Category Archives: wanderlists

Wanderlists: Best Hotels- Stayed in

My mother raised us to believe that it was not a vacation unless we were staying in a hotel. Simultaneously, however, she earned her title as Mom-Cheapola-Cheapola. I have staying in some serious dives. Serious. What would you expect to find in a Motel 6 on the outskirts of Vegas? Use your imagination.

Or there was the motel in Grove City, Pennsylvania when the snowy gusts rolled in under the 3 inch gap between the door and the floor while I held the phone cord into the wall so we could call home (these were the days of roaming charges).

We stayed in some great places too, don’t get me wrong. Mostly while snow skiing. Mom had the good sense to book comfortable places when the whole family was worn out and wind-burnt. And once we did stay at the nicest hotel in Marfa, just for fun. If I had known I would one day make regular pilgrimages to Marfa, staying in a refurbished Airstream, I think I would have laughed.

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Wanderlists: Bookstores

One of the great joys of watching Moira grow has been her fascination with books. She loves them as objects, and she loves them as stories. She could have gotten that from either parent, really. The chief design challenge in our little house has been how to incorporate bookshelves. Every single room in the house (except the bathrooms, because Seinfeld) has a book shelf.

I’m not an anti-ebook essentialist at all. But for me, the tactile experience is part of the transportation. I don’t just love the content of what I am reading, I love the experience of reading it. So a good bookshop, for me, is like confectionary or a spa. If I liked amusement parks, I may draw that parallel. But I don’t, so I won’t.

A visit to the Twig, our local indie, is part of our weekly routine. And nothing is more exciting in a new city than visiting their proudest indie bookshop. Being surrounded by ink and ideas, fabulous graphic design, and that satisfying heft of pages is so peaceful to me.  And a good indie book store is overflowing with possibilities, and like the books themselves, the experience of being there is just as fulfilling as the items you take home.

Lewis and Moira at El Ateneo in Buenos Aires

Lewis and Moira at El Ateneo in Buenos Aires

While I can’t say that I’ve been to all the best book stores in the world (notably missing is Powell’s of Oregon), I do have a list of favorites. (but all the photos below are from our most recent bookshop experience, as I don’t usually take many photos in bookshops…) Continue reading

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Wanderlists: night lights

I have a thing for lights at night. Maybe because I’m afraid of the dark, and I’m so thankful for any light that alleviates that. Maybe it’s because light seems more precious in the dark. More specific and intentional.

Best I can tell, I’m not alone in that. The world seems to have a love affair with all that twinkles, sparkles, and glows. All things that light does in the dark.

These are my top five encounters with light at night. (Note: I don’t have pictures for most of my favorites, and I’ve always been terrible at night time photography…so I have substituted in other pictures of light at night, which are not favorites, and not particularly good, but the post needs pictures…so….)

These famous lights at night are also nice.

These famous lights at night are also nice.

1) Chiang Rai Night Bazaar– coming from my conservative Christian college, on my first travel abroad, I stumbled into the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar in northern Thailand. A fine mist hung in the air and caught the yellow light from the merchant tents lining the walkways and the string lights over picnic tables where people were eating, among other things, fried grub worms.

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Wanderlists: detours

Whenever I travel (or sometimes just in life), it’s fun to have a bizarre goal. A life non-sequitur. Something that I’ve found online, through a friend, or in a novel that makes no sense with the rest of the itinerary (or my life).

Nine times out of ten, they are my favorite part of the trip (and life). Like flying to New York City to see the New York Ballet dance to Sufjan Stevens’s The Year of the Rabbit.

And yes, that one time out of ten, they fail spectacularly. I’m looking at you, Tombstone AZ and Antarctica Exhibit at the Natural History Museum of London.

Tombston

Really, Tombstone?

These are my five greatest hits in Itinerary Detours

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Wanderlists: My Top 10

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t just make my blog a travel blog. I love to travel, I work in travel…

But my travel writing has always been pretty mundane. I’m not good at reflecting on places I’ve only been to once for a brief moment. On the other hand, keeping a diary of where we went and what we ate has just never appealed to me. Not to knock all the travel blogs out there (I consult them frequently for packing tips and restaurant suggestions), but I never get from writing the salty expansion of the soul I get from traveling. For me the world was meant to be seen.

That said, I love lists. Especially lists that inspire wanderlust.

So I’ve decided to list about travel, instead of writing about it. These are my wanderlists.

Wanderlist #1: The 10 Places I Love Most (besides home, of course)

It’s only fair to start out any series of list with the broadest, most general list. So here are my 10 favorite travel destinations. Anything goes: cities, states, parks, countries. There’s no real criteria; those lists will follow. This is just my love list.

1) London – I loved London even before grad school, though that’s definitely when I tucked it deep into my soul, never to be removed. And it’s a place I found I can go back to, with others. London definitely benefits from the good company I had while I was there on visits, but more so, it benefits from its own cosmopolitanism and love of order. London is orderly without forsaking charm, whimsy, and the element of surprise.

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