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

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Heritage Q& A With Travel and Food Writer Beth D’Addono

Today’s post is next in a series of Q&As with people who have a passion for heritage- and culture-related travel.

Travel and food writer Beth D’Addono loves to travel and is fascinated with the connections she’s found all over the world between culture and food. Beth’s work is published regularly in Grandparents.com, where she writes about multi-generational travel, and in a wide range of national and regional outlets, including AAA Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, The Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Philadelphia Daily News. She has also written and co-authored several books, including “Must Sees New Orleans” (Michelin), “The City Tavern Cookbook” (Running Press), and “Access Philadelphia” and “Access New Orleans” (Harper Collins). The social media savvy journalist is active on Twitter and also writes an Examiner blog.

1. Where have you found inspiration and/or life-enrichment during your travels?
For me, connecting with people and their culture is what travel is all about. This is usually done in every day settings, at markets, in cafes, in public spaces and around public art, at musical performances, and more. Food is also a great equalizer, offering a way to learn so much about a place and its history and culture.

2. Tell us about your most recent trip. What heritage or cultural sites did you visit?
I was recently in Boothbay, Maine, on an assignment to write about the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. I spent some time at the local fishing dock, where lobstermen were bringing in their traps and talking about the price of lobster (the price has really gone way down) and conditions in the water. I learned so much about something that is such a part of the local New England scene.

3. What is your most memorable heritage or cultural travel experience?
I would probably have to say seeing Angkor Wat in Cambodia—a magical, gorgeous slice of the rich and vast Khmer culture.

But, I also loved going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It is a festival full of so much history and tradition, a celebration that truly far outweighs just the partying.

I also had the opportunity to visit Besakih, the mother temple in the mountains of Bali, and I was there on one of the important Hindu holy days, when hundreds of locals where making offerings, all dressed in traditional clothing.

4. Where is one heritage or cultural destination you think everyone with your interests should visit?
Since I'm so food oriented, I always gravitate to local markets and farmers markets. I think it's an important way to connect with the locals and the local food culture.

5. What sorts of things do you like to learn during your travels?
I'm most interested in the history of a place, its rhythm, the diversity of its culture, and how that is expressed through some of my own passions—art, music and food.

6. What does heritage travel mean to you?
I think it is a kind of travel that is experiential, that draws the visitor into an inner circle, beyond typical tourist offerings. It’s a connection with people, neighborhoods and places that can be profound, but can also be whimsical and fun.

7. What are your favorite heritage- and culture-rich destinations?
New Orleans, for sure, and New York City. I also love Hanoi, Vietnam, for its bridge between the old and new cultures. I love Bali, and can't wait to go back. I already mentioned Angkor Wat. And closer to home, my adopted hometown of Philly has a diverse and rich cultural base.

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