No matter where in the world writer Bobbi Lerman travels, she has only to give herself time to sit and watch to find a story. During a trip to the Isle of Skye, it was an overheard conversation between an errant Scottish teen and her father that served as the inspiration behind this delightfully universal tale of parental love and aggravation.
Kids and culture is a difficult thing to get right. How to introduce the kids to high culture while managing not to ruin it for the adults involved? Author Jules Older attempts to do just that when he buys tickets for the family to see Madame Butterfly at the Sydney Opera House. He'd hoped for the ultimate Believe-Me, You'll-Thank-Me-Later cultural experience. His young daughters, however, saw things differently.
by Jane Spencer
I have read memoirs by daughters who traveled with their mothers, and most say the same thing: "Don't do it.”
Mothers are unquestionably loved, but it seems they can be incontinent, cheap, bossy, slow movers, picky eaters, or all-of-the-above. In other words, not the best travel companions.
I am the mother in this story. In my sixties, I have some aches and pains but I am not incontinent. I am a budget-conscious, adventure traveler who has trekked in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Trouble is, I am not a big city person.
When writer Chris Pady decides to slip away for a few hours on a friend's bicycle while vacationing with his wife and kids in Kaoshiung, Taiwan, he discovers the Ai He (Love RIiver) path. What begins as a hot and steamy fling in the form of daily cycling escapes, ends with knowing Kaoshiung a little better. And the best part: No guilt.
My wife, Michele, and I spent much of our twenties in one of Taiwan’s lesser known cities, Tainan, where we soaked up the former capital’s unique culinary, social, and cultural delights. Food and rent were cheap while teaching wages were high. Meeting friends for a lavish feast on a whim was practically the norm.
by Dina Lyuber
Being naked in public, for a North American, is the stuff of nightmares. Why? Is it because our bodies are so embarrassing? Perhaps it’s just a social convention; we are expected to hide our bodies, and so we feel awkward in public spaces when we must expose them. Maybe this is why many tourists avoid bathhouses. After all, they have a perfectly nice, private bathtub in their hotel room. And back home, they can wear a bathing suite as they sink into the hot tub at the community pool.
They may have avoided exposure, but they have no idea what they are missing.
by Angela Smith Kirkman
“Meet us at El Embrujo in 30 minutes,” the voice on the other end of the line says in Spanish.
“Yes, I’m here with Marlith. We’re sending a taxi to pick you guys up. It’s your last night in Peru—our last chance to boogie down.” [My translation.]
“Thanks for the invite, Gloria, but I’m sorry, we just can’t do it.” I say, glancing toward my husband, Jason, who’s busy making sure all of our passports are in order.
I still haven’t quite figured out how to dance to Peruvian pop music, but I’m giving it my best shot.
by Elyn Aviva
We punched in the entry code on the keypad on the side of the looming concrete storage building, opened the door, and walked down the empty, darkened corridors to our numbered unit. We unlocked the roll-up metal door and pushed it up, revealing a colorful hodgepodge of items stacked along the walls and piled on metal shelving units in the center. We were entering a mysterious domain, a mixture of refuse dump and Treasure Island.
This was the stuff we had left behind six years ago in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when my husband, Gary, and I moved to Spain. Now that were happily settled as expats in Girona, Catalonia, Spain, the time had come to clear out the storage unit. No more excuses.
by Angela Smith Kirkman
As far back as I can remember, my life’s goal has been to travel around the world. Now, as I sit in row twenty-two of our Boeing 777, chasing the moon over the Pacific somewhere between Tokyo and the International Date Line, I can feel the book closing on this chapter, on the whole epic adventure. And the same question keeps resonating in the back of my mind.
by Jennifer Hobson-Hinsley
I honestly believe people are either born with a sense of direction or without one. You either drive past your own house at night, or you don’t. At birth, I was at the front of the receiving line for a sense of direction, my husband was at the back. My husband drives past our house at night, and it makes me absolutely crazy. Crazy hit a new level when we recently drove from our house in Santa Fe to Telluride, about six hours away.
"For Dad" by Austin Eichelberger
In March, I visited my parents in Virginia from my home in New Mexico: twenty-four full hours of driving over three days and across six states, from desert mesas to grassy flatlands to the wooded Appalachian Mountains where I grew up. I stepped through the kitchen door just as dim night settled over the nearby barn where my mother was feeding horses. My dad, whose name I share, walked toward me smiling but breathing hard, an effect of the lung disease he had been diagnosed with months before. It had already restricted his existence, keeping him from the veterinary work he loved and the active, exuberant lifestyle he had always enjoyed. Watching it happen from over halfway across the country – like snippets of a harrowing home movie, with distance creating a gnawing hunger – was feeding a mix of anxiety and relief within me: anxiety that I'd be too far away to make it home if something happened, relief that I was far enough away to deny the disease’s effects on him.
I was born with Fernweh, an ache to explore faraway places. It’s in my DNA; both of my parents had it. It was my dad, however, who taught us to pack adventure into our explorations.
Like my mother, I’d bask in the preparations for travel. I’d research, map out itineraries, and pack well in advance. For Daddy, however, the best part of travel was the adventure—the experiences you couldn’t plan for.
The ancient Land Rover banged through another pothole as the rain poured onto the muddy, treacherous road. “We’re almost there,” my husband shouted encouragingly. I nodded, and clutched the door handle even tighter. Our little baby, carsick, had already thrown up twice. Driving from Kingston up 4000 feet into Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, with precipitous drops just steps away, frightened me into speechlessness. When the vehicle’s tires slipped at a hairpin turn, I silently begged God to keep us safe.
At last we crunched up a bumpy driveway to Whitfield Hall, a centuries-old Blue Mountain coffee farm surrounded by giant eucalyptus trees. I unsnapped our child from her car seat and hurried after my husband Zickie. Outside in a covered breezeway under a kerosene lamp, a large Jamaican woman in a red headscarf held out her arms. “Miss Lynette!” Zickie bellowed, his stream of patois making her burst into belly laughs. I shivered with the baby as they embraced. Lynette Harriott was the matriarch who kept my in-laws’ 18th century guesthouse running, just as her mother Cynthia once did. This was the first time I’d met her, on my very first trip to the island.
Finally, she turned to inspect me, the new American wife. Her mahogany-colored eyes moved swiftly from my muddied running shoes to my blond hair. “Laura,” she said formally. I shifted the baby to my hip as I moved in to give Lynette a hug. She responded stiffly. “It’s nice to meet you,” I began, telling her how much I’d heard about her. Lynette ignored this, and reached for our baby.
“Likkle Iris,” she cooed, now smiling again. Other farm workers crowded around to see the baby, the long awaited grandchild of Mr. John and Miss Maureen. “Bright-eyed white lady,” an old man named Vinnie called her. Everyone laughed. I might as well have been invisible.