Oct 302016
 
Online Security Crushes My Self-Esteem

I feel completely inadequate in my relationships whenever I’m faced with one of those online security forms asking me to answer a “secret question” to set up an online account. Their predefined set of questions mock me at every turn. Where did you and your spouse meet? (I’m not married.) Where was your first date […Read more]

Aug 112016
 
The Art of the Squatty Potty

In travel, not all toilets are created equal. Some are much less equal than others. Of course, I am referring to the squat toilets found in many parts of the world outside of North America. Some can be gleaming porcelain fixtures, while others are nasty holes in the ground (and lots of variations in between). […Read more]

May 012016
 
Neither Rain Nor Sleet Nor Broken Foot

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that are the most dangerous. I survived petting a lion in Zambia and driving through crazed Athens traffic. But I was done in by my hotel door in Bosnia. In my own defense, it was an exceptionally high door threshold that you truly had to step over, sort […Read more]

Sep 092015
 
First World Problems

Daily life can be filled with irritations. The technical support people who seem to know less about their product than I do and therefore offer little support. The barista who makes my frappucino in slow motion while talking in fast motion to her co-workers about her car troubles. The hidden app on my new smartphone […Read more]

Jun 232015
 
Walking Like a Local

On my first day in Dakar, my blonde, wide-eyed newness made me a magnet for every street vendor trying to sell something. They followed me persistently; I couldn’t shake them. On my last day in Dakar 10 days later, my walk down the street was a much different experience. I’d learned the secret. Engaging with […Read more]

May 022015
 
Travel Toilet Faux Pas

Toilet customs can be mysterious. I never thought so growing up. You did what was necessary, dropped the toilet paper in the toilet, and flush. Simple. Even the occasional outhouse encountered during family vacations was just a variation—toilet paper, drop, and then (no) flush. But then I began to travel. The first variation of toilet […Read more]

Apr 192015
 
Hiking Pants Save My Travel Mojo

I had a moment of travel discomfort last night. I met a colleague for dinner at our hotel in Dakar, and when I mentioned my plans for today included looking for a museum and roaming about a bit, he looked at me intensely and asked, “Did you have your security briefing?” I had. Our internal […Read more]

Apr 192015
 
A Walk in Dakar

My alter ego, Anastasia, went for a walk in Dakar this afternoon. Anastasia made her first appearance several years ago in Istanbul as I tried to avoid the annoyingly persistent Turkish rug salesmen. Their usual approach was, “Hello, what is your name? Where are you from? Ah, Seattle? I have an uncle there.” But they […Read more]

Nov 112014
 
Find Your Place in the World

I spent last weekend with some friends in Palm Desert, a little respite from the fall rains sweeping into Seattle. But as I sat soaking in the sun by the pool, gazing up at the dramatic outline of the mountains surrounding this desert oasis, my mind drifted back to my recent trip to Ukraine. I […Read more]