Go Away With … Dan Storper


By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
July 8, 2014

Entrepreneur Dan Storper has always loved traveling and music. With Putumayo World Music — his independent record label that specializes in world music — Storper has been able to combine his two passions. “Most of my travel over the years has centered around business,” says Storper, 62. “But I love researching museums and hotels and usually let the people I’m meeting suggest the restaurants.” Storper enjoys living part time in New York City, but he calls New Orleans — where he resides with his family — home. Putumayo’s latest release is the children’s CD “Australian Playground.” Music lovers may follow the label on Twitter.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. I have many, but our family really enjoyed our last couple of trips to Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen in Mexico. We have an 8-year-old son, William, who fell in love with Mexico, much as I did when I young. I look forward to taking him to some of my favorite places I visited on my trips to Latin America: Oaxaca, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende and San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico, Antigua, Panajachel and Chicastenango in Guatemala, Otavalo and Quito in Ecuador, Cuzco in Peru and La Paz, Bolivia.

Q. To someone who was going there for the first time, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?

A. In Playa del Carmen, we spent an enjoyable day at Xcaret, a nature park filled with an array of attractions. We also like the historic ruins of Tulum, but we also love hanging out at the beach and pool, reading, playing games and unwinding.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. My first real trip was a cross-country trip with a group of 15-year-old kids. We traveled by train so we got to see the great expanse of America and many of the national parks. I cried when I finally got to Yellowstone as I was a nature lover and there was so much of beauty to see. The next year I went with my aunt and uncle to Mexico and that changed my life and led me to major in Latin American studies and start a career importing handicrafts from the countries I’d studied.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

A. There’s a surprise around every corner. Be prepared enough so you feel relaxed to wander. Travel light. Walk a lot, but don’t carry much. Keep your eyes open. Don’t be afraid. Talk to people.

Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your work?

A. The little indigenous village of Sibundoy in the Putumayo River Valley transformed my life by launching me on a craft importing business I named after this lovely town that is known for its handicrafts. Unfortunately, it’s not a safe place to visit at this time, although most of Colombia is, and there are plenty of wonderful cities and towns there to visit.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. Long weekends in Vermont or Maine from New York, and Apalachicola, Florida and Cajun country from New Orleans.

Q. If you’ve ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?

A. Grindelwald, Switzerland, and Lofer, Austria, were the most memorable. The skiing was incredible, the villages and views gorgeous and the food wonderful. In Lofer, we stayed at a B-and-B lodge where the owner served what he caught or hunted.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. New Orleans, where I live. Also, Paris, Barcelona, St. Petersburg and Melbourne.

Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?

A. Surprisingly, probably South Africa.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. While I’ve traveled to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa on business, I’d love to explore those countries further. And I haven’t been to Prague and Budapest, which is a huge oversight.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. A guidebook, map and a basic travel plan with potential for improvisation.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. Bread, bread and more bread, especially in France.

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. The best was my honeymoon in a laid-back hotel in Playa del Carmen. The worst was a trip to Italy with my wife. Don’t ask, but it did involve bed bugs, bird droppings on my wife’s head, a truly bad hotel, driving in Rome, getting lost a few times, mixed up hotel reservations and more.


© 2014 JAE-HA KIM

Comments (7)

  1. Leyla Tran says:

    I love putumayo!! Great CDs!

    • Jae-Ha Kim says:

      They do have great CDs. Very unique. Not a lot of places do world music. I have the “Australian Playground” one for my son. We love it!

      And seriously, this guy has traveled EVERYWHERE. I’m so jealous!

  2. Owen Marshall says:

    I adore Putumayo! I look forward to this.

  3. Jenn Galstad says:

    Reading your articles on Baltimore suns from time to time . Thank you for being an inspiration to Asian Americans ;)”= – not talking about this guy , you ! Jaeha.

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