Kentuck, Northport Alabama

Located about an hour south of Birmingham, the Kentuck Art Center is a mecca for outsider artists. There are studios, a gallery and shop. Once a year they host a huge outdoor festival. I’ve attended the festival twice and each time have been enthralled by the creativity of these self-trained artists. Many use found objects in inventive ways to create … Read More

Pictured Rocks, Lake Superior, Michigan

Twenty years ago today, I started with a cruise on Lake Superior to see the Pictured Rocks; a sight I’d been told I shouldn’t miss. I had some misgivings about going out on a gray, cold day, but assumed we’d be in a warm dry cabin. That was true until we arrived at the Pictured Rocks, when everyone opened the … Read More

Why I travel (Part 7)

Travel has confirmed that music and dance bring universal joy. At a concert in Fez, Morocco I watched women dressed head to toe in jellabas, stand on chairs dancing and cheering to the music of the gospel group, Five Blind Boys from Alabama. In Greece I’ve watched village elders begin a slow circle dance. As the music became faster and … Read More

Why I travel (Part 6)

I travel because even when I’m not traveling, I like to think about it. I derive great joy from anticipating my next journey and sharing my experiences from previous trips. I travel because there are places in the world where I can live like royalty on less than it costs for a Motel 6. I travel because I love to … Read More

Why I Travel (Part 5)

I travel because it reminds me that no matter how savvy and smart I think I am, there’s always more to learn. There are people across the globe with very great talent and skills. They’ve had different life experiences, so think and do things in ways that have never even occurred to me. I’ve watched women carry enormous baskets on … Read More

Why I Travel (Part 4)

I travel because it makes history real for me. Ancient Egypt doesn’t seem so ancient after seeing the pyramids and Valley of the Kings. The Incas and Aztecs aren’t just civilizations that I learned about in school – they’re living, creative, intelligent people who left an enduring legacy. Seeing the ruins at Angkor Wat and Tikal reminds me that life … Read More

Why I Travel (Part 3)

I travel because I like to shake up my routine. A college professor convinced me years ago that experimentation with different ways of doing things and breaking routines is exercise for the brain. It makes people more alert, healthier and helps to stave off Alzheimer’s disease. I figure reading a map and navigating a new city or deciphering a menu … Read More

Why I Travel (Part 2)

I travel because it makes for good stories, even the bad experiences. Especially the bad experiences. How could I ever forget being on a converted fishing boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with seven people I couldn’t stand and mice that ate through everyone’s luggage? Or camping in Africa where the only possibility for dinner one night was … Read More

Why I Travel (Part 1)

I travel because deep within me burns an insatiable hunger to try new things. I’m an experience junkie. When traveling it’s impossible to know exactly what will happen, who I’ll strike up a conversation with, what I’ll learn, what trouble I’ll get into. New places often surprise and delight me in unpredictable ways. In Barcelona, my hotel was right on … Read More

Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia

Thirty years ago, I spent a few days in Kuala Lumpur before leaving for an extended trip through Indonesia. At the time the city hadn’t raised the towering skyscrapers for which it is now known. It was an eclectic mix of British influences, Asian traditions, Malay and Islamic sensibilities. I walked from a street market packed with local foods, to … Read More