Letters Page | May/June 2013

Tom Schierlitz

The Departures 100

After absorbing every morsel of information from cover to cover in the January/February issue, I am now refreshed and ready for the new year. I have updated my bucket list, topping it off with trips to Yellowstone, Wolfgang Puck’s Spago and Australia. Thank you for a wonderful magazine.

Weston, MA

Packing with Heart

Pack for a Purpose asks travelers to bring much-needed supplies, “from pencils to stethoscopes,” to wherever they may be headed [“The Most Meaningful Thing in Your Suitcase,” The Departures 100, January/February; packforapurpose.org]. Rebecca Rothney, the organization’s founder, forwarded Departures a letter she received from a volunteer, which we share with you here. —The Editors

It is our first time to India. The trip is in honor of my mom; she passed away and left a little inheritance that will allow us to take this trip with my two stepchildren and my husband. My mom’s life was dedicated to helping others. She worked in the field of senior citizens—it was her passion. I hope to carry on her mission. I read about your organization in Departures, and I think what you are doing is such a great idea. I hope many others see this piece and are inspired to contribute. Please let me know what I can bring…and we’ll start packing.

Glen Cove, NY

I want to thank you for this highly enjoyable magazine. I particularly loved The Departures 100, and I have already bookmarked “The Most Meaningful Thing in Your Suitcase,” featuring Pack for a Purpose. I plan to consult this website prior to any travel and will make packing vital supplies a family activity for each trip we take together.

San Jose, CA

Cairo Considered

After seeing “Cairo: Should I Stay or Should I Go?” [March/April], we could not resist sending you pictures of our fondest memory in Egypt—our wedding! We love Cairo and were so pleased to see your magazine celebrate its beauty. Love, love Departures.

New York, NY

Today the March/April Style Issue arrived at my office, and we all agreed it was one of your best. But the article on Cairo raised some heated discussion. On a scale of 1 to 10, Cairo rated the lowest for every possible condition: air pollution, discourteousness, difficult travel, etc. Perhaps there are tour guides and packages for a few brave souls…but even then, why? There are many more interesting, more beautiful, more comfortable and safer-to-visit destinations out there.

Baltimore, MD

“Cairo: Should I Stay or Should I Go?” struck a chord. After three years of studying Arabic, I visited the city for a monthlong language and culture-immersion course. The university administration had spent the majority of the fall semester debating this trip, but in the end we went. I was elated. I found Cairo almost entirely free of violence—apart from a few minor clashes around the Parliament building and the hospital where Hosni Mubarak was being treated. I never felt uncomfortable, even as an obviously foreign young woman. It seemed to me no worse than the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. One day I visited Tahrir Square. It was calm, and the people there were eager to discuss the current political situation in Arabic. We had the museums and sites to ourselves. This may be one of the best times to explore Egypt in all its splendor.

Hamilton, NY

We received the latest Departures, and your commentary on Egypt deeply resonated with us. We traveled to the country with Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco and left two days before the advent of the Arab Spring (which I tease and blame Prince Albert for, ha!). I often wonder to what Egypt I might return on my next visit, but trust the country is embracing her unique position on all fronts.

New York, NY

Colombia Revisited

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your article on Colombia [“Colombia: A Brave New World,” November/December 2012]. I was an exchange student in Medellín in 1976 and lived with a very común y corriente (which means “ordinary people”) Paisa family. Your wonderment about how such an open, loving people could succumb to such mind-numbing violence in the Pablo Escobar era resonated deeply with me. I too go back as often as I can. Many thanks for putting words to such a complex country.

Upper Montclair, NJ

Claims to Fame

Only a first-class publication would include “Does Celebrity Sell Luxury?” [March/April]. I heard you, and I applaud you. People with taste, even more than those with money, do not want or need a celebrity to sell a good product. I have felt this way for years, and it has influenced which luxury brands I am loyal to. I love Hermès; the brand’s models have the look of class and distinction, and that is enough. Today even the top-of-the-line fashion magazines have tried to sell issues with celebrity covers, and after 20 years, I guess it works. But it does get dull! Thank you, Departures, for remaining sensational and fun through it all.

Boca Raton, FL