Travels with Susan Spano
Author, columnist, traveler Susan Spano has journeyed the world reporting on culture, nature and the curious human race. She launched the still-running “Frugal Traveler“ column for the New York Times, then joined the staff of The Los Angeles Times which sent her to the City of Light from 2003 to 2006 to start the popular travel section blog “Postcards from Paris.”
After that she spent 6 months in Beijing studying Mandarin and researching stories in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics and then moved to Rome--her favorite foreign posting--where she wrote on everything Italian, from Caravaggio to mozzarella.
Her articles have been anthologized in collections like Making Connections: Mother-Daughter Travel Adventures and A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe and have also appeared in the Financial Times, Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler and Redbook. She is the co-author of two books: Women on Divorce: A Bedside Companion and Men on Divorce: The Other Side of the Story.
Summer, 2013, takes SS to Monterey, California, to begin work on a teaching degree at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, followed by a two-year stint in the Peace Corps, for which she's just been nominated. Assignment location as yet unknown.
Catch the 2013 edition of Smithsonian magazine's The 20 Best Small Towns in America, by Susan Spano.
Here's what NBC news said about it: Travelers can find culture in Anywhere, USA
Geography is covering new ground for travelers appears in the 4/7/13 travel section of the LA Times. It's a package of stories also including interviews with top techno-geographers Jack Dangermond and John Hanke, and a geo-quiz drawn in part from the National Geographic Bee.
See the app created by geographic information systems company Esri that went along with my Across the Top of LA tour, given 4/11/2013 for the Association of American Geographers.
Here's the tour description: An exceptionally scenic drive on Mulholland Highway, 55 miles from Hollywood to the Pacific Coast along the backbone of the Santa Monica Mountains. Stops include overlooks toward the L.A. Basin and San Fernando Valley, the Hollywood Bowl, Paramount Ranch and a surfer hangout in Malibu. Named for the L.A. Water Department superintendent who helped develop the arid San Fernando Valley by stealing water from the High Sierra, the road opens like a storybook, telling how geography, greed and ego shaped greater L.A. Participants should bring bag lunches and extra money for dinner, drinks or snacks at Neptune’s Net.
Watch for Susan Spano's new collection, Love of Place: Travel Essays, coming soon to a cyber-bookstore near you.
Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?
Questions of Travel, Elizabeth Bishop
In the middle American subdivison where I grew up--middle of the country, middle-sized family, middle of the income scale--every third house had the same layout so I could find my way to the bathroom in the dark when I slept over at my best friend’s down the block. It was like that in the homogenous 1950’s, every town interchangeable, everyone trying to fit in, every horizon bounded by a fence.
So I took to travel, which very simply put is a way of knowing that the world is full of different things. Different social conditions, histories, foods, faiths and above all landscapes. The more I saw, the more I came to believe that landscape--that is to say, geography--dictates everything, which my mother, a geography teacher, would have liked. She taught me that places mean something. Then I spent the better part of my life finding out what.
I wrote most of the travel stories collected in this book for The Los Angeles Times and New York Times between about 1990 and 2010. Twenty years of my life devoted to a subject I still haven’t exhausted, a love of place that never disappointed. Where should we be today? Spin the globe.