Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Adventuresome Traveler: Introduction

I traveled a fair amount as a child: my parents often worked in the tropics in countries like Bonaire, Panama, Australia, and Kenya. Occasionally we did things I wouldn't want to do today: for example, swim in the Panama Canal in an area inhabited by crocodiles, or get stuck in the mud in a game park near an electric fence designed to keep the wild animals in. Mainly we had fun.

Today I usually travel for work. Sometimes my research takes me to air conditioned libraries and archives; other times it takes me to far-away places where I am studying historical objects for my work, like gravestones, synagogues, houses, and ritual baths. I consider myself an "adventuresome but not stupid" traveler: that is, I don't mind going to unusual places, but I don't tend to take unnecessary risks. I don't mind luxurious hotels, but that isn't where I tend to stay: I am often on a budget, though not one so extreme that I will stay in a complete dive. I also keep kosher, so I often have an eye towards what there is to eat when you get there.

If you are interested in traveling in the footsteps of early American Jews, this column will give you some insights into where to go, where to stay, and what to bring. Want to hear about a particular place? Here are some places I have done research recently: Suriname, Curacao, Jamaica, Newport, Panama, and Amsterdam.


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