When I need a quick vacation, I look at a photo on my office desk. It shows my daughter on a train headed to Glacier National Park, and the vision sends me there all over again: the chugging of the train, the majestic mountains, the family fun.
Photographs have real power to take us away and to tell a story. Fortunately, in our digital world, you can take a thousand and keep on clicking. Sharing them is easy, too.
Last week, my family and I traveled to a resort Up North and brought along a friend of my daughter. I snapped photos of the happy duo with my cellphone and zipped them off to the girl's parents so they could see she was having fun -- and staying safe.
My extended-family vacation to Madeline Island last summer is in the midst of being memorialized with a photobook, created with snapshots we all downloaded at Shutterfly.com.
Some people share photos another way, too: via the Star Tribune reader photo gallery called Viewfinders. The beauty and geographic diversity on display there never cease to astound me. Recent photos show a woman jumping into the waters of Chequamegon Bay in northern Wisconsin, leopards in Botswana and a temple in Delhi, India. (See the gallery at www.startribune.com/travel by scrolling down and clicking on "Viewfinders" under "Travel features.")
Each week Travel highlights a top pick on this page, and each January, we showcase the best of the year in full color.
We hope that you'll share your photos with us, too. It's easy and it'll let us all take a momentary vacation, even as we sit at our desks.
Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.