Ed Ronco

All Things Considered Host

Ed Ronco came to KPLU in October 2013 as producer and reporter for KPLU’s Morning Edition. Ed started in public radio in 2009 at KCAW in Sitka, Alaska, where he covered everything from city government, to education, crime, science, the arts and more. Prior to public radio, Ed worked in newspapers, including four years at the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, where he covered business, then politics and government.

Ed grew up in Wyandotte, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University.

Ways to Connect

James Melzer / Flickr

Here at Going Places world headquarters (really just the KPLU newsroom, but go with it, OK?) we're big fans of travel experiences that allow for some unexpected discovery. But it's still good to be informed about your destination before you arrive, says our travel expert, Matthew Brumley.

Here are some tips on how:

Read Local News And Listen To Local Music

Brumley downloads local radio station apps and reads local newspapers before he heads to a vacation destination.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

Edvard Munch loved to paint outdoors.

“He actually left his paintings outside in all kinds of weather,” said Margaret Bullock, curator of collections at the Tacoma Art Museum. “There’s pictures of him painting in the snow, and pictures leaning up against the wall, in snowdrifts.”

They were exposed to salt air. Sand. Dirt. Bird droppings.

“He thought it was good for their character,” Bullock said.

For A Good Summer Getaway, Consider Staying Nearby

Apr 21, 2016
Cameron Birse / Flickr

The unseasonably warm weather of the last few days has KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley thinking about summer. Now is the time, he says, to start planning a summer vacation. And he says staying put in the Northwest is a great option.

This week, we offer advice for planning your trip, and a list of nearby getaways Brumley has found worthwhile.

Book Now, Cancel Later

Holland America

Christina Opalka has been researching travel trends for the cruise industry since the 1990s. This week, she offers her perspectives on why it’s worth your time to make your next vacation buoyant.

Not All Cruises Are The Same

There are megaships you can stay aboard for the entire trip, with restaurants, theaters, spas, pools and more. And then there are smaller ships focused on remote natural wonders, where you can get in a kayak with a guide and paddle near a glacier.

Natural Beauty And Turbulent History In South Africa

Apr 7, 2016
Matthew Brumley / KPLU

South Africa’s history includes apartheid, civil unrest, and political scandals. Just this week, President Jacob Zuma survived an impeachment vote on charges he used public money to upgrade his private home.

But the country is also a favorite among travelers, including our own travel expert Matthew Brumley, who was recently in Cape Town.

"I've been coming here for 10 years," he said, "and I'm going to figure out a way to move here at some point in my life. I'm sitting here looking at Table Mountain with what they call 'the tablecloth' over the top."

Chris Ford / Flickr

“I hope I miss my flight sometimes.”

Not words you expect to hear from a flyer as frequent as our travel expert, Matthew Brumley. But he's a huge fan of layovers, including those that begin when the pilot comes on and announces a flight delay before takeoff.

“I’m always very happy about that, because I’m thinking, ‘I think I’m going to miss my connection,’” he said. “I love layovers.”

It helps to know the city, or to even have friends there, Brumley said. But even if you don’t, a layover – accidental or planned – can be a great way to see a new place.

Ron Edmonds / AP File Photo

Washington Democrats head to caucuses on Saturday to figure out who their convention delegates will support for president. Republicans will decide how their delegates are awarded when the state primary happens in late May. Washington state has both a caucus and a primary.

Why?

Pat Robertson.

Or at least, he’s a large part of the reason. Back in 1988, the televangelist was running for president as a Republican. Much of his campaign was centered on socially conservative issues, such as abortion.

Brumley: 'Something Big Is Happening' In Cuba

Mar 24, 2016
Ramon Espinosa / AP

 

During his historic visit to Cuba this week, President Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro -- and ordinary Cubans, who are about to see big changes in their country. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has visited the country dozens of times. In fact, he returned from his most recent trip the day before Obama arrived.

"Everywhere in Havana, they were desperately trying to fix everything," he said. "Ernest Hemingway's house was getting a fresh coat of white paint."

Photo provided

The book that put the plays of William Shakespeare into print for the very first time, nearly 400 years ago, is on display now at the Seattle Public Library. Many historians believe without it, we would not know about half of Shakespeare’s plays. KPLU’s Ed Ronco went to take a look, and he enlisted some help.

Ingmar Zahorsky / Flickr

Maybe it’s the busy primary election season that has us in this mindset, but we’ve been thinking a lot about voting lately. And our Going Places team wondered what it’s like in other parts of the world.

This week we hear from Danna Brumley, who is an experienced guide and world traveler, much like her husband, KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

She and her family wound up in Costa Rica during an election once. She says the country is already festive for travelers, but on Election Day, it's like "New Year's Eve, all day long."

Dave Blanchard / OPB

New charges were announced last week in connection with the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Harney County, Ore.

It is the latest turn of events in a saga that began last January, when armed militants took over the headquarters of the refuge – events that are documented in “41 Days,” a radio documentary from Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Don Wilson / Port of Seattle

[Editor's note: This story has been updated with more information about loopholes how airlines and travel websites deal with 24-hour cancelations.]

Finding a good deal on airfare can be tricky. The prices change quickly. There are conflicting reports on when airlines post their sales and specials. It all seems kind of arbitrary. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says it’s all a matter of knowing where (and how) to look.

1. Shop Around

Screenshots

Way back when (you know, 10 years ago), travelers carried these things called guide books. Maybe some of them still do, but most of that information now lives in your smartphone. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has some favorites. Here they are:

1. KAYAK

What it does: The search website’s app lets you look for flights, car rentals, hotels and more.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

Seattle’s South Lake Union area is home to a notable retailer, but not the big online one you’re thinking about. This is a store called Shine, and it’s part of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

The interior of the store looks like a regular boutique: rich, dark brown wood paneling, with focused lights that make sweaters and scarves and books pop off the shelves. But the store specializes in items that are “oncology specific.”

Michael Janke / Flickr

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has a confession to make.

"I was a travel snob," he said. "I was one of those who said I'll get to places like Hawaii or Puerto Rico or the Caribbean when I'm in my golden years and I've seen everything else on the planet."

He went to Hawaii for the first time about five years ago, and returned just last week.

Credit: Flickr/Cloudzilla

If you’ve ever woken up to a mystery — maybe some kind of strange object in your yard, or an act of overnight vandalism and you don’t know how it got there — well then this story is for you.

Meet a woman in Seattle who put up some cameras to keep an eye on her cats. And the cameras run day and night. In person, her neighborhood seems quiet, but as seen on TV, we discover it is not.

Andrew Harnik / AP

President Barack Obama plans to visit Cuba next month. The trip is expected to be officially announced today – part of multi-nation trip through Latin America. His visit there would be historic. The last time a sitting president went to Cuba was Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

Leiris202 / Flickr

It’s time to discuss something controversial. A topic so polarizing it has the potential to tear the very fabric of our society: The selfie.

Visit any place that attracts tourists – Pike Place Market, St. Peter’s Basilica, Tokyo’s Shibuya district – and you’ll see people with cameras held aloft. Sometimes those cameras are at the ends of poles. And the people are very often photographing … themselves.

Love them or hate them – and KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley hates them – selfies have become part of our culture.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

Though he's now a proud Washingtonian, KPLU's Ed Ronco is a Michigander by birth, and every year at this time, he goes looking for a particular Polish pastry traditionally sold in southeast Michigan on Fat Tuesday. 

Today is Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. Or, if you’re from where I grew up, in metro Detroit, today is Pączki Day.

Jason Mrachina / Flickr

Groundhog Day was this week and, in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow. Legend says that means an early spring. Whether or not Phil’s prediction is accurate, KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley is thinking about spring break.

The lead-up to a vacation can be stressful, Brumley said.

Handout photo

The blue-haired drag queen stood in the middle of the street in a sequined dress, a quilted rainbow affixed to her bosom. She was angry. So was the protester in front of her, a smaller man carrying a megaphone and a sign reading “REPENT.”

Just before the start of Seattle’s most recent Pride Parade downtown, a group of protestors came marching down Fourth Avenue, urging the crowd to rebuke homosexuality and profess a belief in Jesus Christ.

Mark Healey / Flickr

We have mail! A KPLU listener named Trapper writes:

We're traveling to Norway for a couple weeks with our 2 boys in August (ages 6 and 8). We figured that since we need to layover in Reykjavik, we should take a few days to tour Iceland. Does it make sense to do this for only 2 full days?

“Yes,” says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley. “Iceland is super kid-friendly, it’s a perfect layover, it’s relaxing, and that time of year the days are long and you can spend some time outside.”

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

National Parks date back to 1872, so it might seem a little unusual that they’re celebrating their centennial this year. It’s because the agency that manages them – the U.S. National Park Service – wasn’t created until 1916. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says the more than 400 national parks are great places to spend a vacation, offering nature, and a lot more.

Presidents And Rails

So who gets credit for creating the national parks?

Ed Ronco / KPLU

The World Happiness Report ranks Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark and Norway as the happiest nations. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says his experience has been different. 

“I went to school in Denmark,” he said. “I would not peg any of these countries as what I think of as the happiest places on earth.”

David Schenfeld / Flickr

In the world of global tourism there are the old standbys – global capitals that have been captivating visitors for decades. But KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says there are some emerging destinations that could see more travelers in the new year.

Myanmar

Andrew W. Sieber / Flickr

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley tends toward independent travel in his own life – the kind where you can break with your itinerary for an afternoon, or decide spontaneously to spend an extra day in a city you like.

But this week, he’s talking about cruise travel – which often comes with a very specific itinerary.

“It’s a great way to travel if you have multiple generations with you,” he said. “It’s a turnkey solution to a big family trip. And often times it’s super cheap.”

Repositioning Cruises

Earthbound Expeditions

In Prague, it’s the main square. In Paris, it’s the region around the Louvre. In New York, it’s Times Square. And here in Seattle, it’s the Space Needle or Pike Place Market.

Every city has its tourist hot-spots. And while you wouldn’t want to go to Rome and skip the Colosseum, KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley urges people to look deeper.

Rebecca Boyd / Flickr

We heard a while back from Jessica, a listener who tweeted the following message: “I like #GoingPlaces that involve more than standing/looking at things. But not an adrenaline junky. Interesting trip ideas?”

Good news, Jessica: KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says you don’t have to go far. But you can if you want to. More on that later.

Wintertime Fun

Brumley’s family has been trying cross-country skiing. It’s relatively easy, but still gives you a workout, and it costs way less than its downhill counterpart.

Deanna Keahey / Flickr

Winter in the Northwest is famously gray and drizzly. And that causes many of us to look for a temporary reprieve. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says how far you travel to find it depends entirely on what you’re looking for.

Cold Sunshine

Sometimes, all we need is a little sunshine. If that’s the case, you’re in luck, Brumley says. Here are some nearby recommendations.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

Social media, easy-to-carry camera phones, and other technological advances make it easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family. It’s also easy to stay in touch with work. And that can be a problem when you’re on vacation, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

"I see it wherever I go," Brumley said. "People on beaches in Hawaii or Mexico ... texting or working, and paying more attention to their gadgets and phones than they are to their surroundings and the people sitting with them at that very moment."

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