Leaving the large metropolis of Paris, travelers will notice the historic castles and well-maintained monuments that sprinkle the Vexin countryside. Providing picturesque panoramas that include acres of rutabaga fields, and an occasional church to christen the vast backdrop of former battlegrounds, each village tells a tale of French antiquity. About an hour away from the frenzy of urban life, this region became my home and writing refuge in the midst of a mild winter.
One March morning, I scheduled a visit to the looming landmark that was my neighbor, Château de La Roche-Guyon. I met my tour guide, Martial, at the front gate, which weaves the family crest in wrought iron, leading to a striking courtyard. We stood under a brisk blue sky that was fresh with the frigid air of early spring, breathing in the stark sunshine that teased of warmer weather ahead.
In July 2020, I was asked to speak at a Stanford alumni event where I sat on a panel of experts to talk about our predictions for the future and what awaited after the pandemic. I was the travel expert, and in my company was a real estate agent, an employment attorney, and a medical doctor. While the other panelists shared some pearls of predictions for their respective industries, I felt like the messenger of doom. I was hesitant to give any specific date forecasts on when travel would “return to normal”, and felt awful when one attendee asked me if she thought she would be able to go on a cruise that Christmas. I knew that December 2020 was definitely too soon for a cruise to be considered safe, and at the rate we were going as a society, I wasn’t sure if she’d be safe going on a cruise in December 2021 either.
Travel is enlightening, it’s eye-opening, and sometimes it’s painful. My first time to the American south was all of these. I had been wanting to visit Charleston, South Carolina after seeing it on countless “best of” lists from my favorite travel publications. When my grandmother suggested going somewhere new for our annual trip, I took the opportunity to finally plan a vacation to this historical American city.Read More »
No matter where I go in the world, I always make sure that I visit a museum, art gallery, or exhibition of the local culture. I find it is one of the best ways to provide insight to the history of the country, and the sometimes untold narrative of its people.Read More »
Novelas and coffee: two things that make up the fabric of many Brazilian evenings. So in 2008, when a novela aired to commemorate the centennial of Japanese immigration to Brazil, it was another case of “art imitates life”. The novela, Haru e Natsu, told the story of a Japanese family that came to Brazil in the early 1900s to work on the coffee plantations that were in need of labor to replace the work force since slavery ended just a few years earlier.Read More »