Cool Stuff You Can Buy At A Market Not Near Your House

Kyoto Japan — pickled radishes

I am not a shopper. But when I travel, I love shopping — not at Zara or Desigual  — but at local markets, where members of the community sell what they grow or make.  Every market visit is an education in local culture and every market is a place to feel connected to the local community. People are happy — or at least hopeful. And that kind of shopping doesn’t require you to buy anything to make you feel good.

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The Painful Loneliness and Glorious Solitude of Traveling Alone

Cairo, Egypt

“Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.”

                                                                                                         — Paul Tillich, German Philosopher

For most of the past three years, I have traveled the world on my own and, yes, some days I wake up dreading another day alone. I am a social person. I miss my family and friends at home, and I love traveling as a team. So why do I keep traveling the world alone?

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The Chicken Bus to Granada

Granada’s iconic cathedral

This past year, I have been traveling a little more like a normal tourist than I did when I set out on my travels three years ago. Back then, I made a point to use the transportation used by locals, eat at the night markets and food stalls, and visit every kind of neighborhood. I was reminded of this in Managua when my taxi driver took me to the bus station instead of the meeting place for the tourist shuttle. Continue reading

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The Amatista

Until I spent a few days on the Amatista, “Amazon” meant big river, impenetrable jungles and dark-skinned men with blow darts.  The vision is accurate as far as it goes – except that the blow darts are now mostly found in souvenir shops — but I learned this week how the Amazon is a lot more than a river. The Amazon basin, called “Amazonia,” is one of the earth’s natural superstars. Continue reading