Beginning from the Beginning: Swedish Heritage in Illinois

Krista Westerlund is our spiritual + historical correspondent. This missive is from her travels to the midwest —and back in time— to trace her Swedish family’s journey in America.

Little Sweden

Little Sweden in America. All images via KW.

I have been really, really remiss about writing about my travel experiences lately. I have traveled a lot and thought about writing about it, but the pen has not gone to paper or rather the finger has not gone to key. I’ve been to a lot of different kinds of places and also, I have spent my fair share of time in my sleepy little patch of routine daily life dreaming about places farther afield and the world beyond my window.

A while ago, I talked about how travel is not a competition. Well, for me, it still isn’t. There are plenty of other people out there who travel far more frequently than I do and who can tick off far more boxes on their bucket lists. Yes, there are places that I’d like to see and certain goals when it comes to travel that I would like to accomplish, but ultimately I don’t travel that way. I am fairly ordinary and on an ordinary budget in life. What I have, and I wouldn’t presume to say that I have far more of it than others – but I do definitely have it, is curiosity. Continue reading

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Weekend warrior: Road Food from 101Cookbooks

You curate your carry-on —- why wouldn’t this exquisite taste extend to your in-flight meal? image via

As one of today’s most prominent philosophers once pondered, What is the deal with airplane food? Sometimes you really just don’t want to go for that mini pack of chips or (shudder) that lukewarm microwaved burger. Heidi from 101cookbooks is here to help: a health-conscious cookbook author who’s frequently on the go, she has a store of healthy recipes that travel well, from croquettes and muffins to sandwiches. This weekend I might just make a trial batch or two before we hit the road in earnest for the holiday season. So what are you doing this weekend?

Time Travel with Paris 3D

History buffs who love exploring the French capital will geek out over this new project, Paris 3D, from Dassault Systèmes. With a click of your mouse, you can wander through any moment in the city’s 2000 year history, from the Roman conquest in 52 BC up through the construction of the Bastille and the Eiffel Tower. Travel/history nerds like myself can get lost in this comprehensive Paris via browser or iPad app. Bon voyage…

Pack Your Bags: The Scent of Departure

Perhaps your departure is usually the wrong kind of fragrance (stale cabin air and microwaved food) — but The Scent Of Departure is better than that. TSoD knows you miss Abu Dhabi, Toyko and Bali before you even set foot on your return flight, so they kindly captured the essence of these major destinations in perfume for you. London/LHR will remind you of strolls through Hyde Park with its notes of moss, jasmine and bergamot. Istanbul/IST is a cross between the pink peppers at the spice market and the sweet lokum stuck in your teeth. And LAX transports you straight to the Cali coast with the bright scents of grapefruit, gardenia and amber. Best of all, the $45 price tag will still leave plenty of room in your suitcase for extra souvenirs.

 

“Today I’m in the Yellowstone Park, and I wish I were dead.”

The author in his natural habitat. Watch the account of his journey here. all media via.

So begins Rudyard “Mowgli” Kipling’s epic tale of the worst-roadtrip-ever, as told by PBS’s The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (a Ken Burns joint). In 1889, the British author/cranky traveller took the “grand tour” of Yellowstone Park, paying about $150 for the privilege of only barely enjoying this freshly minted national wonder. “The park is just a howling wilderness,” he whines, and goes on to complain generally about the poor cuisine (tinned beef and beer), his gum-snapping Chicagoan companions, and a wealth of other annoyances. You may never love Kipling as much as you will after watching this clip. Or you can read a section of his immensely entertaining takedown here.

What’s the worst trip you’ve ever taken?

Weekend warrior: airBnB wishlists.

Quieres a little Gehry out your ventana? image via

Sometimes the best part of the end of a trip is dreaming of where you’ll be going next… and in that spirit, airbnb.com has launched their wishlists. It’s a fun way to keep track of your favorite airbnb spots, check out your friends’ favorites, and maybe share a collective little travel dream? Just to start you off, they’ve added a couple of their own — and their Frank Gehry list (including the fab Bilbao flat above) is totally transfixing.  So what are you doing this weekend?

Weekend warrior: Museums on Us.

MassMOCA in western Mass. has a Sol LeWitt retrospective. image via

If you are a Bank of America customer, there are so, so many things to make you question that relationship… but this is not one of them! Museums on Us allows BoA cardholders free admission to more than 150 museums and institutions around the country on select weekends (like this one). Just show your BoA card at the ticket desk and you’re off to explore… So what are you doing this weekend?

The Roman gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. image via

The lights at LACMA. image via