I sort of spoke at the White House

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National Geographic Traveler asked me to speak at the White House Travel Blogger Summit on December 9. It was surreal, thrilling, steeped in titles and policies, and… yeah, pretty surreal. As a travel experience, it sort of ranks with my first uncertain steps in remote Istanbul neighborhoods or moving to mid ’90s Vietnam. Different and new. I like that. Anyway, I spoke into … Read on

Thoughts on visiting the White House, of America


For a period of three weeks when I was 10, I wanted to be President James K Polk. He was the standout in my book of presidents that I’d stash in my locker. I didn’t show equal fondness of presidents. James Monroe looked prissy and mean, James Buchanan meek and guarded, William McKinley stern and assassinated, though Grover Cleveland did seem a barrel … Read on

What are the Top 2015 travel destinations? I don’t know

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I used to regularly make Top 10 travel lists for each new year.  Sometimes I still contribute (like this bid for Oklahoma City). I always try to do a good job, and pick places that I think are due notice for a year. But the reality is that I don’t know who you are, I don’t know where you’re based, I don’t know … Read on

Eastern Oregon: Earn Your Boots


When I moved to Oregon last year, I didn’t know they had cowboys. So when when I got a hall pass to write pretty much anything about the state recently for National Geographic Traveler’s Digital Nomad, I headed east — into cowboy country. Experiencing all this is one of the ways I’m trying to become “Oregonian” as I explain in the article: When … Read on