DC at Night

DC at Night

Monday, February 24, 2014

Traveling in Place

For Ann Lordeman, it sounded like a perfect match. Lordeman likes to learn while she travels, and Road Scholar promises their programs are not tours, but learning adventures. And after 1 program (she has since been on 14 more) Lordeman found that she indeed had discovered a great way for her to travel.

"I know they will take me to places that I never even knew existed, places that I wouldn't see on my own," Lordeman says.

So that is why, this past weekend, Lordeman could be found at the Road Scholar booth at the Washington DC Travel and Adventure Show in the Walter Washington Convention Center. There, she answered questions and told about her experiences to many of the 20,000 people who attended the 2-day event.

Lordeman, who is a retired researcher for the Library of Congress, volunteered her time to share her love of travel with anyone who would listen.

But most of the travel experts at the convention were professionals. Take Pieter Reynolds of Your Ireland Personalized Vacations. You could find Reynolds, employing a lilting Irish accent, cajoling visitors to stop at his company's exhibit and explore the options.

The company builds many of its trips around special events. For example, there is an Ireland excursion for St. Patrick's Day, Rome at Easter, and Germany at Christmastime. Reynolds said one of the most asked about theme-trips this year is a British Isles excursion which features sites from Downtown Abbey, the wildly popular BBC television series.

"Those tickets are really hard to get. We tried for 2 years," Reynolds said.

In all, there were more than 200 exhibitors offering travel information both for sites in America and around the world. You could get brochures on safaris in Africa, cruises in the Caribbean, layovers in Iceland, religious pilgrimages to the Holy Lands, and high adventure train trips through West Virginia.

Or you could sit with a crowd of about 1,000 people and hear TV traveler Rick Steves impart tips about his back-door excursions in Europe. Afterward, you could have Steves sign one of his many books, which were for sale at the site, if you wanted to wait in a line that snaked around the exhibition hall.

Ashley Waters gets cooking
If food is your thing, you could stop by the Cuisine Noir Taste of Travel Stage and watch, smell (and, in some cases) taste exotic foods prepared by chefs who explained each stage of their cooking process. We paused to watch Ashley Waters create a dish called Belizean Sere, which included red snapper, coconut, and plantains while her co-host described the foods and culture of her native Belize.

Then you might stroll to the Destination Theater to hear speakers like Colonel Joel Wilkinson, Director of the Maine Warden Service and host of the Animal Planet network's "North Woods Law."
Colonel Wilkinson describes the rugged charms of the Maine woods
If you wanted a more hands-on experience, you could learn scuba driving in a large pool, practice riding a Segway, or show off your rock climbing expertise.

As you can see, if it involved travel, there was plenty to do. There was even a special booth for those who would like to travel, but are afraid of leaving their home unoccupied. DAT services was offering tips on how to secure your home if you take off for other parts of the country or the world. Or, I suppose, even a travel and adventure show.

At the travel show, you learn scuba diving ...

... spin for prizes ...

... watch dancers and performers from around the world ...

... and/or climb up the rock

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