Scuba diving, zip lines, cook-off challenges and Samantha Brown – all in DC at the 7th Annual Travel & Adventure Show.
By Sheila Mulhern
The 7th Annual Travel & Adventure Show returned to DC, offering concentrated access to a diversity of destination travel information along with featured attractions and guest lectures by leading travels experts. Booths lined the Washington Convention Center providing vacation options from the exotic areas of Antigua, Aruba, Argentina, Barbados, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Fiji, Malaysia, Kenya, Zambia and more, to our own backyard with Appalachia Mountain Club, Deep Creek Lake and Virginia Beach.
Activity highlights offered the opportunities to travel across an aerial zip line, scuba dive in an 18,000 gallon tank (scuba gear provided), and a Fiery Foods Challenge from DC area restaurants Sweet Mango Café and Rumba Café as well as from the Mexico and Belize Tourism Boards that battled for the title of “Hottest Flame”. Embassy chefs from Belgium, Hungary, Morocco, Norway, Sri Lanka and South Korea brought their international culinary expertise to the expo with cooking demonstrations. Other showings were Global Beats Cultural Stage performances, a rock climbing wall and a virtual hang gliding simulator.
Guest talks drew in large crowds from leading experts including Samantha Brown, Peter Greenberg, Pauline Frommer and The Lost Girls authors Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett and Amanda Pressner.
We sat with Samantha Brown of The Travel Channel and The Lost Girls authors to ask about some of their favorite places in DC and around the world.
Washington Life: What are some of your favorite DC area places to visit and eat?
Samantha Brown: Busboys & Poets and anywhere José Andrés is cooking. I’m having dinner at Jaleo tonight. When filming Passport to Great Weekends in DC I had a great time kayaking along the Potomac and visiting Madame’s Organ.
The Lost Girls: Chinatown wine bar, Proof; Marvin, areas of U Street and speakeasy The Gibson.
WL: What are the most commonly asked questions you receive?
SB: What’s your favorite place? (Cambodia) What’s the worst place you’ve visited? (no where!) and the most common is How did you get your job?!
LG: What’s your favorite place? How did you afford to travel for a year? How did you all manage to get along? Did you know you were writing a book before the trip? (no) The book deal happened when we were approached by Harper Collins after they had followed our blog LostGirlsWorld.com.
WL: What makes DC a unique destination to visit or that might be surprising?
SB: The political nature and historical architecture can present a misinterpreted, stiff exterior which overshadows a genuine vibe of friendliness among locals. DC has a fun, accessible culture and is a great area to walk around.
LG: The free museums and ease of museum-hoping make DC a great area to see. Locals are passionate, worldly, idealistic and are very focused in areas of activism and philanthropy. When visiting different countries, we found that those foreign to the U.S. were very interested in U.S. politics and what made our government tick. DC also has great Ethiopian restaurants which stand out in comparison to other major cities.
WL: Which countries do you feel are emerging in the tourism industry?
SB: Areas such as Cambodia, Laos, Southeast Asia and Singapore.
LG: What’s surprising is that countries you wouldn’t expect which reach out to tourists when they experience political conflict or natural disasters. Taharir Square is one of the more popular areas to visit in Cairo! Other countries investing in tourism are New Zealand, India, Israel and Mongolia.