The joy of international travel

Great Wall of China (not Trump’s “Wall”)

I’ve been enjoying a lot of international travel during the past six months, including London, Shanghai, the Caribbean and Hong Kong. It’s been fun and has included some great “family time.”

It’s been educational too. I heard author Salman Rushdie speak at the London Literature Festival this fall, and I listened to the award-winning NHK Symphony Orchestra from Tokyo at the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

I love living here — with Shannon’s family members nearby in Nevada City and Sacramento (and Lake Tahoe just up the road) — but it can get a bit claustrophobic at times (AKA “small towns are a hoot”!) Thankfully we have a great housesitter and dog sitter.

I’ve loved international travel ever since I went to college at UC Berkeley and lived in the International House. We have good friends who live overseas too. I’m always interested in experiencing something new, or returning to an old haunt (such as Wilton’s restaurant in London).

Airline deregulation has made international travel more affordable than ever for our generations, and I subscribe to a few services that search the internet for bargains in real time. I also know a former co-worker from The Chronicle who now lives in Sacramento, and he has taught me how to compile and use “points” to score amazing air fare and hotel deals.

I’m not alone, of course. We have some accomplished world travelers in our small towns. A couple we recently visited with at ol’ Republic Roadhouse just returned from Africa. Another returned from an around-the-world trip.

Jeannie Wood and David Wong (who are active in Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra) are good friends, and they’ve inspired me to ramp up some Asian travel. Jeannie asked me to write about my recent trips for the CATS newsletter and I will do that.

This spring I’m taking our family to Beijing, thanks to some deeply discounted business class airfares I found on XiamenAir (which flies Boeing 787 “Dreamliners”; “all jet and no lag”) from LAX.

Since we live in a small town, I’m interested in exposing our son to Europe (again) but also Japan and China before he goes to college and meets people from all those places.

In Beijing, we’re going to visit the Wall (the “real wall,” not Trump’s wall); Forbidden City; Temple of the Sun; Tiananmen Square; the Summer Palace and other sights. And, of course, enjoy the local cuisine.

I’ve been noodling around on the internet and have noticed that the hotel prices in Beijing are highly reasonable compared with other big cities. It’s going to be an excellent adventure.


Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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