Blog Archives

What to See & Do in Every Region of Thailand

From ancient culture and mystic temples to lush landscapes and sugary sand beaches, a visit to Thailand offers such variety that it’s a popular vacation spot for many. The neighboring countries of Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia have all had some influence upon Thailand and its people, but the Land of Smiles remains largely unspoiled by European colonialism and has preserved its own distinct culture. The country is larger than most people realize and you likely won’t see it all in one visit – unless that visit is a very long one. To plan your visit, think of Thailand as one country with five different regions, each region offering something a little different, a little special.  So, let’s discover Thailand! Information for this previously published post was updated in December 2020 and contains affiliate links. Explore Northern Thailand The North […]

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15 Delicious Japanese Foods You Need to Try

From Hokkaido to Okinawa, Japan is home to some of the most flavorful dishes in the world. While each region may put their own spin on them, you’ll find certain classic meals on menus across the country. With an emphasis on using a wide variety of fresh ingredients, there are tasty options for every palate. Ready to embark on a culinary journey when visiting Tokyo? Here’s a list of the most delicious Japanese foods you need to try.  1. Sushi — One of the best-known Japanese foods, sushi consists of rice seasoned with rice vinegar combined with a variety of ingredients including raw fish, vegetables, and nori (seaweed). Sushi is commonly served with soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger, and other sides.  The ultimate finger food, it’s not surprising that sushi has become a popular choice for parties. In fact, sushi […]

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Celebrate World Wildlife Day

Today, March 3rd, is UN World Wildlife Day. The UN General Assembly made this proclamation in 2013 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. I […]

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18 Off the Beaten Path Places to Find Great Barbecue

As summer approaches, my mind turns to barbecue. For me, the thought of great barbecue brings to mind a plate of beef or pork that’s been slow cooked all day with a dry rub, then mounded on my plate with a spicy tomato-based sauce on the side. A few side dishes round out the meal, maybe corn on the cob, green beans, cole slaw, or a macaroni salad. Add is some iced tea or a cold beer and I’m in barbecue heaven. But the history and evolution of barbecue is far more complicated and includes techniques like smoking, roasting, baking, braising, and grilling beef, pork, chicken, or lamb. Seasonings may be as simple as salt and pepper or a more complicated blend or herbs and spices to make a dry rub. Sauces further define the type of barbecue, with fans […]

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Getaway to Nara, Japan

Nara, located in the Kansai region of Japan, was formerly known as Heijo and in 710 was established as Japan’s first permanent capital. The capital was moved in 784, in large part due to the growing power and ambition of the many Buddhist monasteries located there. The historical treasures of the area remain, however, including some of the oldest and largest temples in Japan. Like most other cities in Japan, there is folklore around the name of Nara. A variety of theories exist, but the most widely accepted one says that the name came from words and phrases that meant “flat land” or “gentle slope” which described the area’s topography. Today Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture and is an active center of both government and commerce. Like Awaji, It makes an easy getaway destination from Kyoto and […]

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Getaway to Awaji Island

Whether Japan’s Kansai region is your primary destination, or an add-on while visiting the rest of the country, planning for a getaway to Awaji Island rates high on my recommendation list. Folklore says that Awaji Island is the birthplace of Japan, created when the gods Izanagi and Izanami mixed up the sea with a spear. When they lifted the spear, a small drop of brine fell off the blade, hardening on top of the waves. That hardened drop became Awaji Island. Things to Do Take a boat trip through the Naruta Whirlpools – The Inland Seto Sea meets the Kii Channel  in the Naruta Straits, creating dramatic whirlpools the likes of which are seen in only a couple of other places in the world (Sicily and Vancouver, British Columbia). The whirlpools can reach a diameter of 65 feet. You can […]

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Visiting China: A New Country

I spent a long weekend in China. That’s an unusually short amount of time to spend in a country, especially one that requires a 12-hour transpacific flight to get to. My overnight flight got me in the evening before I was a speaker at the International Tourism Communication forum in Beijing, sponsored by the Communications University of China. The University offers undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. programs in a variety to television, journalisms, advertising, and realted programs. The forum was an attempt to create high level discussion on ways to improve communication within the tourism industry, and between the tourism industry and travelers. I did have one day for touring and will have a future post about that. Till then, though, I was able to update my countries visited map. Create your own travel map – TravBuddy

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Postcard from Okunoin Cemetery

A walk through a cemetery is a history lesson, especially in Japan. Feudal lords are interred next to executives, business moguls next to working class citizens.

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Postcard from Manila

  This week I’m in Manila, in the Philippine Islands This is a new country for me to visit, and while I’ve been busy with meetings, site reviews, and only a little bit of touring, I’ve discovered there is plenty to see and do. The food has been amazing, too.

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Looking Good in Bangkok: Buying Custom Made Clothes

Cleaning out the ill fitting clothing in my closet, and replacing them with items that I love and that fit well, has been on my to-do list for far too long. To be very clear – haute couture is not in my budget, and it’s never going to be. I’m a casual kind of gal, and I prefer to spend money on travel and experiences rather than more “stuff.” BUT – buying some custom made clothes has long been on my bucket list.Who knew that a week in Bangkok would be the impetus to get it done. I was in Bangkok for a conference and received an email from my friend Scott Eddy (in photo, right) letting me know that he was heading off to Jackie’s Tailor to get some new items and inviting friends to join him. Scott divides his time between the […]

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