- Bekah Wright at Compass2 hrs ago
What does Incubus’ frontman do when the rock group’s on hiatus? Relax is not the answer, at least for Brandon Boyd. Instead the artist, author, activist, environmentalist and surfer threw his creativity into several projects, including a solo album, “Sons of the Sea,” as well as a third art book, “So the Echo.” With the fall release of both, maybe now Boyd can kick back at a favorite destination? Get ready, Hoboken; he may be heading your way.
What’s something you never fail to pack in your suitcase? I never leave without my sense of humor. Traveling requires a healthy dose of humility and lightheartedness, so being armed with a smile comes in handy.
Carry-on or check-in? Always carry-on.
Window or aisle? I like sitting in a window seat, but failing that, I like dressing up like a flight attendant and sitting in their backwards seats. It's funny, as well, to just randomly collect people's meals before they're finished.
- Christy Karras at Compass19 hrs ago
Sometimes, we travel for excitement, hoping to meet new people and have new adventures. But other times, we just want to get away from it all, be alone for a while with our thoughts. The Sahara Desert might be one of the world’s best places to sit and think, undisturbed, while the clouds pass by.
Spanish photographer Victoria Rivas titled this photo “Contemplación,” and her description couldn’t be more apt. The slightly moody, mostly empty sunset sky and undulating red sands lend an atmosphere of thoughtful solitude. Surrounded by that backdrop, a man in Berber garb leans slightly to the side, appearing to drift along with his imagination.
- claudinezap at Compass20 hrs ago
Have a spare 25 grand burning a hole in your pocket? Then consider checking into the New York Palace Hotel's 5,000-square-foot Jewel Suite, designed by celebrity jeweler Martin Katz. The over-the-top homage to bling is part of the hotel's $140 million upscale renovation.
Each visitor who books the superluxe suite in midtown Manhattan will also go home with a Martin Katz-designed diamond band ring, worth $2,500. That's 10 percent of what you just paid for one night's shelter, but hey — what is money for, if not to be spent?
What do you get for your $25,000 besides a shiny souvenir?
- Drew Limsky at Compass21 hrs ago
In at least one way, travel advice is like marital advice: everyone’s an expert. Here are some purportedly helpful tips worthy of a dubious, raised eyebrow.
“Buy your train tickets before you leave home.”
You have to remember that traveling an hour or two between cities is as commonplace for commuters in other countries as it is for those of us who ride NJ Transit. It isn’t necessary to book early, and doing so can even become a detriment. Yes, you should be familiar with the train schedule, but wait until you’re in the country to purchase tickets. Otherwise, if you miss your train, you’ll lose the value of the fare, or find that your “wisely” pre-purchased ticket for a train departing three hours from now requires a change fee that costs as much as a brand-new ticket. (Thanks, Dad: those idle hours in the Milan train station were awesome .)
“If you loved the hotel, make sure you book for next season.”
- Kelly O'Mara at Compass1 day ago
Planes took their first small leap into the air on this day 110 years ago. After spending years working on bicycles, inventions and small gliders, Wilbur and Orville Wright launched their first successful flight of a self-propelled, powered plane. The flight lasted 12 seconds.
Dec. 17, 1903 wasn’t the Wright brothers’ first attempt, which actually came a few days earlier. Nor was it their first launch of a person, which came during the testing of the hang-gliders they perfected before the creation of a motorized plane. The 12-second flight at Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks of North Carolina is, however, considered the first successful motorized flight of a manned heavier-than-air plane.
After the flight, they continued working on their design and by 1905 could stay in the air for 39 seconds. The early invention of the aircraft continues to be mired in controversy, though, with different inventors claiming ownership for different aspects in the plane’s technological development.
Today, most people fly via commercial airliner, of which there are over 20,000 in the world.
- Christy Karras at Compass1 day ago
Few churchgoers are greeted by something quite this stunning when they enter their sacred spaces. Notre Dame de Paris is one of the world’s most beautiful religious edifices — and one of its most influential. When it was under construction in the 12th century, architects realized the tall and relatively thin stone walls would crumble without additional support. They decided to add an external skeleton, and Notre Dame’s famous flying buttresses were born.
Shored up from the outside, the church’s interior could soar without impediment. Soon, other churches throughout Europe were copying its French Gothic style.
Now, 13 million tourists visit the cathedral each year, making it France’s top attraction. Some climb the 397 steps to the top and see gargoyles, the church’s bell — made famous by Victor Hugo’s story of the hunchback who rang it — and Parisian panoramas along the way. Others come for Mass at Notre Dame, which is still actively used as a place of worship.
- Joshua Estrin at Compass1 day ago
Nestled beside a bay on the Sea of Cortez, La Paz, Mexico is the capital city of the state of Baja California Sur. It offers unspoiled beaches and a desert-like climate with temperatures between 75 degrees and 91 degrees year round. It inspires a casual elegance making it perfect for families and couples alike. The eco-friendly CostaBaja, La Paz’s five-star resort community, is an excellent choice for home base, allowing easy access to both the marina and downtown.
Still largely undiscovered, the area’s beaches can often be enjoyed in blissful solitude. Scuba diving and snorkeling are a must in the waters that famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau dubbed “the aquarium of the world.”
Landlubbers can enjoy a day on the Gary Player Signature Golf Course or choose hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding in the nearby deserts or Sierra de la Laguna Mountains. There are also eco-centric tours focused on the natural landscape, including a cactus tour.
- Christy Karras at Compass1 day ago
Great Britain officially recognized Bahrain as an independent country in 1971, but the island kingdom has been making efforts toward independence for years. The Bahrain archipelago, just east of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, was ruled by various entities (including the Arabs and Portugal) before it became a British protectorate in the 19th century.
Along with oil processing and banking, the economy depends on tourism. Like other Persian Gulf nations, Bahrain has been altering the landscape to create unique beachfront hotels to draw upscale tourists and expat residents. The Durrat al Bahrain complex, for example, features 15 man-made residential islands in various shapes around a central hotel. The multitudes of shops in Manama, the capital, also appeal to high-end tastes. Bahrain also built the first Formula One track in the Middle East.
- GE Anderson at Compass4 days ago
Ninety-five years ago today — December 14, 1918 — Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (B.K.S.) "Guruji" Iyengar was born in Karnataka, India. As the author of more than a dozen books about yoga (including his seminal work ) Iyengar is credited with exporting the practice to the Western world. He counts Pope John Paul II, whose photo hangs on a wall in his studio, among the countless students he has personally instructed. His style of yoga is so popular that his very surname is a noun in the Oxford English Dictionary. Suffice it to say, Iyengar is a living icon.
Last year, at the end of a business trip to India, I made a pilgrimage to Pune, Maharashtra to visit the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI). After spending an afternoon under the tutelage of Abhay Javakhedkar, one of RIMYI's many excellent instructors, I was admitted to interview Guruji Iyengar at the end of his daily book signing. He had a bit of a cold that day, so I was not permitted to videotape the interview and instead resorted to shorthand. The following is what I managed to jot down between revelations:
“Guruji, why do I need to practice yoga every day, as you recommend?” I asked.
- Christy Karras at Compass4 days ago
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge’s new span opened in September, much to the delight of the many commuters who use it every day. Along with a seismic upgrade, the bridge got a high-tech lighting system. The LED lights are positioned to reduce glare and maximize visibility. Another bonus: each energy-efficient bulb lasts 10 to 15 years.
Until March of 2015, bridge fans get the added delight of The Bay Lights, a public art display of 25,000 LED lights shining in changing patterns. To minimize driver distraction, the art project’s lights are only visible from a distance.