Tags Posts tagged with "tourist"


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            My most vivid memory of Paris is running.


I woke by my watch’s beeping at 4:45 am for a 6:40 flight to London, the city I where would end my European summer. In a blurry, anxious haze I gathered my bags and squeezed my luggage down narrow hotel stairs that creaked with antiquity then said a thank-you-goodbye to the receptionist in the head-nod body language that defies barrier.


My walk to the Metro was a long, quiet one in the cool emptiness of early-morning summer. My watch showed 5:10, 20 minutes early for the last train that would land me in the airport on time. I pulled a few coins from my pocket and triple-checked my math against the sign above the tellers’ desk: two euros short. Repeated swipes of my American debit card in the station’s cash dispenser brought up an error notice. The clerks graciously informed me in rough “Frenglish” they couldn’t spot me any change, didn’t know where the nearest ATM was, and couldn’t, per regulation, watch my luggage.


Shouldering my grossly overstuffed canvas suitcase and bulging laptop bag, I ran wildly through the quaint streets of a city tourists visit to browse with slow, savory steps. I huffed along several blocks one direction, shifting my suitcase (roughly the size, shape, and weight of a human child) from shoulder to shoulder, then doubled back until I found an ATM that could read my card and then pounded 10 or so blocks back in enough time to hear train brakes crescendo in the tunnel as I breathlessly handed over cash for my ticket.


Aside from flight, I remember little else of my summer abroad other than unremarkable minutiae. The Eiffel Tower is a vague image; I can’t even say what metallic shade of gray it was (was it gray? brass? charcoal?). I can’t name a single painting from Musée d’Orsay, recall a stained-glass portrait adorning Notre Dame, or confirm that Notre Dame even has stained glass windows. More elegant than La Ville-Lumière at night was running through it in a surprise afternoon shower. Richer than its coffee was smoking a cheap cigar watching street dancers. More enriching than its art was the unpacked carnival I perused outside the Louvre.


Before that summer, I believed that to tour a foreign place is to observe firsthand the quintessential features that define it, as if to prove that a crêpe tastes a certain way in Paris vs. Boston, that Europeans do fart in public without so much as an Entschuldigen Sie mich, that Big Ben is indeed rather large.


Those are the types of experiences I set out to prove in Paris and elsewhere, but in the years since, thinking back on my time there, what come to mind are the distinct feelings of just being present in strange places, feelings I could never replicate anywhere else. It’s a sensation that’s both denotatively nostalgic (“pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past”) and anti-nostalgic (“the state of being homesick”).


There’s a French word I think describes this feeling more accurately: dépaysement, or “the feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country.” It’s an emotion only describable as its more-familiar inverse, one that can be both alienating and, for some, comforting for it.


I think in every tourist there’s a kind of quaint ignorance we’re constantly searching to remedy yet always cultivating because it provokes pursuit of remedy. This is what now draws me to leave what I know in my home and become a tourist in someone else’s, to thread myself into it as if I lived there and exist as I’ve always existed but somehow as a separate person who can only exist in that specific place, to seek out the opportunity posed by feeling lost in a temporary home beyond my own and be whoever that person is, there.

About the Author

Bryce is a freelance writer and MFA student at NC State. His work can be found in Best American Experimental Writing 2015, The Normal School, Mid-American Review, Prairie Schooner, Your Impossible Voice, etc., and he serves on staff for Raleigh Review and BULL: Men’s Fiction..


Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Independence Travel Writing competition and tell your story.

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London the Hub Or the Brutal Congested City…You decide!

Do you share our Passion for travel? Would you like to see more of the world, do you think you have to save forever to take your first dream trip? Allow me to take you on a journey

Recently my husband and I decided to have some R & R in London as he was away for a month over Christmas & London…!

Now I consider London like being at home as I live in UK! So when we decided to head over to London  for a Business event in Ealing, we decided to also take some time out for “us” too :) Now Ealing is in the west side of London yet not really part of the London West end!

Last time I went to London I headed over to the Holiday Inn Kensington and enjoyed the Science Museum and The Ice Rink by the Castle! Dropped in at Harrold’s and enjoyed the ambience of The Borough of Chelsea!  So I wasn’t really expecting to be enamoured by Ealing town!

Keep in mind that we woke up at 4am to catch a 5am Train from Liverpool Lime Street to London Euston and had to dash to the underground to get to Ealing Broadway for a 9am Start of the event.  Enter Ealing Broadway and we were pleasantly surprised indeed… Word of advice; If you’re going to be in London for more than a day, it’s worth buying a Visitor Oyster Card in advance, which they post to your home before you arrive in London. This is probably the best ways to get around London. If you do not do this and still plan to see London for more than a day, definitely buy an Oyster card at the Tube station…and by all means don’t get lost on the underground….Long story don’t ask :)

This part of London is definitely the Brutal congested rush hour City, Not very friendly!

But…we got to the Other side, though not the west end it was definitely A sight for sore eyes!

The streets were spotless clean… Oh you might wonder which parts of London I normally visit…but bear with me! Every time I go through London it’s never that clean! We headed over to The Ealing Town Hall and I fell in love with this part of London even more.

I love Old Architecture and the Town Hall is a handsome building that blends in beautifully with the rest of the street!

Ealing town is a lovely area to explore on foot, lots of lil cafes and shops. There are smaller shopping streets in the area. Don’t miss the Arcadia shopping centre for your generic buys!

Now we only stayed for the weekend and visited other places family and stuff, it was a kind of Whirlwind stop over but we made time to visit Walpole Park & Pitzhanger Manor House
An amazingly grand and gorgeous Manor House. (I did warn you I love old architecture). This work of art can be found at the entrance of Walpole Park. It is a grade 1 listed building and here is the bonus, there was a free art exhibition and apparently there are several all year-roundJ. And get this the park has some amazing landscaping; ornamental bridges, ponds, streams and a walled rose garden – one of my favourite sites. According to a local resident who chatted us up on our walk, in the summer months of July/August the area & park hosts a multitude of festivals  showcasing jazz, comedy, opera and, of course his fav, lashings of beer. Ealing indeed does have an abundance of lush meadows and parks; one is right across the Underground station that we walked through to the Town Hall!

Like I said I may not do this part of London justice as it was a whistle stop, so I hope I will do the city of Budapest More justice as it is our next stop over!

 Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Gratitude Travel Writing competition and tell your story.

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When I entered the cathedral, everything that was on my mind quickly slipped away. I forgot that my morning train had been late, and that I had to wait in line for a few hours. I forgot that my hostel’s quality was sadly only worth the ten euros I had spent on it. I forgot the events that had prompted me to start traveling, along with my worry that I would never recover who I had been. I forgot that I was a minor traveling alone for the first time, and I forgot that I was scared.

La Sagrada Familia—certainly striking on the outside, but not so out of the ordinary that it warranted its enormous reputation. When I gazed at it as I waited in line, a large part of me was missing the little town of Cuenca and how I could talk to locals instead of fighting my way through tourists and keeping watch over my backpack. But then I entered the building, and I felt like Alice in Wonderland: tiny and confused and overwhelmed.

It was unlike any other cathedral I’d been in, wildly different and simply staggering. I had been expecting beauty, and awe-inspiring carvings, and the standard Gothic dim and dramatic lighting. But this had pure white columns stretching up and up and up, lit by sunlight streaming through stained-glass windows that tinted the light into every color imaginable.

I forgot my worries and my nervousness. I even forgot to be ashamed that I was a tourist, and snapped pictures left and right. I was grinning like an idiot and even lay down in one of the pews, staring up as the colors changed with the sun’s movement. Simply put, that place was magical to me.

When I finally exited the cathedral, its impact stayed with me. I became emboldened. I felt the sun hitting my face and imagined that it was passing through me, tinted by my thoughts the same way it had been tinted by the windows’ colors. And I knew that I didn’t need to recover who I had been, because I was someone different now.

The little town of Cuenca did not teach me that I could be strong when I was alone. Cooking for myself did not teach me that I didn’t have to depend on anyone. Figuring out the metro of a foreign city did not teach me independence. But one day in a striking cathedral taught me all that and more. I had time to reflect on my past and my future, and that time let me look back at my accomplishments and realize that I didn’t need to be brave—at least, not brave according to my old definition.

I didn’t need to perform great acts of bravery. I didn’t need to complete my travels without crying, making mistakes, or asking for help. That didn’t make me brave. With all I’d been through, what made me brave was standing up in the morning. It was brave for me to decide to travel to Spain, and embark on a wild journey all by myself. I already had the courage to carry on when it would have been so easy to stop.

Bravery no longer meant heroism after I watched the light in that cathedral. Or maybe it did, but I now defined heroism differently. I know that I am brave for pushing through and continuing to maintain myself, and maybe even improve.

The cathedral taught me that I was already brave.

 Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Inspiration Travel Writing competition and tell your story.

By Lee Abbamonte

Travel opens your eyes and your mind to a whole new world.

Travel enables you to see the world through other peoples eyes and from other points of view.

Travel increases your awareness of other cultures and people.

Travel makes you smarter.

Travel is the best education you can receive.

Travel enables you to speak intelligently on a variety of global topics.

Travel shows you how global policy effects different countries and different types of people.

Travel brings you to places you’ve only dreamed about seeing.

Travel shows you landscapes you never thought were possible.

Travel shows you what real beauty is.

Travel shows you that everything is beautiful in its own way.

Travel makes books and television come to life.

Travel makes adventures happen everyday.

Travel makes dreams come true.

Travel gives you a sense of enormous accomplishment.

Travel gives you something to look forward to to.

Travel gives you options.

Travel is a lifetime journey that is never the same twice.

Travel makes the big world small.

Travel humbles you.

Travel puts things into perspective.

Travel shows you what poor is.

Travel shows you how unfair this world can be.

Travel shows you people overcoming the longest odds to live their life to the fullest.

Travel shows you triumphs of the human spirit.

Travel teaches you how to say “Cheers” in 30 different languages.

Travel teaches you the International language of beer.

Travel teaches you to appreciate wine and the beauty of vineyards.

Travel teaches you to try new things.

Travel makes you yearn to do new things.

Travel teaches you the difference between a traveler and a tourist.

Travel teaches you to become a traveler and not just a tourist.

Lee Abbamonte is the youngest American to visit every country in the world. I am a travel writer, travel expert, global adventurer and have appeared on NBC, CNN, ESPN, GBTV, Fox News, Jetset Social and have been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, Smart Money, Slate, OK! Magazine, Peter Greenberg radio and many others. I’ve visited 306 countries and am one of the world’s most-traveled people.

“I believe in globalization of everything including people. I believe that I am a citizen of Earth. I believe that people around the world are at their core, basically good and the same. I believe that more people should experience the world and the way traveling can open their eyes and minds to different and exciting things. I believe in just being myself. I believe in life.” – Lee Abbamonte

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Enjoy this article and video about Samoa and my personal Drama at Virgin Cove–right where they filmed SURVIVOR SAMOA!

Drama at Virgin Cove:
Face-Planted on the Ground
At 1:30am as I lay on the cement step outside the bathroom. I thought, “Hmm, why am I on the ground? How did this happen?” Leaving Los Angeles for a summer of sun in Samoa and the South Pacific, I had no idea about the Survivor Stories that would unfold so quickly.

I had eaten the chicken at dinner, apparently a mistake that night.

During the dark hours before dawn I fainted at the edge of the bathroom steps and there I regained consciousness, scraped and bruised on both arms and chin. I guess when I needed to run to the bathroom again and again I should have woken George, especially after falling, but I was so stunned that I ended up face-planted on the ground.  Once back in our room I lay on the mat, moaning. George woke up and asked what was wrong. After hearing my tale of woe he offered to help. Because of his concern, and despite the many eariler explosions, I was finally able to rest.

This video shows some of the gorgeous beauty of Virgin Cove, our nighttime arrival and the many steps to the bathroom. All aspects of travel are not beautiful but some of them do make us appreciate better the postcard days!

Video: Drama at Virgin Cove

Article first published as Drama at Virgin Cove on Technorati.

In Los Angeles? Join us TODAY at JetSet Extra Social!
Not in Los Angeles, Join us online with JetSet Extra Social at  http://jetsetextra.com/
More info on our website: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/los-angeles.html

chefOh… What a night!
I joined a gathering of travelers at Luxe Hotel on Sunset. Chef Olivier from France treated us to delicious delicacies and the bar team shared their incredible cocktail creations all in the relaxing and beautiful outdoor garden lit up with twinkle lights in all the trees. The audience included people from LACOT, and We Said Go Travel as well as PR mavens, travel bloggers, foodies, newbie travelers and travel junkies were inspired by Johnny Jet from the Travel channel sharing his personal journeys.

johnnyjetAnyone who has wondered, “Can I do it?” will relate to his stories of overcoming obstacles and now wandering to twenty or more countries a year. I particularly liked it his comments; “the world would be a better place if everyone would see it.”

He had fears about travel but he faced them and now leads viewers around the world with his new travel show, Hot Spots 2012.

His program features eight destinations including: New Zealand, Richard Branson’s Necker Island and Space port in New Mexico, Belize, England, Toronto and Lower Manhattan. Johnny also spoke about how the news media make far-off places sound as if they will be full of danger, but often he arrives and realizes how similar are the world’s diverse cultures and how safe vastly different countries can be.

johnnyI hope that you can travel even a fraction of his 150,00 miles a year and create your own journeys to share! Don’t worry if you missed him last night—he will be speaking on February 26, 2012 as part of JetSet Extra’s amazing event at Union Station.

skirballMeanwhile, If you are looking for 360 degrees of serenity, look no further than the Luxe Hotels! They have incredible packages with breakfast, an ipad for use while in the hotel, Shiraz wine and their incredible food, service and locations! We heard incredible live jazz in the lounge and were delighted to find out that the group is there every Tuesday and Thursday night. We will return soon for more of the great treats, drinks, music and experience!

Look for all four Luxe hotels: Luxe Rodeo Drive, the only hotel on Rodeo Drive, Luxe City Center, near Staples Center, in Dallas the historic Stoneleigh Luxe or where we were last night with seven acres and a pool right on Sunset Boulevard! As they say, “All that you want. More than you expect!”

Article first published as LACOT in Conversation with Johnny Jet on Technorati.

February 26, 2012 JETSET EXTRA SOCIAL at Union Station


The globetrotting panel includes travel expert Johnny Jet of JohnnyJet.com, Jeff Greif owner of TravelSquire.com, Stacy Dreyfus Founder of Orchid Worldwide Resorts and Escapes, go to travel guy of CTS Travel, James Densmore, Global adventurer Lee Abbamonte, and Ashley Colburn of Take Off with Ashley Colburn; Amy Swift Founder of SMARTY will moderate.

“It was really important to me that the panel speakers be in the travel trenches today,” says Mary Anne Been of Jetset Extra. “With communication and content moving so fast, our audience needs to hear directly from the people who are forging these new paths between the old and new media.”

Register Now!  This event is from 4-8pm at the Fred Harvey Room at Union Station

February 22, 2012 roadmonkey: Adventure Philanthropy

PictureRoadmonkey…Pronounced “rohd-muhnkee,” is a curious individual who finds joy in exploring the unknown, breaking a few rules & working hard to create positive change for people in need.

On Wednesday, February 22nd, join Roadmonkey, Hostelling International and We Said Go Travel to learn more about adventure philanthropy and traveling with a purpose. Hear Paul von Zielbauer share the stories of expeditions that combine physically challenging adventures with sustainable volunteer projects. The event will take place at HI-Santa Monica, 1436 Second Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
Join us at 7:30 pm, Refreshments and wine will be provided.
Limited space is available. Please RSVP to shanec@lahostels.org

OPTIONAL: the evening continues with a Pub Crawl for Charity at 9:00 pm.  

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kinoConsidering the way that we came to hear of Kino, from a Canadian miner in Mongolia, our expectations of the place were lofty. We were ready to explore, taste, and find paradise.

After eating breakfast while taking in the lovely bay, Perry, the co-owner of Casa Tortuga, joined us and said in a matter-of-fact tone, “I’m not busy this morning – you know, being retired and all – and I would be more than happy to take you on a tour of the area.” Since we did not have wheels but did enjoy his company, we immediately accepted the offer.

Perry first drove us to the northern side of Nuevo Kino, an area with great ocean views, volcanic landscapes, and a white church perched atop a hill. The area is no doubt being built up; a gated community is under construction as I write. Unfortunately, the cool morning air and overcast sky hurried us back into the comfort of Perry’s vehicle. We drove through the desert viewing volcanic peaks that I yearned to scale ,as well as a humorously-situated desert golf course, without grass but not devoid of small synthetic putting greens, all punctuated with numbered flags.

golfWe then headed to the fishing village of Kino Viejo,. There I was disappointed as the town appeared somewhat ramshackle and run-down. The local pier had vendors selling the daily catch and a few trinkets and the village was mellow but not beautiful. Even the beach in front of old Kino leaves something to be desired. The sand is more rocky and shell-laden than Kino Nuevo; boats line the sand leaving no room to walk along the shoreline.

We passed a few restaurants, checked out an art shop, and ate a couple of beef-head and bean tacos. We decided to walk along the beach back to New Kino. On the sand we met a few young teen boys who were playing on the beach. They were freaking out as thunder and lightening began to fill the distant sky. Still, we managed to get them into a rock- throwing competition to determine who could keep a rock in the air the longest.

My job was to be the counter. The winning time was eight seconds. With more roaring thunder, we continued back to the Casa Tortuga, attempting to avoid the rain. It eventually caught us and we spent most of the rest of this Thanksgiving Day under the veranda of our patio relaxing and reading books. Later that night we went to the closest restaurant, Pargo Rojo (Red Snapper) . We enjoyed excellent fish dishes and garlic chicken. The waiters were friendly and the ambiance basic.
The following day we woke up and headed to hike to the surrounding peaks. We turned from the main road where a painted sign read “Mariscos Judy” and continued inland until we reached the base of the mountain. As we walked further into the cacti-laden desert, we could not help but picture imaginary views from make-believe windows of nonexistent houses. We then headed upward. Two peaks became four and we were surrounded by volcanic detritus. We enjoyed the view and then headed back to prepare lunch.

We relaxed the remainder of the day and decided to join the local expatriates at Club Deportivo, followed by dinner at La Casa Blanca. When we arrived at Club Deportivo, we were shocked. Over one hundred retired North Americans were playing cards, socializing, and consuming very reasonably priced cocktails. Unsurprisingly, not a single person had ever met or even heard of Maury, the miner in Mongolia who’d told us about Kino. An emcee was on stage getting everyone revved. The place had a little bit of a Club Med feel but this was no all-inclusive resort. We met several friendly people that evening. First I spoke with Lee and Diane Ackerman, a couple who began their world trip after retiring but never made it past Kino. Lee served up stiff rum and cokes along with fluid conversation. I also spoke to John and Judy Hazen, a couple from Oregon who have a daughter working as a teacher in Thailand.

After the events at Club Deportivo, yet another couple, Hilda and Valentine invited us to join them at Jorge’s for dinner. We learned interesting things about one other and shared a love for Indonesia. The garlic fish was tasty and the margaritas proved powerful. Later we retired to our patio and enjoyed the beautiful view with the wind rustling through our hair and the moonlight gleaming off the tranquil ocean.
kino3The following morning Perry once again came to our aid. He gave us a lift near Kino Viejo where we embarked in one-man kayaks to circumnavigate Albatros Island. I was excited; as someone has mentioned that blue-footed boobies could be seen on the west side of the island. As we neared the island, the stench of bird crap was unavoidable.

Thousands of birds, mainly pelicans, inhabited the island. We slowly circled the island but never caught sight of a booby. We did see a couple of sea lions but the main draw was the bird life. We then headed back toward the coast and steered north, toward our guesthouse. But the seas suddenly turned lumpy and we paddled ashore. I dragged the kayaks across the sand toward our rental, figuring that we were only about one kilometer distant. As I pulled on the boats, a man in a hat approached us. He said, “Hi. I remember you two from last night.” Then I realized that it was John from Oregon who had invited us to watch college football at his friend Lee’s house. At first I declined his kind offer to heft the kayaks into the back of his truck and haul them back to Perrys. bBut when he explained that we were at least five kilometers away I gratefully accepted his help. Apparently, people in these parts take care of one another, including visitors.

kino2After our aquatic sports adventure we developed a huge appetites. We went to the local supermarket and purchased a few items for sandwiches and snacks. We then went to Lee’s house to watch football and eat chili with corn bread. The food was excellent but I was already stuffed. The combination of football, American food, and the style of the house sort of made me feel that I was already home, and quite comfortable.

We departed Lee’s place late in the afternoon to catch our last Kino sunset. We were scheduled to return to the States early the next morning. We packed our bags after watching the sun quickly set. Perry came by with two cocktails, sunset mango drinks that fit in perfectly with the local setting. We had made plans to have a last dinner with Perry and Caroline.

They served up an excellent meal including a salad with ingredients from Caroline’s garden and ate pasta, washed done with fine wine. We partook in pleasant conversation and played a few games before we went to sleep.

The Kino experience had ended too fast. Yet we’d passed enough time to see what we came to see. Was it what we expected? I’m not sure. In fact, I do not even recall if I expected anything at all. The brief trip to Kino Bay was relaxing, lovely, yet with enough activities to keep us moderately busy, when we chose to be.

Be warned though. We were told time and time again that during Semana Santa and Summer, Kino turns into a party village. As for the remainder of the year, tranquility and peace here reign supreme.


More about us: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/

Article first published as Bahia De Kino: Part II, “The Realization” on Technorati.

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Guest Post by: Kit Herring
Few people visit Algeria anymore because of internal strife, but I hitchhiked across the country in 1975.  Theses are some recollections of the country’s greatest archeological site, the Roman city of Timgad, as they appear in my novel, Descending the Cairo Side.  Here was once an African center of empire; today the ruins are empty and forlorn: 

    When I arrived at the nearby modern Algerian settlement, I found that accommodations were scarce. The only lodging proved to be arather expensive hotel. But I checked in, not wishing to camp in the open.  In the lobby I found a map of the ruins.
    After securing my belongings and now in astate of bemused contentment, I headed for the ruins, glad that a whole Romancity lay waiting for my investigations. A man at the gate collected a pittance as an entrance fee. It would havebeen interesting to see if the daily receipts even paid his salary. Certainly,there was not a single other tourist on site. I was completely alone at one of northern Africa’spremium archeological wonders.
    The foundations of the town lay ahead, butno buildings stood higher than about three feet.  I was somewhat disappointed, thinkingfoolishly that I would wander the streets of a nearly intact city. This was anaive fancy, of course. The ruins had been picked over for centuries as asource for quarrying stone, and no doubt looters and grave robbers had long agostolen anything of value that could be easily removed.
    I walked down a broad boulevard in thecenter. The dun-colored stone remains were, in their subtle, discreet fashion,magnificent.  A sense of orderliness andtidiness stood out. The city had been planned, much more carefully than wereany modern population centers in North Africa. It seemedthat the whole thing had been built from a central design.  Streets were laid in a grid, and the map Ihad showed the various public and private buildings, although it would havebeen hard to discern the function of most of the ruins.  On the surface, all was a jumble.
    It didn’t take long to tire of pickingthrough the low walls. There weren’t any interesting artifacts lying about, ofcourse, and little in the way of artwork. I was surprised at how fast boredom set in.  I felt like an unsatisfied and jaded seekerof lost history.

    Yet the scale of Timgadwas impressive. The stone-paved streets covered the better part of a squarekilometer.   Sitting down on top of acrumbling wall, I consulted the map again to see if there were otherinteresting spots.  I had noticed, abouta quarter of a mile away, a large structure that looked like a fortress or acastle.  It had a non-classical architecturalstyle to my unpracticed eye.  What wasthat?
    The structure loomed over the ruins like agiant crashed bird.  It was constructeddifferently from the rest of the city. Although much larger than any other of the stone remnants, it seemed, atthis distance, to have been put together from cruder materials.  I decided to have a peek.  It required a walk outside the perimeter ofthe Timgad ruins.  I read on my map that the fort dated fromByzantine times, which would account for its stylistic singularities.  It loomed more and more imposingly as Iapproached it.  As advertised, it indeedwas a kind of primitive castle. There was a wide entrance, some twenty feethigh, which once may have supported huge wooden doors.         
 The interior was dark. I pressed on, enteringthe portico, feeling my way through a great central hall.  The fortress was made entirely of small,roughly hewn rocks.  Its lines weresevere and utilitarian.  Above me theceiling faded into the darkness. Abruptly I tripped over a loose stone in the path, and a loud surprisednoise emerged from my throat.  Withoutwarning, a great host of bats swooped down from the recesses of the bulwarks,twittering and screeching their eerie cries. I ducked instinctively as theyswirled and swooped around me like miniature dive-bombers.  It was quite unnerving and I panicked,looking for a speedy exit.  They flewthrough my hair, brushing against my face. I had a flashing thought of rabidanimals covering me with tiny painful bites and sprinted for the exit. The batsdecided not to follow, but I continued running blindly for a hundred yards,finally coming to rest on the base of a column. The cries of the bats werestill audible from within the gloom.

    I panted, staring back at the Byzantinefort.  This was not part of the bargain.God, bats!  I looked around the area fora time, bewildered.  The fun had gone outof this expedition. Making my way back to the ruins in the city, I attempted tobusy myself studying the vestiges of Roman life, but my curiosity had taken ablow.  It felt as though I had beenrejected by this place, that it had no connection for me.  I kicked a few stones around a small plaza,trying to decide what it all signified. I considered what I knew about Roman history.  The usual schoolboy facts.  Great conquerors, leaders, civilizers. Butthe stories from my youth no longer seemed relevant.  An idea occurred to me, courtesy of theattacking bats.  Maybe the Romans wereprecursors of a continuum of evil in Europe, proto-nazisfrom the ancient age. What had they accomplished in subduing and controllingtheir piece of the known world?  Surely,their art, literature and culture counted greatly in the progression of humanknowledge, but in the final analysis, their ruins were haunted places, theabodes of night creatures. They enslaved vast regions and peoples in theirquest for dominance.  The glories oftheir conquests had long withered, leaving nothing but relics of brutality andfear that gave proof to the lie about empires. 
    The legions of Romerepresented a great leap backward for humanity. The modern history books had it wrong. I walked away from the archeological site, toward the modern town of Timgad,vowing never again to set foot on Roman territory.
From Lisa and George, We Said Go Travel:
Thank you to Kit for this guest post! More from him at http://thebackpackershandbook.com/ 
Read about his book, Descending the Cairo Side:
More travel news and stories from us here next week.  
Want more right now? Go to: www.wesaidgotravel.com
Ready to travel? Go on the Summit this summer with the Penn Glee Club!

We are excited to share our news! Lisa’s article was published in Vagabundo magazine. We traveled to Taiwan last year and went to Penghu which is called the Hawaii of Taiwan!Here is the first paragraph from “The Elusive Matsu Pilgrimage of Penghu”

Many of my trips involve searching, sometimes for an interesting place or festival but sometimes the journey leads inward. During our eleven-month sojourn in South-East Asia we find in Laos a brochure of Taiwan and its images capture my attention. While reading more about the island nation, I discover a festival in honor of Matsu, the goddess of Taiwanese fisherman. That seals a decision — the next journey George and I take will be to Taiwan.
Continue reading this article at Vagabundo Magazine: http://www.vagabundomagazine.com/the-elusive-matsu-pilgrimage-of-penghu/

NEW PAGE on our website all about Travel Apps!
There are incredible apps used by outstanding travelers listed on our site. I cannot wait to use all the recommended apps! I have had a kindle since 2008 and George just bought me the new KINDLE FIRE! I love it and cannot wait to travel with technology!!
See our new Travel Apps page: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/apps.html

From Lisa and George, We Said Go Travel:

See you TUESDAY Nov 29 at X-Bar in Century City for our next event, “Travel with Technology: My favorite Travel app!” Meet the founders of Ship Mate!

More travel news and stories from us next week. Want more right now? go to: www.wesaidgotravel.com

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you enjoyed the holiday with your families and friends. Send us your stories! We would love to hear how you celebrated! Lisa and George

Friends and family ask us, “How do you do it? How do you manage to leave for a year?” Others say, “You are crazy; I would never do that!” These people usually think of the dictionary definition of a vagabond as “…a person who wanders from place to place without a home or job.” I prefer Ralph Potts’ definition in his book Vagabonding:

‘Vagabonding’ is about taking time off from your normal life — from six weeks, to four months, to two years — to discover and experience the world on your own terms.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I reflect on what Seth Godin said last year:

A modern Thanksgiving would celebrate two things: The people in our lives who give us the support and love we need to make a difference, and… the opportunity to build something bigger than ourselves, something worth contributing. The ability to make connections, to lend a hand, to invent and create.

When we departed to realize George’s dream of travel in SE Asia, I wrote every month to my friends and former students, wondering at the time if anyone would read our words. Would I make a difference if I wrote at all? I remembered Ralph Waldo Emerson’s thoughts:

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Leaving both our homes and our careers can free us to think about our path and what we want to do with our lives. If you are considering a long vacation or a career break you might ask, “From where am I leaving and how might I find a purpose? What will the trip be like? What will happen in this new unknown world?”

A Sabbatical may allow us to step back so we might give more to our lives in the future. An academic study, Sabbatical Leave: Who Gains and How Much? conducted by researchers from the US, Israel and New Zealand, researches this question. The study concludes: “Sabbatical leave promotes well-being…the present study confirmed the beneficial effect of a respite on positive well-being.”

Maybe we cannot all take a year-long sabbatical but at least we may find a sabbatical second or moment to acknowledge our dreams and pull our lives more into focus, and become closer to making our dreams come true. Support someone else’s idea for a Gap Year, Mini-retirement, Big Trip or Sabbatical—between stages of life, after college, or after the home nest empties.

Last year passed without a National Meet Plan Go event in Los Angeles. I discovered that no one had volunteered to host the occasion. So this year, we facilitated the day, and drew an incredible panel with a sold-out crowd of over a hundred attendees. I wasn’t sure how to bring the event to fruition, but as with all such tasks, the journey began with a first step.

This Thanksgiving season I am grateful for a support team that allows me to ship early and helps to make my dreams come true. For many of us who have left “the rat race” with a sabbatical or career break, we realize that the journey is for the sake of the adventure and that we can be transformed by our travels. I hope that you will put one foot in front of the other and proceed firmly in your life to make your dreams come true. Find a tribe that understands our world, takes care of our planet and also supports its members.

I hope that this during this Thanksgiving and holiday season, you can carve time out of your schedule and not be permanently tied to your Blackberry, carpool, office or deadlines, to focus on realizing your dreams, whether they involve travel or something that only you can imagine.

For a moment, a year, or a lifetime.

This article was first published as part of The Happy Thanksgiving Magazine for Squidoo.

Want to know more about our event Meet Plan Go Los Angeles from October 18,  check out the video!

Meet Plan Go Giving Back
MPG Los Angeles hosts, George and Lisa Rajna (the creators of We Said Go Travel), participate in community lives when they travel and support those in need – whether it’s Burmese refugees in Northern Thailand, the Jewish World Watch Solar Oven project to help people acquire the tools they need to improve their lives, or importing purses fabricated from local tapestries made by Kazak women to better provide for their families. The idea of sharing profits from the Meet, Plan, Go! event with others came as a natural continuation of their other works.

Lisa Napoli, who wrote Radio Shangri-La and participated on the Los Angeles panel, has been working to help create a library in Mongar, Bhutan through her project, Books to Bhutan. She says, “Please help us bring the joy of books and reading to these kids, who are so eager to learn.” As teachers and library lovers, the Rajnas know that supporting Lisa’s project with the profits from their event made a perfect match; they’ve sent $300 to help fill the shelves in Mongar with books. If you would like to help add more to the library, please use this link.

From Lisa and George, We Said Go Travel:

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday with your families and friends. We are off to a tiny fishing village we learned about in Mongolia from a Canadian guy who lived in Bolivia and had a house in Mexico. We will tell you all about it!

We hope to see you Nov 29 at X-Bar in Century City for our next event, “Travel with Technology: My favorite Travel app!” Meet the founders of Ship Mate! More travel news and stories from us next week. Want more right now? go to: www.wesaidgotravel.com