Since leaving home for Europe alone at age seventeen, Karen Gershowitz has traveled to more than ninety countries.
In pursuit of her passion for travel, she lost and gained friends and lovers and made a radical career change. She learned courage and risk taking and succeeded at things she didn’t think she could do: She climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. She visited remote areas of Indonesia on her own and became a translator, though only fluent in English. She conquered her fear of falling while on an elephant trek in Thailand. And she made friends across the globe, including a Japanese family who taught her to make sushi and a West Berliner who gave her an insider’s look at the city shortly after the wall came down.
An example that will inspire armchair travelers to become explorers and embolden everyone to be more courageous, Travel Mania is a vivid story of how one woman found her strength, power, and passion.
Travel is Karen’s addiction—and she doesn’t want treatment.
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I was 17 years old, traveling alone, when I boarded a plane to Europe. Living in a different culture I experienced the world in new and surprising ways and discovered myself. My love of travel was born. I didn’t return to the US for three years.
Since then I’ve traveled to more than 90 countries. I climbed Kilimanjaro, conquered my fear of falling to go on an elephant trek in Thailand, spent time in Berlin shortly after the wall came down, stayed with a Japanese family who taught me to make sushi and made friends across the globe. [read more]
The food hall at the Shinsegae Department store had Asian foods (both ingredients and prepared) from across the continent. They also had a wide variety of European and American foods. There were pastries that could have been on the...0
Hanko a small town in SW Finland has grand seaside villas built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when it was a glamorous retreat for Russian nobles, czars and artists. Many of these “old ladies,” as the villas are referre...0
Living in Manhattan I rarely see the blazing sun set into the horizon. That makes nearly all sunsets attractive. Really colorful ones, at the shore, in the desert or on open plains are a special treat. This evening I saw a fabulous Color...0
My friend Michael introduced me to the art of Alphonse Mucha when I lived in London in the early 1970s. Mucha, a Czech illustrator and graphic artist, lived in Paris and was known for his stylized Art Nouveau posters. I hadn’t seen mu...0
I will repeat something I’ve written many times—I love New York City. The plan for yesterday was to attend a matinee performance of American Ballet Theater, then return home and not emerge except for walking Pookah. After the perfor...0
Before traveling to Burma, I’d always pictured Buddhist Monks as older, wise gentlemen. Then I visited a teaching monastery. It’s customary for young boys, especially those from intensely religious families, to enter a monastery. In ...0
We are now traveling south, heading back to New York City. Our day was spent in Salem, Massachusetts, the stop we aborted last Saturday due to the traffic, crowds, and general mayhem. Today, a Tuesday, was significantly calmer, though th...0
The forecast was for a cool, overcast day. Once again, the meteorologists got it wrong – fortunately in a way that was beneficial. On what turned out to be a warm, sunny day we tried to spend as much time as possible outside. We starte...0
As we headed to Portsmouth NH, I pulled off the highway to get gas. Needing gas changed the entire day. I’d pulled off in Newburyport MA. Seeing a sign for the historic downtown, we decided to head into town and look. We spent the e...0
When I sketched out a rough plan for this trip, I was excited about the prospect of visiting Salem MA. Home of the witch trials Salem does Halloween in a big way. Unfortunately, we weren’t the only ones headed there, it seemed as if ...0
Newport, Rhode Island is a vibrant town with so much to do that a single day doesn’t really seem enough. But we crammed so much in today that it felt as if we’d spent a week here. Our first jaunt was on Ocean Drive, marveling at the...0
Mystic Seaport Museum (Connecticut) has changed in numerous ways since I last visited it. And from my perspective, most changes have been positive. My only real issue was their map and signage, which need a lot of help. Hugging the Myst...0
While this is definitely a road trip, the distances we are driving each day are short. This morning we went a whopping ten miles to New London for breakfast. Jake’s diner on State Street was a terrific way to start the day—a veggie ...0
Today is the start of a ten-day road trip up the New England Coast. I’m with my friend Sue, a wonderful travel companion. We had a plan, and then abandoned it completely. Driving up Interstate 95 I saw a tiny sign, “Pez Visitor Ce...0
If you have no other reason to visit Eureka Springs (Arkansas) you should go to see Thorncrown Chapel. E. Fay Jones, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed it. The small mountainside chapel has received many prestigious architecture ...0
Yesterday the subject line on an email from Conde Nast Traveler read “Fantasy Destinations.” It intrigued me and I clicked to see where they had chosen. I’d been to many of the locations selected, from India to Italy, Spain, Morocc...0
Patagonia – Chile: 2009 The highlight of the cruise was a four-hour journey in a small ice cutter through the iceberg-strewn waters of a fjord. Because there were so few passengers, we all managed to squeeze onto the small ship. The ...0
I knew that Dr. Seuss grew up in Springfield because years ago I’d been to a small exhibit there about his childhood. When I read that a whole museum is now dedicated to him, I had to see it. Part of a larger complex that includes art,...0
As I sped down the highway on my way to Northampton, I saw a small sign indicating an attraction— “Bridge of Flowers.” At the next exit I got off and followed the signs to Shelburne Falls. It was a twelve-mile detour, but when you ...0
New Hampshire has a very short shoreline on the Atlantic, a mere eighteen miles. Yesterday I explored most of it, going from pristine to honky-tonk. Most of the day was spent in Portsmouth, a town I’m astonished I’ve never been to be...0
The torrential rains have disappeared, and the weather has rebounded to perfect blue skies and warm temps. I’ve left Vermont and am spending time in southern New Hampshire. First stop was the Shaker Village at Canterbury. Unlike the S...0
Over the years I’ve visited countless college campuses in the United States and abroad. For one memorable assignment, a client had me interviewing graduate students at some of the best European Universities—The Sorbonne, Oxford, Camb...0
Yesterday I traveled north from Massachusetts into Vermont. First stop was Bennington, a town I’ve been through numerous times. I stopped off to see the wildflower and sculpture garden at the Bennington Museum and visit the farmers...0
Yesterday was the first day of a one-week road trip. I’m heading up to Southern Vermont and New Hampshire. I decided to take it slowly, less driving, more sightseeing. But as usual plans and reality didn’t quite mesh. What should h...0
I’d only been to the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy – which is about 15 miles north of New York, in Yonkers – once before. That was years ago for an outdoor concert. While lovely, the garden hadn’t been well maintained and so I forgot...0
Twenty years ago today, I started with a cruise on Lake Superior to see the Pictured Rocks; a sight I’d been told I shouldn’t miss. I had some misgivings about going out on a gray, cold day, but assumed we’d be in a warm dry cabin....0
I’ve told many travelers to New Zealand that Abel Tasman National Park is a must-see destination. It’s difficult to get to, but well worth the effort. A boat ride is needed to get inside the park. Once there, there are pristine hikin...0
Newfoundland is a wild, largely untouristy place. On a road trip across the province, I stayed in B&Bs in remote areas and enjoyed unobstructed views of the land, sea and sky. It was an amazing place to stargaze; there is almost no ambien...0
Entering into a massive building, probably two city blocks long, we saw household goods, ordinary clothes and a few paltry silk shops. Could this really be the famed silk market? After stumbling about we went upstairs. We entered into a ...0
Driving through Wisconsin in pursuit of outsider artists and the environments they create, I came upon a sign for the Crane Foundation. Upon entering I was transported from the wacky worlds of fantastical animals and people made from scr...0
The dramatic skies changed minute by minute, dark clouds scudding across the sky creating constantly changing patchworks of sun, clouds and swirling mist as a backdrop to dramatic mountains. The strong winds propel tall grasses into an e...0
After one day in Zagreb recuperating from jetlag, I departed heading towards Split. Along the route is must-see Plitvicka Lakes National Park. Unfortunately, I was traveling in August, height of the tourist season. The park was gorgeous ...0
The Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of my book, Travel Mania: Stories of Wanderlust, have arrived. It is a thrill to finally hold a bound book in my hands after so many years in the making. Thanks to the many people who have helped make th...0
An excerpt from my upcoming travel memoir, Travel Mania: Stories of Wanderlust On the first morning of the camel trek, I walked at the front of two parallel lines of camels. A gentle Moroccan camel tender led each line, singing and chant...0