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Distant Lands

Co-Owner Susan Hickman runs Distant Lands’ in-house travel agency, allowing customers to come in with an idea and walk out with an adventure in just one visit. – Photo by Emily G. Peters


Get Ready to Travel to Distant Lands

By Emily G. Peters

It’s not just a bookstore. It’s not just a luggage shop, or even a travel agency. Distant Lands is a resource; a travel emporium designed to equip those suffering from acute wanderlust.
Distant Lands Travel Bookstore and Outfitter is one of those shops that makes you glad to live near Old Town Pasadena. Founded by Adrian Kalvinskas, this son of certified world traveler Louanne Kalvinskas spent his youth trekking the globe before graduating with a degree in history in late 1980s. Moved by his love for travel and books, Kalvinskas opened for business in 1989, ultimately joined by his wife, Susan Hickman, and mother. Together they expanded from bookstore to their present state as complete travel outfitter.
“Since the beginning, Distant Lands has offered the best in travel guides, travel writing, journals, phrasebooks and more,” said Hickman. “We also carry a wide variety of maps, atlases and comprehensive selection of travel accessories, day bags, luggage and travel clothing.”


Distant Lands offers an expansive selection of travel guides, travel literature, journals, phrasebooks and more. – Photo by Emily G. Peters

More than retail, Distant Lands provides end-to-end travel services to the community. A freshly renovated website makes it simple for travelers to purchase travel goods online. Monday nights are reserved for in-store speakers, spotlighting authors, photographers, world travelers and packing experts who freely share their expertise. And perhaps most conveniently of all, Hickman runs a travel agency right in the shop—a service she finds increasingly significant.
“We’re most scared of things we don’t know much about,” she said. “More travelers will create understanding and leave less space for fear and suspicion. We want to help Americans be well-informed ambassadors to the rest of the world and welcome travelers from other countries and parts of the U.S. to Pasadena and California.”
With plenty of self-appointed travel experts and slick travel scams online, a store like Distant Lands becomes especially relevant to help travelers protect their vacation time.
“There are lots of true clichés about travel—it makes the world smaller, brings people together, shows us how people in different cultures have more commonalities than differences,” said Hickman. “But if you’re uninformed, you can end up miserable and get ripped off. We want to equip travelers with the best information, gear and clothing they need to relax and enjoy their travel experience.”

Distant Lands is a travel emporium, going beyond books to include travel accessories, maps, atlases, luggage and other travel essentials.
– Photo by Emily G. Peters

In an era of online shopping, rising rent and staffing expenses, one could question their stability for the future. Yet Hickman remains confident that travelers’ need a way to sort through the glut of inaccurate travel information.
“We will continue to help travelers find the best information along with the most useful tools and equipment for their journey,” she said. For the Distant Lands owners, the motivation for this is simple. “Ultimately, we want to help people travel well.”
Distant Lands Travel Bookstore and Outfitter is located at 20 S. Raymond Ave. in Old Town Pasadena. To prepare for your next trip, contact them at (800) 310-3220 and get inspired to travel via Facebook @Distantlandstravel and Twitter @travelnik.

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