Jan 072012
 
Colors of European vs. Asian Royal Palaces and Weddings

I just got a call that my wedding dress has arrived and is ready for my fitting! Ahhh!

Not only is this thrilling, but it is also highly relevant to this article about royal palaces around the world. Why? Because my dress is white-ish, and so are most royal and governmental buildings in Europe and America! This is in sharp contrast to the bursting rainbow colors of Asian royal buildings and wedding [...Read More!]

Jan 022012
 
Celebrating the New Year in the Times Square of Spain!

WOW. I have just returned to Boston from five of the most action-packed days in Spain imaginable, thanks to the free teacher training tour run by EF Tours. And… WOW.

The unquestionable highlight of the tour was celebrating New Year’s Eve 2011 in Puerta del Sol, Madrid!

Puerta del Sol is the very center of Spain (if you type “Madrid” into Google maps, the marker will appear right at Sol), and all points [...Read More!]

Dec 312011
 
2011 in this Travel Empire, and Madrid Night Photos

Happy New Year from Madrid, Spain!

What a year it’s been, eh? As December 31, 2011 draws to a close, here are some glittering photos of holiday-decorated Madrid, Spain (as snapped last night), along with a kind of “State of the Union” run-down of statistics from this teaching-traveling website empire for 2011. (As always, click blue-highlighted words for related articles.)

2011 IN NUMBERS:

First-person world travel articles written on AroundTheWorldL.com in 2011: 59 Global education interviews and [...Read More!]
Dec 292011
 
Hello From Madrid, Spain! How Different it is This Time!

Hello From Madrid, Spain, where I am on a wonderful, whirlwind Free Teacher Training Tour run by EF Tours!

On this 5-day trip, I am in training with a group of teachers who have flown in from around the United States to prepare as much as possible to lead a group of our students abroad. In my case, I will be leading 42 Boston students to Beijing, China in just 1.5 months!

So far, this [...Read More!]

Dec 172011
 
Mansions and Danger at the Cliff Walk in Newport, R.I.

One of the most dramatic tourist attractions in New England is totally free: the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk in historic Newport, Rhode Island!

Just make sure, as this sign pictured to the left politely points out, not to hurtle off the “cliff” aspect of the whole “Cliff Walk” thing.

Here’s what makes the Cliff Walk so amazing: it’s a marriage of nature’s glory with the most opulent human-made mansions imaginable.

On one side, you have [...Read More!]

Dec 082011
 
Shanghai's Great 1,200 Foot Building, and Its Bathroom

In the previous article, we discussed the most shocking bathroom situation of my world travels.

But what is the most luxurious toilet of China?

Easy. Just go to Shanghai and travel about 1,000 feet… straight UP!

The Cloud 9 Bar and Grill is on the 87th floor of the Grand Hyatt Hotel of Shanghai, and is one of the highest-up and most beautiful bars on Earth.

It also has one of the best bathrooms in [...Read More!]

Dec 012011
 
The School Toilet in China That May Make You Gasp

Never in my life have I been more dizzied from cultural differences than the afternoon I saw the Girls’ Bathroom in a 4,000-student school of Yunyang, China.

It wasn’t that the bathroom was rather run-down and dirty that shocked me. No– I’ve been a teacher in large urban schools in Boston for seven years and have seen (and smelled) my share of dirty school bathrooms. I’ve also squatted in all sorts of [...Read More!]

Nov 262011
 
My First Vegan Thanksgiving Was Delicious!

If you’ve read about my new fiancé Colin eating duck feet and pig tails in China, you may be shocked to learn that his family is vegan!

For maximal heart health, Colin’s parents, Diane and Estes, follow the Doctor Esselstyn Diet: no meats, fish, eggs, oil (even olive oil), processed grains, milk products, or avocados, and very limited sugars and salt.

You may be gasping now, especially if you are a meat-and-oil-loving American, but [...Read More!]

Nov 202011
 
The Most Romantic Architecture in Boston to Walk By

Since my thrilling recent marriage proposal in the Boston Public Garden, I’ve been alert to other romantic spots around Boston. Aaaaand… the winner for #1 most romantic architectural area in Boston is easy: the Christian Science Plaza by the Symphony stop on the Green Line!

Whatever your views may be on Christian Science as a belief system, the Christian Science Plaza will make you happy. Its 14-acre spread of seven diverse and wonderful [...Read More!]

Nov 132011
 
We Are Engaged! Or: How Travel Can Find and Build Love

On Wednesday I came home to find a rose petal scavenger hunt!

Under the largest petal was a beautiful letter from my beau, Colin, along with the instructions: “Go to the smallest suspension bridge in the world.”

I Googled the clue… and it turns out the smallest suspension bridge in the world is in the Boston Public Garden!

I sprinted the five blocks from our apartment to the garden and onto the bridge over [...Read More!]