As one of the founding editors of the NATJA award winning online magazine Yahoo Travel, Jo helped to create a new template for travel content in the digital age.
As a writer, reporter, photographer and videographer, she has traveled to six continents to tell stories about how real people travel.
I was on that kind of rite-of-passage road trip that women often take right before something big and exciting is about to happen. In this case, I was getting married and moving to San Francisco. My friend Glynnis promised to come along for the ride. Everyone we told about the trip liked to compare us to Thelma and Louise, the 1991 movie starring Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, and a very young and chiseled Brad Pitt. In it, the two women are on a road trip because they are on the lam from the law. They ultimately drive themselves off of a cliff. We were hoping for a happier ending.
Hundreds of years ago, sailors referred to this group of islands 650 miles off the coast of Ecuador as Las Encantadas, meaning the enchanted islands. Charles Darwin, arguably the Galapagos’ most famous visitor, christened them both “a little world within itself,” and a “paradise for reptiles.”
With awe-inspiring landscapes and unrivaled beauty, this is a place that truly fulfills the traveler’s primal longing to shed the trappings of civilization. Visitors come here to tick things off their bucket lists — hiking with giant endangered tortoises, swimming with sea lions and penguins, and visiting a place that truly has an aura of mystery and intrigue.
The first thing you notice when you arrive at Portillo is the sky and the fact that it is both empty and the perfect shade of blue. There should be an Instagram filter that turns all skies this blue, but there isn’t.
Some skiers refer to this resort, perched at an elevation of 9,500 feet in the Andes Mountains, as “Chile Mignon.” It’s a cheesy nickname, but it shows just how choice world-class skiers believe this resort to be.
Hidden behind ski goggles are Olympians, Argentine polo players, Hollywood celebrities, and ski bums chasing the snow all the way to the Southern Hemisphere.
There is something magical about arriving in a city you’ve never heard of and being immediately enchanted and charmed by both its beauty and its hospitality. As a travel editor, I sometimes feel like a know-it-all. I’ve been to so many places, and the ones I haven’t been to I have almost certainly still heard of. But I knew nothing about Ohrid, Macedonia, until I arrived there a few weeks ago. The surprise of it all made me enjoy it all the more.
We were cold. We were wet. We’d been on the water in Dingle Bay for an hour and hadn’t seen a single dolphin — or, rather, the single dolphin. There’s only one dolphin living in Dingle Bay in County Kerry, Ireland: Fungie. Because he prefers the company of humans to other dolphins, Fungie is something of a local celebrity in this part of Ireland.
Traveling all over the world and having adventures like diving with manta rays in the Maldives and whale sharks in Cancun or hiking the highest peak in Kosovo, kissing a giraffe in Nairobi, eating fondue in the French Alps, or surfing in Ireland (in October) has helped to save me in a lot of ways.
I was delighted when I stumbled across something called Bison Quest, a working buffalo ranch with a resident herd of the shaggy remnants of the Ice Age.
Bison Quest is no zoo. It is your own private bison experience. The ranch only allows one group of people on the property at a time. With two adorable cabins, a teepee for hosting campfires and roasting marshmallows, and a dining tent, BQ is the ultimate in Montana glamping — with the added bonus of bison that meander past your cabin in the morning.
The retelling of our road trip probably loses something in print. I can’t accurately describe the feeling of waking up each morning in an entirely new city and not knowing what was going to happen or the freedom that driving along an empty Interstate with no cell service affords an almost always addled mind. When I started the road trip, my primary intention was to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, but I soon learned the joy of taking the long way, of lingering in a beautiful place for longer than you intended.
Life is continuing all over Paris in the weeks following the worst terrorist attacks in French history.
The spirit and the joie de vivre of the country are the same, even though many things will be forever different.
I arrived in Paris as a tourist last week, determined to take a few days off of work to just relax while my husband attended the COP21 talks on climate change.
It started out as a pipe dream, something Fred Pouillot would joke about with his friends and his wife. What if I quit my well-paying corporate job to start something on my own?
And then over time the jokes became more and more serious.
You can tell, after just a few minutes of meeting her, that Sue Cooper is the kind of person who isn’t afraid to change her entire life.
Today, Cooper is a professional paddleboarder, franchise business owner of Lazy Dog Adventure Outfitters, and the author of the inspirational book “Millionaire in Flip-Flops.” She wrote the manual for the Special Olympics for paddleboarding. She travels the world with friends while racing and promoting her Lazy Dog brand. She does what she loves every day.
Albert, a 50-year-old, free-roaming tortoise is typically first to greet visitors, followed closely by Misty, a pink cockatiel who yells out, “I love you” to anyone who will listen.
There’s Bam Bam, a miniature horse who is blind in his left eye; two alpacas from a rescue organization in Ocala, Fla.; an albino python; Kelsie, the attention-hungry lemur; 11 doves sent from Wisconsin; two Patagonian cavies, the second-largest rodent in the world; a toucan named Hemingway; two prairie dogs originally purchased at a roadside market; and Chanel, the de-scented skunk.
Drive down Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, and you would be hard-pressed to miss the gleaming, 10-foot-tall statue of the former president of the United States waving. It’s an impressive monument to honor Clinton for his help during the struggle with the former government of Yugoslavia in the Kosovo War.
And just around the corner is another kind of monument that may be even more impressive — a shop dedicated to Clinton’s wife, Hillary Clinton.
When I think of surfing, I think about the Maldives, or Hawaii, or maybe Bondi Beach in Australia, which is where I learned how to surf a thousand years ago. I certainly don’t think Ireland in autumn.
Surfing and Ireland don’t seem at all synonymous. In fact, until I landed here this week, I had no idea that the Irish ever even went into the ocean. Yet, somehow I found myself on Aughris beach in County Sligo, donning a 5-millimeter wet suit and preparing for a surf lesson.
Kenyan Women Go on the Pill—Behind their Husbands’ Backs
Clandestine birth control in Mombasa
In the three weeks Jo spent traveling the rural villages around the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, she interviewed more than 100 women and 25 medical professionals about contraception use and maternal health. I’d assumed that women were skittish about using birth control in male-dominated Kenya, where they are often seen as little more than baby-making instruments, and rape and female circumcision are commonplace. But I found instead that more of Kenya’s women are clandestinely opting to use contraception behind their husbands’ backs.
published: September 1, 2009
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Hunting For White Treasure in Italy
published: October 17, 2011
By 9 pm I had been dreaming about truffles for more than 12 hours, ever since a Google search revealed my friend’s wedding in the Tuscan countryside was a mere 30 miles from the town of San Giovanni d’Asso, the self-proclaimed white truffle capital of Tuscany.
But 30 miles on the back mountain roads south of Siena and Florence, where a herd of wild boar behave like stoplights can take hours.
I frantically phoned La Locanda del Castello, the commune’s well-known truffle center begging them not to close their kitchen before I could get my truffle fix. They laughed more with each call. Italians don’t have bedtimes.
When my travel companions and I finally arrived just before 10 pm, a creamy truffle risotto with copious shavings of white truffle was placed front of us in less than 10 minutes. La Locanda, a restored 13th century castle, is the epicenter of San Giovanni d’Asso, a town of less than 70 in the Crete Senesi region.
The Secrets to Discovering Authentic Sicily
Sicily, long romanticized as the birthplace of the Mafia, has begun attracting attention for its more fashionable and scenic attributes.
The design team of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana has put their favorite haunt, the Eastern seaside party town of Taormina, on the map, and the recent volcanic eruptions of Mt. Etnat that have attracted 20 percent more tourists this year alone.
Yet to the traveler’s detriment, this tiny island in the southernmost region of Italy, still gets passed over in favor of the tourist-friendly environs of Rome, Florence and Venice.
For those seeking the authentic Italy, this tiny island is not to be missed.
Towns and Tourist Sites Get a Bump on Success of TV Shows
Want to rally tourists to your city, state, hotel or restaurant? Invite the Dunphys, or the Frankels or the odd bachelor.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming is capitalizing this month on the season opener of the ABC hit “Modern Family,” where the Dunphy and Pritchett families travel to the Rocky Mountain vacation spot.
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EXCLUSIVE: Sean Penn Vows ‘Decades’ in Haiti as Relief Partners Plan Exits
After interviewing a dozen relief agencies on the ground in Haiti while traveling to embattled country with supermodel Petra Nemcova and her Happy Hearts Foundation, Jo obtained an exclusive interview with actor and humanitarian Sean Penn on his plan to stay in Haiti long after everyone else has pulled out.
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