Travel tip #192…Mingle with spirits

In a sad twist of fate, I stopped drinking bourbon the day before visiting a historic distillery in Kentucky. In all honesty, I had only started the night before that. 90% of the world’s bourbon is produced in Kentucky. Aged at least four years in oak barrels, the distilled spirit can only earn its name…

Travel tip #9…manage your risk

I was scheduled to travel to Tanzania in 2001. Africa would have been my 4th continent and the trip was built to include time location scouting for building a boarding school, a visit with a prominent AIDS physician, a few days with a missionary in the Ngorongoro Crater who worked closely with the Massai. and…

Travel tip #108…Know when to say goodbye

It’s my last night in my childhood home. I’m getting ready to sleep in the basement bedroom that my dad built for my brother in the 1970s when he needed teenage privacy. The rest of the basement is unfinished, and as a child I would run up those stairs at a sprint to avoid the…

Travel tip #31…Get all farm-y

I live in the city, but my heart is on the farm. Soft dirt beneath my boots, the morning dew wicking up my denim-clad legs as I wade through prairie grasses…standing in silent awe beside the silhouette of tall corn as shooting stars cross the sky…the city lights shining somewhere beyond the horizon and memory….

Travel tip #18…Wave.

It was about this time last year that I drove across the middle of our country. The morning started in Moab, Utah. I passed through Denver, Colorado, and made a brief stop in Ogallala, Nebraska to check on the ailing van I had left there the week before. (or rather, it had left me) The…

Travel tip # 43…Stay with strangers

When it comes to lodging, I like an adventure. I’ve slumbered in a vibrating bunk above the engine room of a Mississippi River barge. I’ve pitched my tent in a farmer’s field and rang the doorbell of the friend of a friend of a friend, hoping to beg spur-of-the-moment accommodations. (it worked) Last month I…

Travel tip #64…say “Yes, please”

Yes, please. That’s usually the correct answer when you’re traveling. As in, “Would you like to eat a chicken liver?” Yes, please. “Would you like to hand feed some elk in the morning?” Yes, please. “Can I show you where the students made their protest signs during the Velvet Revolution last year?” Yes. Please. So,…

Travel tip #16…Gather Souvenirs

“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” It’s an old backpacker’s mantra and at some point, the photographically inclined morphed it into “Take only photographs, leave only footprints.” Probably Kodak. (remember them?) I don’t shop. We might have established that already. But even a guy like me wants to bring home a little trinket or tchotchke from…

Travel tip #83…Change plans

We had a campsite reserved, but with 100 degree days in the forecast, we made a last minute change. Two miles from our national park site was a private campground with air-conditioned camper cabins. As luck would have it, someone had cancelled and I snapped up the room, proudly announcing the good fortune to my…