I just wish to thank you for the new column (Her World) concerning travel for single women. As a single woman with a deep desire to explore the world but fearful to begin, I can't begin to express how much I welcome this new feature.
JEANNIE RYAN, Manhattan Beach
I loved your new column by Susan Spano, and oh how true. I've found after 30-plus years of marriage, that traveling with male companions is definitely different. It's still enjoyable but with different goals and attitudes.
In June and July 1996, I traveled with my 18-year-old daughter to the British Isles. One Sunday morning while motoring through a tiny Irish town, we screeched to a halt so that she could dash across the street to buy Wexford strawberries from a local lad on a corner.
There was also the time this year when we waited two hours to ride the roller coaster at New York, New York in Las Vegas and then stopped in Stateline to ride the roller coaster there. Had my husband been along on these trips: No way. Mother-daughter travel for us is great. I hope we still travel together when I'm 80.
NANCY SUTER, Lancaster
I noticed a new column titled "Her World." Aren't we being blasted enough with minority-slanted articles in the rest of your paper? Can't you spare one weekly section from your liberal spins? Must I be relegated to the classified section for unbiased reporting? It is beginning to appear that way with the Orange County edition.
ROBERT MORGAN LUND, San Juan Capistrano
Your May 10 feature article on mother-daughter travel, introducing a new column, was on a terrific subject. How interesting an article about mom's travels with a son would be.
I shall soon leave with one of my three adult sons on a visit to London, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Munich and Rome. Four weeks together! There will be long hours of train rides. I used to travel with my late husband for 42 years, mostly to distant places, very happily.
We made gypsies of our sons when they were just past 10 (camping in Russia, 1970). They are experienced world travelers and linguists on their own.
HELGA KASIMOFF, Los Angeles
I wanted to let you know how good the article was on "Travels With Mom" and the thrill I had [at] the end of March when my daughter left her husband and sons in capable hands and took me on a museum trip to Santa Fe and Taos, N.M. To have one's child see a parent as a friend, whose opinions mattered, and to enjoy the companionship of each other with others in the group made it a very special experience. I wish it on everyone.
ESTHER TABAK, Newport Beach
I enjoyed your article about mother-daughter travel.
However, I must object to your leaving out the place that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote of in three of her "Little House" series, the De Smet, S.D., area. There are several buildings mentioned in these books that are still standing, including the house Pa Ingalls built in town. They are open for tours in the summer, and a pageant is presented every summer also.
I lived in South Dakota for 68 years, and visited De Smet several times.
MARY LOU ANDREWS, Altadena
Just a note to say how much I enjoyed your column on solo travel ("A Walking Tour Is an Easy First Step for Women Who Fear Solo Travel," Her World, May 17). It is about time. I'm tired of all these trips that are "so affordable" --$150-a-night double, etc.
I'm with you. In the last 10 years plus, I've been on every continent at least two times (except Antarctica) and 95% on my own, backpacking. It's the only way to travel.
I guess my highlight (if there is one) was going over to Africa for five weeks--Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania--even stayed in Rome on the way. I followed itineraries on the tour brochures and got $15,000-plus worth of travel for just a little over $3,000, if you can believe that. I even climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro by myself (I was 65 years old), all the way to the top.
As a suggestion, try Venezuela. It's like New Zealand in the way that there are so many different things to see.
As I go around I see many girls trying our way, maybe even more than men, but they're not from the United States.
RAY SCHNIEDERS, Burbanks
No, I didn't exactly go alone on my walking trip, post divorce. But I was the single, in a tiny group walking in England's Cotswolds, which turned out to be eight senior ladies, one friend of the guide learning the trade, and our guide, a Brit now living in Oregon.
We saw Alice-in-Wonderland villages, stately gardens and grand ruins. We walked those marvelous English trails, though for several days it rained fiercely, and we were slogging through mud. Those ordnance maps are a true wonder--even when you have a guide, it helps you understand the terrain.
Two Texas ladies had been walking in Wales for four days before they met us in Salisbury. Five ladies who had been college friends long, long ago were going on after the walk, one to Turkey; the other four will go to London for four days.
MARTY RAUCH, Los Angeles
I am boiling mad after having read the article by your new writer Susan Spano, "Customized Tours Offer Freedom . . . " (Her World, May 24). This was personally insulting to me and many other women who really are independent travelers.
First of all, the word "independent" means being free of the control of others, and being on a tour, no matter what Spano calls it, is allowing yourself to be led around by others.
Let me tell you what it means to be an independent traveler. It means I call the airline myself and buy my tickets direct. It means no one meets me at any airport, and I find my own way into town and find my accommodations without the prearranged help of anyone. If I were to choose to book a hotel in advance, which I never do, I would be the one who books it, not some travel agent that tries to fool people into thinking they are being independent on a customized tour!
I am presently putting together my own itinerary for a three-month trip to Africa. I guarantee no one's doing it for me. That is independent.
DONNA GOODENOUGH, Sun City