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. 

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.

Hit the road this summer toward the Canadian Rockies, says KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley
Ed Ronco / KNKX

So you want to get away for a summer vacation, but you'd rather not spend a fortune, and you'd rather not travel overseas. 

Head north, says KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley.

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. 

Ramon Espinosa / AP Photo

A delegation from Washington state recently visited Havana, on the first Alaska Airlines commercial flight to Cuba. Among the group of elected leaders and other dignitaries was University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce.

Dan Noon / Flickr

Travelers from the United States spend a lot of time abroad, mostly in Europe. Far fewer head to South America. KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley has five things everyone should see and do in two South American countries — Chile and Argentina:

Books Can Take You To Far Away Places, For Real

Jan 19, 2017
Ed Ronco / knkx

They say reading a book can take you far away. That’s usually a metaphor.

But for many, books inspire literal travel, to follow in the footsteps of great authors or stories.

“Literature is a really big pull for travel,” Brumley said. “Just think of the impact [Ernest] Hemingway has had on Havana. People are visiting his bars, and his house is stunning.”

Ed Ronco / knkx

Last week on Going Places, we talked about the ethics of traveling to countries with oppressive regimes, or whose governments might have tense relationships with the United States.

It got us thinking more generally about being a responsible traveler. Most of it comes down to just being a kind and thoughtful person. But knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley has some specific tips to help you travel responsibly:

Ed Ronco / knkx

Previously on our Going Places segment, we've discussed visiting places like Russia, North Korea and Cuba. In fact, we talk about Cuba a lot, in part because it's changing so quickly.

All three countries have varying levels of tension with the United States. And travelers often wonder: Am I doing the right thing by visiting? 

Composite image / Various sources

Knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley will not give you a list of places to go in 2017. It’s not you; it’s him. He hates lists.

“I don’t know who’s writing them. I don’t know who these experts are,” he said. “To be honest with you, I think it’s a bunch of baloney.”

There are a few reasons for this. Let’s, uh, put them in a list:

Hacienda La Colora / Flickr

Once upon a time, traveling overseas meant it was difficult to call back to the United States, unless you carried a calling card or wanted to pay exorbitant fees. That’s not the case anymore.

This week on Going Places, special guest Tyson Verse tells us some of his recommendations for keeping in touch while traveling. Verse is a tour leader who spends a lot of time in Asia.

Provided by the Senior Nomads

About four years ago, Debbie and Michael Campbell were sitting around the house with their daughter, Mary, who lives in Paris and was visiting Seattle for the holidays.

They were talking about what Debbie and Michael might do in their retirement. Travel was at the top of the list.

“She asked us if we had ever heard of Airbnb, which we had not,” Michael Campbell said. “So she promptly opened up her laptop and gave us a little tour.”

Tyson Verse / Earthbound Expeditions

Thailand has become a hub of tourism in Southeast Asia. Tyson Verse has traveled there extensively as a tour arranger and guide. 

"There's nothing like a nice evening stroll with a little mix of curry-scented air with exhaust from the tuktuk three-wheeled taxis floating by," he said. "It's magic."

He's our special guest on this week's Going Places.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

The death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro topped international headlines this week. What happens now to Cuba? We called our friend Alejandro Infantes, a tour guide in Havana, for a look at what’s going on there right now, and what the future might hold for his country.

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