Music, Girlfriends, Facebook, and Medellin

Ellen Barone had almost written off social media when a Facebook private message from a long lost Scottish friend flashed across her iPhone display in Medellin, Colombia. Seconds later the two were live chatting across continents, sparking powerful memories infused with laughter and music and a shared New Mexico road trip.

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Are Cubans Happy?

Much as travelers may try not to make sweeping conclusions based on superficial observations, happiness is a common attribute applied to Cubans by foreign visitors to the island. In this reflective essay, writer and tango aficionado Maraya Loza Koxahn shares her experiences in Cuba and thoughts on happiness as viewed through the lens of music and dance. 

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Deejaying in Taiwan

With a typhoon raging outside, the dance floor was jam-packed with a mix of Taiwanese and expats, grooving under a musical trance on All Hallows’ Eve. It was 2005 and deejay Chris Pady was slinging just the right infectious beats to rule the room. It was heady stuff, complete control, a superpower that today lies mostly dormant until he hears La Lupita and immediately he's thrown back to a time when he ruled the world.

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The Feed of Guinness and A Man Who Minds His Own Business

A decade ago, on the tiny isle of Cape Clear off the southern coast of Ireland (pop. 100) Rachel Dickinson found herself sitting next to a man in a pub who graduated from the same small college she attended in Upstate New York. It was such an improbable meeting that it threw her into a magical daze. Today, she recalls a trip filled with birds and quirky characters and a wee bar in a house where everyone drank and twirled to the music of a fiddle, pennywhistle, and bodhran.

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When No One Knows You: The joy of reinventing yourself overseas

When B.J. Stolbov left the United States to live abroad, he knew no one and no one knew him. He chose to view this as an opportunity to shed the masks and roles and expectations of his past and focused on becoming the person he wanted to be. The result is a life of unexpected joy.

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Scents of the Past

Smell is one of the most powerful senses. One whiff of a familiar scent can invoke a form of time travel. When Debbie Wilson opened a present containing her mother’s favorite perfume, she didn't know that its scent would transport her back to her childhood. But it did. Suddenly, she was eight years old again wrapped in her mother's love and comfort. 

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No Maps in Marrakech

On their first day in Marrakech, Jennifer Shanahan and her daughter learned a crucial lesson: To navigate the Medina, a labyrinth of streets and shops, you will need a map (not a phone) to find your way. But, more importantly, you must never use this map in public.

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Bereavement Abroad: When the unthinkable happens and you're not there.

Ellen Barone awakened in Medellin, Colombia, to the news that her dad, who lived in Utah, had fallen and broken his hip and hand. Soon afterward, he was cleared for immediate hip surgery, and from there, things escalatedand deterioratedquickly.

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Hiking Beyond Our Fears

When twin sisters set off on a hiking adventure in the Grand Canyon, a shared fear of heights threatened to ruin the trip. Learn how the sisters made the powerful choice to hike beyond their fears in a decision inspired by the gentlest flutter of a butterfly's wings. 

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Where Is Home? A Collection of Very Very Short Stories

We challenged YourLifeIsATrip.com writers to tell us about home in 25 words or less. What it means. What it doesn’t mean. Where they feel it. Where they don't. Is it a person? A place? A memory?. And, don’t let the small size fool you — at the heart of each of these very very short essays is a powerful story.

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A Room for Romance

Irene Sardanis and her husband love to travel. They disagree, however, when it comes to where to stay. He prefers the basics: a bed and a bath. She wants spacious rooms, fresh flowers, and a balcony with a view. On a trip to Italy, after enduring one too many drab, dark, and dismal hotel rooms, Irene rebelled, took charge, and found the ideal room for romance with passion as her reward.

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(Don’t) Rock the Boat in Cornwall

All Elyn Aviva wanted was a quiet, peaceful vacation in a rented cottage in Penzance, Cornwall. Noise, traffic, and a lack of privacy was what she got instead. Ready to call it quits and return home, she creates a mental trick that helps her to endure. Until it doesn't.   

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Hidden Philippines: Tropical Mountains Beyond and Above the Beach

There's more to the Philippines than white sandy beaches, clear blue ocean, soothing waves, and swaying palms trees. When American expat BJ Stolbov settled in the Philippines, he traveled beyond and above the tourist-laden beaches to a world of lush tropical mountains and indigenous tribal culture and people. Discover his insider tips for exploring the mountains of northern Luzon.

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The Inside Scoop on Paris Museums

Writer Dorty Nowak has lived in Paris, on and off, for ten years. When friends planning a trip to the City of Lights for the first time ask her what museums they should visit, her number one choice, the Carnavalet, rarely makes the guidebook "must visit" lists. Get the inside scoop on what makes it so special. 

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