May 132010
Back in Boston, Exactly 9 Months Later!!!

HOORAY!  Home!  Home!  After nine months around the world, can I tell you how delicious Boston feels?  City of my heart!  Country of my birth!  And my dearest loved ones!  Oh, I love you!

But I made a big mistake this morning that nearly caused me to miss my flight.  Read on, so you don’t commit this same error!

Twenty-four hours ago, my alarm jolted me awake at five am.  Trying not to [...Read More!]

May 112010
Why RTW Travel Must NOT be Seen as Vacation

One of many festivals in Valencia, Spain!

Tomorrow, volcano permitting, I fly home to Boston!  And thus we can begin zillions of reflective posts.  Let’s start with the following realization:

A months-long Around the World voyage is not a vacation. Want to know why?  Because it it were, you would die.  On vacation, by definition, you indulge in anything and everything and you laze around like a jellyfish.  So let’s be real here: [...Read More!]

May 072010
Um, So I Think I Just Saw the Holy Grail?

“Hey dude,” slurred my British dorm-mate as he climbed into his hostel bunk for the night, “Did you see the Holy Grail yet?”

“Wait, WHAT!” I exclaimed, “the Holy Grail is in Valencia, Spain? The magical cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper?!”

“That’s what they say,” the boy mumbled as his eyelids began to droop. “It’s in the little room to the right in the Valencia Cathedral. Don’t [...Read More!]

May 012010
Reason One (of a Whole Lot!) to Visit Valencia, Spain

If you were to dangle an American out of a ten-story window and force her to choose a city in Spain to move to forever, I bet you ninety Euros that she would scream: “Barcelona!”

But the more I experience Spain, the more I realize that this pervasive American romanticization of Barcelona is just plain foolish.

If I, myself, were to pick a city in all of Spain to live, it would be… [...Read More!]

Apr 292010
The Most Beautiful Building I’ve Seen in a Looong Time

Come, walk with me.

You have likely seen pictures of the world-famous Mezquita of Cordoba, Spain, have you not?

Are you already familiar with those arches upon arches of striped white and russet red?

Well, today is the day you will see it in the flesh, you lucky duck!

Step one: Identify that the entrance ticket to the the Mezquita is free if you show up before ten in the morning, but also identify that [...Read More!]

Apr 272010
Spain’s Alhambra, Hippies in a Forest, and a Night Out

I was really thrown off when the two guys never came home from the forest.

Now before I launch into this story, let’s all learn, like the refrain sung by the whole audience during a folk music concert, a useful phrase: “Forcing it.”

The phrase, “Miss, you FORCED IT with the homework” was used ad nauseam in Boston Public Schools to mean: “Madam teacher, we believe the amount of work you are giving [...Read More!]

Apr 262010
An Important Pre-Travel Warning About Your Passport

Do you know you can fly from Madrid or Barcelona, Spain, to Marrakesh, Morocco for the teensy price of 15 Euros or $22 U.S. Dollars?!

I was drooling all over the keyboard when I saw this Ryanair promotion, and was about to click “Buy” to fulfill my long-standing lust for quality North Africa time when– BAM! — an informational window popped up on my screen:

“You may not enter Morocco with a passport [...Read More!]

Apr 252010
How to Turn Your Hostel or Home into a Luxury Health Retreat!

Here are the series of events that occurred yesterday, each of which illustrates how you, too, can turn your low-budget hostel or everyday home into a luxurious health retreat for a few days or a week!

1pm: I arrive in a delicious hostel in Granada after a seven-hour bus ride from Madrid. I feel like utter trash: too many deep-fried or starchy tapas, not enough exercise or sleep, and too much [...Read More!]

Apr 232010
Help Give Advice to 16-21 Year Olds Planning to Travel!

Recently, I have gotten a bevy of emails from 16 to 21 year old women asking for advice on their dream of taking a year off to travel. This poses some difficult ethical dilemmas for me that I’d love your help with, dear readers.

Namely: How can our advice to these young prospective travelers balance my worship of travel as education, with my passion for all youth to obtain the educational [...Read More!]

Apr 202010
Parque Guell: At the Center of the “Too Much Tourism?” Debate

In Alice Walker’s beloved short story, “Everyday Use,” the conflict centers around which of two very different daughters should get to keep the mother’s ancestral quilt.

Should the precious quilt go to the daughter who plans to hang it in a case on a wall, never to be used, but only to be gazed at in historical appreciation?

Or should the quilt go to the more simple, less-educated daughter who longs to use [...Read More!]