Editors’ Picks

Selections of inspiring stories from around the world.

Thailand-elephants

Cause for a change: The post-pandemic future of Asia’s elephant tourism

By Bianca Caruana

In a small town in the southwestern region of Nepal, Eva the rescue elephant and her new companion Lhamo are sprouting a charming kinship.   Read more

Asia Social Responsibility
Exterior of Ziegler Cabin in Harmony, Pennslyvania. Photo: Kathleen Walls

Early American History in Harmony, Pennsylvania

By Kathleen Walls

A half hour’s drive north of Pittsburgh, the tiny Western Pennsylvania town of Harmony, with a population of fewer than 1,000 people, has an unusual history that makes for a fascinating visit.   Read more

United States Religious Travel History
Stargazing

6 Amazing Destinations for Stargazing

By Ali Jennings

If you are interested in stargazing, there are still lots of places in the world where you can see the universe at its finest through both the naked eye and observational equipment.   Read more

The World Experiences
Europe with Rick Steves

Rick Steves “For the Love of Europe” and his Travel-Driven Social Ethos

Today on World Footprints, we welcome back, author and television host, Rick Steves. We enjoy a very thought-provoking discussion about a range of topics from the current pandemic and social issues to the challenging issues facing the travel industry today.   Read more

Europe Social Responsibility
Arcosanti silt casting workshop

Arcosanti: An Experiment in the Arizona Desert

By Breana Johnson

Out of view, built into the hill above, rises Arcosanti, a prototype of arcology. Arcology, a concept coined by Soleri himself by combining “architecture” and “ecology,” is the idea that architecture can be in harmony with the landscape.   Read more

United States Architecture Sustainability
Author's partner with 2 local restaurateurs. Photo: Jim Bamboulis

Philotimo: the Greek secret not easily translated

By Jim Bamboulis

‘Philotimo’ dates back millennia, and although can’t be translated into a single word in the English language to this day, is packed with meaning, often illustrated through honourable, respectful and humble acts towards others, no matter who they are, or where they come from.   Read more

Europe History
people-digital nomad reflections

Why I advocate for slow travel—and why you should, too

By Jessica Barrett

Travel used to be slow. Granted, it was slow because there was no other way…Somewhere along the way, we got (very) lost.   Read more

The World Insights Social Responsibility
Diversity in art - photos

Teaching Children to Appreciate Diversity

By Breana Johnson

The best way to travel with the intent of exploring diversity is to ditch the touristy places. Sometimes, tourist attractions bring people from all over the world — the Grand Canyon or Disneyland, for example.   Read more

The World Family Travel Insights The Arts Social Responsibility
orangutan-close up

The Future of Sustainable Orangutan Treks in a Post-COVID World

By Nayla Azmi

As the only primate that only can be found outside of Africa, the orangutan lures people from all over the world to see its uniqueness of being strikingly similar to human beings.   Read more

Asia Social Responsibility
Malta fishing port

Women’s History Month: My Grandmother’s Malta

By Ann-Marie Cahill

This may seem a little strange but Women’s History Month always has me thinking about travelling to Malta. It is the birthplace of my grandmother; my mother’s mother   Read more

Europe Experiences History
Author with some friendly shoemakers who invited her for tea in peshawar. Photo: Samantha Shea

How a trip to Pakistan changed my life

By Samantha Shea

I first became interested in Pakistan when I was 9 years old. At the time, I was completely fascinated by all things South Asia.   Read more

Asia Transformative
Deaf Traveler

Traveling Insights from a deaf Traveler

Have you ever thought what it would feel like to travel the world in silence?   Read more

The World Accessible Insights
Four in Greensboro NC. Photo courtesy of Civil Rights Trail

Discover Black History and Culture While Traveling the USA

By Terri Marshall

As a Southern-born white woman, incorporating Black history sites into my travel plans never crossed my mind… until I married a Black man.   Read more

United States Family Travel History
US Civil Rights Trail

Experiencing the fight for freedom along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail

Explore the story of Black Americans’ fight for freedom and equality with U.S. Civil Rights Trail author Deborah Douglas.   Read more

United States History
Bust of George Washington Carver.  Photo:  Tonya Fitzpatrick

Travel Beyond Black History Month

By Ann-Marie Cahill

During February, there is an influx of travel stories for the “Best Places to Celebrate Black History Month”. It’s great and there are so many places I want to visit! However, the same list almost disappears into the ether as soon as March 1st arrives.   Read more

The World Insights History Social Responsibility
Plastic garbage on a beach in Bali

Bali battles a plastic ocean while eagerly awaiting economic respite

By Bianca Caruana

As if Bali hasn’t been suffering enough with the economic blow of COVID-19, locals are also battling a catastrophic environmental disaster as an abnormal amount of plastic washes up along popular tourist beaches Kuta & Seminyak.   Read more

Asia Social Responsibility Sustainability
Blind Traveler Experience | Blind Traveler Experience - Dale Reardon

Experiencing the World as a Blind Traveler

Meet Dale Reardon, a blind traveler from Australia who has not let his disability limit his love for exploring the world.   Read more

The World Accessible
South Africa - Lion's Head, Cape Town. Photo of Kellie Paxian

Balancing safety and sanity as a nomadic soul during the pandemic

By Kellie Paxian

But for many of us wanderlust-filled souls, there is one major influence on our well-being that the pandemic discourages — and that is travel.   Read more

The World Safety
Riverwalk in Ljubljana. Photo by Trixie Pacis

Reminiscing on Slovenia Through the Senses

By Trixie Pacis

From the summer of 2018 to 2019, I called the charming Slovenian capital of Ljubljana my home. For those of you who have yet to experience Slovenia, it is a feast for the eyes.   Read more

Europe Architecture History
mehrangarh-fort-

Mehrangarh: Rajasthan’s Fortress of the Sun

By Sugato Mukherjee

To the discerning traveler, Mehrangarh fort of Jodhpur is an intricate tapestry of half a millennium of history, intertwined with bravery and artistry. And a few dark secrets.   Read more

India Architecture History
Peru. Photo by Terri Marshall

A Love Letter to the World from an American

By Terri Marshall

A couple of years ago I jumped on the Ancestry DNA bandwagon to discover more about my history. The results weren’t terribly surprising.   Read more

The World Insights
"Little Rock Central High School" by Steve Snodgrass is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Revisiting the Little Rock Nine experience with Ernest Green

This event was the first experiment in school integration and came three years after the U.S, Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education landmark ruling…   Read more

United States History Humanity
Moors vs Christian

Spain As We Know It, Thanks to the Moors

By Bianka Cramblit

Strolling through the southern Spanish city of Sevilla on a sunny early spring day, the sweet smells of orange blossoms surround you as they waft through the air. These fragrant fruit trees flourish in the cobble-stoned streets and bring color to the beautiful Royal Alcázar of Seville.   Read more

Spain Religious Travel History
NY Ruins in Franny Reese State Park. Photo: Terri Marshall

Discovering My Home State Treasures

By Terri Marshall

Having lived in New York City for the past 13 years, I’ve fallen in love with my new city. The bright lights of Broadway, innumerable restaurants, museums of every variety, my favorite Irish pub, and the gym where I work off my indulgences are all just a subway ride away. … Read more   Read more

United States Backpacking & Camping
Grinnell Lake from Grinnell Glacier Trail. Photo: Ali Wunderman

Glacier National Park: A beautiful place with an ugly history

By Ali Wunderman

It’s been a tough summer living right next to Glacier National Park. With international borders closed to U.S. travelers, Americans have set their sights on road tripping the national parks, especially in places of low population density, and by extension low COVID-19 cases.   Read more

United States History Social Responsibility
KOA Campsite

What to do about Racism and Bigotry as Travelers of Conscience and Culture

By Ian Fitzpatrick

With everything taking place in the world from the coronavirus pandemic, global recession, and America’s racial reckoning, even a brief escape from these problems can be an elixir for the body, mind, spirit, and soul.   Read more

United States Backpacking & Camping Insights Social Responsibility
Photo: Matilda Simas

A look through the lens of a humanitarian photographer

By Jessica Barrett

From long, uncomfortable trips to challenging accommodations, humanitarian travel isn’t typically glamorous. Massachusetts-based social documentary photographer and Capture Humanity founder Matilde Simas recently traveled to Imvepi Refugee Settlement in Uganda to explore the ways that children are exploited due to war.   Read more

Africa The Arts Social Responsibility
African Black Oystercatcher with Rainbow in Plettenberg Bay

A letter to my favourite country: We need to talk

By Kellie Paxian

As a traveller, South Africa is my favourite country in the world. I’ve been there three times over the past two years as a solo white female traveller, including January to March 2020, and I already can’t wait to go back. I consider Cape Town to be my spirit city, … Read more   Read more

Africa Social Responsibility

What a snack from southern Spain tells you about religious persecution

By David Pope

I was eating my favourite sandwich in a tapas bar in Seville when my mind was blown.   Read more

Spain Religious Travel Food & Drink History
The trekker and yak right before the attack. Photo: Shreeram Thapaliya

Around the World in 16 Photos

By Tonya Fitzpatrick

Photos and good storytelling inspire and engage our senses so we have curated this compelling photo essay from 16 fellow travelers who have memorable travel stories to share.   Read more

The World Insights
Street dog in Mexico

Mexico’s street dog problem — and how travelers are part of the solution

By Jessica Barrett

“Watch us come back with a dog,” I joked to my partner as we packed our things for four months on Mexico’s Pacific coast. As it turned out, it was less of a joke than I thought.   Read more

Mexico Volunteer Travel Social Responsibility
Statute in Freedom Park showing civil rights leaders.

In the Footsteps of Birmingham’s Civil Rights Movement (Lowell Thomas Award-Winning show)

Birmingham, Alabama is considered ground zero in the civil rights movement.  In the 1950s, African-Americans of all ages in Birmingham drew a proverbial line in the sand against racial segregation.  Their stories, struggles and ultimate success over Jim Crow laws is on display at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in … Read more   Read more

United States Insights History
Overview of the South Korean port city of Busan.

How South Korea is Painting Its Way out of Poverty

By Rose Munday

On a warm June day, the ocean breeze cools balmy Busan, South Korean’s busiest port city. As I stand overlooking Gamcheon Culture Village nestled on the coast, I shiver as I imagine what it once was: a dangerous slum, ravaged by war. Nowadays the rainbow facade of Gamcheon Culture Village … Read more   Read more

Asia Architecture History The Arts
A voluntourism project with Caribbean kids from the program in the story. Photo: Breana Johnson

Voluntourism: When Helping can Hurt

By Breana Johnson

Voluntourism can be a benefit to communities, but if done improperly, it can actually be more harmful than helpful.   Read more

Caribbean and Atlantic Volunteer Travel Social Responsibility
Handcuffed with sky background

One Night in Jail: A Travel Horror Story

By Katherine Bertrand

Imagine this: it’s your average Tuesday morning; the soft ping of your alarm has just woken you up from a blissful sleep. You yawn and as per usual, immediately turn to check your phone.  Suddenly, below several work emails and app notifications, a Whatsapp message from your mother catches your … Read more   Read more

Mexico Insights
Ayers Rock, Uluru, Australia

Uluru: Why Climbing is Bad for Australia’s Heart

By Ann-Marie Cahill

Over the last few months, there has been a mad rush of tourists to the heart of Australia: Uluru.  The majority of tourists are eager to see the giant rock and soak in the spiritual atmosphere of the heritage around them. Others, however, are determined to climb atop and stake … Read more   Read more

Oceania Preservation
Adult male orangutan photo by Matilde Simas

Saving a Species: Palm Oil, Orangutans, and the Leuser Ecosystem

By Jessica Barrett

Six and a half million acres. That’s the size of Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem, one of the most ancient and biodiverse places ever documented and the last place on Earth where Sumatran rhinos, tigers, elephants, orangutans, and sun bears roam freely together.   Read more

Asia Sustainability
Coral Reef project in the Maldives. Photo courtesy of Beybe

The Coral Rehabilitation Project Reviving the Maldives Reefs

By Bianca Caruana

The Maldives islands are home to more than a thousand coral reefs, vibrant ecosystems that provide a home for marine life. The coral reefs of the Maldives’ 26 atolls offer striking underwater exhibitions of colorful fish and oddly-shaped fauna to holidaymakers who visit this stunning destination. However, in recent years, … Read more   Read more

Asia Volunteer Travel Preservation
Wupatki. Photo: Breana Johnson

Protecting Pottery and the Past

By Breana Johnson

“Watch out for snakes,” my husband advises me as we make our way down the overgrown path through the wilderness of a Northern Arizona mesa. “I know, I know,” I reply, knowing that he’d be more comfortable out in front, watching for rattlers, but too excited to let him lead. … Read more   Read more

United States History The Arts
A street in Mumbai's Dharavi Slum--one of the largest in Asia. Photo: Bianca Caruana (with permission from Be The Local Tours)

A Walking Tour Highlighting a Mumbai Slum’s Innovative Industry

By Bianca Caruana

Dharavi, in central Mumbai, is considered one of the largest slums in Asia, but deep within this neighborhood, below the shanty grey roofs, loosely comprised of scavenged, upcycled metal, lives a resourceful and innovative community that plays an imperative role in Mumbai’s city-wide waste management.   Read more

India Off the Beaten Path Social Responsibility
Fermacide photo by Eliza Amon.

Rats and Astronauts: Street Art in Oaxaca

By Eliza Amon

Famed for its artistic traditions in weaving, pottery and painted wooden animal carvings known as alebrijes, the Mexican city of Oaxaca is also brimming with contemporary art. Museums and galleries dot the central area, particularly north of the Zocalo, the central plaza, but Oaxaca also has a thriving street art … Read more   Read more

Mexico Off the Beaten Path The Arts
Inside the Stairway to Heaven in the Phillippines. Photo: Len Cristobal

Climbing A Stairway to Heaven in The Philippines

By Len Cristobal

Growing up in the Philippines, an intensely Catholic country, I have seen the extremes that people sometimes go to in the name of religion. “Stairway to Heaven,” a giant, outdoor stairway leading to a breathtaking replica of heaven, or how heaven looks according to traditional beliefs.   Read more

Asia Experiences Religious Travel
The Dotty Wotty House as part of the Heidelberg Project in Detroit. Photo: Kathleen Walls

The Heidelberg Project: A Detroit Artist’s Political Protest

By Kathleen Walls

Award-winning artist and sculptor Tyree Guyton started The Heidelberg Project in 1986 as a political protest after he returned to his old Detroit neighborhood, the Heidelberg area in the McDougall-Hunt Neighborhood, and found dereliction and debris. Drugs and crime made the neighborhood unsafe to walk even in the daytime. He … Read more   Read more

United States The Arts Preservation
Underwater with a giant Manta Ray.

Queen of Mantas – One Woman’s Fight For a Threatened Species

By Melissa Hobson

When Andrea Marshall began studying manta rays in Mozambique in 2003 there was so little information about the species that she was forced to recommend them as “data deficient” on the Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, the go-to authority on endangered species. A mere eight years later, in … Read more   Read more

Africa Preservation
View of Goldsboro Art Square. Photo: Kathleen Walls

The Rise and Fall of Goldsboro, Florida: An African American Town

By Kathleen Walls

Many people know the story of the African American town Rosewood from the movie about the massacre, but how many of us have heard of Goldsboro, Florida, the second black incorporated city in the United States, which also thrived and was subsequently destroyed? Boasting famous residents, like the writer Zora … Read more   Read more

United States History