SPPSFive studies examined the effect of breadth and depth of foreign experiences on generalized trust. This abstract on Sage Journals’ Social, Psychological & Personality Science blog suggests that:

  • The breadth (number of countries traveled) but not the depth (amount of time spent traveling) of foreign travel experiences predicts trust behavior.
  • Broad foreign travel experiences increased generalized trust.
  • A focus on the differences rather than the similarities among the countries visited was critical in producing greater generalized trust.

“Across five studies, using various methods (correlational, lab experiment, and longitudinal), samples (United States and Chinese) and operationalizations (trust game and generalized trust scale), we found a robust relationship between the breadth of foreign travel experiences and generalized trust.”

pangaeaMore maps for those of us who are visual learners. This collection from A Sheep No More includes some we’ve seen before, as well as:

  • The only 22 countries in the world Britain has not invaded
  • Map of Pangea with current international borders
  • Countries where you can get a McDonalds hamburger (Norway is the most expensive)
  • Worldwide driving orientation (right side or left?) by country
  • Average age of first sexual intercourse by country

Global Spirit TV

August 21, 2013 | Leave a Comment


I enjoyed talking with Phil Cousineau at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference, and was reminded about Global Spirit, the exceptional TV series he hosts. Connect with Global Spirit on Facebook, and watch it on PBS.

“Global spirit is a unique inquiry into humankind’s belief systems, wisdom traditions, and states of consciousness. Presented by British actor and writer John Cleese and hosted by author and spiritual seeker Phil Cousineau, this unique, critically-acclaimed series features renowned experts such as Karen Armstrong, Deepak Chopra, Robert Thurman, Raine Eisler, and many others. Mixing evocative film segments with deep discussion, Global spirit takes viewers on a mind and soul-expanding journey,

Bestselling author Rita Golden Gelman will launch her newest book, Female Nomad and Friends: Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World on June 1, 2010. In the book, 41 authors tell their stories of adventuring around the world; more than 30 international recipes are included. You can download a PDF of the first chapter here.

More info here about Rita’s virtual book tour.

Rita is currently spearheading an initiative called Let’s Get Global (a project of U.S. Servas, Inc.), a national movement designed to bring the gap year to the United States.

Costa Rica blog

February 16, 2010 | Leave a Comment

I recently enjoyed spending some time in Costa Rica (and Jim is ready to move there). Thanks to our friend Laurie McManus for sending along this link to an ex-pat’s blog: “She’s a clever, funny writer and shares a lot of random info on what it’s like to be an American ex-pat. Why she would include a photo of herself in a bra, looking like she just rolled out of bed is beyond me…”

I especially like the Feb 7, 2010 post about election day in Costa Rica.

voluntarytravelerThe Voluntary Traveler “is a travel anthology penned by writers from all over the world. Focused on inspiring volunteer vacations and/or encouraging adventure-minded people to see volunteer work as a part of ones longer journey, the book will also include a volunteer guide section, listing charities needing volunteer assistance, plus organizations that coordinate service orientated travel.”

What a great idea! Join their Facebook page, buy the book, tell your friends.

A Village, or a Zoo? I Wanted to See Thailand’s Long-Necked Women. Some Would Say That Makes Me Part of the Problem. By Amit Paley.

“Almost any traveler who has ventured into nature or the developing world has to grapple with such moral dilemmas. Some people think it is cruel to swim with dolphins, because it forces the animals to be kept in captivity. Others refuse to visit authoritarian countries such as Zimbabwe, fearful that their tourist dollars will help prop up repressive regimes. And almost anyone wanting to catch a glimpse of an indigenous culture—in the rain forests of Ecuador or the yurts of Mongolia—has to be aware that the very presence of a foreigner likely alters and distorts typical native behavior.

September 29, 2009
7:00 pm
October 1, 2009
7:00 pm

CamilleCamille Cusumano, author of Tango, an Argentine Love Story (the travel memoir of a woman who loved, lost, got mad—and decided to dance) will be back from Buenos Aires for two weeks by popular demand, appearing at the San Francisco Museum of Performance & Design (September 29) and the Larkspur Library (October 1), as part of the library’s Armchair Travel series.

If you travel to experience other cultures and expand your awareness, you may wonder how you can participate in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which has just begun. Here’s an article on Brave New Traveler by Joyce Hanson about 5 Ways a Traveler can Embrace Ramadan.

africa1I met Ethel Davies, a talented writer and photographer, in 2007 when we were both traveling in Tunisia and Libya. Ethel was working on Bradt‘s North Africa: The Roman Coast, which was released this year. In this interview, Ethel talks about her top ten favorite Roman sites in North Africa.

We visited four of those top ten (Leptis Magna, Sabratha, and Cyrene in Lybia; and El Djem in Tunisia) together, and I agree, they’re spectacular.

Thanks to Jim Land for sending along this inspirational message from Paul Hawken:

Paul Hawken is a longtime friend of CharityFocus, renowned entrepreneur, visionary environmental activist, founder of Wiser Earth and author of many books—most recently Blessed Unrest. He was recently presented with an honorary doctorate of humane letters by University of Portland, when he delivered this superb commencement address to the class of 2009.

University of Portland, May 3rd, 2009

When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” Boy, no pressure there.

Janice Cook Newman

Janice Cook Newman

From Janice Cook Newman: Just posted the first essay from one of my students in the Afghan Women Writers Project. It’s heartbreaking & lovely. Read it, and please help spread the word. We want to get these women’s voices out there.

“When I was child I wished to be a doctor like my uncle, who wears a white shirt and everyday checks on lots of ill people. But one day, all of my wishes were destroyed. It was the day the Taliban came to our country, Afghanistan…”

[And, from your editor, Laurie McAndish King: I’m experimenting with using Apture links in this post. If you click on Janice’s name above, there should be three related links. Try it!]

Here’s a link to Randy Cohen’s New York Times column, The Moral of the Story. Interesting because he considers the ethical implications of international adoption. And of adoption by Madonna. Also because he’s not only an ethics writer, but has also “written humor articles, essays and stories for numerous newspapers and magazines. His first television work was writing for “Late Night With David Letterman,” for which he won three Emmy Awards. His fourth Emmy was for his work on “TV Nation.” He received a fifth Emmy as a result of a clerical error, and he kept it. For two years, he wrote and edited News Quiz for Slate, the online magazine.” No worries, apparently, about his writing falling into a niche and getting stuck.

Editor’s Note: Here is an open letter from Rita Golden Gelman, whose goal is to “make the Gap Year experience of living in another culture, preferably in the developing world, an accepted and popular practice in the U.S., not just a luxury for the elite.”

I think this is a laudable goal, and would be an enormous help in bringing world peace through increased cross-cultural understanding. This is a long post, but please read it if you—or someone you know—could contribute in even the smallest way towards making it happen. You can reach Rita at femalenomad@ritagoldengelman.com

From Rita Golden Gelman:

The GOAL hasn’t changed: it’s to make the Gap Year experience of living in another culture, preferably in the developing world, an accepted and popular practice in the U.S., not just a luxury for the elite. I’m defining Gap Year as the year between high school … and college or work or vocational school.

HOW to reach that goal: There are two obvious routes (see below) but they both require a major PR campaign … nationally, locally, in every school and community in the country if we are going to reach every segment of the population … the urban poor, the rural communities, middle-America, the South, the Appalachians, the Pacific Northwest and everywhere in between.

I see as the first order of business of Global Learning a huge campaign to get out the message that a Gap Year is a great experience, that it will create more mature and motivated students and employees, that it will change perspectives, enrich the participants, enlighten the country, and produce a positive and friendlier opinion of the U.S. throughout the world.

Postcard from Pipelineistan
By Pepe Escobar

What happens on the immense battlefield for the control of Eurasia will provide the ultimate plot line in the tumultuous rush towards a new, polycentric world order, also known as the New Great Game.

Our good ol’ friend the nonsensical “Global War on Terror,” which the Pentagon has slyly rebranded “the Long War,” sports a far more important, if half-hidden, twin—a global energy war. I like to think of it as the Liquid War, because its bloodstream is the pipelines that crisscross the potential imperial battlefields of the planet. Put another way, if its crucial embattled frontier these days is the Caspian Basin, the whole of Eurasia is its chessboard. Think of it, geographically, as Pipelineistan.

Travel to Cuba!

February 23, 2009 | 2 Comments

From Christopher Baker on February 9, 2009:

Dear friends,

Last week a bipartisan bill (H.R. 874) was introduced into Congress that would lift travel restrictions to Cuba for all U.S. citizens and residents.

You can read all about this landmark legislation at my blog: www.moon.com/blogs/cuba-costa-rica/freedom-travel-cuba-bill-introduced-congress

Meanwhile, I urge everyone to take individual action by asking your congressional representative to co-sponsor the bill. It’s simple to do and will take less than one minute of your time. Click here: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/625/t/1707/p/dia/action/public/index.sjs?action_KEY=539

Let’s seize the moment together!

Christopher P. Baker

Lowell Thomas Award 2008 “Travel Journalist of the Year”

Call Mr. Robeson

February 10, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Thanks to Carol Canter for sending this note about a terrific upcoming performance:
Tayo Aluko, a Nigerian actor/architect/singer based in Liverpool, will be performing two plays as described below. Jack and I have seen Call Mr. Robeson twice last year when we first met Tayo.  His performance is extraordinary, and we strongly encourage you to come. Those of you who are educators, please spread the word at school. February is Black History Month and this play is a dramatic eye-opener for students, as well as adults.


Washington Post review of Rolf Potts’ Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: TARGET AUDIENCE: People who like to look under the hood of a good book. Potts, Internet raconteur and travel-advice sage, is the kind of guy you wish the pubs had more of: well traveled, generous with funny stories, eager to listen to yours. You feel envious that you weren’t with him in Cairo to share the convivial squalor of a backpacker hotel, or at an Indian ashram to study Tantric sex, or even in the Libyan Desert, in the dark, out of water and lost. And he’s able to draw insights from all that without draining the fun out of the conversation — difficult to carry off in a pub or a book. Although Potts’s book combines adventure travel narratives with travel-writer inside baseball, he wisely slips the didactic bits into optional endnotes. It would be a shame to skip them, however, as his explanations for why he did or wrote something often are compelling in themselves. Hey, with luck, we could get drugged and robbed in Istanbul, too. — Jerry V. Haines

January 15, 2009
12:00 am

From Global Volunteer Network (GVN): what if this year our New Year’s resolutions not only focused on bettering our personal self but also bettering the global community?

If you have ever had a desire to learn about working for the United Nations, or a desire to start an international charity, or have just wondered how to get into the field of International Development, then GVN’s ‘Be The Change Program’ in Jamaica is the perfect way to start 2009.

January 13, 2009
6:00 pmto9:00 pm

From ASMP NorCal: If you’ve ever dreamed of producing a book of your own photography or wondered how to raise sponsorship for a photo project please join photographer Rick Smolan on Tuesday January 13th at Left Space Studios to learn more about the pioneering work this creative photographer has done in the publishing and photography words for the past two decades. Smolan will share his knowledge of how to pitch your projects to publishers and how to find corporate sponsorship for your project. He’ll also share tips and secrets about how to get the media to help you publicize your book once its published.

Rick Smolan (view inspiring video: Natasha’s Story, an American Homecoming) is a former Time, Life, and National Geographic photographer best known as the creator of the Day in the Life book series.

From Linda Walsh: When visiting another country it’s quite common to get the impression that the locals are being rude to tourists, but is this a fair stereotype to assign an entire country? Did you ever stop to think that maybe the tourist is the one being rude? Etiquette is not a universal code, and it changes quite drastically among cultures. For example, if you want to enjoy a trip to Paris without experiencing the “unfriendliness” you have been hearing about, you must understand that what’s polite in the US is not necessarily considered good etiquette in Paris. Hostelworld.com recommends avoiding these common mistakes made by tourists in Paris:

Russia photo books

December 4, 2008 | 1 Comment

Curious about what Russia looks like today, and how her citizens are adapting to a democratic society?  Jim and I visited in September, and filled two 100+ page travel journals with lively photos and commentary. They’re available as free downloads until the end of 2008.

Book #2 (just out), Russia 2, includes photos of Russia’s two magnificent cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg: this volume showcases grand palaces, sprawling museums, city scenes, centuries’ worth of art, modern outdoor sculpture, the Hermitage, Catherine’s Palace, GUM department store (converted into an upscale shopping mall), the famous Moscow metro, Peterhof, Tretyakov Gallery, the Park of the Fallen Idols, and more.

Check out the Exquisite Safaris website, with sections on philanthropic travel, an article about Marc Gold and the 100 Friends Project, thoughtful—and thought provoking—articles about kindness, spiritual activism, and related topics … and beautiful photographs.

“The Exquisite Safaris philanthropic mission integrates a guided visit to a humanitarian outreach project into every private, luxury, epicurean experience we create. These personal introductions create authentic cross cultural friendships that generate trust, respect, and generous donations funding philanthropic travel projects worldwide.”

“If you are coming to help me, you are wasting your time but if you are coming because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
— Indigenous Saying

This March 27, 2007 article from Daily OM reminded me how much I appreciate the support and friendship of like-minded individuals. Special thanks to the Bay Area travelers and writers who make up one kick-ass community.

Your Allies On Life’s Journey

Part of being human is the search for an individual identity. Bound to this strong need to establish a unique persona, however, is an equally intense desire for acceptance. It is when we find our individual tribes that both are satisfied. Our tribe members are those people who accept us as we are without reservation and gladly accompany us on our journeys of evolution. Among them, we feel free to be our imperfect selves, to engage unabashedly in the activities we enjoy, and to

Can George W. Bush Be Purged?

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Friday, March 16, 2007

Sage is always good. Or maybe lavender. Pine is nice, too. Dried, bundled, tied with string, burned with hot, divine intent. Would it work? Do we have enough to go around? This is the question.

I speak, of course, of ritual. Purging and cleansing and purifying and, truly, burning a nicely dried, blessed smudge stick can be a terrific slice of personal magic, to rid a space (or perhaps even your own body) of negative juju or vicious spirits or just to make way for the new and the moist and the good. You can smudge a room. You can create a divine smoldering cloud and then move through the smoke, invoke change, purge the negative, invite hot licks of yes. It is a thing to do.

But here’s the thing: Can you smudge an entire nation? Do we have enough lavender for 300 million?

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