Author: Avery Sumner

Exploring Lanzarote as a Wine Destination

Maybe it’s my pioneering American roots coming out, or the fact that I’m living in Roussillon, one of France’s most underappreciated wine-growing regions. Whatever the influence I’ve recently become fascinated by off-the-beaten-path wine makers. As a result, my recent travels have been inspired by wine growers and regions where hardship and persistence are key factors in making distinctive regional styles—again perhaps echoing that American spirit of trial and triumph. If you’re also a wine adventure traveler, or simply looking for another way to experience a destination, you may want to consider planning a Lanzarote holiday, where artisanal, low-yield wines...

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Exploring the least-touristed and largest Bahamian Island

Down the way where the nights are gay and the sun shines daily on the mountaintop, I took a trip on a sailing ship and when I reached Jamaica I made a stop… Somewhere in the depths of the Gulf Stream I woke to the sounds of ocean splashing against hull and Harry Belafonte’s Jamaica Farewell wearily playing on my boyfriend’s vintage tape player in the cockpit. I groggily followed the music up through the companionway into the warm Caribbean night and wondered if I was still dreaming. The wake of our 24-foot sailboat was sparkling like a path...

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Dreaming of Warm Temps and Tranquility on Tenerife

It’s May 15 and I’m still wearing socks and sweaters in the south of France. I’m living in the Pyrenees-Orientales department of France because it boasts the most days of sunshine in the whole country. I came here for the sun, the sea and the mountains—for the famed Mediterranean climate. But being a Floridian (most recently from the sub-tropics of South Florida) I’m finding this sock weather surprising. Compared to Northern France, yes, the Mediterranean climate is heavenly. But my toes have other points of reference and right now they’re pointing ever more southerly. The problem is every place that pleases my toes tends to please loads of tourists as well. And my heart prefers quieter places. In Florida I lived in Everglades National Park where barefoot weather meets the wild calm of nature. Is it even possible to find such chakra balancing elements anywhere in Europe? I’m not sure, but the Canary Islands of Spain keep presenting themselves to me. Tenerife in particular. I recently read that “Tenerife Island is probably one of the last European paradise destinations”. Representing the outermost region of the European Union, the volcanic archipelago of the Canaries rises out of the ocean just off the northwest coast of Africa near Morocco and the Western Sahara. My French mate stopped there on his way sailing across the Atlantic a few years ago and on...

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Going Jet-free: Alternatives to Flying

I’ve got a full bladder and a thread thin polyester blanket stretched around me. I can’t reach the valve for the cold flow of air pouring over my seat and I can’t get up to use the bathroom because there’s a half eaten microwaved meal on a tray table locking me in place.   Each time I take this flight between France and the United States I wonder how it is I paid (in my freelance world) the equivalent of one or two months’ salary for these conditions. The misery isn’t even rewarded with a rich tale to recount or reflect on later. It’s just a sterile, uncomfortable and really damned expensive experience. Add to that the massive environmental costs of the flight and the fact that if this plane goes down the likely-hood of survivors is, well, unlikely, and voila, you see the inspiration behind this article. Though I haven’t found an alternative to the flexibility of ocean-crossing flights, I have found some general flying alternatives that make me feel more comfortable about the possibility of these being my last moments. So what could be better than cramming myself on a jet in the final hour? How about cleating the halyards of a sailing vessel headed toward somewhere far, or resting under a blanket of stars so thick I think I can see tomorrow.   If you share...

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Learning French in France

I was never really interested in France or French, preferring to study a less bourgeois language like Spanish in school. Not that my language prejudice mattered, because like most Americans I never mastered a second language at all. Sure, I later got by hitchhiking in Cuba with my rudimentary Spanish, but I didn’t speak the language. And then I married a guy from France…

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The GoMad Nomad Travel Mag is an online magazine for independent travelers publishing original travel articles on popular and off-the-beaten-track destinations, volunteering and working opportunities abroad, and practical travel advice on long-term, adventure, alternative, and budget travel.


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