From their mastery of the seas to their influence over lands as far from home as Russia and North America, the Scandinavian raiders known as the Vikings shaped the world for centuries. Subscribe today and learn new facts that may surprise you.
From their mastery of the seas to their influence over lands as far from home as Russia and North America, the Scandinavian raiders known as the Vikings shaped the world for centuries. Swift and deadly, the Vikings dominated the seas of northern Europe from the late eighth century to the 11th.
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PHOTOGRAPH BY GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES, THE NEW YORK TIMES
By Amy Alipio, TRAVEL Assistant Managing Editor
Not gonna lie: There are some things I miss about pandemic lockdown. My family bought a bird feeder and started listing which birds visited each day, for example. We leaned into family board game night. We began walking more on local trails at state parks.
But now that in-person school and other activities have geared up again, we are doing a lot less of those pandemic pursuits—unless we’re traveling. Something about being in different circumstances reignites those newfound interests. (What lockdown activities has your family kept up even as travel has rebooted? Let me know.)
Surfing is one of those outdoor activities that saw a rise in popularity since the start of the pandemic. As Shauna Farnellwrites for Nat Geo, many of these new surfers are kids or teenagers—and many are girls or young women getting into a sport that has traditionally been male-dominated.
And their interest in wave riding doesn’t seem to be waning. Farnell spotlights 16-year-old Californian Caitlin Simmers, who has been quickly moving up the competitive ranks of the sport.
Southern California, where Simmers lives, may just be the ideal place for families to learn how to surf. It’s got “sandy breaks, beachside parks, and tide pools for smaller children to explore—not to mention fewer crowds and consistent swells in the winter,” writes Farnell. “And the presence there of a growing number of young surfers mastering the waves serves as inspiration.” (Pictured above, surfers paddle out in Malibu.)
Several organizations along the California coastline have been working to diversify the sport and make it more inviting for newcomers of all ages, girls and women, and people of color. Based in Los Angeles, the nonprofit Surf Bus Foundation has been introducing inner-city youth to surfing every summer since 2003. Black Girls Surf offers beginner lessons as well as advanced training camps. Female-owned and operated Endless Sun Surf School runs women-only surf camps and children’s after-school surf programs.
Even if your kids decide that riding a wave isn’t their vibe, there are other ways to chill with the laid-back California beach scene. Skateboarding, anyone?
This is a special monthly Family newsletter dedicated to travel. Like what you’re reading? Drop me a line with comments or travel tips for our Nat Geo Family community. If you want to get the Family newsletter every week, sign up here. If you want your children to get Nat Geo Kids or Nat Geo Little Kids magazines, subscribe here.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR FAMILIES
PHOTOGRAPH BY TRAVELPIX LTD, GETTY IMAGES
Mindful travel. Family travelers are increasingly seeking ways to voyage mindfully and sustainably. A recent Nat Geo survey found that more than a third of Americans would pay extra to offset their flights’ CO2 emissions, for example. This Nat Geo article explains what carbon offsetting entails and how your family can participate. Another way travelers contribute to local conservation? These colorful tour boats are actually helping to revive polluted canals in Mexico City.
We asked, you answered. In our last Family Travel newsletter, we asked about ways you’ve given the gift of travel. Karen Arbaugh suggests a National Park pass. Marissa Bybee emailed to say that, years ago, she told her family that she’d “rather have experiences with them rather than buy them the latest electronic or clothing—and none of us have regretted it!” Some experiences she’s gifted: a Colorado ski trip, a beach vacation to Alabama’s Gulf Shores, and, this past Christmas, a six-day cruise to Mexico and Belize. “They joke sometimes it’s forced family fun,” she writes, “but we all love it and cherish the memories made during each trip.” (To get your younger ones excited about landmarks, landscapes, and more, check out the Little Kids First Big Book of the World.)
DESTINATION OF THE WEEK
PHOTOGRAPH BY MATILDE GATTONI
Tabernas, Spain. If your kids watch classic Westerns or have seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or the Doctor Who series, they might have glimpsed a slice of southern Spain. The village of Tabernas and the surrounding desert of the Almería province have provided the rugged backdrop for more than 170 movie Westerns and other films, writesMatteo Fagotto. Round up your posse and you too can visit these faux Old West towns, which are open for cowboy shows and tours (like at Oasys MiniHollywood, pictured above).
CHECK THIS OUT
PHOTOGRAPH BY E.A. KUTTAPAN / NPL / MINDEN PICTURES
What's your animal personality? Tuesday marks day one of the Chinese calendar: Let the Chinese New Year celebrations begin! Each year in this lunar calendar is represented by an animal called a zodiac sign, and legend has it that people born under those signs have similar personality traits to that animal. Check out this article with your kids to find their Chinese New Year animal—and what it might say about them.
Into the depths. Travel with your child to the bottom of the ocean to explore history with our new six-part podcast, Into the Depths. National Geographic Explorer Tara Roberts takes listeners on an adventure that follows the transatlantic slave route in the Atlantic Ocean to discover the remains of lost slave ships. The podcast comes with a listening guide to help you and your family process what they’ve heard.
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