Various

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 Angels in the Details

Sculpture in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

I love taking photographs when I travel, but I am selective about it because cameras can make you an outsider, an observer instead of a participant. One thing I like about having a camera is that, even if I don’t use it, I pay a little more attention to the details.

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Home Sweet Wherever It Is

My “real” home in California

In traditional cultures, where you live is a big part of who you are.  Many Americans, on the other hand, tend to view our communities as way stations to somewhere else. Most of us leave home at an early age and don’t return to raise our kids in the communities where we grew up.  As we age, many of us move again for economic reasons or to be with the grandchildren our children are raising  somewhere else.        Continue reading

The Souls of All Folk

Like most parents of active boys, I got a few phone calls from school over the years. Remembering them, I usually laugh. He stole a potato chip from Emily!  But one of them still turns my stomach.  When I was at work one day, the principal of Gabe’s school called to say Gabe had been “acting up” all week whenever his teacher read aloud to the class.  This wasn’t Gabe’s usual venue for mischief so after a few minutes on the phone I asked what book the teacher was reading.

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The Other Ethical Travel

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Argentina

Every year, the Berkeley-based non-profit, Ethical Traveler, announces its Top Ten most ethical places to travel in the developing world.  This year, the winners include Uruguay, Micronesia, and Mongolia.  http://ethicaltraveler.org/  The goal of Ethical Traveler is “to use the economic clout of tourism to protect human rights and the environment.” Its Top Ten countries get high marks for these attributes and it encourages us to visit them for that reason.

Wow, I am down with using travel to protect human rights and the environment.  But I am not convinced the best way to do that is to go to the places that have good human rights and environmental records.

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