By the Way
If we only dig a little deeper, we may uncover some hidden gems among our travels
Month after month, I find editing Business Traveler to be an endlessly fascinating enterprise. The world is such a big place, and travel is such an absorbing subject, that practically nothing we cover could ever be called mundane or routine.
However, that’s not to say that producing this magazine, or any magazine, doesn’t have its share of month-after-month everyday chores. There are facts to be checked, proofs to be proofed, deadlines to be met. These are the realities of the publishing world, no matter what the subject is.
So sometimes in the midst of deadline turmoil, I find myself overlooking the endlessly fascinating just to get through the everyday. In fact, one of the hardest things I have to do is pull the plug on the researching and fact checking so we can stay on schedule. It’s easy to click one more interesting-looking link, read one more interesting-sounding story, gratify my curiosity about one more obscure fact.
In each issue of Business Traveler, we have a regular feature we call The Scene (page 12). This page highlights a handful of events selected from the thousands of festivals, fairs and holidays that take place around the world every month. Here, you’ll find celebrations of art and culture, tradition and technology.
And most often they involve food. But that, dear readers, is a topic I’ll reserve for a another column.
This month, in addition to a creative gathering in Sydney and a summer celebration in St. Petersburg, items on the calendar include an elephant festival in India, quite possibly the world’s most prestigious vintage auto show in Italy and pink Persian roses blooming in Morocco. Sounds intriguing, right? Well, it certainly seemed that way to me. So much so that I wound up doing a bit more than the usual amount of digging this month. Here are some of the gems I uncovered:
The 85th edition of the Concorso d‘Eleganza Villa d’Este held on Lake Como features a tribute to the founding of Rolls-Royce 110 years ago. Here’s a curious historical footnote – between 1921 and 1931 a number of those quintessentially British automobiles, the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts, were actually manufactured in the US, in Springfield, MA.
The Thrissur Pooram Elephant Festival in Thrissur, Kerala, India was founded over 200 years ago by Raja Rama Varma. The reason? Weather kept some folks from the temples in his area getting to another nearby elephant festival that only lasted one day. So in 1798 the Raja decided to start his own party that lasts a week, including processionals, elephants in regalia and, of course, lots and lots of fireworks.
The tiny Moroccan town of El-Kelaâ M’Gouna has an annual festival to celebrate the pink Persian roses that bloom in their Vallée des Roses every spring. The village lies in the High Atlas Mountains, part of a 1600-mile range of mountains draped across northern Africa separating the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts from the Sahara. Its highest peak is Jbel Toubkal, at 13,665 feet, the tallest mountain in northern Africa.
Now many of you probably already know some of these facts; some of you may know them all. But it was news to me, so I’m grateful I took the time to find out something I didn’t know before – and broaden my world by just that much. Each issue, The Scene is but one page in our magazine that highlights the amazing and intriguing world in which we travel. And next month I’m sure we’ll have another potpourri of experiences to add to the storehouse.
So don’t let the routine take away from the endlessly fascinating variety of your journeys. Remember to take time to appreciate the vintage cars on show, to enjoy the colorful elephants on parade.
Or maybe just to stop and smell the pink Persian roses. BT