12 Rules to Live By: My Desiderata

(All rules subject to change without notice) Be Mindful – Pay attention to the air coming in and out of your nostrils. Smile–now! Take responsibility for your thoughts, which create emotions. Learn to control your mind, and you will have a lot more control over other things in your life. Enjoy Your Body – You…

Blogging is Funny Business

When we started traveling non-stop in 2009, we had no idea that travel blogging could become a “business.” Had we known that, we might have built our brand from day one. It is daunting trying to break into this now, as the market seems saturated with blogs that have tens of thousands of followers. Is there…

How to Make Instant Noodles Pass for Real Food

I am a pure half-breed. One of the only Jewsies (half Jew, half Parsi) to have ever lived. I’ve been told I “look like a shiksa” and “look like my dad,” which are two totally contradictory statements. I have been mistaken for Greek, Turkish, French, Arabic, Punjabi, Italian, Nepali, Malaysian, Balinese, Latin American, Iranian, Indian, and…my…

What the Hell Are We Doing Here?

“There came a time, he realized, when the strangeness of everything made it increasingly difficult to realize the strangeness of anything,”–James Hilton, Lost Horizon We are in Vancouver. Why? We are experimenting with what it’s like to have a home base. We are taking a reverse vacation. Five years of living out of suitcases, with…

Best in the Business

Would you believe I’ve never once flown in anything but coach in hundreds of flights?CNN put together a great list of tantalizing ways to make flying less painful. I might have to do this one day. There are lots of different names for the front of the plane; my favorite is Virgin’s “Upper Class.”

Could I do it on a couch?

Some people’s eyes light up when they talk about couch surfing. It’s easy to see why. The idea of meeting new people and having a readymade host is great in theory, and it helps cut costs on accommodations. This woman’s book makes it look fascinating. I wish we were the type of people who were into a more intensely social…

Crimea River: Caring About Ukraine

When I found out my ancestors were from Ukraine, I was shocked. Maybe a little embarrassed. We had always been told we were Polish. That was bad enough!Remember Dumb Polack jokes? It took like 100 Poles to change a lightbulb. How many Ukrainians did it take? Sebastopol Later I learned the truth was even more…

On Travel Writing

“We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.” T.S. Eliot When I travel, I want as few prejudices as possible. And by prejudices I mean, “The people are friendly.” A kitten dies every time a…

Wanted: More Bad Experiences

This week, I submitted a 1200-word article to the CBC/Canadian Council for the Arts Creative Nonfiction Prize. In other words, “Stuff Based on a True Story.” Writing “Shoulder Chicken” inspired me and I got ready to write more travel narratives. I didn’t get as far as I thought. I thought of the taxi driver in Wuhan who refused…

Why Venice is Like Beer

Murano’s artisan glass has become cheapened by the scourge of tatty tourism, but like Venice itself, Murano glass is a gem worth exploring in greater depth by the diligent courtesan. All visitors admire at least some Murano glass, in some of its forms. So too does the beer lover swoon over proper glassware. Glass is beer’s favorite…

Resurrected

Resurrection Thoughts of resurrecting the blog came about first in Transylvania, Romania. Not just because of the opportunity to make resurrection puns in Dracula’s homeland. I had also been quite inspired after spending almost a month in the Ukraine, which charmed my socks off. The beer was great, the people were friendly, the food was…

The Blog is Back

The blog is back! We’ve been bad posters, largely on account of not having anything terribly exciting to talk about, followed by a stretch that had just way too much excitement. All day adventure, every day, and no time or energy at the end of the night to write about it. It’s a crying shame,…