Travelers and Hosts: The Best in Us

Dear Friends, Over the years, I have developed a theory: a good traveler makes the very best of friends.  In other words, if you can travel the world comfortably, adjusting good-humoredly to the unexpected, respecting other cultures, tasting new cuisines and dishes, appreciating your hosts, and remaining gracious through discomfort, then you are not only … Continue reading

Tribute to the Sands of Egypt

Dear Friends, The tale of the Egyptian Prince Tutmosis III and his encounter with the Sphinx of Giza fascinates me.  On a hunting trip in the Valley of the Gazelles some time before his reign, Tutmosis III decided to take a nap to escape the midday sun. He chose the shade below the head (the only visible … Continue reading

Never a Dull Moment

Dear Friends, When an earthquake occurred in China during students’ spring break, and an Icelandic  volcano spewed ash across European skies, and Greeks threw projectiles on Syntagma Square in Athens, several friends and professional associates asked me the same question: “Why are you in this crazy business?!” Well, it all harks back to why we … Continue reading

Language: More than a Practical Portal

  Dear Friends, One of the greatest human urges is to communicate. At an early stage, our toddlers demonstrate the frustration they feel when their meaning or intents are not understood for lack of language skills—sippy cups are thrown to the floor; food is flung from the high chair.  The message is clear: we want … Continue reading

Going Back: Kinsale, Ireland

Dear Friends, Having spent the first half of my life changing homes every two years, there was only one constant place in my world: Folly House, Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland. This was the house my parents bought in 1972 to allow their four daughters to escape the oppression of Algerian summers. This was the house … Continue reading

Authenticity in Travel

Dear Friends, On a recent trip to the southwest of France exploring the culinary delights of foie gras, truffles, duck and walnuts, a question kept occurring to me: what can be described as “authentic”?  Is a truffle farm authentic because its owners hunt for its precious fungi in a traditional way passed on for generations … Continue reading

China: Build it, and we will come. Complete it, and we can go elsewhere?

Dear Friends,   It seems like an eternity ago when I was a young China program manager for ATA and spent my time running tours with titles like “Decorative Arts of China,” “To The Edges of the Empire,” and “History through the Dynasties.”  That was back in the 1980s, before Tiananmen Square took place.   … Continue reading

India in Our Hearts

Dear Friends, We share in the grief and sadness that has gripped India and the world in the aftermath of the monstrous attacks in Mumbai that began on the eve of our Thanksgiving.  I cannot conceive of a more cowardly act than attacking and killing unarmed, innocent human beings. Given the location of the attacks, in … Continue reading

Thoughts on Family Travel

Dear Friends, When I think back on the success of our family vacation this summer, I realize that there are key elements that contributed to our enjoyment. I wanted to share these with you: 1. My Children’s Ages We’ve traveled to Europe many times before with Nick and Sasha. This time, at ages 10 and … Continue reading

Montagne Ste Victoire

Dear Friends, As many of you know, I was born in Marseille, France, and many of my childhood summers were spent enjoying Provence, with family and friends, from perches in cherry trees overlooking vineyards, swimming in the turquoise waters of Cassis’ calanques or picknicking in the dappled shade of the plane trees at Le Tholonet. … Continue reading