Stepping out of the taxi and onto the platform that led into Sala São Paulo, the city’s musical landmark, I caught my breath. Struck by its architectural ancestry looming against the dark sky, I leaned back to glance at the intricacies of its stained glass windows and wrought-iron gates. Initially built as a transportation hub for the region’s coffee industry, which laid the foundation for the state’s wealth, the Júlio Prestes railway station eventually became the home of Latin America’s best concert hall. Inaugurated in 1999 and winning the prestigious prize of honor from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology shortly thereafter in 2000, Sala São Paulo continues to welcome the best composers, performers, and musical talent from all over the world.Read More »
On my overnight flight to Paris, I watched Francis Ford Coppola’s cinematic remake of one of my favorite childhood books, The Secret Garden. Reminded of the purity of children’s love as the characters tended to an enchanted garden while healing their own delicate traumas, I lay down on my pile of small pillows as the movie lulled me into a haze of patchy sleep – the kind that leaves you wondering if you’ve slept twenty minutes or three hours.
In the same way that I was transported to a childhood memory of being engrossed in this classic tale, I entered a dreamlike state when I stepped into Monet’s garden – a wondrous world of flowers and trees that welcomed me into its lush embrace. Giant patches of petaled beauties greeted me with a rainbow array that made my soul dance with delight. I breathed in the cool, spring air fresh with the morning’s rain. Aaahh – a dream come true!Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
What I love about traveling, and miss after being stuck at home during a year of pandemic, is meeting other travelers and gleaning gems of inspiration from their stories. In honor of International Women’s Day, this post is an homage to five inspiring women I have met while traveling. They are all phenomenal women in their own way, and hopefully, their stories will motivate you to create opportunities in your own communities around the world!Read More »