By the Way

If we only dig a lit­tle deeper, we may un­cover some hid­den gems among our trav­els

Business Traveler (USA) - - TALKING POINT -

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

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