Erin Mooz flew halfway across the world to visit her college roommate’s hometown, Shanghai, during Hairy Crab season, one of the city’s most anticipated culinary events of the year, and discovered there was more to the tradition than the delicious crustaceans.
Many of us travel in search of the different, the unusual, the exotic. But, for B.J. Stolbov, wherever he travels, he often finds himself searching for the familiar. Not the things that remind him of “back home,” but, rather, the moments of connection—to others, to nature, to himself—that each journey inspires.
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.
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.
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.
As an American expat teaching English in high schools and universities in the Philippines, YourLifeIsATrip.com contributor BJ Stolbov's students often ask him, “What makes Americans American?” Learn why it's a question that he finds difficult to answer as America becomes increasingly socially and politically divisive and discover how his answer is still one that unites.
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 B.J. Stolbov
When I was young, my father took me on a father-son bonding/camping/fishing trip to some unpronounceable lake in upstate New York. I learned to squeamishly poke a hook through a wiggling worm. I learned to awkwardly cast a fishing line out into the lake. And when I did catch a fish, with the point of the hook sticking out through its eye, I immediately learned, while screaming and crying, that I was no fisherman. No fisherman either, my father and I gratefully agreed to bond by never going fishing again.
by Judith Fein
Around the world, viewers and readers are transfixed by the racism dialogue that has transformed from a whisper to a scream in America. It took atrocities, murders, abuse to reach the point where black Americans are being heard. They are refusing to take it any more.
And in my heart, I think the roots of this racism are in slavery. I thought I had a basic grasp of the subject until I went to Louisiana and discovered 12 surprising—sometimes shocking--things I learned that I wanted to share with you.