A Slice from my Istanbul Life

The other wandering woman has sprained her ankle and made me remember my Istanbul experience of damaging self ... I went searching for the email I sent to the people back home in those blogless days and was surprised by the 'novel' I found: I'm sitting with my ankle propped up on a chair, using a pillow to slide round my apartment when I need anything ... How did it happen, well the story is long. It had become clear that it was time to move on from the school I am teaching in. Morale continues to plummet and many teachers have found new jobs for next year. I vacillated between soul and security, not sure of what I would find if I went looking for work.

The People You Meet ...

One of the best things about expat life is often the other expats you meet along the way. They are travelers but that's not all, the baggage they carry is often their tales of lives well-lived; lives full of stories. Last night Shannon and Gabe were celebrating Shannon's birthday and had invited a few people over for the night many months ago, giving their American friends time to fly in for it ... a lovely couple from San Diego really did. We arrived with Alison and Andrew, the Canadians who had popped over to pick us Antwerpens up. We were immediately made welcome and our glasses were filled before we were whisked off for the first of the many interesting introductions made through the night.

Ethical Travels

A sort of uncanny coincidence pertaining to responsible/sustainable travel. Yesterday morning I was listening to a podcast from Travel with Rick Steves called "Ethical Travels on a Green Planet". If you've never caught this show on NPR, you should subscribe to his podcasts. You can access all the archives too. Rick StevesAlthough we've been known to take a poke at the Rick Steves approach to travel now and again, his radio show is good, and he interviews great talent. But I found something a little ironic about an episode dedicated to ethical travel that started out with Steves taking a call from a traveler who chronicled a rather unscrupulous incident in Egypt. And voicing his enthusiastic approval!

Edward Albee Travels to Easter Island

Edward Albee Travels to Easter IslandEdward Albee tackled that "tiny speck of South Pacific lava" called Easter Island in the New York Times recently. In addition to a slew of fantastic photographs, Albees article is filled with wonder and youthful enthusiasm (despite his almost 80 years), a sort of open rumination on one of history's mysteries, a culture "which grew, fell into decadence and vanished." He encourages an extended stay (no less than a five day stay is acceptable, he says) to fully experience this island settled over 1,300 years ago by wayward Polynesians who originally named it Rapa Nui. It should come as no surprise that Albee, a thrice lauded Pulitzer prize winner, tells his story well. He describes the view from Rano Kau, one of three massive volcanoes which formed the island:

The Journey

'Solo journeys can strip away all the edifice of a created life and open the traveller to new possibilites. Within the structures of the home environment your self-image is built on the foundations of accent, friends, family, education, clothing, profession, size of house, brand of car, etc. When you are on the road, however, the relationships you make with others no longer rely on all those perceived signals, but come down to your personality alone. It's an unfettering, liberating experience for those who can cope with it. Andrew Eames from 'The 8.55 To Baghdad'

Have You Ever ...

Have you ever driven 400 kilometres over a 13 hour day, walked miles through war cemeteries and villages with names like Kemmel and Poperinge ... always expecting the rain to stop and the clouds to clear, as promised by a reliable weather source the night before? Have you ever bought cheap Pumas from a bazaar in Istanbul then worn them all over Flanders Fields in Belgian rain only to find that they are clearly 'indoor' Pumas ... in fact, they're possibly not Pumas at all?

Drew and Kevin's Excellent Adventure

It's not often that you see a man successfully accessorising his khaki green puttees with his World War One military uniform these days however that was my experience in Ieper. Drew and Kevin were standing to attention throughout the ANZAC ceremonies at the Menin Gate in Ieper (Ypres in French). They were still-life subjects when my photography was limited by the number of heads in front of me. Casting about for something 'in theme' my eyes were drawn to Drew's puttees.

A Journey Back Through Time

It seems I need to enter the landscape of a story to begin to understand ... I grew up with a Gallipoli veteran; my grandfather was a soldier who after being shipped off the bloodied beaches of the Gelibolu (Gallipoli) Peninsula, found himself fighting in Flanders, Belgium; the place where his horse took the full brunt of a shell that injured h

Tales of a Kiwi Guide in Antwerp

The Canadian's were in town today ... Alison's parents are over from Canada and she wondered if I might like to play tour guide in my Belgian city. I loved the idea. We met on De Keyserlei at Exki, more for a mutually known location and coffee than for decor; breakfast too. We took a slow stroll along the Meir; the long car less shopping street that is said to create the backbone of the city. I was aiming for Groenplaats, home to The Hilton hotel and a large statue of the city's most famous son - Rubens, the famous 17th century painter.

Where has the 'sexyness' gone?

Bill KellerDo you remember the recent New York Times redesign?
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