Various

Airbnb — Fantastic If You Know the Ropes

My Airbnb cottage on the Greek Island of Lesvos where I awoke to clanging sheep bells and made friends with local chickens.

Airbnb has changed the way I travel. I have stayed Airbnb apartments, houses, farms and cottages all over the world, in places as far flung as Japan, Armenia, Peru, and Sweden. Traveling with Airbnb, I have lived in neighborhoods that most tourists never see. I have cooked and shopped like a local. Best of all, I have met wonderful people I never would have met if I had stayed in a hotel.

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Ten Incredible Places to Learn World History While Having Fun

Martin Luther King said “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” I’m not sure about the first half of this quote coming from history-maker Martin Luther King, but I am good with the second half. And for me travel is one of the best ways to learn about what we are made of. Some places are especially good for understanding a little bit about world history, and feeling the past and how it has influenced our world today.

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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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Two Years Later — the Refugees in Greece

It has been more than two years since I first arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos where overloaded boats brought refugees to the island’s windy beaches. The people in the boats were mostly young and many were children — wet, cold and hungry, escaping war and persecution in their home countries. Continue reading

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