Apr 142019
House Sitter from Hell

The worst house sitter I ever had was the one I had to pay. For years, my long trips seemed to coincide with a friend or friend-of-friend’s need to escape difficult roommates, find somewhere to live during a breakup, or stay for the summer when home from working abroad. All of these were mutually beneficial […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]

Jun 072015
On the Shores of Africa: Gorée Island

Most of what I learned in school about slavery were dry facts about the Emancipation Proclamation or Underground Railroad. As I grew older, books and shows like “Gone With the Wind” and “Roots” put a more human (though probably misleading, at least in the case of GWTW) face on it. But the focus of all […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
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]