By George Stone, TRAVEL Executive Editor
One of the coolest things about working here is that the world’s most inspiring storytellers pass through our doors every day. Photographers who have summited Everest, explorers who located the Titanic, a conservationist named Jane Goodall. The stories we hear are unforgettable (you can listen to some on our podcast, Overheard at National Geographic).
As a travel editor, my job is to collect tales of adventure—including my own. Like going on a walking safari in Zambia! When you’re on the ground everything looks bigger, especially elephants. But as a traveler, you feel smaller, and you sense not just your own vulnerability but the fragility of our planet.
We spent the last two years collecting our favorite tales of adventure—volcano surfing in Nicaragua, horseback riding in Oman, hiking in Iceland’s eastern fjords—for our new book, Epic Journeys. And we packed the book with photographs we love and trip-planning tools.
The reward of an epic journey is not just to see the diversity of the world; it’s to see how we all play an important role in preserving it for future generations. When you travel you create a story, and when you share that story you will inspire others to care about the planet. That’s the magic of travel.
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Today in a minute
Ski at the power plant: That’s the goal in flat Copenhagen, which just opened an artificial ski slope around the smokestack of a “clean” power plant. At CopenHill, the 1,480-foot slope works with a base of green synthetic bristles instead of snow, aiming for the same type of friction as a normal downhill run. “It’s so unique,” Martin Kroyer, a local mountain biker, told the New York Times. “We have no mountains in Denmark. Where else can you go and have, I mean, just this view?”
The pyramids of Alabama: Of course, Italy, Egypt, and India are on "space archaeologist" Sarah Parcak’s list of top archaeological sites. But so, too, are the flat-topped earthen pyramids of Moundville, Alabama, outside Birmingham. They were from the prehistoric Mississippian people, and their story is captured at the nearby Jones Archaeological Museum.
Mystery solved: The four-decade search for blues master Robert Johnson’s grave helped Mississippi Delta tourism and kept one Baptist church alive. Unfortunately, Atlas Obscura reports, Johnson is buried outside another Mississippi Baptist church.
Views to die for: Let’s get this straight: Even if it weren’t Halloween week, these graveyards are worth seeing, Katie Thornton writes. They offer hillside vistas and peace amid bustling cities. Writer Anne Brontë got a final resting place in one of these cemeteries, on a bluff overlooking her beloved ocean.
Forest bathing: You may want a walk in the woods to settle your mind and help your body. Or a walk among some of the world’s most stunning woods. Here are five prime suggestions, from a small forest in England to the gigantic kauri trees of New Zealand’s Waipoua Forest.
Your Instagram photo of the day
Gold rush. Fall in the Canadian Rockies is spectacular as Larch trees turn an incredible vibrant yellow, painting the landscape in a sea of gold. Here are 12 facts you may not know about the Canadian Rockies, including a hot tub time machine (of sorts).
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Overheard at National Geographic
Only in New Orleans. Photo editor Anne Farrar caught the opening of a one-of-a-kind museum, the Sazerac House. As the name might suggest, it's an interactive cocktail museum where you can learn the how's and why's behind mixing and brewing—AND have tastings along the way. It has four floors, with interactive displays, and is next to the French Quarter. Speaking of Sazerac, here's the history of Antoine Peychaud's original elixir, which now is, by state decree, the official cocktail of New Orleans.
The big takeaway
It’s a journey. “Slow down.” That’s the advice Tarana Burke, a founding mother of the “Me Too” movement, gives to younger women. It's good travel advice, too. “Everything doesn’t have to happen right now,” Burke says in our new book, Women: The National Geographic Image Collection. “And, particularly for young people nowadays, I’d say that things don’t have to be public, and your work doesn’t have to be widely accepted by people in order to be valid."
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Tomorrow: SCIENCE Executive Editor Victoria Jaggard writes about a childhood fear of dinosaurs and a new, grown-up fear for the fate of their winged descendants. If you're not a subscriber, sign up here.
One last glimpse
It can live 1,000 years. It’s native only to Socotra, an island off Yemen. It’s called the dragon’s blood tree. And it’s precious, prized for its medicinal uses. A National Geographic crew went to the island’s Diksam Plateau to check it out.