National Geographic Introduces ‘Travelers Of The Year’

For years National Geographic has honored some of the world’s top explorers, scientists and humanitarians with the distinction of being called Adventurers of the Year. That title is generally reserved for men and women who climb the highest mountains, plunge headlong into the deepest jungles or sail to the furthest points on the map, all in the name of exploration and science. Making the annual list of Adventurers of the Year is a feat that few ever earn and it brings with it a tremendous amount of respect and admiration.

Nat Geo is hoping to bring that same level of distinction to the travel world by announcing its first ever recipients of the Travelers of the Year award. According to the National Geographic website, this honor is given to “individuals who explore the world with passion and purpose,” which seems a bit arbitrary at first glance. After all, who amongst us doesn’t fit that description, right? But once you read the bios on the inaugural winners you start to see why these particular people were chosen from a list of hundreds of nominees sent in by readers.

For example, Paula Busey and Samwel Melami were given the award because of their unique cooperative relationship, which has been fostered over the past few years. Paula, who is a high-school librarian, met Samwel while on safari in his home country of Tanzania. While on that trip, Samwel served as the guide, impressing Paula with his knowledge of wildlife conservation, ecotourism and tribal history. When she returned home, Busey thought that the students in her school could benefit from meeting Melami and learning a few things from the young guide. So, she raised enough money to bring him to the States, where he spent a week teaching more than 1500 students about African traditions and culture. In return, the students raised funds to help Samwel build a modern kitchen in a school back home. The venture was so successful, that it has continued over the past three years.Other recipients include Diana Gross, an educator who used her sabbatical to connect students and teachers in diverse and distant places, and Theron Humphrey, who spent a full year visiting all 50 states, taking over 90,000 photos along the way. Fifteen-year-old Booker Mitchell earned his spot amongst the Travelers of the Year by starring in a series of videos that show him skateboarding in different destinations around the globe, while Aussie Robert Pennicott gets the nod for his circumnavigation of Australia in a tiny dinghy, raising funds and awareness for the eradication of polio along the way.

These are just a sampling of some of the interesting travelers who have taken home this honor for the first time. Considering most of the men and women on the list are not unlike many of us, perhaps a Gadling reader or two will make the list in the future as well.

[Photo Credit: Dana Romanoff]

National Geographic jumps into the adventure travel arena

The very name National Geographic evokes images of adventure and thoughts of exciting journeys to far away places. The iconic Society has probably done more to inspire travel than any other single entity ever. Several generations have grown up gazing at breathtaking images in the organization’s popular magazine and reading about daring explorers on those beautiful, glossy pages. Now, in what seems like a long over due move, Nat Geo is throwing its hat into the adventure travel ring, announcing 11 unique trips that will offer a compelling mix of cultural and physical activity with some of the most stunning scenery on the planet as the backdrop.

The aptly named National Geographic Adventures have itineraries that are sure to appeal to any adventure traveler. For instance, they offer a 15-day trek through the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan that takes you to the 23,997-foot Chomo Lhari – the most sacred mountain in the country. If you prefer your trips keep you closer to sea level however, then perhaps the 9-day Alaska excursion would be more to your liking. That trip features sea kayaking and whale watching in Glacier Bay National Park. Meanwhile, backpackers will likely be enthralled with the 14-day hike through Chile’s stunningly beautiful Patagonia region. Other itineraries take travelers to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, on safari in Tanzania, and across Mongolia on horseback.

Each of the itineraries has been specifically crafted with the help of a National Geographic expert, who has applied their knowledge of the various regions to create a series of trips that are unlike any other. Those trips come with an activity level rating, with easy, moderate, strenuous, and “ultimate challenge” options available. Accommodations range from luxury tents to quaint mountain lodges and inns, and the group size is capped at just 16 to ensure the best travel experience possible.

To find out more about these new adventure travel options, click here, and for the full line up of trips from Nat Geo, check out the National Geographic Expeditions website as well.

Get a one year National Geographic subscription for just ten bucks

As a traveler, no publication ever got me more interested in seeing the world than National Geographic. Already in its 122nd year, the yellow border of this magazine is recognized in as many countries as it has written about.

Despite all the advances in technology, and the decline in print, there is something fantastic about carrying reading materials the old fashioned way – and if you head over to, you’ll be able to order a one year subscription to National Geographic for just ten bucks.

The promotion takes $5 off the normal price of $15 – and you may not see the final discounted price until the final stage of the payment process.

Best of all – your subscription will help the society, and all the fantastic work they do helping people discover more of our planet.

Subscription page / promotion details

National Geographic Traveler’s Tours of a Lifetime 2010

With the economy starting to show signs of life, people are starting to plan to travel again soon. In fact, the outlook for 2010 is much more promising for travel companies and tour operators around the globe than it has been for some time. With that in mind, National Geographic Traveler magazine has released its 5th annual Tours of a Lifetime list, offering up suggestions for every kind of traveler looking to escape to a new destination this year.

The list, as usual, contains 50 “tours of a lifetime”, with a focus this year on “innovation and cross-cultural tours”. Those tours span the globe from the wilds of Africa to the remote regions of Asia, to the well worn paths of Europe, and beyond. We’re even invited to rediscover North America, with a host of adventures located relatively close to home. Whether you’re an adventurous traveler or prefer something a bit more relaxed, there is sure to be something on the list for you.

Traveler also has great suggestions for families planning a trip this year as well, offering tips for finding the right outfitter, planning your itinerary, and getting the kids involved in the process as well. Similarly, they also offer up their picks for the best deals in travel for the year ahead, with companies offering a variety of discounts and other special savings.

The latest issue of Traveler hit newsstands last week, and is available now to help plan your travels for 2010. I’m sure it’ll serve as a great resource, both now, and for future journeys, as this issue always has a knack for expanding that “life list” in new, and unusual ways.

National Geographic Traveler invites you to photograph your ‘peeps in places’

Who doesn’t love Peeps? You know, those overly sweet sugary-marshmallow concoctions that have just made their annual return to stores in time for Easter? Well, apparently someone over at National Geographic Traveler sure enjoys them, as they have launched their 2010 Peeps in Places photo contest, inviting us to snap photos of our favorite peeps in our favorite places, and submit them to the Intelligent Travel Blog.

The rules of the contest are quite simple. Take the best photos you can of the your Peeps out and about on some crazy adventures. Try to capture the essence of the place, while having fun with the experience. A sense of humor and a healthy dose of creativit go a long way as well.

Once you have your photos, head over to the Your Shot Page at and either log in with your account info or create a new account. After you’re signed in, select your photos and upload them to the site, making sure to tag them as Peeps so the contest officials can find them. Over the course of the next few weeks, they’ll be sorting through the images to find the very best ones, with the winners receiving some prizes and having their photos shared on the website. Last year, some of the very best photos even made it on national television when they appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America.

For a little inspiration, check out this gallery of the top photos from the 2009 Peeps in Places contest. Many of them are as sweet as the candy itself.