August 30, 2019

Last month, I happily got to spend a couple of days in Paris. Whenever I visit Paris, one of my first stops is Notre Dame. This time was no exception. 

The appearance of the cathedral now is jarring. I had never fully appreciated how much of its height came from its roof and how much of its presence on the skyline came from its spire. Now it looks l...

August 23, 2019

Temperatures are rising everywhere, heat waves are more frequent, and it’s becoming harder to schedule your travels to completely avoid unpleasantly hot days. But there are ways to cope: yes, you *can* travel in the heat and still enjoy yourself! (And equally importantly, not get heat stroke.) 

Choose your clothes wisely. Fabric and flow are more im...

August 9, 2019

You have, I’m sure, heard the dire warning (perhaps even from me): Do Not Travel To Europe In The Summer. The crowds! The heat! The misery!

And yet: having just returned from Europe in the height of summer, I have to admit, it has its advantages. (August in France brings its own challenges, as many French people go on their own vacations, but let’s...

July 19, 2019

No matter how far in advance you start preparing, no matter how organized you are, there will always come a moment just before you leave on a trip when things get … hairy. 

Packing for a trip is not unlike packing for a move: There are simply some items you cannot pack or do until the last minute. After all the effort you put into cramming everythin...

July 12, 2019

The other day, I came across this quote (attributed to Bernard Meltzer), and the truth of it sure does pack a punch: “Hard work is often the easy work you did not do at the proper time.”

It seems obvious, but…also not. When we’re faced with a difficult task, do we ever stop to think that it would’ve been easier if we had done it sooner? More likely,...

July 5, 2019

Happy 4th of July…on the 5th of July! As I spent most of yesterday the same way I do every other day (but with fewer emails), it reminded me of the year I was in France on July 4. Being far from home on a quintessentially-American holiday can be a little strange. If you have family traditions associated with the holiday, it can induce unwelcome pan...

June 28, 2019

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then the beholder better keep a sharp eye out, because beauty can pop up in the most unexpected places. 

Take this lovely pot of flowers: managing to thrive, against all odds, mere inches from New York City’s endless traffic and questionable hot dogs. 

It’s easy to see and appreciate the rare and obviously bea...

June 7, 2019

A lesson that most of us had drilled into us as youngsters (most likely during our teen years) is that just because everybody else is doing something doesn’t mean you should, too. It’s the old “if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump off, too?” scolding. 

Unfortunately, many of those youngsters grew up and decided that the answer to that...

May 24, 2019

Lately I’ve been thinking about Yugoslavia…and missed opportunities. If you’re wondering why this post features a picture of Venice (which was never, of course, in Yugoslavia), that’s part of the story, too. 

Sometime around 1991-92, my grandmother decided she wanted to take the family on a vacation, and – since she was nearing the end of her travel...

May 10, 2019

Someone on the writer’s staff at Saturday Night Live must have gone on a group tour recently, because a skit on last week’s show captured perfectly – and hilariously – one of the unspoken truths of travel: You’re still the same person when you go on vacation. 

“We can take you on a hike,” the tour spokesman says; “we cannot turn you into someone who...

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Mockingbird Travel, LLC

PO Box 15519

Washington, DC 20003