The Purpose of Traveling

A 100-Mile Walk Through Scotland Was Neither Business Nor Pleasure

I hop on planes a lot because life is hard. I don’t mean that I jet off to Cancun or Bermuda to recuperate from the burdens of the daily grind. What I mean is that I often go to far-off places that can teach me how to better endure the things in life I find most unendurable.

Last week, my wife and I walked 102 tough miles in eight days in the lush, rain-soaked Scottish Highlands. There’s nothing quite like an eight-hour hike in the pouring rain to get you thinking …

The Vivid Dispatches from Space That Made Me Want to Become a Scientist

Images From Historic Voyager 1 and 2 Missions Introduced Me to the Vastness of Space—and the Exciting Reality of Its Deep Exploration

I remember hearing about the launches of the twin Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft on the evening news in 1977. I was 12 then, and in love with the …

A Nuclear Warhead in Suburban Orange County?

In the Hills Above Brea Lies a Spot That Could Have Started World War III

From here, atop a concrete tower in the Brea Hills, I have a commanding view of Southern California. Behind me, I can see, faintly, the top of the monumental skyscrapers …

Is the Final Frontier Under the Sea?

Before We Got to the Moon, Americans Made Scientific History Exploring the Ocean Floor

Fabien Cousteau, the eldest grandson of legendary ocean explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, just wrapped up an unusually long underwater stay, logging 31 days living and working at the world’s only undersea …

I Climbed the Golden Gate Bridge

Those ‘No Trespassing’ Signs Are an Invitation to Urban Explorers

Minutes after my plane landed in San Francisco, I took out my phone and texted my friend Andres: “Let’s try the bridge tonight.”

I was back in the Bay Area for …

Someone Get Columbus a Better Publicist

His Reputation Hasn’t Been This Bad Since the 1490s—and We Have the Textbooks To Prove It.

During my three years as a teacher at low-income schools in Washington, D.C., my students read about Sojourner Truth, Abraham Lincoln, César Chávez, and other famous Americans. But we never …