Aachen and Cologne: Instagramming a European City Break

Cologne Cathedral

Upon a recent visit to the German Rhineland cities of Aachen and Cologne and the surrounding area, we realized there’s a lot to experience and unpack — that is, to comprehend the full picture of what we’d seen and how astonishingly complex history can be.From Roman beginnings, to medieval ascendency to industrial superiority, Germany’s Rhineland seems to have … [Read more...]

The World Doesn’t End With The Blue Sky

maasai woman

“You can call me Airport,” Esupat said, laughing.She sat atop a Maasai hut with her legs crossed, straddling a half-built chimney. Small piles of bricks surrounded her; wet cement fell from her hands.She was dressed colorfully, ornamentally. But this is how she goes to work. When she smiles, it is wide. Wide from unforced practice. Wide with pride, wide with … [Read more...]

Aachen Cathedral: Just Look Up [360-Degree Panorama]

Aachen Cathedral

Some cathedrals -- with their fanciful gargoyles, detailed carvings and elaborate flourishes -- are best admired for their exterior. For others, it's all about appreciating what's inside.What makes Aachen Cathedral so special for me, despite the beauty of its imposing Gothic exterior, are the mystical elements within. … [Read more...]

How Travel Is The Classroom

Simien Mountains

I recently came across an article about experiential learning that featured a list entitled 12 Things You Might Not Have Learned in the Classroom. The principles were adapted from a book entitled Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto. The list was preceded by the phrase “Really educated people...”“Wow, that’s a pretty presumptuous lead,” I thought. … [Read more...]

Next Up: From Mines to Wines, Germany’s Rhineland

Rhine Valley

As we set off for Germany's Rhineland this weekend, I think back to an exchange I had with a tourist from Stuttgart the other night.“It’s been really fun visiting Berlin this week. It’s like traveling to a different country from Germany,” he said.We laughed. We understood. This is often what we tell people when they ask us how we like living in Germany. We've … [Read more...]

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda: A Beginner’s Guide

Kakona, the Silverback Gorilla - Bwindi National Park, Uganda

I followed just behind our lead mountain gorilla tracker. In the hush of the moment under the canopy, I remembered our guide’s advice earlier that morning: “On your way to the gorillas, don’t forget to enjoy the sound of the jungle. There’s nothing like it.”My focus had been on climbing through the tendrils, on getting there. I could feel the heat around me, … [Read more...]

Travel to Rwanda: First Impressions

Fishing Boats on Lake Kivu - Kibuye, Rwanda

Rwanda.  A country where the first thing that comes to mind when people hear the name: the horrific, tragic genocide of twenty years ago. When we mentioned that we were looking forward to visiting Rwanda, we weren’t entirely surprised by the confused looks and cocked heads: “Why?” … [Read more...]