Going Places

Matthew Brumley is the founder of Earthbound Expeditions, which organizes group travel to destinations around the world for various clients, including KNKX. "Going Places" is our new weekly travel segment exploring all aspects of getting from Point A to Point B.

Going Places is hosted by Ed Ronco and produced by KNKX Public Radio. 

Gary Davis / KNKX file photo

For a lot of people, fall means a return to routine. The kids are back in school, for example, and organizations start having meetings again.

The official start of autumn this week has KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley thinking about breaking up that routine through quick getaways.


Michael and Debbie Campbell, the "Senior Nomads," near Almaty, Kazakhstan this summer.
Senior Nomads

About four years ago, Michael and Debbie Campbell sold their home in Seattle, put their things in storage, and began living full-time in Airbnbs. Since then, the self-described “Senior Nomads” have stayed in 68 countries and 168 different homes.

They told us about their adventures on a previous edition of “Going Places.” But now they're on to new things.  

Getting out of your usual surrounds -- even if you're just hopping a water taxi to a different neighborhood -- can be a nice change of pace for not a lot of money.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Sometimes we all need a change of pace. Vacations are good for that, but they can cost money and time. This week on “Going Places,”  KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley talks about quick, local, affordable getaways.


brando.n / Flickr

Students in Seattle, Tacoma and elsewhere in western Washington head back to school next week. Chances are at least some of them will spend time talking to friends about what they did over their summer vacations.

KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley took his family to the United Kingdom and Taormina, Sicily. Over the summer, he was also nice enough to send us updates from both England and Italy.

Going Places: Seeing Foreign Cities On Two Wheels

Aug 24, 2017
People ride bikes in Amsterdam.
Matthew Peoples / Flickr

If you live in Seattle, you’ve seen a lot of infrastructure pop up to accommodate bikes: Bike racks, then bike lanes, then bike traffic signals. Now there are bike sharing programs in the city.

Getting around on two wheels is often more common outside the United States. KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley says it can give people a new perspective when they’re visiting foreign cities.

Leaving Seattle's waterfront aboard KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley's boat on a sunny -- and slightly smoky -- Thursday evening in August.
David Dodman

Editor's note: An earlier version of the audio on this segment misstated the size of the state ferry system. Washington State Ferries is the largest ferry system in the country.

KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley was on a ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island when he heard something from a couple visiting from Kansas.

"Sure is pretty around here," Brumley remembers one of them saying, "but wouldn't want to live here with all of this water."

Earthbound Expeditions

We’ve all seen the books: An author picks up and moves to Europe, simple as that, rediscovers himself or herself, and then, after the book is out … so are they.

Maria Cannavo, on the other hand, moved to Sicily about a dozen years ago and is still there. She spoke with Earthbound Expeditions co-founder Danna Brumley about why she stayed:

“It was always in my mind and it was certainly always in my heart,” Cannavo said.

In 2000, her family rented a villa in Tuscany. A good visit, she said, though not her first. But Italy really grabbed her.

Onofrio, with Earthbound Expeditions co-founder Danna Brumley, at his shop La Pignolata Guinness, in Taormina, Sicily.
Matthew Brumley / KNKX

KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley loves visiting Italy.

In Taormina, Sicily, he was walking down a narrow street when he found himself drawn into a bakery full of cannoli.


Elise Morin moved to the Seattle area from France when she was 16. Her parents opened a bakery in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Bastille Day, July 14, marked a turning point in the French Revolution in 1789. These days, it’s marked as a day of national celebration.

We’re using it as a good reason to talk to our friend Elise Morin, who was born and raised in France and moved to the United States just a few years ago, at age 16, when her family came to open La Parisienne bakery in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood.

5 Tips For Taking Your Family On Vacation

Jul 6, 2017
Climbing above Lake Michigan, at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore,
File Photo / Flickr

This story was originally published Jan. 16, 2014.

So, you're planning the next big family vacation. There are a lot of questions to consider: Where to go, what to do, who to invite. In this encore presentation of Going Places, KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley shares advice for families looking to travel together.

Luke Makay with Footprints Tours leads visitors through Oxford.
Matthew Brumley / KNKX

What does an experienced travel guide do when he's on vacation? Why, he signs up for a guided tour, of course.

That's what KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley did in Oxford, England, where he and his family have stopped on their summer vacation. He met Luke Makay, with Footprints Tours, who was nice enough to share some of his insights about Oxford and its famous university.

The countryside near Bernières sur Mer, Normandy.
Olivier Engel / Flickr

We've talked about France many times before on Going Places. But this week, we're going to see the country through a slightly different perspective.

Joan Harkins lives in Seattle and recently started importing cider and calvados — a French apple brandy — from the Normandy region of France. She spends a lot of time traveling in the more distant parts of the countryside, away from the path usually beaten by tourists.

Her recommendations:

Harbor
Matthew Brumley

Going on vacation can give you a break no matter where you end up. But for a lot of people, “getting away” means going to a place where not even the roads can reach you.

KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley is a huge fan of heading to islands for time away. He grew up on one (Whidbey), lives on one (Bainbridge), and often vacations on one.

cheukiecfu / Flickr

Editor's note: This piece originally ran in March of 2016, but our travel expert's advice stands: Sometimes on a long trip, it's good to take a break.

“I hope I miss my flight sometimes.”

Not words you expect to hear from a flyer as frequent as KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley. But he's a huge fan of layovers, including those that begin when the pilot comes on and announces a flight delay before takeoff.

Earthbound Expeditions

The high season is approaching across much of Europe. Summertime crowds are swelling in the centers of Berlin, Paris and other major cities.

That’s also true in Venice. The city of canals is a must-see for many European travelers, and summer can be a difficult time to visit.

Shoppers browse a market in Barcelona, Spain.
Jesús Pérez Pacheco / Flickr

Food and travel are intertwined. Sampling a local cuisine is as much a part of visiting a new place as seeing the sites or talking with the locals.

Just ask Brendan McGill. He's the chef and owner of Hitchcock Restaurant Group on Bainbridge Island. He’s spent time staying with families through the exchange group Servas. Doing so has allowed him to take in local cuisine in a way restaurants might not allow. 

Onkel_Wart / Flickr

There are three kinds of flight experiences: The ones you forget, the ones you’ll never forget, and the ones you want to forget.

We’re revisiting those last two in this week’s Going Places. KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley tells stories about experiences he’s had, including:

Matthew Brumley / KNKX

One hundred years ago, U.S. forces were locked in combat in World War I. The United States joined the conflict about three years in. Millions of people – combatants and civilians – died in the conflict, touched off by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand.

Matthew Brumley / KNKX

Bring up the former Yugoslavia in conversation, and most people won’t picture sunshine, beautiful seaside towns and great food. But KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley says that’s exactly what you’ll find.

“The Adriatic [Sea] and the rocky coastline that goes from the top, by Trieste, all the way south to Dubrovnik, is so breathtaking it’s painfully gorgeous,” Brumley said.

David McSpadden / Flickr

France is getting ready to elect a new leader. Emmanuel Macron and Marine LePen are vying for the job in a run-off election set for May 7. The election happens at a pivotal moment for the European Union, with Britain’s exit looming, and nationalist sentiment growing in various member states.

Matthew Brumley in Jackson Hole, Wyo. He says now -- the shoulder season between winter and summer rushes -- is a good time to visit the mountain west.
Liam Brumley

KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley is just back from the American Mountain West.

“We went 1,600 miles,” he said. “Drove from Colorado, through Wyoming where the speed limit is 80, so that means everyone is doing 90.”

Brumley and his son spent the night in Sheridan, Wyo., and then went to Little Big Horn.

“We drove up to the gate at about 9 in the morning and nobody was there,” he said. “There wasn’t another car, the park was open, the visitor center was open, so they put the movie on just for us.”

Peder Sterll / Flickr

The Pacific Northwest is full of great jazz festivals. But jazz festivals also happen around the world. And this week on Going Places, KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley lists off some of his favorites.

JR P / Flickr

For Americans traveling abroad, the United Kingdom is a fairly easy option. It’s an English-speaking country with a lot of cultural similarities. And now, says our travel expert, your dollar could go farther.

The British pound has been weakened by uncertainty after the Brexit vote, which will cause Britain to leave the European Union. The pound is still stronger than the dollar – one British pound will cost you about $1.25 as of this writing – but the exchange rate is vastly improved for American travelers.

Pfly / Flickr

It’s not that KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley can’t camp. He can, and sometimes he does. It’s just that he doesn’t get terribly excited about it.

“Glamping” on the other hand – that’s an entirely different story. Glamping (glamour + camping) is all of the outdoors with none of the “roughing it.”

brando.n / Flickr

For as many happy stories as people bring back from vacation, sometimes there are a few bad ones, too. Tourists can be prime targets for pickpockets and thieves, anywhere on the planet.

KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley some experience dealing with this, both through his personal travels and his work as a travel guide.

Dan Noon / Flickr

Ah, the summer road trip. Remember? Miles and miles of highway, stuffed into the backseat with the cooler, that extra suitcase that wouldn’t fit into the trunk, and the coffee mugs Dad forgot to bring inside before you left?

Growing up, year after year, you could count on staring at blurry trees and big green highway signs, uncertain if you’d ever be allowed out of the car again, or if you were just going to be rolling down the turnpike until you were 30.

And then you get to age 30, or 40, or 50, and you think: That was fun. Let’s do that again.

Ed Ronco / KNKX

This week on Going Places, we’re answering listener mail. Have a question of your own? You'll find a link to ask it at the bottom of this story.

Matthew Brumley / knkx

If you've been listening to Going Places long enough, you know how Matthew Brumley prefers to travel. He takes his dining advice from the bellhop, not the guidebook. He flies to a major city and then tries to get out of town and explore the countryside as soon as possible. And he talks to as many locals as he can.

Ryan Kang / AP Photo

The legal fight over President Trump’s travel ban is working its way through the courts, in part because of a lawsuit brought by Washington state.

The ban is suspended while that happens, but seeing the ban take effect a few weeks ago got knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley thinking about his own passport.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The snowfall earlier this week that blanketed much of Western Washington created some problems for travelers. Flights were canceled or delayed at Sea-Tac Airport as crews worked feverishly to clear runways. 

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