History, culture, and architecture have always struck my fancy. So it is no wonder that travel- a means to see, feel, hear, taste, and experience these things- is so dear to my heart.
Although I’ve been successful in my career (my day job, or, the “thing I do other than write”), my wanderlust has always been strong and I knew that if I wanted to see the world…really, truly see it, I would need to get creative. There would not be enough vacations in my lifetime to see all I wanted to see.
I started learning ways to monopolize on business trips. If I was going to Romania, and my plane ticket was cheaper if I took an overnight in Vienna, then it was a win/win for everyone. Where I saw opportunities to see something new, I seized them. And along the way, I learned some tricks for seeing more with less time, and getting creative with the time you do have.
These experiences have inspired me to write travel guides so that others who share the desire to see as much of the world as possible in what short amount of time we have on this planet, might find them and take something useful away on their own voyages.
So far, I’ve been to 17 countries, and most US states. I have written, or will be writing, guides for most of these countries, and some of the states as well.
I’ve replicated this post as its own page called Travel Guides, which can be accessed by the main page navigation at the side and top.
Below are the guides that I have either written or will write. Those with links are already created, and those without are coming soon.
Taipei is the capital of the island of Taiwan, part of the Republic of China. The city is divided into two parts: the east side is filled with western-style boutiques, restaurants, and upscale hotels, and the west side displays some of the older cultures of the city, with street vendors and temples. There are many things to do and see in the city, regardless of your interests: from the temples of Longshan (Buddhist) and Baoan (Taoist), to the markets (the famous Shilin night market is especially fun) and street vendors, and even the towering Taipei 101 building, there are things here for everyone. Continue reading →
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Romania twice on business, with both trips lasting a week. On the first trip, I spent time touring the city of Cluj-Napoca and the area immediately around it (where I was visiting for work), and on the second trip I rented a car and decided to see more of the country. This blog post is going to be about the Cluj portion of the trip.
I didn’t know a lot about Romania before my first trip. I understood the country was still recovering from their years under Communist rule, and that their economy was still growing. I had heard the countryside was stunning (I remembered reading that a lot of the scenic shots in Cold Mountain were filmed there), the food good, and the culture varied. Other than that, I assumed there’d be some combination of gypsies and vampires (for the record: saw gypsies, but no vampires). Continue reading →
Edited to add: Since the original publication of this article, I’ve knocked the Tudor/Plantagenet item off my list. Was every bit as amazing as I expected!
I love to travel. I’ve been very, very fortunate in the travel experiences I have had so far. If for some reason I could never travel again, I would have so many amazing memories, that I could almost be okay with that. Almost.
Of course, there are still many experiences I still want to have, many other places on “the list” that I still want to see. My friends, this list is long. In fact, it would be much easier and quicker to list the places that I don’t want to see, although even those would come with an asterisk. For example, a holy pilgrimage across the Middle East would be in my Top 5 if it were a safer place to travel. I’d also like to travel to the Congo and pick up my conflict diamonds in person someday (okay, maybe I am kidding on that one).
Having said that, in an always ongoing effort to prioritize, I’ve created my “holy grail” Top 5 Can’t-Die-Before-I-Take-These-Trips List. Continue reading →
Like most travelers, I have specific mementos I collect from my trips. My main collection is shot glasses (I have over a hundred), and secondarily I always look for a “unique” memento (something I can wear, like jewelry, or something for around the house that isn’t too tacky). Along the way, I started noticing a new pattern in my collections: scarves. Continue reading →
Copenhagen, Denmark comes up on list after list as having the highest quality of living in Europe, and in some cases, the world. Having spent about a day and a half in the city, I can see why. This might be the cleanest city I’ve ever visited. I’ve never seen so many people riding bikes (my cab driver told me that there were more bikes than cars per household in the city), and all of the residents looked fit. There is a huge focus in the city on clean, outdoor activities, which can be seen in the large number of parks. Of course, all of this comes at a price: Copenhagen also has one of the highest costs of living in the world, and as a tourist, that can make budget travel a challenge. Continue reading →
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory, located at the southern tip of Andalucia, Spain. The territory of Gibraltar is about 2.5 miles, and has its own airport, customs area, and parliament. It also has a number of places to shop, including names tourists might find familiar. Of course, the reason tourists go there is the giant Rock of Gibraltar: a jutting, limestone beast of nature that features neat stuff like a Moorish castle and an entire colony of semi-friendly barbary macaques (monkeys). Continue reading →
Budapest is quickly becoming a popular destination for European-bound travelers. It has just the right combination of history, culture, and modern conveniences to appeal to almost anyone. The city is really divided into two halves: Buda, the “older,” historical district, and Pest, which is often referred to as the modern side. They are separated by the Danube, which offers some of the best views of both sides (examples: Castle Hill and Buda Castle on the Buda side, Parliament on the Pest side). Continue reading →
The Hop On, Hop Off style tour buses are your best friend when you are traveling in a time crunch. They allow you to see the most of the city in a short span of time, and you can pick and choose where you want to spend a little extra time. It is also a very inexpensive way to see an entire city. Continue reading →