Today is Thanksgiving in the US, but here in Germany it’s just Thursday. While it is a holiday to celebrate being thankful for all the good things in your life and a time to be with friends and family, the food is also a big deal. This year Andy and I are having a German friend over to make a mini Thanksgiving dinner. We probably wouldn’t have bothered, but when our friend asked me how to make stuffing because he wanted to try a Thanksgiving dinner himself, I decided we should just do something at our apartment. But it also got me thinking about all the great (and not so great) food I’ve eaten around the world while traveling, and how big a role food plays in our memories of holidays and travels.
Have you ever thought about traveling but you don’t know where to start? Are you a female afraid to travel on your own? Do you want to see the world but you think you can’t because you’re not 20 years old? Leyla Giray from Women on the Road can help! I met Leyla a few months ago at a conference in Portugal, and after talking to her I was excited to hear she had a ebook coming out about how to travel. Her site and her ebook are aimed at baby boomers, but I’m 32 and I think almost all of the advise and information is helpful for women of all ages.
That’s right, this is my 200th post! So instead of my normal weekly photo, I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane with some of my favorite photos. A lot has happened in 200 posts (especially since I didn’t post very often when I first started blogging) and I’ve seen many more places than I could’ve imagined when I decided to start this blog.
I’m not one to gush about celebrities, but finding out that Andrew McCarthy from the film Pretty in Pink is now an avid traveler and travel writer (editor at large for National Geographic just to name one) makes me admire him even more. So when I was recently asked to review his book The Longest Way Home, of course I said yes. Luckily they were able to send me a Kindle version, so I didn’t have to wait to get started.
I’ve been back from my round the world trip for almost six months. It was a dream I held onto for years, and I’m so glad I was able to make it happen. But it didn’t look like what I imagined it would. I traveled through 13 countries in 136 days, and that taught me a thing or two about myself and about travel.
Vang Vieng is the one place in Laos I swore I wouldn’t visit while I was in Southeast Asia. The small town is known for drunken (and often drugged) backpackers tubing down the river, and the party scene did not appeal to me. But I was in need of some company and started traveling with a girl named Jo who wanted to stop there in order to break up the long journey from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. It turned out to be the right decision, and although we did not participate in any intoxicated activities, we did soberly float down the river in tubes. The scenery was gorgeous, and luckily we started early enough (noon is early in a town where almost everyone is wasted) that we were almost the only people on the river.
The Great Ocean Road was my favorite section of Australia. The scenery was gorgeous, and I couldn’t stop taking photos. One thing I noticed on my two day tour was how empty the beaches were, even though it was summer. But in one area there were a couple of surfers out on the water taking advantage of the lack of people, and they certainly looked like they were enjoying the ocean.
Travel can bring many difficult experiences in between all the fun times we set out to have. I was just reading a post from my friend Jaime about the Ganges River in India, and it made me think about all of the heart-wrenching or disturbing or awkwardly difficult moments I’ve experienced, especially while traveling in Southeast Asia. I’m not even talking about visiting a concentration camp in Germany or seeing the Killing Fields in Cambodia. I’m talking about normal, every day life.
Towards the end of my time in Wellington, I started looking ahead to Auckland. I had already booked a flight for about $60 but a woman in my hostel dorm started telling me about the scenic train she was taking to Auckland the same day I had my flight. As much as I like to get to my destination as quickly as possible, I was getting burnt out on airports, constantly changing baggage rules, and cramped airplanes. And 12 hours watching the New Zealand countryside go by sounded relaxing. So I booked a ticket on the train and blew off the flight.