Talking with Strangers on the Beara Peninsula

Stealing a Day on the Beara Peninsula, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

At the time I met Noel—on an Irish morning flawless as a perfectly poured pint of Guinness—I had a plan: to spend the morning in glorious solitude. I would depart Kenmare after breakfast, drive west into the tranquil Beara Peninsula stopping to take photographs only if the mood struck fiercely. Two hours …

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Amsterdam Bicycle Tour for Independent Travelers

Amsterdam bicycle tour

Independent travelers avoid organized tours because we hate other people. Okay, I’m mostly joking, but tours make us feel restricted, like captives. The self-determination of independent travel allows us to make choices about the direction we take, our mode of travel and how long to stay in a locale according to our …

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Travel Journals: the Mundane and the Moving

©BGabriel,1992 stealjustoneday.com

Brian and I have recently considered drawing up our wills. So far, we mostly talk about it over rum and tonics with a healthy squeeze of lime, or a bracing prickly pear margarita. You’d think it would be an easy process. We don’t have kids, we’re not bazillionaires, we don’t have …

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The Art of Eavesdropping: What Happened to Flossie and Other Misadventures

©BGabriel, 2015 stealjustoneday.com

“Flossie died playing cards.” Like any good snoop and all-around Nosy Parker, my ears perked up as the unseen woman in the booth behind me spoke. Eavesdropping doesn’t get much better than this. I heard indistinct mumbling. Damn it, speak up! I silently urged her lunch partner, as my head …

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Subterranean Paris: the Sewers Below the City of Light

This post is Part 4 of a series about visiting Alternative Paris. If you haven’t read part 1 yet, click to read Heading to Paris? Pack your Post-it notes, and part 2, Catacombs of Paris: Do I see Dead People?, and part 3, Falafel, History and Remembrance: Jewish Paris. Then return …

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Falafel, History and Remembrance: Jewish Paris

click to read Falafel, History and Remembrance: Jewish Paris

This post is Part 3 of a series about Alternative Paris. If you haven’t read part 1 yet, click to read Heading to Paris? Pack your Post-it notes, and part 2, Catacombs of Paris: Do I see Dead People? Then hurry back here to read about Alternative Paris-Jewish History. I …

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Catacombs of Paris: Do I See Dead People?

©BGabriel, 1999 stealjustoneday.com

This post is Part 2 of a series about Alternative Paris. If you haven’t read part 1 yet, click to read “Heading to Paris? Pack your Post-it notes“. Then hurry back here to read about Paris underground. Standing outside the entrance to the Paris Catacombs, I had second thoughts. Reluctant about …

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Heading to Paris? You May Want to Pack Your Post-its.

©BGabriel, 1999 stealjustoneday.com

[note: This is the first in a series of articles about Alternative Paris.] They make their way from Dubuque. New York City. Portland, Maine and Dallas, Texas. But also from Moscow, Frankfurt, Tangier and beyond. They come to write, to paint, for fashion and film. For the perfume and the …

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Possessing Paris: Coffee and the Lost View From a Rooftop

©BGabriel, 1999 stealjustoneday.com

There used to be two great bargains in Paris. A pair of not-so-secret traveler’s secrets to explore the city like a local. The first deal was the utterly free, 360-degree view of the City of Lights from the rooftop of a department store. You read that right: a department store. …

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Finding Great Food While Traveling: Managing Expectations in Edinburgh

Edinburgh appeared on our travel radar last summer just a few days before flying to Norway. One reason for the Norway trip, a training class for my husband, got cancelled so we had an extra week and no plans. I pictured myself in Norway, hand to my brow, shielding my non-Nordic …

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On Beverages and Bonding: Art, Chemistry and the Human Connection

Being a traveler can be isolating. Sure, you’re out there on the road, interacting with local people in fascinating places around the world, seeing the stuff of a Barcalounger’s travel dreams. You smile at each stranger you encounter, seeking connection. If you are lucky, or pushy maybe, you might even …

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Make New Friends and Keep the Old Ones in Your Heart

Earlier this summer while traveling in Ireland I met Mickey, an Irish gentleman who came into the pub two floors below my rented room, for his pint. The pub’s owner, Maura, had just pulled my pint of Murphy’s stout, a gift to me as part of my stay. Maura’s pub …

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Green Pajamas and Reinvention Through Travel

At camp in Sale,, planning route south

In a Dispatch a while ago, I mentioned an Irish radio show I listened to one morning while driving from Ireland’s south coast up to Dublin. The show was about why people travel. Although it happened to be perfect timing for me to listen to the show, since I was trapped …

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Whiskey Expert: Have Paper? Have Flask? Will Travel.

There’s a theory (you can look it up and read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers) referred to as the 10,000-hours rule, which basically says that if you practice something for that many hours you will pretty much be an expert at it. But the 10,000-hours rule notwithstanding, here is what makes someone …

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Sometimes a Vague Notion

I had this vague notion about my first trip to Ireland 15 years ago: that I would seek out some connection with an Irish ancestor who had emigrated sometime in the nineteenth century, landed in Minnesota and started procreating. The family had very little information about him. Because my husband …

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Two Tales of One City: Dublin

I lost my map of Dublin in the toilet of the restaurant I had breakfast at today. Or maybe I left it on the bench where I sat in St. Stephen’s Green. Or it could be up in the belfry of Christ Church Cathedral, but I’m not sure. What I …

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On Dublin and the Cold Shoulder

I have entered an alternative Irish universe called Dublin. At breakfast this morning at O’Malley’s guesthouse in Kilkenny, I was musing on the past three weeks of travel in Ireland. On listening to “Trad” music in Dingle with Irish folk on holiday from Cork and Dublin and Belfast, after the …

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The Weight of History and the History of Weight

Today began with an early delivery of beer kegs, rolling down the sidewalk to the door of the pub below my window. If you thought that might have been a bother, don’t fret. I was ready to get up anyway and it was a “fine, soft day” in Clonakilty, County …

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A Garret of My Own

Sitting up in my garret room above a pub in the town of Clonakilty, Ireland, I am wishing that the sun would just go down so I could sleep, thank you very much, even though it’s only 8:30 pm and I should make the most of my time here and …

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Oslo: The New Big Smoke, or, “Hallo, Kettle, this is Pot Speaking: You’re Black”

credit: Brian Gabriel

London has cleaned up its act, in terms of ye olde air polluters, and so the old nickname “The Big Smoke” no longer applies literally. It has been relegated to a fond and hazy moniker by people who aren’t old enough to remember breathing in coal-fired chimney smoke mixed with …

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