Editors' Choice Flying Carpet Articles

The Exquisite Loneliness of Nyai Loro's Beach
Melinda Misuraca writes about how solitude can be a risky business. [Read on]
Added on April 22, 2014

The Great Escape
Biju Sukumaran writes about how for travelers no matter how intrepid, an adventure in the Mongolian countryside is a humbling experience that'll haunt their dreams long after they're gone. [Read on]
Added on April 15, 2014

The Same River, Twice
Pam Mandel traveled overland through Pakistan and then, crossed the Himalayas on foot from Leh to Manali. She had cheap gear, a bad boyfriend, and absolutely no idea what she was doing. [Read on]
Added on April 08, 2014

Of Danger and Beauty
Anna Elkins arrived as a tourist to Israel just in time for an eight-day war. Witnessing the Iron Cloud in action led to a discovery of danger and beauty in a country rife with both. [Read on]
Added on April 01, 2014

Inside the Tower
Keith Skinner writes about a pilgrimage to Robinson Jeffers' Tor House. [Read on]
Added on March 25, 2014

From the Ashes
James Dorsey writes about the life of Pan, a Cambodian Buddhist monk who survived the Pol Pot genocide. [Read on]
Added on March 17, 2014

Fish Trader Ray
Lisa Alpine writes about her Amazon man. [Read on]
Added on March 10, 2014

The Tea in Me
Bill Giebler travels in India and sees his life revealed through the processing of tea. [Read on]
Added on March 01, 2014

A Saharan Love Story
Ted Beatie writes about how a chance meeting in a deserted Moroccan bus station led to a unique wedding present. [Read on]
Added on February 10, 2014

A Shared Indian Cake Is Never Forgotten
Margaret Wagner writes about her Sixth Birthday in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. [Read on]
Added on January 15, 2014

Misha and the Young Belarussians
Michelle McAlister writes about how every April 26th, the world remembers the meltdown at Chernobyl. [Read on]
Added on January 06, 2014

Adaptor Plug Not So
Sarah Enelow, an unemployed American woman tries to buy an A/C adapter in Beijing during a month-long visit, and discovers what career ambition in the 21st century really means. [Read on]
Added on December 05, 2013

Islands in Time
Catherine Watson writes about when distance is a comfort. [Read on]
Added on November 21, 2013

The Remover of Obstacles
Amanda Mander struggles with her cross-cultural romance on a trip to India to meet her fiancé's parents. [Read on]
Added on November 15, 2013

Gore Vidal’s Old House
Mary Jo McConahay writes about the day a great writer died, and a meditation on the house in Antigua, Guatemala, where he lived as a young man, at the beginning of his career. [Read on]
Added on October 27, 2013

In Search of The Scream in Norway
Chris Epting is known for tracking down the sites of famous events or settings goes in search of the spot in Norway that inspired one of the world's most famous paintings. [Read on]
Added on October 07, 2013

Pricier than Prada
Peggy Jaffe tells us how there is a high cost to living La Dolce Vita [Read on]
Added on September 13, 2013

Cuba Libre
Jessica Dur Taylor shares her experiences about dining, ditching, and disillusionment in Havana. [Read on]
Added on September 03, 2013

Decoding Lagom
Lola Akinmade Akerstrom writes about understanding the untranslatable ethos called "lagom" that permeates all facets of the Swedish psyche. [Read on]
Added on August 20, 2013

Seven
Pam Mandel makes a trip to Antarctica, the seventh continent, and it is an easier undertaking than the great explorers could imagine. But this dubious accomplishment still holds weight and a great amount of feeling. [Read on]
Added on August 05, 2013

Flying Dutchman
Catherine Watson reminds us how early we start to be ourselves [Read on]
Added on July 23, 2013

Infectious Laughter
Bruce Berger believes that sometimes medicine leads to the deadliest of humor. [Read on]
Added on July 15, 2013

Brazzaville Blues
Marie Javins's overland trip across Africa starts to unravel on the train to Brazzaville. [Read on]
Added on July 04, 2013

Like Their Own
After severe sickness and loneliness in a forein country Saya Des Marais discovers belonging and compassion from a local family. [Read on]
Added on June 21, 2013

Trumpets of Warning
A charging bull elephant can ruin your marriage! [Read on]
Added on June 18, 2013

The Wind Horses of Mustang
Molly Beer was in love with Tibet, and as she began to study the history through the lens of horses, her love for Tibet grew stronger. [Read on]
Added on June 06, 2013

Before the Rain
Bunny McBride experiences the beauty of nature unfold in front of her eyes in northern Tanzania. [Read on]
Added on May 27, 2013

On the Trail of a Man Called Snake
Taylor Jennings crosses ethnic lines to find a notorious guerrilla leader. [Read on]
Added on May 17, 2013

Walking the Roof of Africa
Laura Lee Huttenbach's unprepared trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro turns into an adventure of a lifetime. [Read on]
Added on April 29, 2013

Of Desert Nomads and Whales
James Dorsey finds from the back of a camel the Sahara seemed endless; an infinite sea of low rolling dunes baked by a swirling sun that would be at home in a Van Gogh painting. [Read on]
Added on April 18, 2013

Moving West, Writing East
Tom Miller moves west to escape the East, and stays west to inform the East. [Read on]
Added on April 11, 2013

Storykeepers
Erin Byrne uncovers an extraordinary effort to keep alive memories of WWII heroes in Paris. [Read on]
Added on April 09, 2013

Barren in the Andes
Laura Resau rediscovers what she truly wants in life. [Read on]
Added on March 20, 2013

Into the Hills
By Matthew Crompton “The ball that we hurled into infinite space, doesn’t it fill our hand differently with its return: heavier by the weight of where it has been?” —Rilke [1] Calcutta The impression of Calcutta, arriving on a sweltering... [Read on]
Added on March 06, 2013

Out of Smyrna
Gloria Kirchheimer discovers that her ancestral homeland in present-day Turkey turns out to be both startlingly familiar and shockingly alien. [Read on]
Added on February 11, 2013

Paris, With Parents
Colette O'Connor experiences the ups and downs of her parents marriage in the bed department of Bazaar Hotel de Ville. [Read on]
Added on January 09, 2013

Grandma Steps In
Margaret Wagner finds new respect in her Grandma and the power of helping a stranger. [Read on]
Added on October 08, 2012

Letting Go on the Ganges
Kristin Zibell finds her ticket to transformation while in India. [Read on]
Added on September 17, 2012

Warm Enough
Suzanne LaFetra and her mother leave sunny California for a trip to Minnesota. [Read on]
Added on September 06, 2012

A Sea Change
Judith Works shares how she floated into retirement. [Read on]
Added on August 31, 2012

Dear Madame Renaud
Erin Byrne finds comfort in a woman from Normandy, France who eased the suffering of American families whose loved ones died during the Liberation of France, twenty years after the woman's death. [Read on]
Added on August 20, 2012

One of Them
Mary Anne Mercer struggles to adapt to an alien culture as a volunteering nurse in Nepal. [Read on]
Added on August 12, 2012

My Friend, Moses
James Dorsey gets a Maasai education. [Read on]
Added on August 03, 2012

Embargoed Brothers
Tim Weed goes into off-limits Cuba. [Read on]
Added on July 27, 2012

No Agenda
Kim Brown Seely takes a girls' trip to Italy [Read on]
Added on July 19, 2012

Surreal for Real: The Hidden Jungle Dreamland of Las Pozas
Tim Leffel discovers the sculpture garden of Sir Edward James, hidden in a remote Mexican jungle. [Read on]
Added on July 12, 2012

How I Missed the Punchline in Russia
Kevin McCaughey learns he is not allowed to understand Russian humor. [Read on]
Added on July 05, 2012

Becoming Dostoyevsky in St. Petersburg
Veronica Hackethal follows the trail of Dostoyevsky's characters in wintry St. Petersburg. [Read on]
Added on June 28, 2012

The Tundra
Kathleen Spivack walks in the Colorado mountains with her father, talking me about leaving Europe during "The War." [Read on]
Added on June 21, 2012

Death and Life on the Nile
Veronica Hackethal encounters Agatha Christie's Egypt with her sister and mother, three months before the recent revolution. [Read on]
Added on June 15, 2012

Persepolis
Laura Lee Huttenbach and her Mother take a Cruise to Iran. [Read on]
Added on May 31, 2012

Force 10!
Lois Hofmann experiences a night of sheer terror while sailing off the Colombian coast [Read on]
Added on May 24, 2012

Travels With Emmy
Elizabeth Creely's hiking trip turns disastrous for two sisters in California's Desolation Wilderness. [Read on]
Added on May 18, 2012

Dreaming of Djurjura Cafe
Rosalie Justus Hikes sola in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, worrying about same-species predators and other problems. [Read on]
Added on May 10, 2012

Touched by a Gorilla
Kim Brown Seely is grabbed by Rwanda. [Read on]
Added on May 03, 2012

How Not to Almost Die Twice in an Elephant Rampage
Wendy Inouye tramples around on foot in the middle of the African bush. [Read on]
Added on April 26, 2012

Climbing Vaea
Catherine Watson takes a Pilgrimage to Vailima. [Read on]
Added on April 12, 2012

Beyond Timbuktu
James Dorsey journeys into the Muslim Sahara. [Read on]
Added on April 04, 2012

Rabies
John Calderazzo is reminded how quickly life can change. [Read on]
Added on March 28, 2012

Moving West, Writing East
Tom Miller remembers the life of a writer in the Southwest of the 1960s and '70s. [Read on]
Added on March 21, 2012

Mysterious Fast Mumble
Bruce Berger tries to solve a linguistic puzzle in the Baja backcountry. [Read on]
Added on March 14, 2012

Spirals — Memoir of a Celtic Soul
Erin Byrne explores the myths or her youth. [Read on]
Added on March 07, 2012

Protected
Peter Wortsman discovers how strange the twists of fates can be. [Read on]
Added on March 01, 2012

Counting Stars
Sabine Bergmann travels through a freezing Bolivia at a time of political upheaval. [Read on]
Added on February 10, 2012

The Bush Taxi that Went Pop, Pop
Tom Weller travels between cities and learns to heed warnings. [Read on]
Added on January 20, 2012

Imagining Bohemia
Pamela Gerhardt relives her days in Prague in the early years after communism. [Read on]
Added on December 27, 2011

The Fun Run
Kathleen Kelly finds true inspiration to finish the race. [Read on]
Added on December 09, 2011

Beyond Thunder
Jeffe Aronson searches for light and finds adventure. [Read on]
Added on November 06, 2011

Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Puking: A Whale Watching Tour in Monterey
Marianne Ruane decides to start life at age forty. [Read on]
Added on October 21, 2011

Elephant Driving 101
Kate Crawford shares a song with Yom, the elephant she has learned to ride. [Read on]
Added on September 01, 2011

Death Road
Sabine Bergmann assesses the cost of thrill-seeking. [Read on]
Added on August 11, 2011

Close Encounter of the Yakuza Kind
Anne Van learns about the Tokyo underground from a yakuza veteran. [Read on]
Added on July 21, 2011

Sinyala Fault
Jeffe Aronson learns that the Grand Canyon is no place to be sick, lost, and alone. [Read on]
Added on July 11, 2011

True Stories
Kathleen Spivack explores the therapeutic benefits of writing. [Read on]
Added on March 30, 2011

Beneath the Rim
Michael Shapiro takes a journey down the Colorado River with the ghost of Captain John Wesley Powell. [Read on]
Added on March 16, 2011

Masha
Marcia DeSanctis reveals the untold story of two women, one skirt, and Cold War Moscow. [Read on]
Added on March 09, 2011

The Memory Bird
Carolyn Kraus uncovers secrets, and memories, on a trip to Belarus. [Read on]
Added on February 28, 2011

Tengenenge, Village of Stone Sculptures
Barbara Cunliffe Singleton learns how to find faces in African stone. [Read on]
Added on February 21, 2011

Running in Puglia
Mary Jean Pramik embraces a spiritual experience in Southern Italy. [Read on]
Added on February 10, 2011

Walkway to Nowhere
Lola Akinmade observes a day in the life of Lagos. [Read on]
Added on February 03, 2011

Wisdom, from Defeat
Cheryn Flanagan finds newfound wisdom in defeat—and Gung (Kung) Fu. [Read on]
Added on December 26, 2010

Traveling Companions
Bonnie Smetts discovers grace - and what she should and shouldn't read en route. [Read on]
Added on December 18, 2010

Notes on an Andean Pilgrim
Tom Miller remembers richly a poor man's writer. [Read on]
Added on December 12, 2010

French Dolls
Catherine Watson recollects the dolls and the stalls from her father. [Read on]
Added on December 05, 2010

Dance Cadaverous
Kevin Kaiser's weekend excursions to Los Angeles and his body's limits. [Read on]
Added on November 28, 2010

Where Have the “Vieilles Filles” Gone?
Kathy Comstock remembers French women of another age. [Read on]
Added on November 20, 2010

Identity Games
Pearl Chen opens herself to her homeland. [Read on]
Added on November 13, 2010

Design a Vagina
Johanna Gohmann travels to join in on the smorgasbord of vulva art. [Read on]
Added on November 07, 2010

The Unexpected at Delphi
Nancy Middleton finds the almost-missed power of Delphi. [Read on]
Added on October 31, 2010

Winged Victory
Erin Byrne discovers the new art of pilgrimage - and personal transformation - in Paris. [Read on]
Added on October 23, 2010

Ditching Mom
Rick Steigelman looks for ways to leave momma off the pub trail in England. [Read on]
Added on September 19, 2010

Thank the Good Lord for Duct Tape
Brege Shinn is trying to figure out what to wear - without clothes. [Read on]
Added on September 11, 2010

The Moustache Brothers of Mandalay
Shauna Sweeney searches Burma for the Moustache Brothers. [Read on]
Added on August 27, 2010

At Home in Afghanistan
Diane LeBow's encounters in the real Afghanistan. [Read on]
Added on August 22, 2010

Tibetan Bargain with a Twist
April Orcutt learns the real deal in Tibet. [Read on]
Added on August 15, 2010

The Tiny Red Kettle
Jan Burak Schwert discovers an emerging Sarajevo. [Read on]
Added on July 29, 2010

Unbalanced in the Sinking City
Tim Leffel looks below the tilting surface of Mexico City. [Read on]
Added on July 22, 2010

Hulk and Me
Terri Hinte romances a dog in Rio. [Read on]
Added on July 15, 2010

Surviving the Mystical Experience
Kevin Sebesky ignores the rules of the mesa - and returns to tell the tale. [Read on]
Added on July 08, 2010

Showdown at the West Esplanade Canal
Darrin DuFord reveals if 200 tons of chili can save a city. [Read on]
Added on June 23, 2010

Shadow Animals
Kevin McCaughey brings in the new century with a very different Natasha. [Read on]
Added on June 23, 2010

Hot and Cold Cans of God
Bonnie Morris unlocks the coffee bonanza of East Asia. [Read on]
Added on June 16, 2010

Siliguri
Megan Lyles asks who can you trust when you're traveling solo through India. [Read on]
Added on June 09, 2010

A Border Rat in the Twilight Zone
Tom Miller remembers his 40 years exploring the US-Mexico border. [Read on]
Added on June 04, 2010

The Marvel of Seville
Jennifer Arin discovers that Flamenco performance and Gypsy life are all part of the scene. [Read on]
Added on May 24, 2010

Tres Cheap: A Travel Writer Storms the Caribbean
Charles Kulander reveals how he gets his material. [Read on]
Added on May 05, 2010

The Rarest of Editions
Erin Byrne discovers a bookstore unlike any other, in Paris. [Read on]
Added on April 23, 2010

The Suffer Fest
Mary Caperton Morton accepts the challenge, scales the peak, and finds a lifetime of inspiration. [Read on]
Added on April 09, 2010

Searching for the Holy Ghost: Jerusalem’s Two Tombs
Maureen Littlejohn learns that sometimes a symbol is more important than authenticity. [Read on]
Added on April 01, 2010

Fruits of Childhood
Mo Tejani remembers that nothing transports you faster to a distant time and place than scents and flavors. [Read on]
Added on March 24, 2010

The Train at Night
Gina Briefs-Elgin discovers that sleeping on a train can be a mystical experience, or a challenging one. [Read on]
Added on March 17, 2010

We Wait for Spring, Moldova and Me
Kevin McCaughey discovers that there are many lessons to be learned teaching in the former Soviet Union. [Read on]
Added on March 10, 2010

Ashes of San Miguel
Tawni Vee Waters comes to terms with Death. [Read on]
Added on March 01, 2010

Meeting the Marabout
Gwen Hopkins receives a surprising revelation in a meeting with an Islamic holy man in Senegal. [Read on]
Added on February 10, 2010

Into Borneo
Ken Matusow does his best to get away from it all. [Read on]
Added on January 15, 2010

Bellissima
Bonnie Smetts learns that shopping in Italy is a culture unto itself. [Read on]
Added on December 17, 2009

If He Cries, They Kill Him
Ken Lovering discovers that in unfamiliar cultures, honesty has its risks. [Read on]
Added on November 30, 2009

12 Hours in Barcelona
Marianne Rogoff makes the most of the time she has. [Read on]
Added on November 04, 2009

Los Muertos
Barbara Robertson encounters the ghost of a memory, a long ago Day of the Dead in Mexico. [Read on]
Added on October 30, 2009

The Chaperone
Jann Huizenga learns a little about Italian bureaucracy. [Read on]
Added on October 14, 2009

Living Twice in Ghana
Matthew Link decides that Ghana is where he'd like to be buried. [Read on]
Added on September 25, 2009

Lost and Found in Prague
Jan Burak Schwert learns that it's often hard to know who will help and who won't. [Read on]
Added on September 13, 2009

Rumble in the Jungle
Phil Goldman learns that sometimes it's hard to tell who is the guide and who is the guided. [Read on]
Added on September 03, 2009

A Cultural Lesson Lying in the Gutter
Sandy Sims discovers that sometimes you have to step out of the crowd. [Read on]
Added on August 21, 2009

The American Engine
Tom Bentley goes out looking for the American character, and becomes one himself. [Read on]
Added on August 12, 2009

Subdued by Street Vendors
Darrin DuFord discovers that he doesn't have to go inside to eat in Nicaragua's highlands. [Read on]
Added on July 31, 2009

Cripple Creek
Michelle McAlister learns that sometimes you can find hope in the most unlikely places. [Read on]
Added on July 21, 2009

Chadian Soccer Lessons
Tom Weller remembers that it was the spectacle that mattered. [Read on]
Added on June 29, 2009

The Great Butter Caper of Chartres
Eileeen Cunniffe discovers that dining in France is always a unique experience, with or without the butter. [Read on]
Added on June 15, 2009

Let's Spend the Night Together
Chris Epting goes in search of rock star rooms with a grisly past, or “places to check out”—permanently. [Read on]
Added on May 28, 2009

True Home
Marianne Dresser discovers that a place we really belong is sometimes hard to find. [Read on]
Added on May 13, 2009

Bread, Clay and the Spanish Civil War
Diana Cohen makes lifelong friends in an Andalucian village and learns secrets from Spain's dark history. [Read on]
Added on May 04, 2009

Freedom of Religion in Cuba
by Peter Delevett Things have changed in Cuba: you can worship as you wish. Editor's note: Peter Delevett, an editor and sometime-travel writer with the San Jose Mercury News, visited Cuba in 2003 right before former President George W. Bush... [Read on]
Added on April 17, 2009

Highly Unusual
Sophia Tellen finds a home in Barbados. [Read on]
Added on April 09, 2009

A Vast Difference
Deborah Fryer remembers summer camp as one of her first travel adventures. [Read on]
Added on March 30, 2009

The Empty Rocker
Kathleen Spivack learns that lives of quiet desperation are sometimes not what you think. [Read on]
Added on March 18, 2009

Discalced
Bruce Berger discovers that some things never change, and that is a good thing. [Read on]
Added on March 09, 2009

The Bamenda Syndrome
David Torrey Peters discovers that insanity is very much a point of view. [Read on]
Added on February 27, 2009

The Coffee King of Irapuato
Pickett Porterfield rediscovers that life usually comes one day at a time. [Read on]
Added on February 16, 2009

Out of India
Elizabeth Galewski learns how hard it is to leave a place even when you're gone. [Read on]
Added on January 28, 2009

Beijing Hostage
Michael Shapiro discovers it's hard to know if he was conned. [Read on]
Added on January 14, 2009

The Richest Gift
Richard Sterling remembers a small kindness he once offered in a time of war, and its surprising ramifications many years later. [Read on]
Added on December 31, 2008

A Brie-f Moment
Cecilia Worth learns that opportunities for kindness exist just about everywhere. [Read on]
Added on December 15, 2008

Comb of Rebellion
Darrin DuFord discovers that when it comes to a haircut in the tropics, sometimes it takes a machete. [Read on]
Added on December 05, 2008

Red Beacon of Europe
Jann Huizenga learns that her friends in Tirana built Albania's socialist state, then grew up and tore it down. [Read on]
Added on November 24, 2008

The Streets of Paris
Adrian Cole relearns the meaning of freedom from his seatmate on a plane leaving the United States. [Read on]
Added on November 17, 2008

A Visit to Brokeleg Mountain
John Dalton remembers that he's only as old as he thinks he is. [Read on]
Added on November 07, 2008

The Light in Florence and the Golden Age of Man
Tuan Phan discovers that it's all a question of dogs and donkeys. [Read on]
Added on October 27, 2008

Don't Dread the Dread, Mon
Jennifer Wells learns how to differentiate the hustlers from the hustled in a Harare nightclub. [Read on]
Added on October 18, 2008

Into the Sahara
When the opportunity arises to don blue robes and enter bandit country, what do you do? [Read on]
Added on October 08, 2008

Follow the Calves
by Simon Hodgson There are many eyes in the jungle, lots of them on you. There are no crocodiles in my creek. For minutes I stare in silence at the brackish water before me, hoping, dreading, to see air bubbles.... [Read on]
Added on October 01, 2008

A Good Place
Pickett Porterfield discovers that sometimes you have to sit down and watch the movie. [Read on]
Added on September 12, 2008

A Bottle of Calvados
Tom Cheche asks directions, and reaps rewards. [Read on]
Added on September 03, 2008

Honey and Blood
Tracy Barnett finds hope at the fabled bridge of Mostar. [Read on]
Added on August 25, 2008

Vampires from Venus
Zack Kushner discovers how to escape from Ethiopia. [Read on]
Added on August 11, 2008

Escape from Darien
Cameron McPherson Smith stares shipwreck in the face. [Read on]
Added on July 28, 2008

Big Cats, No Guns
Laurie McAndish King learns what it feels like to be on the menu. [Read on]
Added on July 20, 2008

Billi Billi
Tom Weller obtains a true taste of local culture. [Read on]
Added on July 11, 2008

Is This a Great Country?
Larry Habegger remembers a past 4th of July, and muses on the value of liberty. [Read on]
Added on July 04, 2008

Easter Island: Where the Roads Diverged
Catherine Watson learns that finding her true home was one thing—staying there was quite another. [Read on]
Added on June 20, 2008

The Barbershop Butcher of Delhi
Jeff Vize learns that things change when the routine becomes mechanical. [Read on]
Added on June 06, 2008

The Ringer
Jennifer Williams gets in the game in Kenya and makes a breakthrough. [Read on]
Added on May 30, 2008

Eight Seconds
Peter Bronski discovers that the briefest of moments can seem an eternity. [Read on]
Added on May 21, 2008

Antarctica Concerto
Cecilia Worth finds something more than wilderness in the far reaches of the planet. [Read on]
Added on May 12, 2008

Crazy Diamond
Adrian Cole explores the notion of finding himself in Texas. [Read on]
Added on May 02, 2008

Greek Hospitality
Sophia Tellen relives a journey from long ago and appreciates anew the kindness of the Greek people. [Read on]
Added on April 24, 2008

Cefalo
Eliot Stein learns that traditions come and go, like the tides. [Read on]
Added on April 15, 2008

The Worst Motorcycle in Laos
Christopher Tharp encounters the ride of his life. [Read on]
Added on April 07, 2008

Gods Who Smell Like Goats
Mary Patrice Erdmans joins the river of souls that is the Way of St. James. [Read on]
Added on March 21, 2008

Philomen and Baucis
Pamela Cordell Avis reveals a modern tale of metamorphosis. [Read on]
Added on March 16, 2008

Ghost on Ice
Cameron M. Smith embraces the challenges of spending the winter on Alaska's North Slope. [Read on]
Added on March 07, 2008

Red Lights and a Rose
Joel Carillet discovers the meaning of paradise through a human encounter in Bangkok. [Read on]
Added on February 29, 2008

Mama Rosa's Coconut Bread
Celeste Brash discovers that her spirits rise with the dough. [Read on]
Added on February 05, 2008

Stalking Asparagus
Jann Huizenga discovers that the secret to life can be found in a wild Sicilian plant. [Read on]
Added on January 22, 2008

Africa by Bus
Mo Tejani learns that small tyrants illustrate large problems. [Read on]
Added on January 07, 2008

Camino Encounters
Sophia Tellen finds her way on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. [Read on]
Added on December 21, 2007

El Otro Lado (The Other Side)
Pamela Alma Bass learns that patience is learned in the knitting of a sweater, the telling of life stories. [Read on]
Added on December 10, 2007

The Galapagos by Small Ship
Peter Mandel decides he as to go see for himself. [Read on]
Added on November 29, 2007

Hardcore Pig Problem
Dave Mondy discovers that when it comes to barbecue, sometimes enough isn't enough. [Read on]
Added on November 19, 2007

Thank God for the War
Lone Mørch Schneider discovers that roots run deeper than we sometimes think. [Read on]
Added on November 06, 2007

It's the Little Things
Jann Huizenga discovers that Sicily reminds her what it means to be human. [Read on]
Added on October 18, 2007

Borrowing Time in Balestrand
Augusto Andres reflects on the bittersweet passing of our seasons. [Read on]
Added on October 02, 2007

Why Tuk-Tuks Make the Big Bucks
Kristin Barendsen takes an unforgettable driving lesson from an unforgettable teacher. [Read on]
Added on September 19, 2007

Miami in Heat
Dave Mondy gets his head spun at South Beach on a simple visit to his brother. [Read on]
Added on September 12, 2007

Someone Who Cared
Sophia Tellen remembers the aftermath of the Hungarian revolt in 1956 and the refugee crisis it spawned. [Read on]
Added on September 04, 2007

Driving Lessons
Janet Riehl discovers that the lessons of childhood are never forgotten. [Read on]
Added on August 28, 2007

Red-Faced in the Red Light District
Jeff Vize discovers that finding the right place to stay sometimes requires a little local knowledge. [Read on]
Added on August 06, 2007

Tea for One
Lara Endreszl takes shelter from the January cold in a dreamy Vienna cafe. [Read on]
Added on July 26, 2007

The Magic
Elizabeth Striebel searches for that elusive quality we're all seeking in the tropics. [Read on]
Added on July 12, 2007

Jungle River
Peter Mandel discovers that the Amazon is a blur of animals and fish and trees. [Read on]
Added on June 28, 2007

True Relic
Mary Beth Ray discovers that a simple hello can lead to surprising connections. [Read on]
Added on June 13, 2007

Chartres: Ecstasy at the Altar
Bill Zarchy discovers that it isn't the usual cathedral tour. [Read on]
Added on June 01, 2007

Anusha, Saver of Splashed Cats
Kevin McCaughey needs a happy ending in the worst way. [Read on]
Added on May 16, 2007

Finding My Rock
Jennifer Baljko discovers that when she needs to quiet her mind, it helps to return to her childhood, and to that of her father's. [Read on]
Added on May 08, 2007

Meet the (Foreign) Parents
Jeff Vize learns what happens when a road romance becomes true love. [Read on]
Added on April 30, 2007

Shoes Like Gondolas
Jan Huizenga learns the essence of style in Sicily. [Read on]
Added on April 19, 2007

Superior Sanctuary
Michele Bergstrom finds her own divinity on an island in Lake Superior. [Read on]
Added on April 06, 2007

The Unquenchable Sea
Matthew Link discovers that the ocean has a peculiar attraction, and is full of lessons. [Read on]
Added on March 24, 2007

Castles in the Sky
Jennifer Baljko observes how performance art, acrobatic prowess, and political defiance merge in the streets of Barcelona. [Read on]
Added on March 16, 2007

Flamenco Form
Nancy Penrose finds her calling in Spain. [Read on]
Added on March 09, 2007

Fishing with Larry
Tom Joseph and his brother get together for one last adventure. [Read on]
Added on March 02, 2007

Italian for Beginners
Teresa Joseph learns that something usually gets lost in the translation. [Read on]
Added on February 19, 2007

A Tonga Tale
Bill Markley discovers how easy it is to get lost on the reef. [Read on]
Added on February 02, 2007

A Spin around Moldova
Albert Englehardt learns a little something about driving in the former Soviet Union. [Read on]
Added on January 25, 2007

Gypsy Girls
Jonas Knutsson learns that Strangers on a Train meets The Wolfman on a "peaceful" trip to Milan. [Read on]
Added on January 04, 2007

La Zisa, La Cuba, and La Cubula
Natalie Galli learns that heartbreak comes in many flavors on a simple tour of Palermo. [Read on]
Added on December 12, 2006

The Tree
Carmen J. Semler learns that as long as we live, there is still time to say “thank you.” [Read on]
Added on December 05, 2006

Silver Dust
Alexis Sathre Wolff learns that a lot happens when things don’t go as planned. [Read on]
Added on November 27, 2006

Skeletons in the Closet
Tibor Krausz learns how certain cultures in the Philippines treat their dead. [Read on]
Added on November 17, 2006

Flashback
Jan Burak Schwert recalls the soundtrack of her life. [Read on]
Added on November 10, 2006

Los Dias de los Muertos
Ethel F. Mussen rediscovers that life is reflected in art. [Read on]
Added on October 22, 2006

The Last Good Woman
Sophia Tellen remembers her travels in Israel a long time ago. [Read on]
Added on October 10, 2006

Kick Boxing for Pride and Peanuts
Antonio Graceffo puts on his gloves with the locals in remote northern Thailand. [Read on]
Added on September 29, 2006

San Francisco: The Native Son Tour
Robert Andersen takes an intimate look at his favorite city. [Read on]
Added on September 20, 2006

The Green Wardrobe
Jonathan Callard finds stability in an unexpected place. [Read on]
Added on September 13, 2006

Ice Cream Diplomacy in Baghdad
Kelly Hayes-Raitt goes to Iraq to help women but loses her heart to a girl. [Read on]
Added on August 31, 2006

Cayman Conscience
Victoria Adams confronts her desire to eat endangered sea turtle. [Read on]
Added on August 23, 2006

Grandpere
Ken Matusow discovers the secret to navigating West Africa. [Read on]
Added on August 08, 2006

La Belle Province: A Pandora’s Box
Amy Crabill discovers that a trip across the border is a journey to another planet. [Read on]
Added on July 25, 2006

The Tale of Kieu: The Last News from Mr. Hat’s Neighborhood
Richard Stering receives a poignant gift from Crawling Lady. [Read on]
Added on July 18, 2006

Not Running on Empty: More News from Mr. Hat’s Neighborhood
Richard Sterling hears news of Heidi and provides a lesson in the importance of custom. [Read on]
Added on June 02, 2006

Copyrights and Courtesans: More News from Mr. Hat’s Neighborhood
Richard Sterling encounters cats, crumpets, and pirates. [Read on]
Added on June 02, 2006

Love and Loss: More News from Mr. Hat’s Neighborhood
Richard Sterling discovers the pain of separation, from a child. [Read on]
Added on June 02, 2006

One Man's Swiss Journey
Sophia Tellen reveals a life well lived. [Read on]
Added on May 26, 2006

It’s All Good: More News from Mr. Hat’s Neighborhood
our man in Saigon, Richard Sterling, explains some of the quirks, and pleasures, of Vietnamese culture. [Read on]
Added on May 16, 2006

8 Ball in the Corner Pocket: More News from Mr. Hat’s Neighborhood
Richard Sterling explores the unintended consequences of altruism. [Read on]
Added on May 09, 2006

Ministry of Correctness: More News from Mr. Hat’s Neighborhood
our man in Saigon, Richard Sterling, simplifies the origin of his Panama Hat. [Read on]
Added on May 04, 2006

Love in the Time of Communism: More News from Pagoda Alley
Richard Sterling explores what makes the heart spin. [Read on]
Added on April 28, 2006

More News from Mr. Hat’s Neighborhood
our Vietnam expat Richard Sterling takes us on another tour of his Saigon world. [Read on]
Added on April 24, 2006

Snake Dance
Charly Heavenrich discovers that nature is full of surprises. [Read on]
Added on April 17, 2006

Outside of Trevi, a Car Approaches
Angela Hamilton discovers the secret to happiness, but it isn't what she expected. [Read on]
Added on April 07, 2006

Not Until the Fat Lady Sings
Jake Weirich encounters a timeless baseball ritual on a Saturday afternoon in Nicaragua. [Read on]
Added on March 28, 2006

Human Nature
Marianne Rogoff finds a character study in San Migeul de Allende. [Read on]
Added on March 22, 2006

A Survivor of the Khmer Rouge Genocide
Antonio Graceffo discovers a lost soul during a ride in a Washington, D.C. taxi. [Read on]
Added on March 13, 2006

Ridotto!
Bonnie Smetts is "reduced" almost to tears by receiving "senior" discounts in Italy. [Read on]
Added on February 25, 2006

The News from Pagoda Alley
Richard Sterling introduces us to more characters in his Saigon neighborhood. [Read on]
Added on February 17, 2006

Mr. Hat’s Neighborhood
Richard Sterling explores his own little corner of Saigon. [Read on]
Added on February 01, 2006

The Morning of the World
Jane Merryman discovers you can learn a lot about yourself when forced to do nothing but fool evil spirits. [Read on]
Added on January 17, 2006

At the Foot of Mount Yasur
Usha Alexander obtains many lessons about life from an active volcano in "paradise." [Read on]
Added on January 03, 2006

The Barber
Dustin W. Leavitt reflects on Vietnam-U.S. relations and the tentacles of power. [Read on]
Added on December 27, 2005

Christmas Day in Greece
Susan Kegel learns that a small effort to learn Greek leads to a big pay-off. [Read on]
Added on December 19, 2005

Unforgettable: A Ballad
Ethel Foladare Mussen reflects on her decades visiting a village in Provence. [Read on]
Added on December 13, 2005

The Canals of Wuxi
Susan M. Tiberghien discovers that nothing is simple in China. [Read on]
Added on December 06, 2005

Immortality, and the Art of Losing It
Thaddeus Laird discovers that a brush with nature can be both humbling and uplifting. [Read on]
Added on November 29, 2005

Getting Grandma
Barbara Robertson learns that it's important to know when to raise a stink. [Read on]
Added on November 22, 2005

Spider on the Wall
Paul Yee discovers an unexpected window on Burma. [Read on]
Added on November 15, 2005

Desert Therapy
Halina Balka gets a new lease on life in a playland in Nevada. [Read on]
Added on November 08, 2005

Clutching My Soul in Paradise
Joel Carillet learns indelible lessons about time and life. [Read on]
Added on November 01, 2005

Confessions of a Travel Writer
Roibert L. Strauss explores a four-letter word that everybody loves. [Read on]
Added on October 25, 2005

The Gigolo
Dustin W. Leavitt discovers that the underworld of Japanese tattoo is full of surprises. [Read on]
Added on October 17, 2005

One Man Down, One Species Up
Brad Newsham discovers it wasn't the usual night driving his taxi in San Francisco, or was it? [Read on]
Added on September 20, 2005

More Interesting than a Naked Woman
Timothy Weston explores the fate that awaits us all. [Read on]
Added on August 31, 2005

Conversations on a Pakistani Bus
Joel Carillet discovers he can find some semblance of home even in the remote North-West Frontier. [Read on]
Added on August 22, 2005

The Holy Grail
Maria Dolan discovers a new way of seeing in Costa Rica. [Read on]
Added on August 10, 2005

The Longest Day
Michael Shapiro discovers that the grip of love reaches through time. [Read on]
Added on July 01, 2005

A Nice Little Holiday
Barbara Robertson finds something better to do than prepare for a business conference on the French Riviera. [Read on]
Added on June 25, 2005

Imagining Bohemia
Pamela Gerhardt relives her days in Prague in the early years after communism. [Read on]
Added on June 05, 2005

The Dangers of "Going Local"
Olivia Edward discovers that picking a Mandarin name for yourself in China can be a perilous task. [Read on]
Added on June 05, 2005

Yankee Goes Home
Donald A. Ranard remembers a week of living strangely in Laos thirty years ago. [Read on]
Added on May 20, 2005

Gently You Have to Avoid a Frightening Behavior
Marcy Gordon encounters an emergency in a foreign tongue. [Read on]
Added on May 11, 2005

The Richest Gift
Richard Sterling recalls wartime events of thirty years ago, and the surprising result of his actions. [Read on]
Added on May 03, 2005

The Cherub
Gina Briefs-Elgin remembers an incident with her mother many years ago. [Read on]
Added on April 21, 2005

Raven
Marianne Rogoff escapes to San Miguel de Allende for solitary time away, and finds kindred souls. [Read on]
Added on April 05, 2005

Kilimanjaro Dreams
Ken Matusow discovers that strange things happen in the thin air of high altitude. [Read on]
Added on March 08, 2005

Working-Class Hero
Michael Shapiro talks with writer Tim Cahill about his life and work. [Read on]
Added on December 29, 2004

Detour
Mija Riedel discovers the pleasure of serendipity. [Read on]
Added on November 22, 2004

Letter From Morocco
Melissa Manlove reflects on the Muslim holy month. [Read on]
Added on November 11, 2004

Traveling Coat
Peter Valing reflects on an heirloom of sorts. [Read on]
Added on October 15, 2004

Finnish Blueberries
Anita Erola reveals that a life, and culture, are reflected in a fruit. [Read on]
Added on August 24, 2004

Into the Mouth of the Wolf
Bill Fink discovers on a visit to his girlfriend's house that he needs a lot more than good luck. [Read on]
Added on July 07, 2004

Balkans? No Problem
Marcus Ferrar discovered that getting to Bucharest as the Iron Curtain was collapsing in 1990 was, well, not so easy. [Read on]
Added on June 09, 2004

Clicking in Greece
Mija Riedel discovers that worry beads are both a solace and an art form. [Read on]
Added on May 25, 2004

A Juarez Holiday
Tom Bentley discovers just how much traveling he can do in three days. [Read on]
Added on May 25, 2004

A Lesson in International Business
a Tibetan shepherd teaches travelers the essence of a bargain. [Read on]
Added on May 05, 2004

Working Men of Tokyo
Lenny Karpman discovers that the warmth or urban Japan rises before dawn. [Read on]
Added on April 02, 2004

Keys to the Outback
Laurie McAndish King discovers there's one thing you don't want to forget. [Read on]
Added on March 19, 2004

The Oldest Tourist Trap in the World
Scott Stoll discovers that some things never change. [Read on]
Added on March 10, 2004

Souvenirs
Constance Hale and her mother return to Paris to rekindle memories of a place that came to symbolize life, love, and loss. [Read on]
Added on February 19, 2004

I Came, I Cooked, I Conquered
Suzanne LaFetra gets entangled with an octopus in Mexico. [Read on]
Added on February 05, 2004

Vita Nova
Augusto Andres visits an unusual museum and is moved to delve into unresolved issues from the past. [Read on]
Added on January 26, 2004

Spinning Caps in Ekelbhatti
Scott Bernard introduces a new child's game to the Jomosom region of Nepal. [Read on]
Added on January 20, 2004

Two Rupees
James O'Hara learns an important lesson on a street in Old Delhi. [Read on]
Added on January 03, 2004

The Ring
Sophia Tellen pursues a symbol of long-ago dreams, and brings them back into her life. [Read on]
Added on December 22, 2003

Javelina Sunrise
Kate Robinson seeks solace in the wilderness and gets her fill. [Read on]
Added on December 12, 2003

Samurai in the Garden
Lenny Karpman looks back through time in the gardens of Chiran, Japan. [Read on]
Added on December 08, 2003

The Accidental Hotel
Donald A. Ranard discovers that it was there all the time, obscure, disheveled, but bearing the riches of a bygone era. [Read on]
Added on November 27, 2003

Which Way is North?
Laurie McAndish King gets disoriented in more ways than one. [Read on]
Added on November 11, 2003

A Portrait of the Artist as a Bold Man
by Chelsea Bauch,
the author ponders the wonders of Florence. [Read on]
Added on October 24, 2003

My Journey with Anna Maria
by Scott Bernard
Three hours above the suspension bridge over the Urabamba River on Peru’s Inca Trail, we stopped at Huayllabamba, a village of a few scattered houses. The porters had set up camp in front of the one room stone school on a rough dirt patch used by the children for play, and I set up my tent among the others. Throughout dinner a woman watched from the shadows at the corner of the school building, stepping forward, then retreating. When everyone was finished with hot chocolate, she crept from the shadows, crossed the black gap between two worlds, and entered the camp light, stepping carefully. She said something quietly and rubbed a finger up and down her forearm.

[Read on]
Added on September 07, 2003

Night of Oranges
by Flavius Stan A child comes of age. It is Christmas Eve in 1989 in Timisoara and the ice is still dirty from the boots of the Romanian revolution. The dictator Nicolae Ceausescu had been deposed a few days... [Read on]
Added on September 06, 2003

Shedding Masks
On a warm October morning in Egypt, I ventured into Cairo’s labyrinthine Khan Al-Khalili market to lose myself. I passed stalls of gold, sliver, and brasswares, brightly patterned galabeyas and linen scarves draped across narrow passageways, colorful bowls of spices shaped into delicate, powdery pyramids.

[Read on]
Added on August 12, 2003

Learning to Speak Italian
by Annette Jarvie

Wilma is tall and blond, with a square jaw and a big, strong body even now that she’s in her seventies. She talks with a thick Florentine accent, peppered with local colloquialisms. [Read on]
Added on August 04, 2003

Pretty in Pink
by Erik R. Trinidad

When I wrote an email to Jennifer Leo, editor of the Women's Travel humor book Sand In My Bra, I volunteered myself to be her intern during her book's promo tour in Montreal, Canada. I was so enthusiastic about the idea that I even suggested that I'd pass out flyers on the street with the only relevant eye-catching gag I could think of: while wearing a bra. [Read on]
Added on August 04, 2003

Where I Am

White sand beach, blue sky, palm trees, thick novel, suntan lotion, me. That about covers it, the real-life version of the glossy travel brochure. The only thing missing was the big, happy-go-lucky Hollywood grin on the lounging sun bather. It wasn't there, it was more of a scowl.

[Read on]
Added on May 31, 2003

The Protest of Señor Sapo

Rubbing my hand twice across the wooden slats of the bench to sweep off the water, I sat, immediately realizing the impotence of the gesture as my pants and back ribbed with damp. The rain had been short and uncommitted, simply glistening the dark grass and gilding the walkway pavers and the cobbled streets surrounding the Plaza de Armas with reflected gold from streetlights, shop windows and the fairytale twin spires of the cathedral. Carmen sat next to me with a smile and no concern for the wet. She had been one of my first customers and my partner most every evening for two weeks. She was seven and spent her days selling chewy candy, two for one sole or three for one sole or "A special price just for my friend," four for one sole, to the tourists that haggled. Tucking her cardboard box inside her coat knowing she would sell no candy to me, Carmen looked at the clock on the cathedral and said, "It’s almost time."

[Read on]
Added on May 12, 2003

Lard is Good For You
In Costa Rica, I lived on lard and coffee. There was lard in the bread, in the rice and in the beans. There was lard in the cookies, in the imitation Doritos I ate at the school where I taught; it was coating the potatoes and being used to fry bananas in the cafeteria. Damaris, the woman I lived with, normally bought only three food items when she went to the supermarket in the city: a sack of rice, a sack of beans, and several sticks of manteca vegetal —vegetable shortening. Everything else we ate came off the farm.

[Read on]
Added on May 12, 2003

Helping Italians in Thailand

"What his name?" an emergency room nurse asked, pointing to a man surrounded by a swarm of doctors.

I told her I didn't know.

"You know her name?" she asked, pointing to an unconscious woman lying on a gurney, blood soaking through her jeans.

[Read on]
Added on May 05, 2003

The Sound of Silence

The crying woke me. It began as one woman sobbing, then was joined by another, then another, until a chorus of wails pierced through the quiet morning. The cries grew louder, then settled into a mesmerizing rise and fall of raw emotion that left me transfixed. Was this some religious ritual, I wondered, thinking back to the muezzin call to prayers that echoed through every Muslim country at dawn. Or perhaps some ancient tribal custom to start the day?

[Read on]
Added on April 25, 2003

The View from the Roof

Up on the roof, I stood, stretched, and surveyed the earth around me, a vast sea of prairie grass spreading out in all directions. I could see that the land wasn't really flat at all, as I had expected, but consisted of ebbing and flowing hills. That way ran a river, for there was a deeper crack between the hills with a few scrubby trees jutting up. And over there were some roads, splicing through the hills as straight as the edge of a 2x4, leading off the reservation in four directions, towards Rapid City, Pierre, North Dakota, Wyoming. Yet for all this expanse, which could lead one to ponder a lonely existence, a remarkably communal feeling began to spread through me.

[Read on]
Added on April 19, 2003

Balinese Canoes

Our second order of business, having already negotiated a daily fee for services rendered—a detail elevated to unprecedented primacy in that first year of the Asian Economic Crisis—was to decide what we ought to call each other. "Your people (meaning my people, Americans) use the family name, is this not correct? And what is that name?" the headman of Tanjung Benoa village asked, his tone prudent. I told him my family name, but suggested he call me by my given name instead, as was customary in my country.

[Read on]
Added on April 12, 2003

Secret Bus to Paradise

The low rumble of the engine dissolved the tension that held me upright and my body slowly slumped into a state of relaxation bordering boneless. I sighed. Something flew out the window and I instinctively reached to grab it before it got out, but it was too late. Stress. Then something else. Worry. Then anxiety. I didn’t grab anymore.

[Read on]
Added on April 12, 2003

The Summer of the Lost Ham

We weren’t the only canoeists paddling down the Yukon River that summer. About a dozen people were paddling along the same route at the same time. We all had our own pace and stopped at different times, but two or three times a day, we’d come across the same people, especially at campsites which were usually abandoned miners’ camps or old Indian sites. We got to know our fellow river people, even fairly well sometimes, all of us part of a friendly assemblage of people of different ages, different countries and lifestyles but all encountering the same scenery, the same rain and sunshine, the same moose, and all with the same whimsical compulsion to paddle the Yukon River.

[Read on]
Added on April 12, 2003

Normandy 2001
The date was September 14, 2001, three days after the horrifying terrorist attacks in the United States. I was traveling in France when the massacres took place, and on this day the Normandy American Cemetery at Omaha Beach seemed an appropriate place to be. Solemn, reverent and a haven of solitude and reflection amid a world now filled with turmoil.

[Read on]
Added on April 09, 2003

Le Coeur dans la Montagne (The Heart in the Mountain)
Speeding across the desert in our white rented Renault, we were nothing more than a careless splash of paint against the backdrop of velvet sand that stretched out before us like a body in repose. The sun loomed so close and low I thought we might drive right through it as we tore across the landscape with crazy abandon, taking in deep lusty gulps of hot desert air. It was impossible to discern speed in the midst of such expansiveness. The feeling was intoxicating.

[Read on]
Added on April 02, 2003

Citizen Mulenge
The second, and last, spare tire blew out just before noon somewhere between Butembo and Beni. Ian and I were three days out of Rwanda, heading for Mutwanga, a town in northeastern Zaire near the Ugandan border. From Mutwanga we planned to climb the Ruwenzoris, The Mountains of the Moon. It was 1993, less than a year before the Rwanda genocide, when the Hutus massacred the Tutsis and the whole region fell apart and eight years before somebody with a wonderful sense of irony changed the name of Zaire to The Democratic Republic of the Congo.

[Read on]
Added on March 25, 2003

Paris, When It Drizzles

"Then there was the bad weather," begins Ernest Hemingway's memoir of living in Paris in the twenties, A Moveable Feast. "It would come in one day when the fall was over. We would have to shut the windows in the night against the rain and the cold wind would strip the leaves from the trees in the Place Contrescarpe. The leaves lay sodden in the rain and the wind drove the rain against the big green autobus in the terminal...." Hemingway knew exactly what he was doing when he began his poem to Paris with a cold, rainy, windswept day. He knew that bad weather brings out the lyrical in Paris and in the visitor, too. It summons up feelings of regret, loss, sadness—and in the case of the first pangs of winter—intimations of mortality. The stuff of poetry. And of keen memories. The soul aches in a kind of unappeasable ecstasy of melancholy. Anyone who has not passed a chill, rainy day in Paris will have an incomplete vision of the city, and of him- or herself in it.

[Read on]
Added on March 25, 2003

Up Your Nose
Deborah J. Smith It didn't take the ancient Romans long to figure out the Tiber River wouldn't support the water needs of Rome. So they built a system of aqueducts and channels that transported fresh mountain water down into the... [Read on]
Added on March 19, 2003

Pancakes and Coffee
On the way to his coffee plantation, Vishwa mentions that he has one son and two daughters. We pull up outside his fancy new house, the only source of light in the area for miles, and two female figures descend from the front porch to meet us. Both are visions of beauty. The elder, dressed in a seductive blue saree that complements her black hair, heads straight for my bags and is halfway inside before I have a chance to carry them myself. "This is my wife," explains Vishwa. The younger, a child perhaps ten years old, is even more beautiful than her mother. Her skin is darker, her hair is as black as the night around us, and her deep brown eyes radiate as they reflect the light streaming from inside the house. "What a beautiful daughter you have," I remark to Vishwa’s wife. "Actually," she says, "that is a servant girl." Blushing with embarrassment, I pick up my remaining bag and go in.

[Read on]
Added on March 18, 2003

In the Kitchen with Yuyo

It is a mild afternoon in Morelia and warm streams of sunlight filter in from the open-air courtyard of the house, brightening Yuyo's kitchen. Although I've been in this room many times, I‘ve never really taken a good look around and a part of me is disappointed by what's not here. I admit to having some romantic notions of the Mexican kitchen. I picture beautifully decorated, clay pots bubbling over with savory pozoles, an oversized copper kettle simmering frijoles de la olla, a sturdy hand-fired comal roasting deep-red chiles anchos. On the countertop of blue and white tiles from Puebla, I see an aged molcajete, the secrets of previous generations ground into the well-worn basalt tejote.

[Read on]
Added on March 12, 2003

Scared Shitless on Safari
Heavy sighs filled with terrorized angst woke me from a dead sleep. Wrung out at the edge of her cot was the silhouette of my best friend and worst-matched travel companion, Beth. "Do you hear the lions?" she quivered. [Read on]
Added on March 07, 2003

Kitchen Matters

Sreedevi. Her name means prosperity. "Not a goddess," her daughter tells me, "more a god energy, a goddess who is a presence but has no body to represent her." OK, I think, not like Lakshmi sitting on her lotus, or Kali with her snakes, more like the western God who is everywhere.

[Read on]
Added on March 05, 2003

The Butt Reading
OK, so I’ve never actually known anyone to pick up a dog and bring it back home only to discover that it was, in fact, a rat. And I’ve never been chased down the highway by someone trying to tell me that there was a serial killer stashed away in my backseat. If I hear a story that happened to my best friend’s uncle’s cousin’s sister-in-law’s nephew and later discover that it also happened to my neighbor’s dog-walker’s brother’s ex-girlfriend‘s English professor’s wife, I quickly dismiss it as urban legend.

[Read on]
Added on March 01, 2003

Wrecks and Pissers

The Bombay-Pune Road has long been notorious and dangerous. The road snakes and twists through the Western Ghats, a stretch of mountains dotted with cave temples and fortresses, from the coast up to the Deccan plateau. Centuries ago, it was an ancient trade route linking the Indian Ocean to the interior. Silk and spice caravans passed this way, trying to evade the bandits who lurked in the rocky hills along the way. Early in the 21st century, it was still treacherous, and the spontaneous setting for our odd travel game.

[Read on]
Added on February 28, 2003

Mataji

"Beware of wild monkeys," I was warned. Somehow, I had foolishly relegated those words of advice to a minor side-note on the typewritten priority list I prepared for my journey to India. Now that self-admonition reverberates of life and death proportions to me, as I stand frozen in my tracks staring down the colossal-sized monkey about to pounce on me from the roof of my ashram cell.

[Read on]
Added on February 21, 2003

Pack Light

"Pack light," he said, overlooking the fact that I was a university student who had until recently slept on a foam mattress and could move households assisted by a few garbage bags and a friend with a bicycle. I lived light and it never occurred to me to reciprocate with the same command, or define light, or snoop through his luggage before we left. Had I only shown some sort of initiative.

[Read on]
Added on February 19, 2003

Great in the Sack

My boyfriend, Alec, has come up with some pretty loopy ideas, but not long ago he topped himself: He suggested I run around Yerington, Nevada, with a 50-pound sack of chicken feed around my neck.

[Read on]
Added on February 14, 2003

The Shepherd's Mantra

I hesitated to say it before — thinking that perhaps I was being deceived by a late January winter thaw — but, no, Spring has arrived. I have been ensconced in this corner of Provence since September, not the gentle, sybaritic Provence of the Côte d’Azur and Avignon, but Haute Provence, a rude and wild country, where the dark alpine hills stream like a school of humpback whales toward the distant shores of the Mediterranean and sheep and lavender share the land. The wind is fierce, the people few, the soil stony. I was quickly snared by the region's stark enchantment.

[Read on]
Added on February 12, 2003

Sesriem

It's a long drive to Sesriem from anywhere. It's in the hottest part of the Namib desert, in the Naukluft Park, central Namibia. Where the dust pours like liquid penetrating food seals and tightly closed lips.

But despite all the dust the air seems so clean and sounds seem clearer. Our old faithful Ford F250 has taken a beating from this rocky land as the heat shimmers off her hood in the shade of a large thorn tree. We're parked at the campsite at Sesriem. Apart from the few trees there is nothing living as far as I can see. As you look into the distance the horizon seems to dance like a mad thing. Tomorrow we will drive to the huge Sossusvlei sand dunes, the largest dunes in the world, and the "vlei" itself. In a place like this it's hard to imagine that we, soft, water filled humans, have had any impact on this planet at all.

[Read on]
Added on February 07, 2003

Doublestar (Why I Write)

Twenty-five years ago I worked in the Bering Sea trade. My ship, the tramp freighter Doublestar, had seen action during the Pacific War. Decommissioned, she had been sold into private hands and her twin diesels had been replaced with a single, gargantuan locomotive engine that sometimes made her sound like a train in the night.

Read on]
Added on February 07, 2003

Doing Good In Far Places
I was sitting by the fire in the tea room of the old Windamere Hotel in Darjeeling on a cold winter afternoon. The Windamere is the sort of faraway place where travelers whose paths happen to cross tend to talk to one another unless they are British.

[Read on]
Added on February 05, 2003

Into The Land of The Stone Age Bootlegger
On my first day in the Guajira, an arid region in northeastern Colombia, I got off the chilly climatizado bus at an unremarkable junction known as cuatros vias. Four roads—three of them paved—traveling the points of the compass. West to Barranquilla, Colombia's largest port. South to Exxon's enormous Cerrejon coal mine. East into Venezuela, towards Maracaibo, a soupy petropolis. Or north through the Guajira Peninsula, along a branching network of corrugated ruts that ran past the hidden homesteads of the fiercely aloof Wayuu and terminated at sheltered bays and temporary airstrips used by contrabandistas. This was the road I'd be traveling when the truck to Uribia finally showed up.

[Read on]
Added on February 03, 2003

Africa: Where The Fighters Are Hungry

Suspicion reigned at the Zimbabwe/Mozambique border. It was a month or so following the controversial re-election of President Robert Mugabe, and the border guards had their eyes peeled for trouble-making foreigners, especially journalists. Having mingled with members of the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), Mugabe’s opposition, and several families of white farmers, Mugabe’s scapegoats, I now feared complications exiting the country.

[Read on]
Added on February 02, 2003

King Kong in Shanghai

I am five-foot, 4-inches and 125 pounds. I have a long, slim face, wide shoulders, long arms and legs, short-waist, skinny ankles, average-sized breasts, and a medium-sized butt. I’m about a size 8. I’m not your garden variety, extremely slim and petite Asian-American woman. O.K., hardly noteworthy in the United States but in China…I might as well be King Kong. I am HUGE. I am a deviant. I’m an alien squared because I actually resemble someone who belongs to the same race living in China but I’m shaped very differently. I find nothing fits me except for the occasional XXL.

I need a dress and I’m in China for another three months. I only brought functional wear, thinking that no one cares about fashion here. Silly me. I missed China’s fast forward into consumerism in the four years since my last visit. I also surprise myself. I discover I want to look more feminine while I am in China. My good friend, Shirley, takes me to downtown Shanghai, to dressmaker row, to a cheongsam dressmaker she knows. The dresses stun the senses in copper, iridescent blue, bright green, searing red, sumptuous eggplant—all luxuriant silk fabrics shot with gold threads and Asian patterns. I try to squeeze into a ready-made dress. Nope. Here in China, I’m a lush and voluptuous woman.

The dressmaker, a small fireball of a woman, charges over from the other side of the shop and takes over my dress selection, clucking and emitting a slew of Shanghainese and Mandarin phrases. She doesn’t quite believe that I can’t fit into any of the off-the-rack dresses. I look smaller than I am and taller than I am. My body is an optical illusion. People constantly misjudge my shape, size, weight, and age. She tries to stuff and zip me into a custom dress they are making for an Italian woman half my size. I think that Italian women and Chinese women must come from the same genetic stock judging from this dress—tiny people stock.

[Read on]
Added on February 01, 2003

A Note from the Toyota Motel
It’s a hot July night, Lyle Lovett’s "If I Had a Boat" is blaring from the CD player and I’m contemplating an uncertain future. Driving my husband Patrick’s maroon Toyota pickup across Highway 50 and heading east out of Fallon, Nevada, the immediate future looks pretty good. I’m on my way to Kanab, Utah, to meet my best friend Mean Vick and attend the Fourth annual Kanab Bluegrass Festival. If there are three things I love in the world (after Patrick, of course), it’s Kanab, Mean Vick, and bluegrass. The weekend promises plenty of fiddles, beautiful redrock cliffs, and maybe a cold beer or two on the festival lawn.

[Read on]
Added on January 30, 2003

In My Father's Footsteps

My father was not a religious man. He had been raised a good practicing Jew in Europe; they didn’t have many reform or modern Jews there; if you were Jewish you generally went in for the whole thing. But the Holocaust changed everything, and after it was over he had no more relationship with the deity or any other aspect of religious practice. What good had any of it been? My father had always been a giver and one who had a profound sense of responsibility to his community, both locally and worldwide. And so, still young, he willed his body to a medical school upon his death, wanting to find one last way to serve his fellow man. Thus when he died four years ago at age 77, his body was whisked off to the medical school, and there was no marker of any kind for his family. We all approved of and supported his decision, but it did leave us a little empty. However, there is one place on this earth where there is a marker and testimonial to his life. It is a plaque in a tiny French village in the mountainous pre-Alps. How that plaque got there is a whole story. Last summer, I visited the village both to see the plaque and to meet the villagers who thought as highly of him as he did of them.

[Read on]
Added on January 26, 2003

Mongolian Rhapsody
by Leah Kohlenberg Matisse was the name of the smoky bar cum bordello in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital city, where we found ourselves at 3 a.m. my first night in the country. Named after the famous artist, I was told by... [Read on]
Added on January 19, 2003

Hungry?

So when I saw a sign inside a shopping mall somewhere off the beaten path in Malaysia that said 'Kenny Rogers' Roasters,' I was more than a little curious; I had never heard of such a place. Was it a country music store? A feathered-hair salon? A cowboy apparel store? Kenny Rogers was as out of place in South East Asia as apple pie. Whatever it was, it was going to be very, very interesting. I opened the door.

[Read on]
Added on January 18, 2003

Japanese Tattoo
by Dustin Leavitt The author learns the history of this art straight from the master Akebono desu ne, I said, pointing with a forefinger at a patch of grey: dawn. A grunt and a curt nod of affirmation. It was... [Read on]
Added on January 17, 2003

Memory

Flies, in search of moisture, settled on their perspiring heads, infected eyes and cracked lips. I was in the Children's Nutrition Center in Monze, Zambia and these children were diseased. Each suffered the swollen joints and crusted skin of malnutrition and were admitted in a final, desperate attempt to save them from starving to death. Their mothers held them closely, each woman wearing the African sarong, two yards of patterned cotton wrapped around the torso, descending downwards to leathery ankles, bare callused feet and spread toes.

[Read on]
Added on January 12, 2003

Pike Dreams
By Andrew Tarica He went to Alaska to catch a prehistoric fish. "This is the entrance to the Pike Lagoon," Cliff says as we drift lazily down the Anvik in a flat-bottom boat, fly rods in hand. "One time a... [Read on]
Added on January 10, 2003

Death by Toasting in Beijing

You can fly from Washington to Beijing on a United flight leaving Dulles at 10:00 a.m. and arriving at 3:30 in the afternoon the next day, without the sun ever setting across your bow. You will make a pit stop in Chicago to take on fuel and honey roasted peanuts, and sometimes another stop in Anchorage if you have strong headwinds over Canada.

[Read on]
Added on December 21, 2002

Cairo Tambourine
The old Egyptian tambourine, called a req, is encrusted inside and out with a geometric design in mother-of-pearl and bits of black and white wood. Some of the chips have worn away to rough ridges on the edge where it was held. The mother-of-pearl gleams dully through a smudge of grime built up over years of use. Five pairs of brass cymbals, hand beaten and slightly irregular in shape, are set into the rim. The resonating head is made of fine translucent fish skin, Nile sturgeon. The weight and balance of this tambourine feels better to me than any other I have found. It almost seems to have stored the knowledge and spirit of its former players.

[Read on]
Added on December 14, 2002

Tom Miller's Thoughts on Africa
I have a tendency to return to the same places time after time - I can tell you the best places to cross the Rio Grande, where to find black-market lobster in Havana, and which weavers make the finest Panama hats. Constantly visiting Cuba, the border, and Andean countries affords a certain expertise, but it can get tedious after a while. Africa was a refreshing challenge [Read on]
Added on December 07, 2002

Disbelief of Wonder
"You want to hear something funny?" The young cook Cisco asked me in his native-Botswanan accent, as he prepped up a beef stew for dinner in our safari camp in Kasane, a town just outside the Chobe National Park in northern Botswana. "I hear there is a man from America who plays the piano, but he is blind." He chuckled as if it were some silly urban myth that all the kids in his hometown of Maun were told. Maun is a small town in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, so I guess it was more like a desert mirage.

[Read on]
Added on December 02, 2002

Fruity Pleasures

The old man lounging on the sidewalk slowly nodded his head and mumbled "tamam" (meaning "good" in Arabic) when he saw me. Other men heartedly called out "Sudanese" and waved their arms in approval, while passing women met their eyes with mine and gently smiled. Walking through the streets of the eastern Sudanese town of Kassala, I was creating quite a stir in my traditional Sudanese outfit.

[Read on]
Added on November 18, 2002

A Double Surprise
by D-L Nelson "I've a surprise," Christian said as soon as I stepped off the train In Lyon, France. He drove me up to the hills behind the city pointing out the yellow buildings and telling me the history of... [Read on]
Added on November 16, 2002

I Have Lice
I work as a volunteer in Guatemala City with the children of a community of families who live in the city dump. It sounds impressive, eh? People are always fascinated when they I tell them what I do and they often go into an extensive session of questioning regarding the who's, what's, where's and when's of my work.

[Read on]
Added on November 12, 2002

Tikal
by Larry R. Moffitt

"Hi," she said.

Her red bandana headband was saturated from the sweat pouring off her face and forehead, and my hair, under the straw hat, was soaked with it. We both stank to high heaven. Hi, followed by conversation, happens easily on the road, easier even than in line at the supermarket. It's the backpacks. They proclaim we are both strangers here and neither of us have any turf to defend or local image that needs propping up. As mochileros, backpackers, we have nothing to offer but ourselves, no story to tell but our own.

[Read on]
Added on November 10, 2002

In the Shadow of the Mount Fuji
At the top of the stairs, the men stood waiting around and smoking cigarettes. They sweat in their long skirts and fanned themselves. Around them, people climbed wooden stairs into the old, dimly lit Shinto shrine, cramming into the tight corners.

[Read on]
Added on May 20, 2002

Busman's Holiday
By Jim Mannix Try finding a contractor in the African bush. The orientation meeting was haloed by a single overhead 300-watt light bulb which attracted most of the mosquitoes in sub-Saharan Africa, but did little to dispel our gloom. The... [Read on]
Added on April 16, 2002

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