Travel Makes for Learning Experiences, Both Home and Abroad

From the vibrant nightlife and oceanside vistas to the distinctive flavors of paella, Spain’s national dish, I love Spain and Portugal. (Get a taste of the region by reading Global Kitchen.) Some of my favorite memories are a family trip to Barcelona for the Olympics, and you can discover this fabulous city on our new 2013 vacation, Spain’s Cultural Capitals. It’s already getting great reviews from people like 11-time traveler Mary Bailer, who wrote me a Travel Talk letter about how much she enjoyed her recent trip. I applaud her spirit of discovery, as she not only chose to take advantage of all the opportunities of traveling with her group, but exploring on her own.

That’s exactly what I chose to do when I was in Lisbon (which you can discover on our Spain & Portugal in Depth trip). Strolling through the narrow streets of the city’s historic Alfama district, I realized that somehow, despite my maps and guidebooks, I’d gotten lost. But I discovered a great museum, where the guide practiced his English skills as he led me to his favorite pieces. I’m particularly fond of art museums, and loved hearing from Roger and Lynn Gee this month, who were inspired by their tour featuring the Prado art museum in Madrid—one of the world’s largest art galleries—in this month’s Traveler Story.

Occasionally our international discoveries begin in the States, too. Recently, Grand Circle Foundation welcomed scholars from the renowned Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, for a session on corporate philanthropy. It was an enlightening day for them, and for the associates who attended. Connecting cultures across the world is something that’s so important to Grand Circle, and to me personally—it’s important that these life-changing journeys impact both travelers and the people meeting them in other countries.

Where have you felt a cultural connection? Have you traveled to someplace exotic, or researched your family’s heritage for a trip? I’d love to hear your stories, and see your photos. Please email me at