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Barbershop Postcards, Secret Beaches, Bruegel With Mom, and Finding Gandhi

secret beach in Panama

That mouthful of a title can only mean one thing: it’s time for a new edition of Perceptive Travel online magazine. You never know what kind of offbeat travel narratives are going to show up there because we’re not going to hit you with the predictable and done-to-death.

Before I get into what’s in store though, I’ve got an announcement. In a couple weeks I’ll be heading to Los Angeles to accept two Gold awards at a banquet sponsored by the North American Travel Journalists Association. Two stories of mine that were published in Perceptive Travel last year pulled in “best travel writing of the year” prizes. Beyond the Bullet Holes in Bosnia and Herzegovina won in the Historical Travel category. I was quite proud of that one, so I’m glad to see it get some recognition. Then I came out on top in the Sports and Adventure Travel category with An Overdose of Adrenaline in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. (I also got an honorable mention in the Hotels & Resorts category with this review of Kilkea Castle in Ireland.)

Long-form Travel Stories From Book Authors

When I launched Perceptive Travel in 2006, magazines had started their long and painful decline and newspaper travel sections were already a dying breed. Fearing that there would soon be no place left to publish stories that take some time to tell, I put up a virtual homeless shelter. This online magazine would be a place for authors to find a home for the long strange trips that were too quirky for the publications that had to report to shareholders of Conde Nast, Gannett, or Hearst.

Bruce Northam covers an activity that many do, but few write about: getting haircuts in barbershops around the world. This is a subject I’ve touched on before, but he takes it way further with selfies from the barber’s chair in a multitude of places and a reminder that these gathering centers can be one of the best places to dive into local culture. See his Barbershop Postcards story here.

travel story about barbershop haircuts around the world

Michael Shapiro returns with a story about visiting Vienna, Austria in winter—on purpose. It’s a bonding trip with his mother over art, a chance to see the majority of an artist’s work in one place, perhaps for the only time ever. See Once in a Lifetime: Visiting Bruegel in Vienna.

Kelsey Timmerman makes his Perceptive Travel debut with a story about visiting a reluctant guru in Mumbai, India: the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. “Please don’t kiss my feet,” Tushar begs in Finding Gandhi.

Last, I’ve got a story on an aptly named “Uncruise” along the Pacific coast of Central America, going to uninhabited places only reached by boat. On this kind of trip, workouts and wildlife are the main goals, along with finding stretches of sand we can have all to ourselves. See Finding the Secret Beaches of Panama and Costa Rica.

We also publish travel book reviews each month. This time Susan Griffith runs down three titles worth considering, all on some form of exploration around the world.

Get a Water Purifier for Travel and Outdoor Adventures

There are some subjects I’ve returned to over and over again on this blog, one being the need to stop trashing our planet with single-use plastic bottles when you travel. Even in developed countries the recycling rate is poor and in poorer ones, it’s close to non-existent. Many of those bottles you buy and discard will end up on the ground or in the rivers, eventually clogging our oceans.

There are all kinds of solutions out there and they’ll all pay for themselves eventually, if you need an economic argument to add to the moral one. This month you could even score a really nice one for free. One lucky PT subscriber will score a $99 LifeSaver Liberty pump purifier and bottle that can be used with a hotel tap or a mountain stream. It filters out anything that could make you sick and keeps you hydrated on the move.

water purifier for traveling and hiking trips

What do you have to do? Get on the newsletter list and watch for the monthly e-mail after the new issue comes out.

We won’t bug you more than twice a month, we don’t sell or give our list away, and you’ll be supporting good writing in a landscape that’s obsessed with listicles and “look at me!” fluff. Thank you.