Go With a Purpose.
A blog about connecting through places that matter.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Heritage Q&A With Kathryn O’Shea-Evans

With today’s post we begin a new series of Q&As with people dedicated to finding meaning in heritage- and culture-related travel. Writer and photographer Kathryn O’Shea-Evans is the first to share her thoughts and experiences for this new feature. Kathryn has written for Travel + Leisure, GOOD, and National Geographic Traveler magazines. She loves trying new foods, spending time in nature, and going to the same museums over and over again. Learn more about Kathryn's work on her Web site.

1. Where have you found inspiration and/or life-enrichment during your travels?
Museums are musts, but I always find the most inspiration through the people I meet—not just friends or tour outfitters, but everyday folks: the chatty kid sitting next to you on the train; the old woman who gives you a lift, tells you she’s won the lottery, and hands you and your friends a wad of cash (It’s happened to me! In Ireland, the most welcoming of countries).

2. Heritage Travel: Tell us about your most recent trip. What heritage or cultural sites did you visit?
My last big trip was on Thanksgiving weekend, when a friend and I headed to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. We made lots of jokes en route about wearing bonnets and ogling blacksmiths, but in truth the trip was totally fantastic—we ate our turkey dinner in an 18th-century tavern, explored a working farm that was organic centuries before the term "global warming" existed, went on a candlelit ghost tour, and learned a favorite new (ancient) buzzword: Huzzah!

3. What is your most memorable heritage or cultural travel experience?
Impossible to pick, thank you very much! I can tell you that I’ve loved sitting on William Faulkner’s front porch in Oxford, Mississippi; sneaking around an abandoned castle in Northern Ireland; and singing folk music in the stone-walled basement of a church in Harlem. I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of memorable experiences, but I know they’re less about the destination than how you approach what you’re doing.

4. Where is one heritage or cultural destination you think everyone who shares your
interests should visit?
I’ve lived in New York City for a couple years now. It’s chockablock with heritage, and the stories of that heritage evolve further every day. Don’t miss the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where you can experience what daily life was like for waves of immigrants who once packed into its perfectly-preserved 1863 building.

5. What sorts of things do you like to learn during your travels?

How people live (or lived) there, and what their daily lives are (were) like. Those are the things I really take with me, and often incorporate into my own life.
6. What does heritage travel mean to you?
Going to a new place with an open mind to learning about its past, present and future. To me, “heritage” shouldn’t just translate to “history”—our future will be our past soon enough.

7. What are your favorite heritage- and culture-rich destinations?

Honestly I can’t possibly pick favorites—the entire earth is heritage and culture-rich, wherever you roam. The important thing is to get going!

If you would like to be featured in an upcoming Heritage Q&A, or know someone who travels with a purpose and finds meaning in heritage- and culture-related travel experiences, please contact us.

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