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My Wandering Mind

Let’s try that health thing again, shall we?

Warning: this is about health and eating, not about travel! For travel, go here. A year ago, when I retired from my job at the UN, I decided to take a month, go to Sri Lanka, and put my health back together. I’d abused my body for a hectic lifetime of fun and constant travel. Raised…

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What the Heck is a European Capital of Culture?

And what does that have to do with a bunch of cows migrating across downtown Marseille? Plenty. Because the transhumance  – the migration of herds between pastures – was staged during Marseille’s tenure as European Capital of Culture for 2013. Yes, culture, one of those terms so broad it could strangle you. It can mean the arts… painting, theater, dance, poetry,…

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Why I’m Finally Giving Up On Spelling

Please, keep breathing – let me explain. I’ve decided effective communication is more important than spelling. There. I’ve said it. Now before you march down to the comments section and start pelting me with pencil shavings, please hear me out. I’m a trained journalist, not a grammatical vandal, and while your toes may be curling and your hair…

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2015: You Were NOT What I Expected

I’m standing in line waiting for my chicken. It’s two days before Christmas and in my village (as in thousands across France) we order our holiday fowls well ahead of time. I’m impatient to greet my poulet de Bresse, which the ever-modest French consider the ‘best chicken in the world’. After the requisite 20 minutes in line, the…

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A New Life in 90 Days

Creedence Clearwater Revival blasts Proud Mary in the background – that’s Internet radio for you, all music, anytime. I pick each thing up, wondering if I still need it. A stapler? Probably not. Photos of my niece? Definitely. A file on integrated intergovernmental negotiation processes? No way! And then there are the boxes I haven’t unpacked from my last job move…

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Congo Lime Green

Not too long ago I was invited to run a one-week journalism workshop in Brazzaville, the ‘other’ Congo, the one Mobutu didn’t run into the ground. I remember a sea of expectant faces, everyone utterly dressed up as is often the case in more formal settings across Africa. “It’s a sign of respect,” my Nigerian friend…

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What I Learned in 2014

It seems to be a rite of passage among travel bloggers – the yearly roundup, the laying out of ups and downs, the brickbats and bouquets. I chimed in two years ago with my 2012 and 2013 wrap-ups and I’ve come to enjoy this end-of-year ritual. It gives me a chance to fill in the blanks, to…

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