Friday, August 29, 2014

Gear Review - My Favorite Travel Notebooks

Travel writers employ a variety of methods to record their experiences. I favor small, lined, bound notebooks. But, while the market is crowded with these products, I found that few fit my needs. My ideal travel notebook has to easily fit in the pockets of my pants, shorts, jackets, dresses and skirts. The notebook should have an elastic band closure. The pages should be of high quality from an archival perspective (acid and lignin free) and my pen - I don't use a ball point but, rather, uni-ball type pens in a medley of colors, of course - should not bleed on the surface. The notebook should be soft cover and come with an expandable interior pocket where I could stash receipts or other miscellaneous papers during the day. And, because I'm fond of bold colors, I favor notebooks that come in  a rainbow of hues.

For my month long trip to Southeast Asia, I brought these soft cover Poppin notebooks, which did not disappoint. Unlike some other popular notebooks I've relied upon in the past, the elastic bands never came loose, despite repeated use. And their bold colors attracted a lot of attention during my travels, especially from designers and other creative types. That would've hardly been the case if I took an oh-so-serious approach with an austere black notebook that many writers favor.


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Where Bicycling Becomes Zen-Like

With just one hour to spare, I didn't expect biking around a lake in Taiwan to be a
all that awe inspiring. What I found was that even a few minutes of pedaling along Sun Moon Lake in central Taiwan provided a Zen-like experience where my mind was uniquely present centered and each sight and sound produced a moment of awakening. Ferns of various types and numerous bird specious were in abundance while the clouds and shadowy mountain ridges in the distance were part of a perpetually shifting tapestry. I recently wrote about how cycling Sun Moon Lake reminded me of writing aiku poetry for National Geographic Travel - Intelligent Travel.




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Friday, August 15, 2014

Guatemala In Picture

Mayan ruins pepper much of Guatemala's expanse, with Tikal probably the most famous. Each of my explorations was a day trip from Guatemala City, including Quirigua, two hours away but worth the it for the magnificent stelae displayed at this site. Mayan ruins, such as  Kaminaljuyu or Valley of the Dead, are even scattered around the country's capital city. This short YouTube video slideshow  provides a snapshot of my adventures.




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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cyprus In Pictures

Cyprus brims with treasured sights, some at the end of jungle-like trails, others found only by navigating through stone archways or up steep staircases. My journey took me to 12th and 13th century castles, a wine museum in the small village of Erimi, Paphos in Northwest Cyprus that's most noted for
its UNESCO World Heritage sites, and hiking through a nature preserve in the Akamas Peninsula. This short YouTube video slideshow captures a small slice of my trip.




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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bahamas In Pictures - Long Island

Long Island, one of the Bahamas Out Islands, is where I found a low-key, laid-back environ with nothing in the way of shopping malls, water parks, mega resorts or gambling. Instead, I discovered myriad protected coves and short trails to desolate stretches of sand -- features that appeal to nature lovers like myself. Check out my short YouTube video slideshow on this pristine island.



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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Montenegro In Pictures

With its hilltop fortresses, chapels snuggled in pine forests, network of hiking trails and family-owned vineyards, Montenegro appeals to oenophiles, those who embrace nature, history lovers or visitors who simply prefer hanging out on a thin crescent strip of sand. This short YouTube video slideshow is a mere slice of my adventures in Montenegro.






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Monday, July 21, 2014

Budapest In Pictures

What do I love about Budapest? The melding of the old and new: the centuries-old Citadel where, nearby, I find ultra contemporary cafes and galleries. How the city makes use of dilapidated buildings, turning them into energetic ruin bars, as they're called. Car-free Margaret island that sits in the middle of the Danube. The vibrant design scene where even coffee shops and cafes display an ever-changing array of photography, paintings and bags produced by local artists. This short YouTube video slideshow provides a window into what I most loved about Budapest.


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Friday, July 4, 2014

Top Parks, Gardens and Green Spaces in Taiwan

With its myriad parks, gardens and myriad other green spaces, Taiwan is a country for those who seek out venues that radiate a sense of calm. Sure, there are rugged mountainous regions where you can test out your mettle on vertiginous paths that will leave you breathless. But there are also bundles of family-friendly venues laced with flat, paved bicycle paths. My article for the Huffington Post introduces you to a few of these verdant landscapes.






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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic In Pictures

My stay in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic was defined by an eco-conscious sensibility that carried through to the two golf courses, the nature reserve, the restaurants and the coral reef. Of course, you might think that clearing away the tangle of vines and other foliage to make way for real estate and expansive golf courses is hardly green. However, before the arrival of the Puntacana Ecological Foundation that's headquartered at the Punta Cana Resort & Club, the area was hardly ecologically sound. In fact, the locals were mostly making their living by selling charcoal that they made by burning wood and by overfishing. This YouTube video slide show provides a window into my stay at this green resort. 





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