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Journey with Smithsonian

  • By
  • October 3, 2018
Smithsonian Journeys 2019 Trips
Smithsonian Journeys 2019 Trips
Photos courtesy of Paula Swart, Smithsonian Journeys travel expert

Preserve and Celebrate Through Travel

Smithsonian Journeys

Whether your dream vacation calls for a backpacking trip through any one of the seven continents or a personalized tour of ancient ruins or Japan’s centuries-old temples, Smithsonian Journeys primary goal is to bring the world’s diverse cultures and natural sciences to you by way of travel.

If you’re on the Smithsonian Journeys mailing list, I’m sure you’ve found the journey offerings exciting and intriguing, to say the least. I reached out to Paula Swart, Smithsonian Journeys travel expert and Karen A. Ledwin, Smithsonian Travel vice president, program management, for details about destinations and adventures that will stir your inner traveler.

Smithsonian Journeys 2019 Trip Itineraries
Photo courtesy of Paula Swart

Scroll down to see their answers.

First-Hand Learning

Paula Swart

Paula Swart’s primary role is to provide a relevant educational component to the trip experience.

Tell me about your most recent Smithsonian Journeys trip. Where did your travels take you?

Most recent trips, twice to Vietnam (overland and cruise) and one trip to Japan, the Inland Sea.

Where and when will you embark on your next Smithsonian Journeys trip?

Barge trip through Holland & Belgium September 21-29. Being a native of Holland and having traveled many times to Belgium, I have lectured several barge trips since 2013, usually in April/early May to see the flowering bulb fields.

Smithsonian Journeys 2019 Trip Itineraries
Photo courtesy of Paula Swart

How did your relationship with the Smithsonian evolve? How many trips have you taken on behalf of the Smithsonian?

I was approached in late 2016 and this will be my fourth Smithsonian trip. I have been involved in educational trips since the early 80s after studying for two years in China.

Smithsonian Journeys Trip Itineraries
Photo courtesy of Paula Swart.

What attracted you to Asian art, culture, and history and how have your experiences helped to prepare you for your trips, i.e. what do you find most fascinating about Asia? 

Growing up in The Netherlands with our colonial history in Indonesia, I experienced Asian culture from a very early age through food, art, literature, puppet performances, and storytelling, and in my professional life, I became a Curator of Asian Studies working in various Canadian museums. I am foremost interested in art, archaeology, and history, but it is always the people connections which give meaning to the travel experience. Visiting the same country on many occasions over a long period of time provides the opportunity for a deeper understanding, which in turn can be conveyed during my presentations, or if the opportunity arises write articles.

What are a few of your goals for your upcoming adventure? 

Reconnecting with the countries to be visited and to provide insightful presentations to the travelers.

What languages do you speak? 

Dutch, French, German, English, Chinese, in addition, I studied Japanese, Tibetan, and Spanish.

Travel Infusion

Karen A. Ledwin

What is the overall goal for each of the tour directors and experts you enlist?

The goal of Smithsonian Journeys tour staff is to deliver the high-quality experience our travelers expect and to ensure that Smithsonian’s mission of “the increase and diffusion of knowledge” is infused in the talks, discussions, excursions and other tour activities. See our difference on our website and the Backgrounder document for more details.

How do you choose a destination? What are the criteria?

Smithsonian Journeys has been operating cultural and educational tours for nearly 50 years and offers tours and cruises on all seven (7) continents in a variety of travel styles, including Classic Land, Cultural Stay, Small-Ship Ocean Cruises, River Cruises, Special Interest, Active, Family, Private Jet, and Tailor-Made. With such a long history in enrichment travel, a significant part of our portfolio is selected when our travelers tell us where and how they want to travel, both through sales and in their post-tour evaluations. In addition, new tour selections will often be centered around an anniversary (Leonardo Da Vinci’s 500th anniversary) or event (Chile Total Solar Eclipse) where we know our curious and worldly travelers have an interest.

What are a few of the activities your travel guests can expect to enjoy while on a Smithsonian Journeys trip?

Smithsonian Journeys tours and cruises are infused with talks, discussions, excursions and other activities – all delivering against our promise of in-depth learning and enrichment.

Do you offer opportunities to visit museums, shop?

While not the focus of our trips, during the free time people will certainly shop.

Do the trips allow time for participants to enjoy water activities or experience the peoples and cultures of a particular location, etc.?

Yes to all. One important and distinguishing feature is the inclusion of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert throughout the tour or cruise. One exception is on multi-generational Family Journeys where the focus is on interactive activities for the whole family from learning stage fighting at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, to drawing al fresco in Tuscany. Another exception is found on our new Active Journeys where the act of walking and biking in small groups takes our travelers to smaller towns and villages, where local experts join the group in the evenings for a talk and/or the group visits their atelier, weaving center, or similar.

What are a few examples of trips that uncover the “authentic culture of each destination, providing access unavailable to most travelers?” Would you describe Smithsonian’s signature travel experiences as “off the beaten path?”

Some of our Cultural Stay Journeys are based in small towns like an Andalusian Parador in the small, picturesque town of Antequera from which our travelers explore the region. And our three week Living in Provence program allows travelers the opportunity to live like a local in an Apart/Hotel and to participate in different enrichment tracks. We find that travelers want to see the iconic sites when they visit a destination but they also take delight in combining this with an off the beaten path stop or stops along the way. For example, on many of our journeys, we stay in small, distinctive accommodations that may be family owned, and the family treats our travelers as one of their personal guests.

For more information about upcoming Smithsonian Journeys, call 855-330-1542.

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70th birthday celebration of the modern state of Israel Air Travel Art and Culture Benjamin Netanyahu Events Food and Travel Global Tourism history Israel Historic Sites Israel tourism Israel tours Lifestyle most significant places in Israel Organized Traveler Pat Boone Pat Boone Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land Places to visit in Israel Rabbi Eckstein ROMAN AMPHITHEATER IN CAESAREA tours of historic Israel Travel and Leisure Trips to Jerusalem visit Israel World Travel

Pat Boone: The Boy on Roanoke Road

  • By
  • March 26, 2018
Pat Boone Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Pat Boone iconic pop star bio
Pat Boone’s career has evolved for more than 50 years. From iconic pop star to an outspoken spokesman, Pat’s Christian values are deeply rooted. All photos courtesy of patboone.com. 

God, Family, Career, and Israel

An Exclusive Interview with Pat Boone

Singer, actor, TV host, producer, songwriter, author, motivational speaker, TV pitchman, radio personality, record company head, TV station and sports team owner, family man, and humanitarian are all titles attached to the legendary and iconic Pat Boone whose career has spanned more than five decades.

Pat Boone was the first child born to Archie Boone, a building contractor, and his wife, Margaret, in Jacksonville, FL on June 1, 1934. He described his life growing up in Nashville with his parents and siblings – a brother and two sisters, as “wonderful” and “idyllic.”

Although no one in his family was a musician by trade, his mother played some ukelele and taught Pat and his brother to play some chords. Pat became known as “the Boy on Roanoke Rd” – “the kid who knows all the pop songs of the day and will come to sing for you with no strings attached.”

“We entertained our family at all our gatherings as we were headed toward our teen years.   So in the midst of my athletics and school and other activities, I became an amateur singer, a little dreaming that might lead to a career.” ~Pat Boone (via an email interview)

Indeed, a professional career followed – one that has endured more than 50 years. Pat is 83-years-old with a long list of accolades and recordings to his name; a record company, “The Gold Label” that’s dedicated to legendary and accomplished artists, (who incidentally, all come with million-selling gold records to their credit);  and he is regarded as the #10 all-time top recording artist, according to music industry magazine, “Billboard.” His career has spanned more than five decades. Read a full list of his accomplishments at patboone.com.

Pat Boone Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Entertainer Pat Boone on Stage

As much as music has been an integral part of his life from an early age, Pat says reading the Bible and attending church services are the backbone of his life, then and now.

I learned that the whole Bible from the first words in Genesis, “In the beginning…” to the last words from the book of Revelation in the New Testament…all the Bible was written by Jews about Jews and for Jews, and focused on Israel and God’s chosen people.

While attending a Christian high school in Nashville, he met his wife, Shirley, whom he lovingly refers to as his high school sweetheart. They were married when Pat was nineteen and by the time he had graduated from Columbia University (Magna Cum Laude), Pat quips, he had four girls, only three-and-a-half years apart.

I should have been neutered or perhaps jailed – but my wife did become a great mother as well as a wonderful wife and having those responsibilities kept my feet on the ground when my career took off like a whirlwind, luckily 11 months ahead of Elvis and “Heartbreak Hotel”.   

Pat Boone Iconic Legendary Singer Songwriter
Pat Boone, family man and devout Christian shown with his four daughters and wife, Shirley, his high school sweetheart

 

His affinity for music continued through his teens and adulthood. In late 1959, a love affair with the Ernest Gold melody to the movie Exodus and the theme song led Pat to put his faith and songwriting skills to work when he subsequently wrote the words “This Land is Mine,” the lyrics behind the esteemed show tune.  The song is referred to by many as “the second Jewish national anthem.” 

How do his Christian beliefs tie in with his connection with Israel?

He explained, “We knew then, and I know now, that we Gentiles get in on this exquisite and unique relationship with God through our acceptance of Jesus the Jewish Messiah, the one who fulfilled all the prophesies of Isaiah about the One who would come to lead his people out of captivity and bless them more then all the people in the world.”

He further explained Christianity, properly understood is a direct outgrowth of historic Judaism and it’s clear that God wants every believer to understand our “Jewishness” as well as our Christianity and the word. Christ, he noted, is a Greek translation of the word “Messiah” or God’s anointed one.

“When I’ve spoken to groups of Rabbis in the past, I tell them I’m representing the 4th branch of Judaism; there is Orthodox, Reformed, Conservative and Messianic.  Everything we believers in Jesus hold sacred and true is a direct outgrowth of the Bible which deals ‘explicitly with Jews and God’s promises to the people of Israel.”

 

 

 

 

Pat Boone Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Tour departs New York May 9 2018
Pat has been a long-time friend to Israel.

According to Pat, Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a longtime friend, has said on many occasions, “Evangelical Christians are Israel’s best friends in the world – we know that.” He and the Israel Prime Minister got to know one another during an Israeli water function at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

“He (Benjamin Netanyahu) became of fan of mine when he was at M.I.T. in his college days, and loved my record of ‘Speedy Gonzales.’  We’ve been good friends ever since,” Pat remarked. 

Although the prime minister was not able to attend Pat’s Tel Aviv concert three years ago for security reasons, Pat met with him privately, “just the two of us at his request, the night before in his office in Jerusalem,”  he says. When Pat walked into his office they shook hands and Netanyahu said, “Hello Speedy, come on in!”

“And the beaming smile on his face made some of my Israeli friends jealous.  Our friendship is real, deep, and based on our understanding of God’s expressed intentions for his chosen people…,” says Pat. 

 

 

 

HISTORIC PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND PLANNED

Pat has joined forces with Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, an Israeli American Rabbi, and the founder and current president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews headquartered in Chicago and Jerusalem, as they host a most memorable “Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land,” a 10-day journey that will depart North America on May 9, 2018.  In addition to sightseeing opportunities at some of Israel’s most cherished sites, the tour coincides with the actual 70th birthday of the modern state of Israel and the dedication of the U.S. Embassy on May 14. As part of the celebration, Pat will film a TV special in the Roman amphitheater in Caesarea for national and international distribution. 

Pat Boone Roman amphitheater in Caesarea
Pat will film a TV special in the Roman amphitheater in Caesarea for national and international distribution during the “Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land” scheduled to depart from North America on May 9, 2018

He referred to the tour as “a loving seminar in the things that we hold in common, much more than things that might divide us in understandings or beliefs.” The trip is a historic pilgrimage designed for Christians and Jews, with sites selected that are of particular interest to the Fellowship of Christians and Jews and “we” the believers in Jesus as the Messiah.

“We believe that everyone who comes back from this tour, whether invited by Rabbi Eckstein or me or a couple of other co-hosts, will have a lasting and permanent sense of identification to Israel, the Jews, the one God of the Bible and the sense of destiny that unites us.”  

Together,  he and Rabbi Eckstein’s collaborations have helped to fulfill God’s prophecy by paving the way for tens of thousands of poor and persecuted Jews from all over the world to return to and settle permanently in the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their efforts, particularly a television special Rabbi Eckstein and Pat co-hosted, prompted the Christian community to donate tens of millions of dollars to relocate and care for the displaced Jews in modern Israel.

Pat said, “I’m proud of that.”

From his days as a budding entertainer on Roanoke Rd. to his humanitarian work in Israel, Pat believes God will continue to bless his efforts if they’re good and ensure the happiest life he could possibly live.

“I’m convinced God won’t let horrible things happen to me. If all young people today could have that kind of assurance we would have a better society.  And most psychiatrists would be out of work.” ~Pat Boone

 

 

 

For details about the historic pilgrimage, visit http://patbooneisraeltour.com. Registration is limited to 200 to 300 tour members.

 

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Air Travel Air Travel Delays and delays

Flight Delays Today? Read this post.

  • By
  • March 2, 2018
Special Report: Air Travelers' Rights

Wondering what to do if your flight is canceled or delayed?

 Carinna Gano, 5W Public Relations, NYC, sent this Special Report to me today, with comments by Paloma Salmeron Planells, a representative from AirHelp, an international air passenger rights company. 

 A Special Report: Flight Delays and Cancellations

What are your rights?

Information provided courtesy of Carinna Gano, 5W Public Relations, NYC, and Paloma Salmeron Planells, a representative from AirHelp, an international air passenger rights company.

Severe snow, wind, and rain are expected across the US, and the nation’s four biggest airlines (American, Delta, United, and Southwest) have already enacted flexible rebooking policies at a number of airports to accommodate canceled and delayed flights. However, with so many passengers being rebooked, flights after the storm may get more overbooked than usual, which can lead to denied boarding for air travelers.
The good news is, US air travelers on flights to the EU could be eligible for compensation if they are denied boarding due to overbookings. Paloma Salmeron Planells, representative from AirHelp, an international air passenger rights company, comments:
“While the airline is not liable under EU regulation EC 261 and other similar air passenger laws to pay compensation as the flight disruption is considered to be an ‘extraordinary circumstance’, the airline does however have an obligation to offer you with assistance, including free food and drink, overnight accommodation if required, two phone calls and access to emails.

Passengers are eligible for these rights if:
• They’re delayed by two hours and are traveling 1,500 km or less
• They’re delayed by three hours and traveling on an internal EU flight over 1,500 km
• They’re delayed by three hours and traveling on a non-internal EU flight between 1,500 km – 3,500 km
• They’re delayed by four hours and traveling on a non-internal EU flight over 3,500 km
“Air passengers experiencing delayed or canceled flights can check their eligibility for compensation at the airport or on-the-go, and make a claim in a matter of minutes through the free AirHelp mobile app, available for iOS and Android.”

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