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Introducing Sandy Bornstein

Arvada Lifestyle’s Food & Travel Contributor

Article by Sandy Bornstein

Photography by The Traveling Bornsteins

Originally published in Arvada Lifestyle

Starting in the October issue, I will be sharing my food and travel adventures with Arvada Lifestyle readers. Unlike a significant number of my travel writing peers who repurpose information from Google searches and list articles, my stories are based on authentic travel experiences. For decades, I have been exploring the world. I chose to become a travel writer after living as an expat in India. I was eager to write about my adventures and to share helpful travel tips.

Growing up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, I never imagined a day when I would stand face-to-face with monkeys while teaching 5th grade students at a notable international boarding school in Bangalore, India, nor did I envision living in a developing country when I was an empty nester. Circumstances beyond my control opened up the opportunity to leave behind my Colorado version of the American dream and to temporarily relocate to Asia. 

From a 6,000 square foot metro Denver home, I slowly adjusted to a 300 square foot dorm room on the outskirts of Bangalore. I found myself in a lifestyle way outside my comfort zone. While coping with my intense culture shock, I focused on three passions – a desire to travel, a zeal for writing, and a love of teaching. 

After returning to the U.S, I shared the lessons I learned about perseverance, travel, education, faith, and family in my award-winning memoir, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life . I also started to write about our travels and the importance of stepping outside my comfort zone.

Prior to living in India, I taught K-12 students in the United States as well as college-level courses at the University of Colorado and Front Range Community College. After being an expat educator, I had hoped to return to an American classroom. When my efforts to find a teaching position were unsuccessful, I focused on my travels and writing. 

As empty nesters, my husband, Ira, and I have more flexibility. We tour cities and also enjoy the outdoors by trekking in forests, skiing down mountain slopes, snorkeling in the ocean, and horseback riding on trails. Along the way, we savor the cuisine and explore the local culture. Our accommodations are diverse— memorable inns, posh resorts, dude ranches, historical properties, and rented homes.

Our journeys have taken us across the globe to places frequently visited as well as to roads less traveled. In Asia, we have scampered up the uneven steps of the Great Wall of China, crouched through the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam, visited the Taj Mahal in India’s Golden Triangle, floated in the Dead Sea near Israel’s Masada, and checked out Egypt’s pyramid and the Great Sphinx. While in Europe, we hiked Mount Vesuvius, shed tears at Dachau, Germany, toured Castelo de S. Jorge, a Lisbon castle, explored Teide National Park in the Canary Islands, and sampled food at London’s Borough Market. 

South of the U.S. Border, we have traveled on cruise ships to the Galapagos Islands, the Caribbean Islands, and rounded Cape Horn. A comprehensive land trip to Costa Rica introduced us to the flora and fauna of Central America. A shorter land excursion opened our eyes to Peruvian history when we toured Machu Picchu during a rainstorm.  

From the east to the west coast, we have experienced bits and pieces of Canadian culture. In Quebec City, we bicycled to Montmorency Falls while in Lake Louise we trekked more than a dozen miles so we could witness the incredible beauty of the region. Farther west, we appreciated Canada’s most temperate climate by exploring Vancouver Island.

Our domestic travels have likewise given us a wonderful sense of America’s diversity. We appreciated our opportunity to see Alaska’s glaciers from a helicopter, snorkel with rare Hawaiian monk seals, explore Native American culture at Colorado’s Mesa Verde, sample South Carolina’s Lowcountry cuisine, and learn more about American history at East Coast landmarks. Whenever time permits, we embark on journeys that add to our understanding of the world. The destination is only part of our experience.

Unless we are participating in a prearranged tour, we remain flexible and let our days unfold. Sometimes, our best memories and images come from the unexpected. Even though the pandemic caused the travel industry to grind to a halt we found safe ways to travel to several domestic destinations—Moab, Utah, Telluride, Colorado, Vista Verde Ranch near Steamboat, Skiing at Vail and Keystone, South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, Florida, and the Ko’a Kea Hotel and Resort on the Island of Kauai.

Last summer, Ira was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an incurable brain cancer. He responded remarkably to his brain surgery and standard of care treatments. Currently, he wears an FDA approved device on his head designed to polarize the lingering cancer cells. At the beginning of the year, I added a new thread to my writing, the importance of embracing life when faced with an incurable brain cancer diagnosis. 

I will continue to write about active adventures, food/beverages, cruises, culture/historical sites, intergenerational travel, places to stay, getaways and wellness travel. These stories appear online and in print publications. PDF versions of many of these published stories are located on TheTravelingBornsteins.com portfolio page.

In October, remember to look for my first Arvada Lifestyle travel story. In the meantime, feel free to connect on LinkedIn and Instagram or to send an email to sandy@thetravelingbornsteins.com.

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