Hotels and Hostels in Airbnb Times

Airbnb is great in theory: stay in someone’s luxurious home for a price half that of the local low-end hotel. I was grateful for it when I needed somewhere to stay while I was looking for an apartment and didn’t want to impose on friends for too long, and I admit the potential for some affordably awesome experiential travel through the…

The City: My Improbable New York Addiction

In what almost feels like another lifetime, I lived and worked in New York City. It’s something I think about a lot, especially when people here in France ask me where I’m from (the suburbs of Boston, technically) and what I miss about my hometown and city (not much). I do miss a lot of things about New…

Worrying About Climate Change From 35,000 Feet

I have very little patience with climate change denial, and even less patience with spluttered, “even if the climate is changing we’re still not sure it’s human-caused” hold-outs. The science is solid, the climate is changing, and quickly, and on a trajectory that could ultimately be disastrous for all of us, regardless of how much of that change can be attributed to…

The Restorative Properties of Fresh(er) Air

I loved living in New York City, but that place can fray the nerves. Overcrowding makes everything, from grocery-shopping to walking down the street, a competition with some of the most intense and aggressive people in the world. I used to go to Trader Joe’s just after it opened so that I only had to wait…

It’s Complicated

“It” being my relationship with social media. How liberating it would be to delete my digital self! The potentially horrifying future ramifications of shady data collection policies aside, social media platforms are also an exhausting time-suck that can make the most confident individual question whether he or she measures up to family, friends, and the most distant…

What ze ‘ell? French Habits You Won’t Find on a List of Stereotypes

Many Americans have a mental image of “French Life” that runs somewhere along these lines: smoking at outdoor café tables, bicycling alongside a river with a baguette under an arm, wearing scarves and generally looking “chic,” drinking wine while discussing culture and art. And of course, all of this takes place with the Eiffel Tower as backdrop,…

Time Travel: Plitvice Lakes, Croatia, May 2014 – Perfectly Imperfect Travel

Going to Plitvice Lakes was one of those travel decisions I made based on the advice of a stranger or, in this case, strangers: a group of tipsy Brazilian dudes I met in the common room of a hostel in Zagreb, Croatia. The Plitvice Lakes consistently make the pages of glossy 100-Places-to-Visit-in-Your-Lifetime magazine issues, with photos of bright turquoise water…

When shit goes down and you’re not there

I spent most of my life before 2008 in the Boston area, hating the New York Yankees and shoveling snow, but have since lived there only intermittently. I miss the baseball. I don’t miss the winters. While a New York City resident in 2013, I received a text message one morning that made my blood run cold: “is your family…

Passport for ‘Amurca

The newest version of the American passport befits our international reputation as the least subtle of nations. It’s got a bald eagle emblazoned across the front page, and every page thereafter boasts an equally AMERICAN subject: Cowboys! The Liberty Bell! Grizzly bears! Mount Rushmore! It’s like they asked Clint Eastwood to cry on a few pieces of paper…

Time Travel: Lisbon, February 2014 – To Fado and Living in the Moment

Tasca do Chico, a well-known fado bar in Lisbon (Rua do Diário de Notícias) is a small place crammed with wooden tables, benches and, on fado nights, people. Fado, a type of Portuguese folk music that traditionally features mournful singing by a single vocalist with various guitar accompaniment, is still popular today in concert venues and some…