Celebrate World Wildlife Day

Today, March 3rd, is UN World Wildlife Day. The UN General Assembly made this proclamation four years ago as a way to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. I’m not an eco-blogger or traveler, but I do make every effort to respect the world around me, making sure that I don’t engage in any behavior that harms the earth and its creatures. Or, if I’m to be more honest with myself and you, I try to minimize the damage my behavior causes to the earth and its creatures (because, yeah, air travel is not eco-friendly). Although I don’t write much on the topic, either, I’m pretty pleased with this podcast I did with Bret Love about Rwanda’s ecotourism attractions, and how tourism is bouncing back after the terrible atrocities of the Civil War and genocide. […]

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Sail off on a Viking Homelands Cruise

I know that lots of you still haven’t made your big vacation plans for the year, or maybe you’re ahead of the game and making plans for next year. I took a 15-day summer cruise on the Viking Sea and recommend both the ship and the itinerary highly. The itinerary is called Viking Homelands, and it’s a cruise through Scandinavia and the Baltic stopping in historic city centers and cruising majestic Norwegian fjords. It’s full of value luxury destinations and experiences. Viking Ocean provides great value for your cruise dollar. It’s an all-inclusive experience – something that seems to have fallen by the wayside on other cruise experiences – with many tours included at each port, soft drinks, beer and wine complimentary at meals, and specialty restaurants that don’t require an additional charge. It was nice to relax and enjoy […]

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A Complicated Update of My World Map

On my most recent trip to China, I also visited Macao and Hong Kong. Politically, both of these destinations are in China – a fact that I was reminded of numerous times in the phrase “one country, multiple systems.” However, when going to Macau from mainland China, you need to exit one “country” and enter “another.” And, when going from Macau to Hong Kong, the same exit/entry process applies, as does going from Hong Kong back to mainland China. Let’s further complicate it with the fact that U.S. passport holders need a visa for mainland China (now valid for 10 years), while we don’t for Macau or Hong Kong (subject to length of stay, but not an issue for most casual travelers). It’s a political distinction, I get it, but the reality is that transiting between mainland China, Macau, and […]

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Travel for Library Lovers

If you’re a lover of books and literature, you probably already visit libraries when you travel. Whether it’s stopping off to do a little research or get an internet connection at a local library, or to visit a historically or culturally significant site, sleuthing out a library in advance of your travels is worth your time. And if you’re going to be in one destination or an extended period of time, you may be able to get a temporary library card giving you access to books and services for the time you’re there. For a book lover, that’s a big travel bonus. (If you’re looking for reading ideas, you can find some of my recommendations here.) I asked a few traveling friends to share some of their favorite ideas about libraries. The Long Room, Dublin: when Jedi knowledge meets monastic […]

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Review: The Doctors House, Fort Casey Inn

When visitors head to , they typically think of Langley (at the south end) or Oak Harbor (the naval air station at the north end), but tucked away in the middle part of the island is Coupeville. Coupeville is the county seat, and with a population under 2,000 is a historic district within the federal Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. The reserve includes farmlands, Fort Ebey State Park, Fort Casey State Park, beaches and shorelines, parks, trails, and 91 locations on the National Register of Historic Places. For a place to stay in keeping with the town’s historic significance, the Fort Casey Inn provides a modern take on officer housing from pre-World War I. The row of historic cottages date back to around 1909 when they served as Non-Commissioned Officers’ Quarters for the neighboring defense installation. They have been modernized to […]

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Recommendations for a Romantic Getaway

Yes, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but keeping a list of ideas for romantic getaways close at hand for other special occasions – anniversaries, proposals, birthdays, or just to show a loved one a little special appreciation. What makes a destination romantic is as different as every person is. Whether your idea of romantic is a secluded beach, a penthouse in a big city, dinner for two with a view, or visiting somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, I’ve got some suggestions for you. For City Lovers If you love the big cities, you know that they aren’t cold and impersonal – no, they’re teeming with life and excitement, and are full of romantic travel opportunities. Just think about these: A kiss at midnight at the top of the Empire State Building. It worked for Cary Grant and […]

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Read Great Books When You Travel

Like most travelers, I read a lot. Part of the reason I purchased a Kindle years ago, and the Paperwhite Kindle just a couple years back, is because even on the shortest of trips, I pack two or three books to read. And I can’t begin to count how many books I’d pack for a month long trip to Europe. No matter how much I enjoy the feel of a book in my hand, I just couldn’t pack around that kind of weight – even when I left them behind after reading – any longer. I like reading a variety of types of books, from autobiographies to mysteries, from chick lit to literary fiction, from travelogues to business philosophy, and am constantly asking friends and fellow travelers for reading suggestions. While I’ve always gotten great recommendations, I also enjoy my […]

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Sip Up! January is Hot Tea Month

January is hot tea month, a celebration of the second most popular drink in the world (the first is water). Even here in the U.S., where we don’t often embrace the many rituals surrounding tea, our consumption is on a rapid increase. I tend to agree with British writer Henry James when he said:  “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” I’ve asked some of my writer friends to share their tea experiences. From learning about its production to drinking it, from discovering the tea culture to enjoying traditional served high tea, I think you’ll enjoy these stories and find your own special way to celebrate hot tea month. Growing and producing tea: Boseong Green Tea Fields Samantha is currently teaching ESL in Namwon, South Korea. She fell in love […]

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Travel Bucket List Update 2017

Last year (2016) was a crazy busy year of travel and I checked several things off my bucket list. Bucket lists seem to get a bad rep these days, evoking the image of someone rushing around the world it pursuit of checking off sites on a to-do list. That is not the case with my list. My bucket list is a result of being an inveterate list maker. I make lists, I use lists, and I refer to lists often. There’s nothing rush-rush about my list and that should be evident by a few guidelines I follow in making it. My list is capped at 100 and is an assortment of destinations, things to do or see, and experiences. When something is accomplished, or I’ve changed my mind about it, it gets crossed off the list and something new is […]

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2016: A Year of Travel in Review

If there was one theme to my travels in 2016 it would be Asia. I made six trips to Asia, including three new countries (Philippines, China, Israel), and at one point had made three trips to Asia in a 35 day period. I visited several new countries in Europe as well (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, Russia, and Estonia) while on a Viking Ocean Cruise. A secondary theme for the year was new projects. I started a podcast, a quest to visit every winery in the state of Washington, infused a neglected site with more enthusiasm, created space for more indepth stories, and have a food site ready to launch in the first quarter of 2017. Whew! The next year will be even busier than this one. Since some of my trips, both international and domestic, were made on relatively short […]

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