Blog Archives

Guide to Jordanian Wine

You may be thinking to yourself, surely there’s some confusion here – Jordanian wine? That can’t be true! Well, this is one hundred percent true – there are, in fact, wineries in Jordan. And they are actively producing wine today. Jordan is famously known for Petra, the ancient archaeological site located in the southwestern region of the country. Near Petra, more than 80 ancient wine presses were found believed to date to Nabatean times. I visited Jordan as part of a paid partnership project with Globus Journeys. Saying yes to the Jordan Escape tour was easy-peasy. I had previously toured with Globus on their California Dream’: Northern California by Design tour and was impressed. I loved their attention to detail, the quality of their itineraries and guides, and the enjoyable environment they created among group members. This tour maintained the high quality I have come […]

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Jordan Travel Tips: 9 Things I Didn’t Know Until I Got There

Before every vacation, I love researching places and learning about all the destinations, their history, and the attractions. I try to find a book or two about or set in the destination (I start this process as soon as the trip is booked so that I have lots of time before I arrive on-site). I start reading guides and blog posts from my cadre of trusted sites. I set up a Pinterest board to keep track of the things I deem important, the photos that capture my attention, and I compile information that would make a data nerd proud. Without proper preparation and some research, you could find yourself in difficult situations or end up missing some hidden gems. So it’s smart to do it. But no matter how much research I do, I love the serendipity that happens while […]

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Visiting Mount Nebo, Jordan 

Mount Nebo is a lesser-known, but still a very important historical landmark in Jordan. The mountain has a major biblical significance to the people of Jordan and Israel as the religious site is said to be the place where Moses looked towards The Promised Land before he died upon the mountain top. Mount Nebo is an important stop on a visit to Jordan and I was glad to see it on my itinerary. With views overlooking the Dead Sea, Jeremiah, and even Jerusalem, this important historical site is also an area of outstanding natural beauty. Though today the mountain peak is a tourist attraction with an admission fee, the religious connections are felt by most who visit here. It is a popular pilgrimage site for many religious devotees, and even though I don’t consider myself a religious person, I couldn’t […]

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13 INCREDIBLE Places to Celebrate the Spring Equinox

The spring equinox is the time of year when the sun lies directly above the equator, meaning that the length of day and night are equal. It is also referred to by other names, such as Ostara equinox and the vernal equinox. The Spring Equinox falls on different days each year, although it is usually around the same time. In 2022, it lands on March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere and September 22nd in the Southern Hemisphere. It marks the beginning of spring in the Northern hemisphere and the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere. The confusion between spring and fall with the hemispheres is why it’s sometimes easier to just refer to it as the vernal equinox (even though vernal means spring, it sometimes sounds less confusing). For thousands of years, ancient civilizations have held spring equinox celebrations. Spring […]

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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 on 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 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. The meeting of these waters creates dramatic whirlpools 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 take […]

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