry enduring plenty of bad press recently. Even the perception of gouging helpless victims adds to the public’s rage about arbitrary fees for everything from baggage to blankets.

On top of that are the shocking, headline-making displays of corporate greed and arrogance. Who can comprehend the callousness behind the forcible removal of a passenger so that a higher paying flyer could take his seat. Such incidents underscore bad management and staffing with untrained, overworked and underpaid personnel.

Black eyes for the airline industry during catastrophic events like Irma are avoidable. Most airlines and their crews were heroes; they capped fares, added flights and crews and went above and beyond to help some very scared and tired people. If all had reacted this way, the social media buzz would have been an entirely different story.

But for some reason for some airlines it was business supply and demand as usual, allowing computers to force evacuees to stay in harm’s way because they couldn’t afford pricy last minute tickets. Unfortunately natural disasters like this hurricane season are occurring with greater frequency and intensity. Clearly it’s time for the airline industry to set some humanitarian standards for their role during national emergencies to help rather than pick pockets. Maybe there’s a silver lining here, maybe being a responsible corporate citizen may become fashionable again and empathy will overcome computer-generated greed.
Maybe. But we’re not holding our breath.

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