The Beauty of Group Travel

Dear Friends, It’s been a while since my last post.  The fall was busy and marked by a trip to China in October that will go down in my mind as one of the greatest group travel experiences ever. This National Geographic journey started in Beijing and wove its way south through Xi’an, Chongqing, the Yangzi … Continue reading

Going Back: Kinsale, Ireland

Dear Friends, Having spent the first half of my life changing homes every two years, there was only one constant place in my world: Folly House, Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland. This was the house my parents bought in 1972 to allow their four daughters to escape the oppression of Algerian summers. This was the house … Continue reading

Kate Simpson on the Smithsonian Journeys blog

Below is the latest blog from Kate Simpson, President of Academic Travel Abroad as seen on the Smithsonian Journeys blog page: China: Understanding Etiquette July 1st, 2009 by Kate Simpson Kate Simpson is President of Academic Travel Abroad, where she began her career as a China Program Manager in 1998 after completing a degree in East … Continue reading

China: Build it, and we will come. Complete it, and we can go elsewhere?

Dear Friends,   It seems like an eternity ago when I was a young China program manager for ATA and spent my time running tours with titles like “Decorative Arts of China,” “To The Edges of the Empire,” and “History through the Dynasties.”  That was back in the 1980s, before Tiananmen Square took place.   … Continue reading

The Resilience of the Travel Industry

Dear Friends, Reading the daily news has become an increasingly depressing exercise of late. We, in the travel industry, have our fair share of woes, as discretionary spending slows, retirement funds are halved, and consumer confidence wavers.  So it was a surprise and comfort to me when I attended a meeting in Savannah last week … Continue reading

India in Our Hearts

Dear Friends, We share in the grief and sadness that has gripped India and the world in the aftermath of the monstrous attacks in Mumbai that began on the eve of our Thanksgiving.  I cannot conceive of a more cowardly act than attacking and killing unarmed, innocent human beings. Given the location of the attacks, in … Continue reading

Travel: Antidote to Grief?

Dear Friends, Not long ago, my three sisters and I gathered around my mother’s bedside and held her hands as her life slowly slipped away. Here was a Nevada woman who had headed out in 1950, single and in search of adventure, to Vietnam, at the time a French colony. There she met my father … Continue reading

Thoughts on Family Travel

Dear Friends, When I think back on the success of our family vacation this summer, I realize that there are key elements that contributed to our enjoyment. I wanted to share these with you: 1. My Children’s Ages We’ve traveled to Europe many times before with Nick and Sasha. This time, at ages 10 and … Continue reading

La Tournette, Haute Savoie

Dear Friends, A week after our Ste. Victoire adventure, I was fortunate to bring my children and husband to another favorite peak of my past–La Tournette, in Haute Savoie, France. I had discovered this corner of France 15 years earlier when David Parry, ATA’s chairman, and I conducted R+D for a hiking tour I had … Continue reading

Montagne Ste Victoire

Dear Friends, As many of you know, I was born in Marseille, France, and many of my childhood summers were spent enjoying Provence, with family and friends, from perches in cherry trees overlooking vineyards, swimming in the turquoise waters of Cassis’ calanques or picknicking in the dappled shade of the plane trees at Le Tholonet. … Continue reading