Small Price to Pay

Traveling isn’t always easy. It can be tiring and filled with frustration. And sometimes, it’s a real hassle.

Recently, airport travel got a little more difficult. New airport security regulations restrict carry on of liquids in any form. Forget bringing on your double-shot latte from the airport coffee shop. And your favorite shampoo and hair gel? Don’t even think about it.

The liquids carry-on restriction came after a terrorist plot involving liquids was revealed and halted in the U.K. But while the restriction is an annoyance, it’s a small price to pay in the interest of safety — at least in my book. For some people, though, these difficulties are discouraging.

“Don’t all these hassles make you want to stop traveling?” a woman asked me recently as we took off our shoes to go through airport security.

Her question surprised me. My answer, of course, was a resounding “no.” It’s the destination that pulls me, the excitement of seeing new faces and places. A little annoyance in the security line is a small price to pay for the luxury of travel.

Travel today is so fast and easy. I can be on the opposite side of the world in just 12 hours — a fact unthinkable a hundred years ago. I can only imagine how wondrous that would seem to travelers of the past.

I often think about those travelers of yesteryear and what difficulties they endured to reach new and unfamiliar places — people such as Christopher Columbus, who spent months on a tiny ship not knowing what lay ahead, and Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who skippered a tiny balsawood raft from Peru to Polynesia in 1947.

And I marvel over people such as my grandfather, Edward Yahimovitch, who fled his native Latvia at 14, traveling alone through Siberia to Hong Kong, where he hopped a freighter to the shores of California.

Such journeys were never easy; my grandfather had only sweet potatoes to eat as he sailed to America — and he hated them for the rest of his life — but that voyage brought him to a new world and a new future, for him and the children who would follow. I have to believe he found the trip worthwhile.

Not all journeys are as dramatic, of course, but they all share the hope of new discoveries — whether it’s trekking in the jungles of Africa or exploring the nooks and crannies of a Scottish castle.

This month, we cover just a few of those unforgettable experiences. We join a trail-building crew on Russia’s Lake Baikal, in “Enigmatic Emissary: The Siberian Woodsman,” by Joshua Hartshorne; hunt for rattlesnakes in the wild, open spaces of Northwest Nevada in “Chasing Snakes,” by Andrew Kolasinski; and witness the dramatic power of nature on display in Iceland’s geysers and glaciers, in “Reach for the Sky,” by Elissa Gilbert.

Travel isn’t all adrenaline highs, though. We also introduce you to the numerous attractions and activities found in world-class cities and give you tips on how best to explore these urban places in “Sound Living: Weekend in Seattle,” by Leslie Forsberg, “High on the Hill: Exploring Edinburgh’s Old Town,” by Janna Graber and “Accessible Vancouver,” by Candy B. Harrington.

Whether your travels take you to far-flung wild lands or the streetscape of a city, we wish you a journey filled with new discoveries.

Happy Travels!

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