Winter in St. Paul: Culture and Quirks

Winter in St. Paul

I’m from St. Paul: Minnesota’s capital city. That’s where the Mississippi River takes a brief loop northward before thinking, “Oh, hell no” and returns to it’s southerly flow, rolling along toward warmer climes near the Gulf of Mexico. St. Paul: Most Livable City in America St. Paul claims the title …

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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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Photography Class: Failure is an Option

Photography Class Failure

I lean toward the lethargic, work-wise. I’m not alone. There are others just like me, floating along on the stream of life only to discover (what, again?!) a chunk of time has passed with few of our vague ambitions achieved. But not this year. My plan this year was to turn the heat on myself, to make goals and get stuff done. Write better, …

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Traveler’s Guide to Dining in Cuba

Guide to Dining in Cuba

Because I lack self-control, I know long before my flight lands that over-indulging in food and beverages will be a highlight of the trip. Any trip. I plan for it. First thing, I do an online search: what to eat and drink in (insert destination here). Next, my pre-trip language studies focus on …

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Horse Riding and Travel: 5 Reasons to Ride

Horse Riding and Travel: 5 Reasons

Steel horseshoes struck 500-year-old cobblestones, echoing off brick walls of the homes and shops lining Callejón del Aguacate. Astride Frina, I tried out just-learned Spanish commands for horse riding and hoped she understood. I greeted children darting past on their way to school and the man peddling home-made hooch from his bicycle …

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Using Offline Maps for Travel

Offline maps for travel

Using cellular data when traveling is costly. Squandering it to find your way around an unfamiliar city eats up your data faster than Kobayashi eating hot dogs at Coney Island on July 4th. The best way to find your way around and still save cellular data is to use offline maps …

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STEP Program: Travel in the Age of Terror

read about the STEP Program for travelers

A couple of months before my recent trip to Europe bombs exploded in Brussels, including two at the airport. I don’t frighten easily, but like much of the world I stopped in my tracks to get more news. Since television and social media survive partly by being home to drama queens …

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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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Driving in Baja California: Margaritas and Ninja Cows

driving in Baja

Before I went driving in Baja California, I checked with an expert in negotiating Mexican roads. My driving abilities from Mexico have helped me get through Hollywood. ~Salma Hayek No doubt Ms. Hayek is right about that; she’s got a reputation as gutsy and no-nonsense, both handy qualities for an acting career …

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Observing a Writer at Work Day: BYOB

observing a writer at work

Last Thursday was Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, celebrated by parents in the USA who believe their jobs are interesting and meaningful, and by kids who are stoked about skipping a school day. I’ll bet none of those parents is a writer at work, and kids with …

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Driving in Morocco: a Search for Solitude and Connection

Driving in Morocco

A funny thing happened on the way to Chefchaouen. We went driving in Morocco for three months. From Tangier to Tiglit and Marrakech to Merzouga, we steered our VW camper van toward adventure. Crossing desert landscapes and fording rivers cut through breathtaking gorges, we wound through the maze-like streets of medinas in …

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World Heritage Day: Celebrate the Sites

click to read World Heritage Day

Did you know that April 18 is World Heritage Day? Well, I didn’t either until recently; a shame because I’ve been a grateful beneficiary of the fantastic World Heritage Program throughout my travels. What is the World Heritage Program? The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage program …

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Sick on a Plane and Stuck in the Middle Seat

Moments before boarding the plane for the last leg heading home, I felt that queasy belly badness that lets you know that food poisoning is taking over your body and you’re going to be sick on a plane. My flight was about to take me to one of Dante’s 9 circles of hell. Circle number 3, …

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Packing for Travel: Know Thyself

Packing for travel ©2016 BGabriel, stealjustoneday.com

Packing for travel has one certainty, one hard and fast rule: there is no certainty and no hard and fast rule. Packing is an evolving science and art for every person who explores our world, whatever their mode of travel. Online advice about packing for travel will blow your brain …

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Why Travel to Cuba? ¿Por que no?

og:image metatag, Havana sunrise, ©2016 BGabriel, stealjustoneday.com

Maybe George Mallory had it right. “Because it’s there,” he is famously reported to have answered.  The question being, of course, why climb Everest? My neighbor’s question was, “Why travel to Cuba?” She’d walked into our place as I began to sort the mound of stuff on the dining table, scratching checkmarks on …

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You Never Forget Your First Time: Let’s Get it On

Click to read "You Never Forget Your First Time"

You never forget your first time. Furtive and fumbling, painful or sometimes (should we even admit this?) disappointing, that experience gets seared on your brain like grill marks on a prime steak. The memory is absorbed by every cell in the body and replayed throughout your lifetime just when you …

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Cuba’s Classic Cars: a Cultural Handshake

Once I heard that satisfying ‘ker-chunk’ of the immigration officer’s stamp and practically got ignored going through customs at the Jose Martí International Airport, I headed for the arrival hall’s exit with my travel pack and my husband. A guy holding a sheet of notebook paper with my name hand-printed …

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Disconnecting to Accept the Promises of Travel

Travel Journal 2015, page 1

With a plane ticket and a smart phone, you can take the family and all of your friends along on pretty much any trip. Selfies and food photos, along with a wifi connection is all you need. I struggle with this constant connection while traveling. Sure, it’s great fun to share …

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Rules for Travel: Travel Journal 2015, page 11

Travel Journal, page 11~ 7 October 2015

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This Traveler’s Got a Brand New Bag

A member of a writer’s group I belong to recently posted this question: If you had to name the dumbest purchase you’ve ever made, what would it be? “Easy one”, I thought, “my first marriage license.” After I finished cracking myself up, I thought back on the massive ton of …

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