Map of Belize.

In November 2019, I visited Belize on a trip that concentrated on ancient civilizations and bird-watching. The trip was organized by Belize Travel Adventures (Kings land, TX; 512/913-5525, www.belizetraveladventures.com). Costing $2,820, the 7-night trip included a private guide for most excursions and the short flight from Flores, in Guatemala, to Belize. Everything worked out very well.

Settling in

I flew into Belize City from Flores — I had been touring Guatemala prior...

The stunningly designed Bodegas Ysios in Laguardia.

My husband, Michael, and I were headed back to Spain in early September 2019. This time, friends Jane and Paul (J&P) would be joining us for part of the trip. J&P had never been to Spain, so here are some of the things we did to make sure we all would still be friends when we returned.

Some ground rules We planned to rent apartments in San Sebastián and Barcelona and reserve a hotel in Laguardia, so we asked J&P how they wanted to be involved with the accommodation...

The harbor of Santo António, Príncipe.

We’re all eager for the pandemic to end so we can start roaming the globe again, and, undoubtedly, we’ve all been making plans in our heads while we’ve been cooped up. If those plans involve travel to the Iberian Peninsula, here’s a wild idea: why not celebrate getting out of stir by going a little farther, to paradise?

After a May 2019 stay in Portugal, I tagged on a 10-day solo visit to what has become my personal paradise, the 2-island nation of São Tomé...

In the desert near Tozeur, where scenes from the original “Star Wars” movie were filmed.

I was blissfully ignorant of what my travel future held for me when I boarded a plane in Memphis, Tennessee, on Feb. 15, 2020, headed (via Toronto and Frankfurt) to Tunis, Tunisia.

My plan was to spend six days in each of two North African countries, Tunisia and Algeria.

This would be my third attempt at trying to visit North Africa. Twice before, a friend and I had taken a Viking “South Mediterranean” cruise with port calls in Tunis and Algiers, but due to...

View of the village of Nako. The drive up was quite scary!

Last year, an enigmatic email from a friendship begun six years before on an adventurous trip to Papua New Guinea piqued my interest. My friend Knox Bell shared that Original World/Spirit of India (San Rafael, CA; 888/367-6147, originalworld.com) was looking for “intrepid travelers” for a month-long adventure into the “Ancient Cultures of the Indian Himalaya” (plus Ladakh), and he thought of me! Within 30 minutes, I had called the travel agent and I was on board....

View of the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System.

After a 15-hour flight from San Francisco, via Dubai, on Emirates airline, my husband, Bill, and I arrived in Tehran, Iran. This was the beginning of our 3-week September 2019 tour with JMG Tibet Tours (Lauderhill, FL; 866/548-4238, www.jmgtibettours.com).

Though I don’t enjoy writing, I really felt compelled to share this amazing experience because so many of my preconceptions were wrong.

About the tour

This was owner Jeff Garrett’s first venture taking a...

Guam's Plaza de España.

What could be better than combining two dream destinations into one trip? I had always wanted to visit World War II sites in the Pacific, and Papua New Guinea had been on my country “to do” list for a long time. I discovered that Holland America Line’s “Legends of the Pacific” cruise, aboard the Maasdam, offered both, with the convenience of sailing easily from one destination to another.

Making plans

As usual, I selected a solo cabin, making the...

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara temple in Colombo.

Interested in history, religion, art, animals, birding, swimming, hiking, scenery, ceremonies and UNESCO Sites? Then Sri Lanka’s the place for you! And it’s all packed into one easy-to-navigate island.

Poring over ITN magazines, I happened upon a write-up of a tour of Sri Lanka in which the author highly recommended Varini de Silva of Ceylon Express International (Huntington Beach, CA; 800/423-9566, ceylonexpress.com). What a find she was!

Varini, born and raised in...