Melanie Kitzan booked a trip to Iceland for New Year's Eve with a man she had just met, but when he bailed at the last minute, she decided to go alone. Darkness and loneliness threatened to ruin the adventure until a chance encounter with an old scientist and tales of Icelandic elves changed everything.
Past and present collide in unexpected ways when 80-year-old Gary White embarks on an arctic adventure to celebrate his wife's birthday and is forced to face his perception of the arctic as a dangerous and primitive place, a deeply embedded fear, he realizes later, formed as a ten-year-old boy.
When Jennifer Shanahan’s trip to Paris for a music-themed family getaway was silenced by a terrorist attack, a small group of street musicians served to momentarily dissipate the sadness, confusion, and fear surrounding the horrific event.
During a visit to the island of Key West, Florida, writer Kristine Mietzner encounters a Tibetan Buddhist ceremony involving the creation and destruction of a Sand Mandela and finds peace in a troubled relationship.
Barbara Wysocki celebrates Catalonia's patron saint in Barcelona on a day that also recognizes a noble dragonslayer and marks the deaths of two literary lions. With a potpourri of bookish events, roaming musicians, and a chance to dance, she gets swept into the magic of past and present.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Change is never easy. And aging definitely ain't for sissies. In this honest and insightful essay, writer Katherine McIntyre reflects on her decision, at the age of 93, to trade her home of nearly 50 years for life in a senior's residence.