Memory Lane: My Trip to the Chicago Skydeck


I’m feeling very nostalgic lately since the Women in Travel Summit just took place in California.

I was a keynote speaker at the first WITS, which was held in Chicago. I had a wonderful time during my travels in Chicago, but I have yet to write about one aspect I enjoyed immensely: touring the Chicago Skydeck.

When a few WITS attendees and I joined a tour of the Willis Tower Skydeck, members of management treated us to an exclusive look at this fascinating structure.

I learned some juicy facts about the Skydeck and Willis Tower:

May 11th, 2016|Categories: Chicago, Travel Tips|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

Discovering San Diego: A City Less Traveled


About two years ago, my best friend and her husband traveled to San Diego. This struck me as an odd choice. I’ve known these two for nearly 15 years, and they travel several times a year, often choosing exotic, interesting places. It’s common for them to fly to Copenhagen or Osaka.

So it was underwhelming when they announced this San Diego trip. But once I saw their photos and heard about their experience, I felt intrigued.

They sadly don’t have a blog but as their spokesperson, I’m going to share some tidbits about San Diego that will make YOU want to do something crazy — visit a city less traveled.

August 11th, 2015|Categories: San Diego, Travel Tips|Tags: , |5 Comments

Quick and Dirty Guide to Washington’s Best

Remember when I did a photo essay about Washington, DC’s chilly winter? I received a lot of requests about where to stay and what to do. Summer is on its way, so here’s a quick and dirty guide to what’s best in the capitol.

May 20th, 2015|Categories: United States, Washington DC|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

Washington, DC in the Cold


Before I ever stepped foot in Washington, D.C. numerous warnings used to hit my Facebook feed.

Oh, don’t go there — there’s so much crime!”

“Washington has some scary neighborhoods.”

When I taught in China, there was a popular exercise I did with students when I assigned groups an American city and they presented which monuments they wanted to see and how much they planned to spend on this once in a lifetime vacation to the United States.

Nobody groaned about being assigned New York City or San Francisco — but when it came to Washington D.C., dissenting voices arose. “But teacher, Washington is dangerous, yes?”

I lacked an answer because at that point I’d never been to D.C., nor did I want to express a misguided opinion.

January 26th, 2015|Categories: United States, Washington DC|Tags: , , |18 Comments

Ground Zero: A Chance for Renewal

My feet were on fire. Crippled as though I intentionally walked a turtle pace over searing coals. Yet there was a determination to arrive before sunset.

My last memory of the towers were seen through the eyes of a chubby child. Brooding monoliths – the epicenter of New York. I recall peering up at them, agog at their ability to touch the heavens, wondering if they communed with God. We visited a store, a vast one where I could select any doll representing a country. My visual senses were intrigued with a doll from Panama, she was clothed in a flamenco style dress, dark glossy hair spilling down, a serene smile suffusing her face. Little did I know her gypsy image would become my emblem.

After that, I filed away those memories as an important site of New York, where workers conducted business and sold pretty dolls. Until September 11, 2001. I secretly rallied against a corporate mentality, but my beliefs were not in play here. Politics, personal ethics, or conspiracy theories aside, those who perished were humans with dreams, possibly even to escape a 8/9 hour day in the towers. What a horrible way to exit, most undesired.

I walked down Worth Street, willing my aching legs to comply – make it to Center at least. I cut down Church Street, eager to trek to the end. What hit me was a mob of workers/commuters.

All of them in a mad rush to start the long commute home. Maybe as far as Brooklyn or Queens. The edges of sunset started to form on the horizon. People walked by the site unfazed, probably

November 3rd, 2010|Categories: New York|Tags: , , |10 Comments

Journey to New York & Whirlwind Week

After leaving Longus snorting.. er.. sleeping happily away at 5:30 am, I stumbled out of my room to grab a cab back to Bangor’s bus station. The next leg of my overland journey would total 11 hours of bus time. My call to the front desk the night before was a small victory after losing out on a cheap room at Motel 6.

“Yes, we can arrange a cab for you. It’s a complimentary cab as our guest at Ramada.” Sweet relief on the budget.

Come 6:00 am I grew nervous because the bus was due to leave at 6:30. Greyhound has been known to arrive early. After cajoling the young man at the front desk to inject some new life into my cab request, it finally arrived at 6:10.

I hopped in barking at the guy to hurry up, when he cheekily pointed out the empty streets. Heh. I always get a little jumpy about missing a bus or train, so sue me.

Maybe my panic was justified, once we pulled up they were already loading. Another mad dash to board before I was left behind with a gigantic statue of Paul Bunyan.

Bus rides for me are punctuated by zoning out, listening to neglected music, or sleeping. I cannot, for the life of me, write. That’s how I whittled away hours on the bus, between quick sprints to the restroom or snacking.

Eventually we made it through Massachusetts and onto Boston, where I had to disembark for 45 minutes at South Station.

The few visuals I saw of Boston intriuged me, seems like a place worth exploring one day. It felt

October 29th, 2010|Categories: New York|Tags: , , , |16 Comments