Editors’ Column: Helping you plan your next adventure

Remember your last great vacation? Perhaps it was a trip to the Georgia coast. Or a weekend getaway to the mountains. Or maybe something far more adventurous, such as a trip abroad.

You may have visited new states, new countries or even new continents.

Wherever your journeys have taken you, you certainly made new memories.

And therein lies the beauty of travel.

Research shows traveling not only helps us recharge our batteries, but it also makes us happier. In fact, merely planning a trip can have a profound and positive effect on our psyche. For some of us, the build-up can be just as much fun as the excursion itself.

Indeed, our vacations create lasting memories – and endless Facebook posts.

Travel, after all, brings us joy and shapes our lives. And we hope our glossy, 102-page Travel magazine will inspire the adventurer in all of us.

Our Travel magazine will be delivered to your home on May 14. It represents our ongoing efforts to provide more more enjoyment to the Sunday newspaper.

Last year, we published two glossy magazines, one dedicated to travel, another to food.

Readers loved them.

“This is eye candy sprinkled with sugar,” one reader wrote after devouring our Food & Drink magazine.

We also received plenty of positive feedback in February, when we published a special 64-page Oscars section and a 48-page puzzle book.

"I don't know whose decision it was to include that special section on Oscar Sunday but it was brilliant," one reader said. (Because that note came during performance review time at the AJC, I was sure to share it with my boss.) "The section was full of interesting reading and definitely great fun. I sure hope this is done again in future years."

Another reader wrote: “Thank you very much for the Oscars insert. This movie fan really enjoyed reading so much about all of the motion pictures.”

Our puzzle book, too, was a hit with readers.

“Great idea … and so much fun,” one reader said.

But one note was incredibly touching.

“I just want to say thank you for the puzzle book in my Sunday paper. This section is giving me so much enjoyment already. It’s a very thoughtful and caring addition for ‘shut ins’ such as myself. My father was a subscriber, and as a 14-year-old, I wrote a letter to the editor. When it was printed, I received $1.

“Here I am again writing you at age 90, still enjoying the AJC and remembering how we enjoyed receiving the AJC in our home as a child … No, I am not expecting another $1 for writing.”

Given that kind of feedback, it’s only natural that we’ve decided to include another puzzle book for our Sunday home-delivery customers. This one will appear on May 14, the same day as our Travel magazine, and it features 48 pages of new puzzles.

As for the Travel magazine, what can you expect to find?

Let’s just say the content is as diverse as the world itself.

Join us as we visit Ireland’s Wicklow Way, where gorgeous countryside, historic sites and, yes, great ale, make for a memorable trek.

Journey to Banff, a Canadian skiers’ paradise that offers more than just snowy slopes. (We’ll help you find the best places to shop and eat.)

Hop aboard a train on a winding excursion from Chicago to San Francisco – and soak up all the sites along the way.

Or board Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise vessel. (At times, you’ll swear you’re strolling through a quaint neighborhood or dining at some exclusive, impossible-to-get-a-table restaurant.)

Indeed, the ideal vacation allows us to escape the grind of daily life. That doesn’t always mean venturing far from home.

In our Travel magazine, we’ll explore easy-to-reach destinations where we metro Atlantans can leave our worries behind.

Be sure to spend some time with our illustrated guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Or our story on some of the most relaxing places in the Southeast. Or our tips for taking that perfect drive on Highway 27 through Georgia.

In this issue, you’ll also find some familiar names.

Daren Wong, director of the AJC Decatur Book Festival, journeys to the German Alps and shares the delights of hiking up mountains to take in the ancient tradition of bringing cattle down from mountain pastures.

John Kessler, the former food writer at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, visits coastal Tanzania to explore the Arab-influenced architecture, and, of course, the food.

And Tasgola Bruner, a former AJC reporter, paints an intimate portrait of Cuba – from its music to its people. She’ll share how this tiny nation is adapting to big changes.

We were so inspired by Bruner’s story that we not only chose to make it our cover story for the magazine, but we also decided to offer one lucky reader from across our newspaper markets a trip to Cuba. (You’ll find details inside the Travel magazine.)

Throughout the magazine, we’ll provide you with plenty of insider tips to make the most of your journey.

But the magazine is far more than just a printed product. In fact, you’ll find plenty of digital extras to keep you engaged. On myAJC.com, we’ve produced a special digital presentation of the Travel magazine featuring photo galleries and videos of some of the most beautiful places on the planet. And both the puzzle book and the magazine will be posted on the AJCePaper, the digital replica of our printed newspaper.

We hope you enjoy these premium offerings. We also hope our Travel magazine provides you with plenty of inspiration – whether you’re dreaming of a vacation across the globe or close to home.

Remember, it’s never too early to start planning your next big adventure.

After all, just dreaming of that next journey will make you happier.