race/culture/identity

Letting Go in the Mist and Crossing a Border Into the Sun

Laos

In a struggle between curiosity and exhaustion, my desire to know where I am wins. I lift my heavy eyelids to see land that is saturated with the brilliant greens of flooded rice paddies and perfect rows of tea bushes that curve and climb up the mountainsides. Gray mist hugs the limestone karsts that jut […]

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!Nara Melon: The Essential Fruit of Namibia’s Topnaar People

eats and drinks
!Nara Melon in Namibia

One of the first things people notice about Namibia is how clean and orderly it can look compared to other developing countries. But if you go far enough in certain directions, you’ll see people living in extreme conditions that belie the seeming prosperity. On paper, Namibia is an upper-middle income country, but the reality is […]

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An Ode to Exploring Markets in Other Places

eats and drinks
A market vendor poses with one of his peppers at the Tlacolula market in Oaxaca state, Mexico

You step inside the market, the condensed and uncensored microcosm of the town, city, or neighborhood you’re visiting. Your awareness of your foreigner status is heightened. Vendors call out to potential customers and each other. There’s a stand selling undergarments next to a fruit stand next to a handicraft stand. Families squeeze past you as […]

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Songs for the Road No. 19: A Soundtrack for a San Francisco Dia de los Muertos

California

Day of the Dead has come and yet again I’m wishing I could experience it in Mexico. But as always, I’m also looking forward to the festivities here in San Francisco. In a city that loves to party publicly from May to October, Day of the Dead always seems to signal a transition into a […]

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Photo Essay: Berlin’s Vibrant Turkish Market

eats and drinks
Dried Foods at the Turkish Market in Berlin

Have you ever felt like you were traveling within your travels? That’s how I felt when I set foot in Berlin’s largest Turkish market. I didn’t intend to stay long when I arrived, but the lively and charming Kreuzberg market ended up drawing me in for hours. As soon as I exited the subway station, […]

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Retracing History at the Remnants of the Berlin Wall

Germany
East Side Gallery

Sometimes you go to the Berlin Wall to see it; sometimes it appears unexpectedly as isolated graffiti covered concrete panels in the middle of a plaza or lawn. Sometimes you sense where it used to be as you go from boxy Soviet era buildings to architecture that’s more similar to German cities further west. Each […]

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Photo Essay: Heavy Rain and Heavy History in Berlin

captured on memory card

And then the rain came. After that first warm and lively summer evening back in Berlin, a cold storm blew in and it poured for three days. I had more time to spend in Berlin than the average come and go backpacker, but not enough time to justify holing up in my dorm room for […]

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Songs for the Road No. 16: Highlife Brings Me Home

Ghana

When you’re the daughter of immigrants and when you move around a lot as a kid, the idea of “home” can be an elusive thing. It’s not necessarily a stationary location. Home is where you create it or maybe a state of mind. But still, your deepest roots can remain in one place. I remember […]

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