All posts filed under: Journeys

Hartwood

When I think of the Fourth of July, a few things come to mind: Family & friends Grilling Budweiser Fireworks Leading up to the holiday our group of friends planned to meet in Hartwood. Outside of the aforementioned elements to the perfect Fourth, Hartwood slates itself as a special place. Combining all of this together only added to the excitement as the weekend approached. Hartwood is in New York state and a five hour drive from Maryland. We hit the road before sun rise, chasing the sun north on the highway  as the lush hills and small towns passed us by. There is no cell service once you turn onto the road leading up to Hartwood, automatically making you leave all of your work e-mails and other stress behind. The days were spent hiking the surrounding forest, and lounging in the sun on the shores of the central lake. The evenings filled with good drinks, food, friends and worldly conversations. The community celebrates the Fourth by coming together for a BBQ and a patriotic desert contest before a spectacular private fireworks show. …

Shanghai Cab Driver

Fear and Loathing in Shanghai

Dusk falls before the wheels touch down on the tarmac of Pudong International Airport, Shanghai. Passengers rush to grab their suitcases, joining the flow of human traffic streaming into the terminal. Signs route us through exit points out to Arrivals. People are tugging at our sleeves, asking us to take a ride with them, but we muscle our way to the taxi waiting area outside. After standing patiently in line with several other weary passengers, we are finally shuffled into a cab. I hand the driver a piece of paper with the address scrawled on it in English and Chinese, and we set off for the highway and into the darkness. The cab is rickety, the seats are worn down, and empty food wrappers are strewn across the back. There is an overwhelming smell of stale cigarette smoke, echoing the weight of the heavy smog that hovers over the city. The driver has tired eyes and is looking at me with a cold stare in the rear view mirror. His lack of emotion makes me …

Imaginative Tokyo

If I could use one word to describe Tokyo, it would be Imaginative. Webster’s defines imaginative as –having or showing creativity or inventiveness. It’s not hard to see why. Walking down the streets you are surrounded by buildings that are aesthetically pleasing, but realize they have been meticulously designed to convey simplicity. There are no trash cans, but there is no trash in the streets. The locals swarm the city in everything from business suits and hipster flannels, to fluffy cat ears and traditional kimonos. In one minute you are wandering through a beautiful shrine and the next you feel like you are in a life size doll house. It sounds cliche – but that is exactly what it is because the city and the people in it can be anything or anyone, and I’ve never been to a city where that is wildly accepted. Despite the freedom “to be,” the people are still quite conservative, but seemingly accepting of everyones chosen lifestyle. Tokyo felt like a mirror of NYC in a sense – a capital …

One Weekend in Old San Juan

A weekend in Old San Juan is a weekend well spent. I never realized what a culturally rich and historic city Old San Juan was until I spent Labor Day wandering around the forts and photographing all of the colorful homes that fill the city streets. The days were warmer and more humid then I imagined, but as the sun set cool breezes swept over the city, brining everyone into the streets. In Puerto Rico they flaunt their curves, dress uniquely, eat hearty meals … and they are happy. The people are smiling, dancing, laughing. There is no stigma, no staring eyes, no expectations – and why should there be? As long as you have family, friends and cheap beer there really should be no worries. There were many lessons I learned from their hospitality, and that it’s ok to break out in a salsa dance anywhere and everywhere, but I also wanted to share my quick guide on what to do for a weekend in Old San Juan. Airport: SJU Currency: American $ Where …

The Elephant in the Sea

The first time I met an elephant was in Phuket, Thailand in 2007 … I say met, as it felt like a real interaction vs. a sighting. Upon arriving to the JW Marriott in Phuket, my family and I were told about the elephants that frequented the hotel (at the time). There were babies that would come and walk around the pool area, stealing fruit off of guests pool side trays and sometimes dipping their trunks in the pool. There were also a few teenage elephants that would wander slowly with their handlers, stopping to take photos with tourists and give hugs with their trunks. As a child I had ridden on the back of an elephant at the Colorado Zoo and had seen them from afar at other zoos, but these were distant memories so I was excited to get up close and personal. Once checked into our room, we headed to the pool and I patiently waited, hoping to see one of the babies or teenagers before nightfall. The day passed and it …

Newport, R.I.

In my previous blog, I only focused on writing about my International travels although I spend a lot of time hopping around the great USA. To me, International travel is the epitome of adventure, yet I still find myself boasting about the amazing places in my home country. This leads  me to introduce this first official travel post on my new blog – a feature on Newport, R.I. from my first visit to the island over Memorial Day Weekend. The first thing you may ask: you have been living on the East Coast for three years and you only just now visited Newport? Again – attention to my heavy focus on international travel, so this is a bit of reverse “expanding your horizons” for me. Two thoughts had always come to mind when thinking about traveling to Newport; Without my own means of transportation (car), wouldn’t it be easier for me to fly out of the country than finding my way to an island in the North East? It sounds expensive. Pleasantly to my surprise, …