Bali Silent Retreat

Retreat. It’s a word that makes me think of summer camps: a big lake, a canoe, tug-of-war and capture the flag. Or company team building: ice breaker games and trust falls. But it also has another meaning, a verb: to back away from something. Reminiscent of war films – a desperate command, shouted by the…

The Perils of a Temporary Passport

As I approached the passport check, I realized I was scowling. I’d been up since 3am with only two cups of coffee and I felt grouchy. Simultaneously, I realized grimacing wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I’ve been operating with a temporary passport for several months now and these passport checks usually turn into an…

The Famous Full Moon Party? Depressing.

The full moon party on the beaches of Haad Rin in Koh Phangan was a blatant, disturbing display of hedonism and blithe disregard for the planet.  I’m sad to have been a part of it but feel it worth recounting, if for no other reason than to deter everyone I know from ever participating. The…

Pai’s Night Market, Thailand

Markets remain one of my favorite ways to experience a place. From the chaotic Jemaa el Fna in Marrakech, to the hip Saturday market in Portland, Oregon, to the genteel weekend markets of Europe, the community that gathers around local food is always real and always imbued with positive energy – everyone loves to eat….

Bangalore: Vidyarthi Bhavan

The clock struck 2:25 and the crowd swelled behind us, fifteen more people pouring into the waiting area from the sidewalk and joining our relaxed group of twenty. They brought an energy with them, an urgency, and many of the previously calm families stood up and began vying for a spot at the front. I…

It ain’t easy

Yesterday was a day that made me ready to leave India. Hungry for lunch, we hopped in a tuk-tuk to go to Vidyarthi Bhavan, a restaurant recommended to us by a local for its delicious dosas. At first, I was impressed with the convenience and affordability of tuk-tuk travel. Not only are the tuk-tuks cheaper…

Varanasi

Our boat was surrounded by others just like it: rickety, in a word, with peeling paint and shoddily assembled wooden planks. I could feel my whiteness in the empty space between us and our boatman, where the other boats were packed to the brim with chattering Indians. Crinkled old women, their hands kissed in prayer,…

Delhi

The chaos of the developing world, all of its stark contrast, reigns here. A child’s grimy hand tugs my skirt. I hear the tap-tap-tap of a woman’s fingernail on the taxi window, and turn to see her kissing gathered fingers to her mouth in a begging gesture, motioning to her infant. The street is an…

Luzern

Well, the inevitable has happened. I’ve lost my passport. I am one of those people who constantly loses things. Important things like keys, wallets, and IDs (just ask my brother and sister-in-law, whose house keys, car keys, and credit cards I lost 4+ times). But, across a lot of different countries and a long span…

Beyond the “Wild Beauty”

It felt unbalanced to post about Montenegro’s glorious natural spaces without mentioning my experience with the cuisine, people and history, as these factors shape a place as much as geography, if not more. It’s worth mentioning the powerful factor of off season – many restaurants and shops were shuttered for the winter and I recognize that…

Montenegro’s “Wild Beauty”

The tourism organization in Montenegro uses the tag line “Wild Beauty.” After living in Colorful Colorado and the Pacific Northwest, and traveling in New Zealand, I consider that a tough title for a speck of a country like Montenegro to live up to. But on our first day in the country, we winded through scrubby forest, up…

Cascades du Dard

The trail turned sharply left, away from the highway. Within moments, the roar of passing trucks was muted, then swallowed by the heavy fog that engulfed the Chamonix Valley. The forest floor was a carpet of wet moss over boulders, an undulating sea of green. An unsettling silence on a delicate watercolor, swaths of orange…