Perceptive Travel Back Issues - 2012

United States travel

December 2012

The First Astrotourists of Panama - Darrin DuFord
A visit to Panama's first observatory leads our author to reflect on the country's gradually morphing sense of place.

What's Wrong Gary? Rust and Ruin in Indiana - Niall McCrae
Taking the train from Chicago to blighted Gary, Indiana, a British visitor confronts globalization's impact on former industrial cities in the midst of car-focused urban planning.

We're the Greatest! Our Quest to Be the World Capital of…Anything - Chris Epting
You've seen the signs along the highways and back roads, proudly proclaiming a city or town as some sort of "Capital of the World." Some are silly, some are historic, some are downright weird, but they all have something in common: they all help define the place they are named for.

World Music Reviews - Laurence Mitchell
A long-awaited follow-up from Colombia's Bomba Estereo, Sephardic Spanish songs, disquieting music from Norway, and Putumayo's new collection of yoga music.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
This month, contradictions abound in the simultaneous beauty and menace of nature on remote islands and in the history and sub-cultures of Naples, as well as in one man's tiny contribution to fixing the world.

Miami travel

November 2012

A Spiced-up Caribbean in Grenada - Bruce Northam
A far cry from the identical cruise ship ports and sealed-off resorts so prevalent in the Caribbean, Grenada is a spice island in flavor and in life.

No One's Too Sexy for Miami - Tim Leffel
On a trip to South Beach, Miami, a few days of perfect bodies and an onslaught of sexual imagery might just be too much of a good thing.

Syria In My Heart - Judith Fein
The horrifying massacres in Syria seem very personal to Judith Fein as she reflects on her trip to that country three years ago, and wonders about the well-being of the people she met there.

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
Cuban music filtered and processed, bad economic but good musical news out of Greece, block-rockin' Balkan beats from NYC, and holy moments from Bulgaria.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
A guide to an ancient Roman road, an updated guide to the great American road trip, and a life well lived as a house-swapper.

Budapest travel

October 2012

Racing Hand-carved Canoes in Micronesia - Tom Koppel
In a region where small dots of land are separated by expanses of water, some have revived the art of turning logs into fast sailing canoes.

Keeping Secret Spots in New York City - Becky Garrison
A New York writer faces a "Secret Places of New York" guidebook with some trepidation, questioning whether it's a good or bad thing to out the peaceful places known only to a few.

Bouncing Back From Terror in Budapest - Tim Leffel
The House of Terror displays the sad underbelly of Hungary's darkest time. With the Underguides, it's possible to find the hidden but happier sides of modern Budapest.

World Music Reviews - Laurence Mitchell
More great grooves and sweet vocals from two parts of Africa, number 10 from French collective Lo'Jo, and psychedelic jazz from the Welsh border.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
Two books that bring an historical perspective to contemporary journeys, one in the least known region of South America, the other in the much-trampled British countryside. Plus a book about America that starts with a gimmick but ends with genuine insights.

Benin travel

September 2012

Dancing With the Dead in Benin - James Michael Dorsey
When a traveler joins a strange voodoo ceremony in West Africa to shoot some photos, he becomes the stuff of legend by accident.

The Threat of the Mariachi - Luke Armstrong
A poor country can be a land of lost hope or a land of crazy opportunities. A gringo expatriate in Guatemala tests out how far to take the latter.

Stories in Stone: Walking Vietnam's Long Wall - Ben Keene
Was there really a "Great Wall of Vietnam" a few hundred years ago? One curious traveler sets out to see if it still exists among the rural rice paddies.

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
Fast food gospel from a poor part of Africa, rocked up witchcraft music from Sierra Leone and melodrama from the flamenco road between Holland and the Middle East.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
The futile attempt to avoid acting like a tourist in Europe, visiting the world's most polluted places, and an anthology from travel writing's all-stars.

Africa travel

August 2012

Tracking the Hadzabe: Little is Changed in one of Africa's Last Remaining Bush Tribes - Shelley Seale
When a rare tourist comes in contact with a group intentionally shunning the outside world, the encounter sometimes produces wonder. Other times, just a shrug.

I'll Have Another in Lexington, Kentucky - Tim Leffel
In the land of Bourbon, big hats, and belles, the world's most pampered horses enter their racing temple just two months a year. The winners will earn the real money later: as gigilos.

Alaska on the Rails - Amy Rosen
During the journey into Alaska's Denali National Park, our writer just sits back and enjoys the ride.

World Music Reviews - Laurence Mitchell
30 years of Zimbabwe's best, Detroit music made with old mechanics, and some indie-rock heroes let their world music influences fly.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
Two insightful books into the British on their own turf, and a delightful book tracking round the coast of India using fish as its theme.

Vietnam travel

July 2012

The Undercover Nun - Bruce Northam
A mother and son return to Ireland for a walk down memory lane—and the road not taken.

A Russian Life - James Michael Dorsey
A writer who vividly lived through the Cold War with the Soviets befriends a St. Petersburg woman to see the past from the Russian side.

The Chaos and Grace of a Scooter Ride in Vietnam - Debi Goodwin
After decades of travel without a physical mishap, a visitor to Vietnam finally takes the plunge and navigates the notorious motorcycle traffic in a land where normal traffic rules don't apply.

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
History revisited with a mad marching band from your happiest nightmares, the warm musical breeze by a senior statesman from Ghana, and new prog-rock from old sources.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
Food porn from Lonely Planet's stockpiles, another women's confessional travel book destined for Oprah and the cinema, and a 30-years-ago memoir of Alaska.

June 2012

Frank Lloyd Wright's Humble Desert Palace - Michael Shapiro
In the 75th year since the construction of the building where Frank Lloyd Wright spent his last years, a long-time fan visits the modest architectural experiment in the Arizona desert and gets the story behind the creator and his creation.

Clear and Prescient Danger in Morocco - Luke Armstrong
Figuring out if a steep mountain trail could kill you is easy. Determining danger in a hash-fueled daze among a room full of Arabic speaking men in Chefchaouen, Morocco is a different story...

From Red to Green in Bulgaria - Tim Leffel
In a land trampled by invaders and then occupied by the Soviets, free Bulgaria shines now as a place with a strong bond to the fertile land and majestic mountains.

World Music Reviews - Laurence Mitchell
Mountain music ties between Appalachia and Himalaya, trumpet fusion from Lebanon, and the latest from Serbian brass band star Boban Markovic.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
A collection of terrific travel stories for a respected charity, an out-of-tune story of a westerner hiring a surrogate Indian mother, and a sloppy trip by bicycle through villages and pubs along the length of the United Kingdom.

Africa travel

May 2012

Slipping Through Doors & Gates in Burma - Michael Buckley
On a month-long trip in Myanmar, you pass through a lot of strange doors and gates, entrances and exits. Here are some memorable ones from the author's recent trip—at a time when the country is on the brink of great change...

The Warrior Scholar from Kenya - James Dorsey
After meeting a Masai nomad studying in academic America, an author catches up with him later on the PhD bushman's home turf in Africa.

Locked Down in Waikiki - Tom Koppel
When the world's most powerful leaders meet up in Hawaii, paradise takes on an ominous look.

World Music Reviews - Tim Leffel
A Cuban band joins a hit guitar duo, a reggae group that would make Marley proud, and another collection of retro surf music from the Peruvian Amazon.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
An updated edition of the most detailed round-the-world travel book, a travel box set for the 1 percenters, and a family's personal story of escaping Chinese oppression in Tibet.

Las Vegas travel

April 2012

Harvesting My Solitary Olive Tree in Marche, Italy - Jillian Dickens
Traveling to Italy to join her child—an adopted olive tree—a writer with a commitment phobia falls for the lure of creating her own bottles of extra virgin oil from the source.

Crisscrossing the Jordan River - Becky Garrison
A traveling religion writer encounters a hyper-commercialized Jordan River in Israel, then later travels to the other river banks to see if modern day Jordan itself can get closer to baptismal beauty and beatitude.

Las Vegas for the 99 Percent - Tim Leffel
It was once America's clear winner for the tourism value crown. But with every new business seemingly aimed at the luxury crowd, can normal people still find cheap joy in Las Vegas?

World Music Reviews - Laurence Mitchell
Burkina Faso comes to Antwerp, a collection of African blues, a thong-a-phone, and jazz fusion with a heaping of preaching.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
The romance (and geekiness) of rail travel as well as a book of macho yet troublingly juvenile adventures across Canada.

Nepal travel

March 2012

In Search of The Scream in Norway - Chris Epting
An author known for tracking down the sites of famous events or settings goes in search of the spot in Norway that inspired one of the world's most famous paintings.

Giant Kites Fighting for Heaven - Luke Maguire Armstrong
Every year in Guatemala on November 1st, families flock to cemeteries to paint communal tombs and celebrate those who have passed on by releasing colossal kites into the sky.

Parahawking in Nepal - Michael Buckley
In the paragliding paradise of Pokhara, Nepal, the writer glides on warm air currents to see what it's like to fly with birds of prey.

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
Music from old Colombia, entrancing fado reissued and psychedelic Africa is explored.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
Ugly war stories told through food, another 1,000 places you can't possibly get to before you die, and 150 places the New York Times thinks you should spend a long weekend.


February 2012

No Salad Days at the Buenos Aires Thieves Market - Camille Cusumano
A Buenos Aires expat visits the Feria la Salada, a market that lives up to its reputation for danger and desperation.

Setting Foot on Celtic Sod - Becky Garrison
When a traveler's pilgrimage to an expected quiet set of ruins leads her to a crowded Irish tourist trap, she stakes out a different trail and dances to her own inner Celtic drum.

A Different State of Mine in Canada's Yukon Territory - Bruce Northam
Most people don't get to decide their own legacy; up here, it's possible. A road trip along a deserted highway.

World Music Reviews - Tim Leffel
Bossa Nova beats from Brazil, more subversive beats from Da Cruz, and central African music from the real bush shows up in a movie soundtrack.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
Two expatriate views of moving to a foreign land, plus a book with 366 travel quotations both famous and obscure.


January 2012

Not The One in the Bible - Jessica Lee
While traversing the countryside of Kenya by bus, a traveler gets a lesson in the country's peculiar acronym-laden buffet of Christianity.

Before Dawn in the Place of Voices - Joshua Berman
After being enchanted by tales of Tikal, a place that many wanderers had trouble describing in words, the eventual visit's quest for a sunrise photo is a race against guards and time.

My Chiapas Misadventure - Tim Leffel
Venturing into the wild adventure capital of Mexico, a group of tour guides gets a lesson in what not to do with their clients.

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
Music from Nigeria in the psychedelic-soul era, tough rapping in Kinshasa, and a reissue of vibrant Latin jazz out of Brazil.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
A sumptuous coffee-table book from Lonely Planet, a guide to the Maya world for 2012, and the adventures of a $5-a-day traveler traversing the USA.

Return to Main Archives Page

Browse Stories by Category

Sign Up