Travel tales of fact and fiction
A good writer is basically a story teller, not a scholar or a redeemer of mankind.
– Isaac Bashevis Singer
If I take these words to heart, everything I write about travel can’t merely be a chronicle of my travels or a delineation of plans. Somewhere along the way I have to tell some stories.
Some of my stories are, alas, not really stories in the traditional sense. My stories of buying a camera or buying new luggage are not filled with dramatic events or interesting characters. There’s no plot to speak of. But I hope they reveal something about how I do stuff.
Sometimes a story can arise from an actual travel experience. Sometimes a picture tells a story or suggests a story that is begging to be told. I hope to write some actual stories, to share a little about my internal journeys, to tell some tales, and to create some narrative. By all means, come along for the ride!
This is a story about finding our cabin in Pinal de Amoles. And more.
When I started writing this, it was the morning of Day Four in our road trip to the states of Guanajuato, Querétaro, and San Luis Potosí. The agenda for this trip is to visit twenty Pueblos Mágicos and to see some great scenery.
Pinal de Amoles is in the heart of the Sierra Gorda, a mountain range that is the home to many protected and endangered plant and animal species. I booked two nights here (the only two-night stay of our ten-day road trip) so we would be able to do some exploration of the area.(more…)
As the year is about to end, I thought I’d take a look back at 2023 and remember the highlights and lowlights of the year.
This was one of the busiest travel years I’ve ever had. I spent a total of 85 days away from home, and I visited five countries, all of them for the first time.
So here is my year in review.(more…)
I’d like to think I know how to travel, but occasionally I learn something new.
Looking ahead to my trip to Scotland, I recently posted on the Rick Steves Travel Forum asking for thoughts about how to fill my time on the Isle of Skye. I have three full days there, and only one all-day activity. I wondered about other options to fill my time.
Several forum members wrote helpful responses about places I could get to that are worth exploring. But one response really blew me away.(more…)
Early last year, before the global pandemic put the kibosh on the trips I was going to take, I was lucky to do some traveling. I have officially postponed my trip to the Middle East until the fall of 2021, and I’m about 50–50 on whether to postpone further.
I could just skip adding any new content on my blog, but I thought I might share a little about my past travels from the perspective of time.
I’ve visited all fifty of the United States. To be fair, I shouldn’t say I visited them all. But I’ve at least been in them all. Some of them I have not seen nearly enough of to make a judgment. But all I can do is offer an opinion based on what I have seen of each state.(more…)
Note: I began writing this post while I was traveling in Poland in April 2019. I didn’t finish during the trip, and have finally completed writing about these heroes now in July. Most of my research comes from Wikipedia.(more…)
“This is what I want you to understand,” said Mateusz as he drew lines and dots on his crude map of Poland.(more…)
I have been thinking a lot about the situation here in Mexico that has led to long lines for gas and an explosion killing 90-some people in the state of Hidalgo.(more…)
Chapter 9 in Rick Steves’ book Travel as a Political Act covers a topic that is close to my heart and about which I have strong feelings: the Holy Land. In 2013, after Rick got back from his trip to Israel and Palestine to produce a television documentary about this troubled area, he gave a talk in Edmonds, where he lives and where his business is located. I attended, and for me the talk was enlightening. But even before that, I had somewhat well-baked views about the Holy Land, and as a Jew (at least by heritage if not by belief), my views are often in conflict with the majority of that community. So it’s with some trepidation that I set out to review this chapter from Rick’s book.
The full title of Chapter 7 in Rick Steves’ Travel as a Political Act is “Europe: Not ‘Hard on Drugs’ or ‘Soft on Drugs,’ but Smart on Drugs.” It’s an awful title in my opinion, but it’s an interesting topic. Rick is a strong advocate for the legalization of marijuana in the United States. He is a board member of NORML and was a co-sponsor of Initiative 502, which legalized adult recreational marijuana use in Washington state. He says he is not “pro-drugs,” but that he thinks many European countries have a much smarter, more pragmatic approach to the drug problem than the United States.
Chapter 5 of Rick Steves’ Travel as a Political Act is about Denmark. I visited Denmark in 2012 and really fell in love with it. I didn’t look upon my visit to Denmark as a political act, so it was interesting to get Rick’s perspective.