The first time I interviewed Ziggy Marley was 20 years ago, when we were both 26. He was touring behind Joy & Blues, his fourth album with the Melody Makers (working alongside siblings Cedella, Stephen and Sharon Marley). I was in my second year as a music journalist, just dipping my toes into the waters of celebrity interviews. As a huge Bob Marley fan I was in awe, sitting on a sofa, shrouded in smoke, literally surrounded by his offspring.
Ziggy has done a lot over the past two decades. His political activism led to work with the United Nations. He and his family launched the Ghetto Youths Crew and Tuff Gong Worldwide (a spin-off of Bob’s Tuff Gong International) record labels. He won five Grammy Awards and a Daytime Emmy Award. He released a pro-marijuana song in support of California’s Proposition 19 initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, and a comic book called Marijuanaman. And he recently released his fifth solo album, Fly Rasta.
When I talked to Ziggy back in 1994, I was struck by how humble, down-to-earth and affable he was. During our conversation 20 years later, I realized he hasn’t changed a bit. Here are the highlights of our chat, which ranged from his endlessly positive attitude and love of nature to ecotourism in Jamaica and the legalization of marijuana in two U.S. states.
Sometimes, the happy accidents of travel are far more rewarding than our planned intentions. We learned this lesson first-hand when we visited Aegina Island, located in the Saronic Gulf 17 miles (27 km) from Athens.
We weren’t supposed to be on Aegina. The original plan was to board the Galileo, a 40-passenger Variety Cruises yacht, and set sail for the Cyclades, an archipelago of islands in the South Aegean Sea.
Unfortunately, the mid-October weather was not on our side. Though the sun was beaming down intensely and the skies were a deep shade of Mediterranean blue, the changing seasons brought winds and 6-foot swells that would’ve turned the classic schooner into a rollicking roller coaster ride.
Instead, the Captain chose to head south from the port of Piraeus, sweeping around the Saronic Islands. In retrospect, we were glad he did…
Let’s face it, the world can be an ugly place. From flame wars on social media to heartbreaking stories on the nightly news, humanity’s awfulness can occasionally be overwhelming. Every once in a while we like to take breaks from stories about poaching, habitat loss, and the effects of global warming to marvel at the incredible array of beauty that still exists on this planet we call home. And so it is that we present to you 26 Wonderfully Weird Animals (from A to Z)– many of which are endangered– that we believe make this world a more interesting place…
Imagine yourself astride a magnificent Arabian horse, his mane blowing in the wind and tickling your hands as they hold the elaborately tasseled reins, your eyes falling on the magnificent sight of the Pyramids of Giza looming before you. This is the sort of horseback riding experience that’s meant to be savored for a lifetime.
Now imagine that the reins are attached to a bit that fits uncomfortably in the horse’s mouth. He shifts from side to side to take the weight off of his painfully overgrown hooves. He hasn’t had adequate hay for days, or possibly even weeks. And he’s been beaten to force him to perform. The experience doesn’t sound so ideal anymore, does it?
As responsible travelers increasingly eschew attractions that profit from captive animals, the tide is slowly shifting towards an industry that favors viewing animals in their natural habitats. Companies like Sea World are seeing their business models crumble, and attractions like Thailand’s Tiger Temple watch their visitor numbers decline steadily as people become more and more committed to ethical practices regarding the exploitation of animals.
Unfortunately, for domestic animals like horses, things widely remain unchanged. It’s easy to see that a dolphin in a tank a caged tiger are in unnatural, uncomfortable surroundings. But, for the layperson, it’s not as readily apparent when a horse at a tourist attraction is unhealthy, in pain, or lacking basic care. When tourists choose an irresponsibly managed horse activity, they may unknowingly be contributing to improper care or abuse of these amazing creatures.
If you’re considering joining a horse tour or taking a horseback ride during your travels, these are a few simple ways to tell if the horse you’ll be riding is properly cared for. And choosing a responsible horseback riding tour can make all the difference between perpetuating the cycle of poor horse management or ensuring that the horse will enjoy the experience just as much as you do. Here are a few tips on what to look for:
With its historic art deco buildings, hip indie sensibilities and thriving restaurant scene, Asheville, North Carolina is a burgeoning progressive Mecca in the traditionally conservative Southeast. With a tiny population of just 84,000, the city has earned comparisons to hipster hotbeds such as Portland (another mountain town famous for its gorgeous natural surroundings, thriving cultural scene, and forward-thinking environmental consciousness). Nicknamed “the Land of the Sky,” this eclectic, colorful community is surrounded by some of America’s most unspoiled natural beauty, which turns truly spectacular as the autumn colors change. Here are five of our favorite Asheville ecotourism attractions, all located within an hour’s drive of the city: