Meet-up with a Long-Time Travel Friend

Arlington Travel Blog

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Valene and I

On Friday evening, Susan and I had the pleasure of dinner with Valene, a long-time travel friend of mine.

Valene is a very remarkable woman and traveler. An anthropologist and geographer, she has had a career as a university professor, researcher in Pakistan, Alaska, and the Southwest, documentary film maker, museum founder, travel agent, and tour leader and courier. She is one of the founders of the Anthropology of Tourism field of study. (The discipline studies of the impact of travel and tourism on host cultures and on the guest traveler, i.e., Hosts and Guests, from the title of her book.)

Travel is her true passion. Her travel tales are legend. She drove across Europe and the Middle East in 1952, spent two years teaching in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1953-1954, led the first group of American tourists (or any sort of tour group) to Nepal in 1957, sailed the Northwest Passage on an icebreaker, and sailed around Antarctica.

Me, Susan, and Valene at the Skydome Lounge
Valene loves to talk of her travels and wants also to hear of your travels and what you made of the country and peoples you saw.  She speaks of the "4Hs of Tourism" that a traveler must try to learn about any locale: Habitat, Heritage,  History, and Handicrafts. Her next travel plan, as the Southern Hemisphere enters spring and summer, is her fourth trip to Antarctica! She’ll first visit the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island.

When one asks Valene how many countries she has visited, she demurs. She does not hold with country-counters, preferring her memories and photos, together with her travel map, to remind her of the many places she has visited.

Valene was a friend of my mother and aunt. I’ve known her since I was 10. (That’s when I first traveled with her.

View over Washington, DC
)  She’s been a mentor and taught me how to appreciate and gain an understanding of the cultures and peoples I visit as well as much of what I know about photography. She happened to call on Thursday to let us know she would be in Washington, DC, and suggested we meet for dinner. It would be a delight to see Valene again and catch up!

We met at her hotel, the DoubleTree, in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, right across the Potomac from Washington, DC. We enjoyed dinner at the Sky Dome restaurant atop the hotel, with a 360 degree view over Washington as the sun set. A wonderful backdrop for our reunion! She has no sign of letting up!

troysgonewalkabout says:
No doubt a remarkable person!
Posted on: Jul 11, 2011
Stigen says:
Valene sounds like a pioneer in travelling , quite amazing ! bet one could learn lots from her about how to best soak up a new culture.
Posted on: Sep 29, 2010
traveller142009 says:
The Skydome restaurant on top of the Double Tree Hotel in Cystal City is one of my favorite spots...what spectacular view of the city and the US Airforce memorial!
Posted on: Sep 22, 2010
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Valene and I
Valene and I
Me, Susan, and Valene at the Skydo…
Me, Susan, and Valene at the Skyd…
View over Washington, DC
View over Washington, DC
The Pentagon
The Pentagon
Sunset over the Air Force Memorial
Sunset over the Air Force Memorial
Arlington Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Wonderful View, Wonderful Food!
The Skydome Lounge atop the DoubleTree Hotel is the only revolving roof-top restaurant in the Washington, DC, area. Tables line the circular panoramic… read entire review
photo by: Andy99