Category Travel tips

I (finally!) have travel gear

Let’s get right to the good part: I finally found waterproof walking shoes. My quest for waterproof walking shoes was more or less the Epic of Gilgamesh, The Aeneid, Njáls Saga and The Odyssey rendered in retail.  It was not pretty.  It involved a lot of returns.  And yet, just at the moment I feared […]

My ten favorite works of art in situ and why you should see art in its original context

Of course I had a conversion experience: it happened in Florence, back when I wasn’t such a prepared traveler.  HOB and I were on our honeymoon eating too much gelato and wandering through the art historical wonders of this Renaissance city.  We entered the Museum of San Marco on a whim and were instantly drawn […]

Walk like Stevie Wonder and other advice for managing jet lag

Every good story needs a villain.  The villain of my own life story is insomnia.  As someone eager to be the hero of her own story, I battle against insomnia with a combination of protestant work ethic and desperation.  During the past two years I’ve consulted four doctors, completed a 12 week sleeping class, taken three prescription medications, tried acupressure, light therapy, a […]

Want to travel cheap? Stay fit.

I think of budget travel as a sort of prolonged marathon.  There’s the constant walking of course—hours and hours of walking and the occasional sprint brought on by a train delay.  And the climbing.  If you love medieval hill towns as much as I do you’re in for a lot of uphill climbs.  (Pro tip: […]

Airport eats: snacks to pack for the airport and your flight

If my mind was a pie chart there would be a large slice labeled Intense Thoughts about Snacks.  A subcategory of that slice would be Travel Snacks with a sub-subcategory for Airport Snacks.  And since we’re about to leave for a trip my Intense Thoughts about Snacks mind wedge is in full planning mode. Most airport food is disgusting, innutritious and […]

A struggle story concerning your travel blogger and her search for waterproof walking shoes

The only time I wish I were a man is in public bathrooms and shoe stores.  While I recognize that I don’t have the anatomy to use a urinal, I am beyond frustrated with shoe stores and their lack of practical options for women.  Let’s say you’re a dude, and you need some decent walking […]

A skeptic’s guide to travel guide books

I use guide books when I travel, but always selectively and with skepticism.  Why am I a skeptic?  Because many guide books are inaccurate and poorly updated.  Here’s a perfect example: for the past 18 years I’ve worked at the same museum, and throughout those 18 years customers have steadily approached our staff looking confused […]

Wayfinding basics: how to find your hotel and catch your train

When it comes to travel wayfinding I’m old school—I use paper, as in maps and notes, and I talk to people.  It’s not that I’m opposed to technology (although I am possibly the last non-grandmother alive still using a flip-phone), it’s just that technology can and will fail just when you need it most.  How’s […]

Faux-Pilgrim’s Progress: how we faked a pilgrimage

Last week as we were walking about in the rain in Santiago de Compostela looking for a post office, we were stopped by the leader of a tour group.  “Excuse me” he said politely “I see that you are pilgrims.  My group would like to see your pilgrim’s passport stamps.  Could you please show them […]

You’ll all be relieved to know my right boob did not set off the metal detector at airport security and we are now walking around the Pyrénées chasing St. James

We made it to Toulouse drama free, well, drama free except for my usual fear of flying and a new-found concern that my boob would set off security alarms.  I recently had two titanium chips implanted in my breast during a biopsy of a suspicious lump….and I’m happy to report that not only was the […]