Introducing our very own Multicultural Travel Maven

kalincapetown Editor’s Note: My biggest and most exciting plan for celebrating forty? Travel, travel, travel! Many of you share those plans even beyond your 40th birthday. You’re planning on expanding your horizons and embarking on new adventures, and travel is one of the best ways to do that. That’s why I’ve tapped Kalin Thomas, a friend and travel expert, to become Women at Forty’s Travel & Leisure Editor. This former CNN travel correspondent has visited six continents – including Antarctica, and owns her own multimedia company.  In her recurring column, Kalin’s Chronicles: Tips & Tales from The Multicultural Maven, Kalin will help us all experience travel with new eyes. (Image: Kalin in South Africa)

An introduction from the maven herself – Hello you 40 and fabulous women! I’m excited to be a part of this blog and want to give you a little background on myself. My love for travel started with family road trips when I was about six years old. My parents would pack up the car with suitcases and sandwiches while my sister, brother, and I would pile in for our annual summer trip. We’d make the two- to three-hour trip north in my father’s ’65 mustang from Baltimore, Maryland to Atlantic City, New Jersey. This was in the days before casinos, when it was still a family destination.

Boy did I look forward to that trip. It was all I could do not to sleep in my clothes (and bathing suit) the night before. We were one big happy family, until the usual choruses of “Are we there yet?” and “She’s touching me!” made us all cranky. Atlantic City is where I first experienced the salty ocean and the city’s famous Salt Water Taffy. Those trips, which lasted until I graduated from college, also gave me a love for quirky roadside attractions.

But it was as a college student that I took my first flight. I had to travel to Milwaukee for the Society of Professional Journalists convention. I’d never traveled further than the east coast, so this was a true adventure for me. As the plane lifted for take-off I sang the U.S. Air Force song, “….Up we go into the wild blue yonder…” It’s a song I still sing in my head whenever I fly. I know it’s the 21st century, but it still amazes me that I can be halfway across the country or the world in just a few hours.

After college, I was hired by CNN, and eventually became their first African American travel correspondent. It was through CNN that I was able to travel the world and really appreciate cultural diversity. After 17 wonderful years at CNN I was downsized, so I started my own multimedia company, See the World Productions, that includes travel writing for various print and web media such as Soul of America. As a result, multicultural travel has become my passion — a passion that I’m looking forward to sharing with you.

I’ll share tips and tales to help you experience travel with new eyes. Watch for future posts to include historic travel, budget travel, shopping tours, volunteer vacations, and travel safety. I also want to hear about your own tips and tales. So let’s take this adventure together. And remember: Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness – Mark Twain.