May The Cork Be With You

Olive oil, wine, and cork.  Lots of cork.  I know of few places whose story can be so thoroughly woven together by and distilled down to such spare components. Portugal’s Alentejo region is these things and more. But trying to describe this region beyond these finite products is for me a futile exercise. As with […]

In Cod We Trust

Some foods are so intrinsically tied to a place that often they shed a light on its past vicissitude much better than any museums or monuments. One of them is cod: the consumption of this fish is widespread across several continents, from Russia, to Western Africa, from the Caribbean to England, to the point that […]

Peach Blossom Spring

  I like to dig, search, and poke around, and to stir up different ways to connect with a place. How to look at a city or a region with a different set of eyes, or better yet, with a different approach, like the way a pilot gauges the wind direction to land correctly on […]

A Babel in Landscapes

All languages are affected by the environment they are born from, they carry the landscape and temperature with them. Each particular language has variations, and through these variations a culture is expressed. We have all heard about instances of this, how there are multiple words for snow in northern climes, or how some places have […]

Why I Love Armchair Travel

“How to Talk About Places You’ve Never Been” is a book I bought a few years ago when I began teaching in the travel department of the local college. Had my passport been stolen? Was this cheating? Was my professional integrity in tatters? No on all fronts. In fact, despite my initial sense of existential […]

A Sherry Renaissance

Years ago, I was a recent college grad in Colorado when I took a decision that any sane individual with a degree in the Humanities and Spanish Comp Lit. would do: I moved to Spain. What was crazy, was that I moved to Jerez. “Where?” is usually the first question when the subject of where […]

Porcelain for Palaces

When I lived in China there were days where I would become overwhelmed by numbers. Numbers of people around me, numbers of buildings in cities, astronomical numbers and metrics of a scale so grand I thought could only be science fiction. I would become overwhelmed with culture shock, a stranger in an unknown land. Not […]

ice readers of Phnom Penh

There are secret languages in the streets of the cities we live in.  Signs and notes meant to be read by folks who know the neighbourhood, ways of doing things, a whole subtext of unwritten laws to live by and understand. When the trash is taken out, whom to avoid, which shops sell quality and […]

Rome’s Crown of Thorns

Since the invention of filmmaking, Rome has been unmatched as the ideal open-air set. The opulent palazzos, lively squares and ancient ruins combine with Europe’s biggest studios in Cinecittà, to provide the perfect backdrop to thousands of productions, national and international. And the image of Rome and the Romans that emerges from these films is […]

Thirsty Pig Will Fly

Put it down to stereotype, but I have always been a planner. The desire to work as efficiently as possible runs deep in my Germanic veins; crossing things off my do list sparks joy. I have also always been attracted to the idea of “going places”. Well before joining the travel industry, I enjoyed mapping […]

WPIG: Thai Funk-a-Go-Go Edition

Here for your travel listening pleasure, in the latest edition of WPIG the Pig is Thai Funk – a radio hour of dive-bar bands in Thailand playing rock, funk, and soul. Tyler Dillon and Anthony Weersing join forces in this episode to drop the nasty. Pour yourself a tropical cocktail and soak up the tunes. […]

Light Fuse Get Away

August 24th 2008, the day after my 29th birthday, my mind was tattooed with an image. It was the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing and I had spent the past 30 days guiding a family all over China, intermixed with gold medal event tickets for the two weeks of the games. It […]