Maybe you’re walking along a rocky path and suddenly, awkwardly, stumble on a stone. Or you spill your drink all over yourself. Or you choke on a bit of nshima.
If it's me, I brace for the inevitable wisecrack – accusations of being a clutz or clod or clumsy. That’s the natural response, right?
Not in Zambia.
Walking down Vail’s central pedestrian street, with its immaculately maintained, Swiss-style lodges and whimsical outdoor sculpture, I feel like I’m in a whitewashed bubble, where everything is beautiful and perfect. Flower boxes and pocket gardens overflow with brilliantly hued poppies, daisies, and geraniums. Restaurants and cafés are filled with people eating gourmet burgers, crisp, colorful salads, and handcrafted pasta beneath perfectly pleated umbrellas. The boutiques carry desirable, high-end merchandise (including a pair of adorable glass birds I’ve spied that cost $600 each one). There are never any sales. And everywhere you look, Vail Mountain rises high above, beckoning all into the depths of its wilderness.
I love it!
Except something seems amiss. Continue Reading
When writing the National Geographic Walking Washington, D.C., guidebook this past year, I walked the entire city. It was the most fun I've ever had on a job! I've lived in Washington for more than 20 years, and felt like I knew the place inside-out. Little did I know how wrong I was. Here are five things I discovered on my recent perambulations around the capital city. Continue Reading
Meet Chris, Henry, and Evans, from Lord's Mountain Orphanage in Zambezi, Zambia. They never have the chance to go to the beach, or to swim, although the river is less than a mile away. When my husband and I stayed at the orphanage in August 2015, we took them, and their 32 fellow orphans, to the shores of the Zambezi River. This is how they reacted. Sometimes I like to play the videos just to remember what pure, unadulterated joy is all about. Continue Reading
A narrow cobblestone pedestrian street with cafés, shops, and a glorious open-air market, La Mouffe feels like coming home to me, a place to mingle with the locals. Street musicians serenade diners on weekend nights. Specialty shops spill over with cheeses, wines, produce, and other kinds of ooh-la-la. Ernest Hemingway described this scene in A Moveable Feast: "That wonderful narrow crowded market street." Continue Reading
In Sarajevo’s Old Ottoman Quarter, a young woman wearing a headscarf strolls side-by-side a woman wearing no scarf, the two laughing over some private joke.
Bringing the world closer through travels and stories, with a bit of fun along the way