Friday, October 24th, 2014

My Favorite New Destinations of 2013

2013 was a fantastic and exciting travel year — probably my most active year of travel yet! This year I visited a record-breaking 22 countries (UK, USA, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, San Marino, Austria, Malta, Turkey, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Romania, United Arab Emirates, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, and Cambodia — though, [...]

Hello, Glasgow: The Gritty and the Pretty

Here’s something I’ve learned from a year and a half in the UK: if you open any guidebook about this nation and skip London, Edinburgh, and the most touristy sites, you’ll soon see tales woven of cities once dark and desolate, cities defined by their industries, where life was hard and cold and there wasn’t [...]

On a Skye High in Scotland

The Isle of Skye has long held a place in my imagination.  Off the west coast, it’s been known as one of the most beautiful places in all of Scotland.  It’s home to countless legends.  My cousin, who adores Scotland, even dreams of getting married on Skye! So you can understand that I had high [...]

The Dark Side of the Scottish Highlands

When I was in high school, I was in a performance of Brigadoon.  The show — cheesy, but featuring some very beautiful songs — is set in the Scottish Highlands. Brigadoon couldn’t have painted a prettier, happier picture of life in the Highlands — weekly markets filled with cheerful merchants, beautiful fields of heather, proud Scottish [...]

Hogmanay: Bringing in the New Year in Edinburgh

Looking back over the years, my New Year’s celebrations have been mostly low-key, largely unexceptional.  Oh, I’ve had some good ones — my Bangkok New Year’s was so much fun, and I’ve had a few memorable nights in Boston — but most of the time the night hasn’t lived up to the hype.  It’s hard [...]

New Year’s in Scotland — It’s Time for BLOGMANAY!

With Christmas freshly finished, I’ve got my next trip planned: Blogmanay!  I’ll be celebrating New Year’s in Edinburgh, Scotland. Edinburgh, which I’ve long extolled as one of my favorite cities, has one of the world’s best New Year’s celebrations.  People come from all over the world to celebrate Hogmanay. I’ve been invited to be part [...]

Scenes from Rainy Edinburgh: The Water of Leith

Edinburgh is famous for its wild and unpredictable weather, categorized by frequent rain showers, fog, and chilly winds — the kind of weather that makes you want to bundle up with a tartan scarf and wile away the day in glorious cafes. Well, most of the time, that is.  I happen to have incredible luck [...]

The “I Could Totally Live Here” List

Throughout the world, I’ve found places that I’ve fallen in love with — perfect beaches, isolated islands, wild and interesting cities of all sizes.  New places are constantly being added to my list of favorite places in the world. But could I live there?  That requires a whole different set of criteria.  In an ideal [...]

Shetland: The Strangest Place I’ve Ever Been

This past summer, I visited Liechtenstein and declared it one of the weirdest places I’ve ever been.  But after visiting Shetland, I chucked that theory out the window. Liechtenstein is delightfully quirky — the Zooey Deschanel of principalities.  Shetland, by comparison, is Bjork laying an egg on the red carpet. I had the time of [...]

Road Tripping Down Scotland’s East Coast

After an amazing time at Up Helly Aa — from the parades and bar singalongs to the festival of fire to the epic all-night party, it was time to head back to mainland Scotland with our Haggis Adventures crew. We finished our Up Helly Aa experience with a final hazy day in Shetland, exploring the [...]