Favorites - Travelin' Wo(Man)

These are some of my favorite columns about traveling.

Shoes

Shoes tell stories.

My family spent last week in Washington DC. We saw, did, and ate a lot. We also walked so much that my 14 year old, at one point, sent a postcard back to her best friend that read "pray for my feet".

Out West Vacation

We just returned from a two weeks "out west". Our family folded itself into our compact station wagon, stuffed suitcases in a cartop carrier, packed too many books, maps, Pop Tarts, and car games into the hatchback, and we set off for Yellowstone National Park. This, as we understood within minutes of backing out of our driveway, would be more than a vacation, it would become a Rite of Passage.

Utah River Trip

I do not love to camp -- my ideal vacation would involve a sofa and a stack of books. Nevertheless, I have just returned from five days of canoeing, kayaking, and wilderness camping along Utah's Green River which is the river that wends through Canyonlands National Park. The experience was about as far as a person can get from overstuffed furniture.

Guatemalan Hospitality

"Hola! Buenos Dias! Como est‡ Usted?" (Hello. Good Day. How are you?)

Me? I'm fine. Gracias para preguntar. (I think that's how one says "Thanks for asking.")

Actually, I am a little muzzy-headed. I'm just back from ten days in Guatemala. There's nothing like spending a balmy week in the third world to make one's senses spin akimbo.

In the Soup - NYC

Sometimes, when situations shift from safe to scary, I remember this odd expression I learned from the grownups of my childhood.

"We're in the soup now."

What kind of nutball people identify with a carrot's point of view?

I recalled those words last week, as I drove my three kids, plus their friend Dan Navarro, to New York City.

Toddlers in Italy

I received an email from a friend who recently moved across three states in order to live closer to her granddaughter.

"Kayleigh is a 15-month old who has just discovered shadows. She is clearly convinced that they are funny, friendly and have a life of their own -- and that, to her utter delight, they CHOOSE to appear for her. I got her a cow flashlight that moos when you squeeze the handle to light it up. She can make shadows and wiggle the spot of light all over the ceiling, but she doesn't seem to understand herself to be the shadow-making agent yet.

White Water

It was a hot July afternoon in West Virginia. The sky glittered blue, mountains were draped with folds of green tapestry. The warm air was pungent with an Appalachian sachet of humus, pine, and fast-running water.

Our youth group was going to do a Work Camp in the area so we'd arranged, months in advance, to do a whitewater rafting trip while we were there. We didn't know, when we signed up, that the New River Gorge is a world-class whitewater river.