≡ Menu
Women on the Road Blog

Solo travel tips for women like you - the first Tuesday of every month >>

(and to say thank you I'll send you the 'list of 9' indispensable items I NEVER travel without!)

History, Culture, Traditions and the Arts

A place is mostly its people so when I travel I like to understand why a place is the way it is: what shaped it, how the culture evolved, why the buildings are the way they are, how customs have survived or are under threat… and I try to look at these things from a woman’s perspective.

Djemaa El Fna, Marrakech: A Sensual Attack

Vulture feeding on Djemaa el Fna

My first evening was the worst. Like a slap in the face, leaving me bruised and winded, not knowing where to look. The central square of Marrakech, Djemaa El Fna, shocked me physically, its enormity making me feel as though I had dived into a whirlpool, pulled apart and assaulted from all sides by motion and smell, by bright, [...]

{ 23 comments }

Meet Mr Mohammed from Mhamid, Morocco

Mohammed from Mhamid Morocco

The dust sprinkling the streets of M'hamid Elghizlan, as Mhamid is formally called, comes from the desert's edge a few minutes away, where the Saharan wind and sand eat into what was once a thriving crossroads along the salt caravan routes to Timbuktu. Against a red brick wall, a former shop door opening is partially [...]

{ 6 comments }

Modern-Day Nomads in Morocco: From Tent to Cave

Spinning cloth outside a Moroccan cave

The ceiling is low, so low I crouch to enter. The walls are rock, the ground packed earth, covered with a homemade throw rug. A few plastic bags carry the family's possessions, bunched in the corner of what turns out to be their 'living' room. Mohammed Ouhmou kneels as he pours thick mint tea, once, [...]

{ 0 comments }

How Grenoble, Capital of the Maquis, Holds on to History

Passport making in WWII

Drive half an hour in any direction from my house in Eastern France and you'll come upon a sign of World War II: a tomb, a memorial to deported children, a statue to the fallen, so common as to be almost invisible. My region, the Rhône-Alpes, was at the heart of the French Résistance, the movement [...]

{ 10 comments }

The Rungus Gongs of Sabah: Keeping a Tradition Alive

Rungus gong

When Rohanah Kudat got married more than a dozen years ago, the last thing she expected was to become a custodian of an ancient craft. Her husband, a gong-maker, taught her the skills and today, Rohanah is one of ten women who make their living hammering zinc sheets into round, vibrant shapes 11 hours a [...]

{ 3 comments }

Chinese New Year in Singapore, circa 1999

As I watch this year's preparations for Chinese New Year, I clearly remember my own Chinese New Year. It was 1999, I was in Singapore, and my friend Soh-Koon had invited me to spend the holiday with her family. I had visited before, hiding in an air-conditioned hotel to escape the stifling equatorial heat. Everything [...]

{ 1 comment }

Really Seeing Brooklyn’s Red Hook

Cat invades Red Hook manger

When photographer Sheila Archer offered to take me around Red Hook for half a day, I had to ask where it was. I'd never heard of this quirky industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn (in truth, I'd never been to Brooklyn other than by accident, heading the wrong way on the subway the day before). On a [...]

{ 1 comment }

Oingt: Village of the One Hundred Mangers

Colorful creche in Oingt, France

Oingt. Don't even try to pronounce it. If you must, try saying 'wham' but stop before the M. It is a tiny French Beaujolais village perched high on a hill in the middle of what is called the Pierres Dorées, or Golden Stones. Here's why: Like many French villages, Oingt has its own particular Christmas [...]

{ 0 comments }

Street Art and Graffiti: Bright and Early in Brooklyn [Photos]

Red Hook, Brooklyn

How would you spend a cold December morning in New York City, when the biting wind sears your face and a blinding sunshine tears up your eyes, the numbness in your fingers softened only by hand warmers shoved deep in your pockets? I spent it capturing street art in Brooklyn, walking along the windswept coastal [...]

{ 9 comments }

Guernica or Gernika: What’s in a Name?

Picasso's Guernica

Everything, it seems. Guernica is the Spanish name of a small Basque village leveled by the Nazis in 1937. And Gernika is how the Basques themselves spell it. The two reflect radically different realities and how you spell the town says a lot about how you view its history. Today the Basques of northern Spain [...]

{ 8 comments }

Once Upon a Time in the Chateau de Montmelas

Chateau de Montmelas

Once upon a time there was a fairy princess who lived in a castle high up on a hilltop overlooking plains and mountains and vineyards. She wore a long burgundy gown made of satin, with billowing sleeves, her brown hair cascading down her back and a long, magic cape. Well, almost. She does live in [...]

{ 6 comments }

Ode to Sariyer: Living Like a Local in Istanbul

Turkish tea

Every morning, I wake up to a sunrise over the Bosphorus, which I can see in the distance from my window. I head downhill to the corner börek shop to eat my fill of this light cheesy pastry and drink one or two cups of coffee so thick I can almost stand my spoon in [...]

{ 7 comments }