Dec 312009
 
Touring Florence 2: The David!

We all fell in love today. How could we not? Michelangelo’s David is stunning.

You see the photos everywhere, and you don’t really care. Meh– just another curly-haired naked dude, right? But listen: if you pay the ten Euro entrance fee to actually see Michelangelo’s David sculpture in person, you WILL feel as if you’ve gotten your money’s worth, and more.

Here is a smattering of guidebook facts and [...Read More!]

Dec 302009
 
Touring Florence, Part 1!

Attention: If you are planning a long Round the World voyage, I urge you to arrange some way for your family to meet you halfway through your trip, halfway between where you are and they are!

Words cannot express how happy I am right now to be reunited with my family this week!!!

Bless their jetlagged selves, my mother, father, and brother searched the cheapest tickets they could find to Europe (halfway to [...Read More!]

Dec 292009
 
Observations About Rome in December

What beautiful and fascinating sights might you see if you wandered the chilly cobblestones of Rome in late December?

Take a peek…

1. Ruins preserved smack-dab in the center of a living metropolis. It’s heartbreaking if you think about it: Ancient Rome was the greatest civilization around, and yet it crumbled.

Today, in the middle of this thriving city, we still stare at the ancient kingdom’s rubble.

Doesn’t it give you an icy shiver, reminding [...Read More!]

Dec 282009
 
Nine Years Ago on this Bridge in Rome...

Nine years ago, on this very bridge in Rome, I realized that a trip around the world would be possible as a woman traveling alone.

How? I was nineteen years old, it was eleven at night, and a psychotic Italian vagrant was trying to attack me on a bridge.

The summer after my Sophomore year in college was the first time I traveled abroad alone. I had searched the internet and found [...Read More!]

Dec 272009
 
Bangkok to Rome, Via Dubai!

I have just woken up in a drafty high-ceilinged room in Rome, surrounded by five fifteen year old Italian boys and one sweet college lad from Hong Kong named Himmy. Did you know that “Mixed Gender Hostel Dorm” actually means, “Lots-a Boys”?

The Italian fellows are gesturing wildly as they explain to us how they are traveling for ten days and will need loads of presents to make it up [...Read More!]

Dec 262009
 
Bangkok Signs to Make You Smile While I Fly to Italy

Happy Holidays, all!

Right now I’m freaking out. In exactly twelve hours, as this article is auto-published, I will be flying through the air from Bangkok to Rome, via Dubai. This will be a CRAZY shift after nearly five months in Southeast Asia!

How to take this in?! How to process this?! Here’s how I’ve tried:

1. Acknowledged: I AM ready (and even super-psyched!) to move on to the next [...Read More!]

Dec 252009
 
X-Mas Eve: Stopped by Police for a Fruit

It was Christmas Eve in Bangkok when the Skytrain policeman strode up to me and pointed to the plastic bag I held.

“NO,” he commanded.

So it was true! It IS illegal to carry durian fruit on the train!

After some protesting on my part, the policeman finally took four plastic bags and wrapped them tightly around the already saran-wrapped carton of durian.

Yet… the smell still reeked on. The cop glared at me [...Read More!]

Dec 242009
 
Ways to Meet Other Solo Female Travelers, and Why it's Essential

Beverly Daniel Tatum’s book, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria,” is a standout text in teacher training courses. In it, Tatum argues that self-segregating with members of our own “groups” is not always so bad.

Sometimes self-segregation is positively essential in maintaining our sanity!

I realized last week that I’d started talking with my male travel buddies as if they were women. Really, this is just dumb. [...Read More!]

Dec 232009
 
Bangkok Hospital: Quality Vaccines and Sex Changes!

I currently have in my tummy: papaya, persimmon, and Polio vaccine. Yum!

This Polio vaccine was the one remaining thing my pincushion-ed self needed for West Africa travel. To obtain it, I moseyed to the West of Thailand’s capital to famed Bangkok Hospital.

Of course, by “moseyed,” I actually mean I got really lost, ended up in an area with no breakfast options and turned to street fruit, and ultimately walked [...Read More!]

Dec 222009
 
Geographically Un-Chained: Could YOU Work on the Beach?

Luigi had a revelation as we watched Ko Lanta’s azure ocean behind the “Free Wi-Fi” sign.

“I only need to be supervising the sausage company in person for six months of the year, during festival season…” he murmured slowly, putting thoughts together, “and the other six months I’m just behind a computer, coordinating sausage marketing and production.”

My British sausage-making friend gazed out at the white sand stretching luxuriously to our right and [...Read More!]