Seven Days of California Adventure

New adventures await in California, even for Travel Club guide and travel editor Todd Walker

A vineyard in California at sunrise with rolling hills in the background.

photo by garytog – fotolia

So much of Minnesota Monthly is about travel, and now instead of just showing you what the world looks like through photos and words, we want you to experience it with us. That’s why the Minnesota Monthly Travel Club was created.

Starting with an inaugural seven-day trip to California featuring Lake Tahoe, the Napa Valley Wine Train, San Francisco, and more, the Travel Club is a group of Minnesota Monthly readers that will take in what the world has to offer together. With a worry-free itinerary and financial package set-up, travelers can hit both the iconic attractions and undiscovered gems of each destination.

Minnesota Monthly’s travel editor Todd P. Walker will guide every trip, and, as Walker puts it, it’s great to go on a trip with people just as excited about taking it all in as you are. Recently Walker has done a three-week trip to Norway on a quest to see what makes them the “happiest country in the world,” but he has also gone to places such as Greece, Italy, Germany, Ireland, and all over the United States.

Even though the California trip is still ramping up—registration ends Aug. 17—Walker is already helping plan the next trips for the Travel Club. He’s thinking Munich for Oktoberfest, a venture out to Cape Cod and the East Coast, and a Vikings River Cruise in Europe.

“As a journalist, you’re kind of always pulling back the curtain and exploring things that maybe others don’t have the opportunity to see or hear or do, and then you have the chance to share it with others,” Walker says, “whether that means being on top of the circus tent of Cirque du Soleil or moving my background in reporting and journalism into exploring new destinations to share it with others and to experience it with people in the Travel Club.”

In your own words, what is your role with the Minnesota Monthly Travel Club?

My involvement would be to assist in finding exciting destinations and interesting destinations that would appeal to the Minnesota Monthly reader and join the great group of people in exploring new territory—exploring places in the United States and abroad.

Have you been to California before?

I’ve done the wine region a couple of times, and I’m excited to return. Each trip it seems like I’ve been able to explore new wineries, interesting properties…There’s a host of so many different things to do. On the last trip, I did a whole biking day between different vineyards, which all sounds really great, but then you’re at the last vineyard and you need to return.

As a California veteran, what are you looking forward to with this trip?

Something interesting will be Lake Tahoe, so that’s new to me. I’m excited to explore the food scene and the wineries that I’ve never been to. I’m excited to get to know some people in the Travel Club and to talk to them about other destinations they would like to explore in the future.

What advice would you give to travelers, whether they’re in the Travel Club or otherwise?

Challenge yourself to explore. I have explored and visited different destinations with low expectations and have left completely enchanted by the areas, so just allow yourself to explore and to see it. Allow yourself to explore and challenge yourself to do things you wouldn’t ever be able to do if you weren’t traveling.