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...]

Should Travelers Give to Kids Who Beg?

Young Students in Rural School - Nalbata, Bangladesh

We paused along the side of the road in what seemed like the middle of nowhere for a view over the hills outside of the Ethiopian town of Lalibela. Moments later, a boy of about four years ran up. He was shepherd to his family’s goats on a nearby hill. His clothes were torn, he poked curiously around us foreigners, using our guide as an interpreter.One of the … [Read more...]

Ethiopian Food (An Overview of Ethiopian Cuisine)

Ethiopian food

When we headed to Ethiopia recently, I went packing with high expectations of the food. Years ago, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Ethiopian food fresh out of university. In Washington, D.C., just new to world cuisine, I clearly recall my first pull of a round stretchy pancake-like injera bread, beautifully colored mounds of what looked to me like … [Read more...]

Travel to Ethiopia: First Impressions

Ethiopian monk

When I was growing up, I remember Ethiopia having a long run on the nightly news. Unfortunately newscasts all pointed to the grim. Newsreel images featured fly-ridden babies with distended bellies, drought-ruined landscapes and a ravaging famine made only worse by civil war.Sounding familiar?Prior to our visit, we figured some distance between the Ethiopia … [Read more...]