EVERYBODY KNOWS that traveling is one of the most eye-opening—and potentially life-changing—things a human being can do. During college I took a meandering cross-country road trip and had a minor epiphany while checking out a highly colorful graveyard along the High Road to Taos. I’d never seen anything like it. Nearly 40 years later, here I am raising boys in New Mexico with a woman I met in France and editing the state magazine, a job I found out about from friends I’d made through several seasons of safari bumming around Africa. So yeah, you could call me a true believer in the power of positive travel.
I’m a lot like Ted Turner that way. (Bam!) While I was interviewing him for the story, “A Turning Point in Turner Country,” he explained that after he’d conquered the major seas as a world-champion sailor, then looked westward and bought some ranches in Montana, he took an interest in the Southwest. Conferences brought him to the “upscale hotels” in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, he says, and “I liked what I saw.” That’s about where the story picks up, and the rest is history in the making. New Mexico has incredible latent assets for eco-tourism—in my opinion, the most valuable kind of travel there is, because it benefits both destination and traveler in a holistic sense—and Turner is poised to play a leadership role in their development.
Of course, one needn’t be an itinerant journalist or globe-trotting billionaire to find his or her way around New Mexico. This issue describes several different styles of travel that are available these days, from a school’s-out road trip to a selection of attractive hotel specials to a handful of unconventional options the likes of which might not even have been available a decade ago. “Choose an Alternative Route” includes strategies like house swapping and couch surfing. The authors of those pieces (Candace Walsh and John Muller, respectively) relate the human connections and richer travel experiences they’re having by participating in the barter travel economy. It’s not just about saving money on accommodations, a point that’s underlined in the piece about some of New Mexico’s choicest hostels. Additionally, there’s a new camping outfitter that provides safari-style tents, hosting, and guiding in Chama, and a retro-cool RV camp on Route 66 in Albuquerque. There’s even a naturalist who’ll take you off the grid with a pack team of llamas.
Sure, I’ve still got itchy feet, but with options like these, there’s no need to get on a plane to have a world-class trip. This summer we’ll be taking a stay-cation in New Mexico. If it’s good enough for Ted Turner, it’s good enough for me.