Category Archive: traveling

The Spas of Tskaltubo

As with all proper legends, Tskaltubo’s story begins with a shepherd. Or a chieftain. And undoubtedly somebody tells it as a virgin who first found the miraculous healing hot springs in what is… Continue reading

Sorry Tripadvisor

After weeks in Vietnam, talking too much with other tourists, I jumped at the invitation to join a local for dinner. I was the only identifiably foreign face in the crowd gathered around… Continue reading

My Friend Across the Table

The only language he and I shared was smiling. And food. So we did a lot with those. The backyard table was piled with freshly baked bread, homegrown vegetables harvested minutes ago, eggs… Continue reading

How Do We Travel in an Age of Travelers?

How do you take a group of people to see the Sistine Chapel? A guided tour of the Vatican Museums is a rugby match between 50 teams at once, played out in beautiful… Continue reading

Different Holiday, Same Message

My favorite part of Thailand’s Loy Krathong festival wasn’t the enormous street market the first night, though the long rows of artwork, clothing, and sparkly souvenirs that filled the core of Chiang Mai’s… Continue reading

What Covid did to Travel: the Good, the Bad, and the Better

English teachers call it a “feedback sandwich.” A discouraged learner might disengage, so you wrap the hard part between two tastier layers. At the end of the first tourism year after two rough… Continue reading

Answering Questions in Kazakhstan

After the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the grasslands of Kazakhstan felt like another world. Snow and stone were remote memories, replaced by a deep vista of rolling hills and stretched plains painted with Van… Continue reading

Kyrgyz Trek – Day Six: Going Back, Going Forward

Walking those last hours of descent back to pavement and electrical outlets was a time of comfortable contradictions. Steps tentative with battered ligaments, but perhaps a tiny bit of swagger after traversing the… Continue reading

Kyrgyz Trek – Day Five: Looking into the Abyss

That first hot cup of tea was glorious after a long cold night, and when I tipped my tent to dry in the morning sun and panes of ice cracked and fell off,… Continue reading

Kyrgyz Trek – Day Four

It was the best of campsites, it was the worst of campsites, but first we had to get there. Day Four started in another perfect mountain valley, whose light green-blue river of melted… Continue reading