How do you like our new focus?

We've known for a while now that Monitor readers like to pack their bags and hit the road - or the seas, or the jungles, or the high-altitude trails.

But to what end? In short, to learn about their world. From surveys, from your letters and e-mails, from talking with some of you on the phone, we have discerned that you prefer to travel with a purpose. Lolling on a beach in some distant clime may be part of the idea, but you like even that to be mixed with a big dollop of culture, or historical perspective, or the opportunity to learn a new skill.

With today's travel section, we introduce a new emphasis on lifelong learning - aimed at the reader who wants to be a traveler, not a tourist. It's an approach we think fits snugly with the Monitor's overarching desire to bring clarity and deeper understanding of the world to our readers.

In coming months, our writers will tell you what it's like to learn to speak Spanish in Mexico, take a writing workshop in the land of James Joyce, and find the best jazz New Orleans has to offer. The focus will be on culture, history, nature, and education. We will feature art and architecture, music and food.

We hope to show you different ways of looking at what may be familiar destinations. Italy is one of those much-traveled lands, and today, although we take you to the ever-popular Venice - you see it through the life of composer Antonio Vivaldi.

Please tell us what you like, or don't, about this section, about our new emphasis, and especially what you want to see in future travel sections. E-mail your comments to

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