Heaven is a Train From Hell

The number of times a day I think the words people are the worst probably qualifies me as a misanthrope. Or maybe just someone who loves people so much at their best that she’s let down when they fall short? Yeeeeah, that’s it. Don’t worry, I’m hard on myself, too. Anyway, a long-distance train so packed that…

Laters, East London!

A very belated tribute to the neighbo(u)rhood(s) that launched me into London. I’ve had a soft spot for East London for a while*. On previous visits to the city, it was an affordable but central area to stay in. I liked the cobblestone streets and lamp-posted alleys, the blend of old and new, dusty and…

How to Travel Alone

A friend of mine once all but recoiled when I told her that, when she came to visit me, she should feel free to explore on her own while I was at work. She was annoyed that I’d even suggested it, and told me there wasn’t anything she felt comfortable doing by herself. Another friend recently insisted…

Mix-and-Match Lyon

As I said in my last post, Lyon is my favorite French city by far, and seriously underrated. A few years ago, an important world leader was visiting the city, and I remember hearing people express their delight and surprise at the honor. I wasn’t surprised at all, but I was impressed by the Lyonnais pride without arrogance. If you get…

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…

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…

Day Hike: Marseille to Cassis Along the Calanques

It’s never been easy for me to say good-bye to summer. A creature of the sun who had the poor luck to grow up in the snowy northeastern United States, I spent my first twenty-three winters hiding inside and eating pastries, one step up from a hibernating bear. I get stir-crazy when the weather gets cold, because…

Day Hike: Lacs de la Pra

I’m so fresh off this hike that the soreness hasn’t fully hit me yet (“it will,” hiss my vindictive knees and hips in menacing whispers, “it will”), but I wanted to get this post up before the cold really settles into the mountains. The Lacs de la Pra are a smattering of tiny lakes in the Belledonne mountain…

Time Travel: May, 2014 – Slowing Down in Split

I was very unpopular in beautiful Croatia. Despite my best efforts to abide by all spoken and unspoken rules and to be apologetic for my ignorance as I navigated the country’s unpredictable off-season transportation and accommodation logistics, the people I came across were impatient and bitchy with me. I was almost tossed off of long-distance…

11 TAPIF Must-Dos

If you’ve decided to embark on the Teaching Assistant Program in France, chances are you already have the travel bug and an interest in deeply discovering a foreign place instead of skimming its surface like the average tourist. There are lots of ways to take advantage of your resident expatriate status while living abroad and to do…