Travel Tales

My first trip that required a passport was to New Zealand in 19-something-something. I recorded that six-week trip carefully in a beautiful journal, faithfully recording each day’s events in neat block print in erasable ink.
I recorded my journey to Tanzania and my trip around Europe in similar fashion. While they look lovely lined up on my bookshelf, it’s a little hard to share them with the masses.
By the time I visited Ireland for the third time I was packing a laptop and happily blogging and sharing my adventures with the world. Or at least my family. I have since written travel blogs in Korea and again in Ireland. Rather than direct you to those pages I have taken some of the highlights of each blog and present them here for your reading pleasure. To read the full story click on the highlighted link at the end of each post.

Ireland 2007: The Mature Hosteler

Renvyle Castle is the perfect backdrop for a Connemara pony. ©Marcie Miller

Renvyle Castle is the perfect backdrop for a Connemara pony. ©Marcie Miller

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. We all have our patterns and set routines, some to get us to work or to school on time, others just to get us through the day. It’s also easy to get bent out of shape when our routine is upset – the alarm doesn’t go off, the toast gets burnt, someone takes your seat on the bus. Grrr!
Travel changes that. While you may make the most detailed travel plans since Columbus, well, like that fateful voyage, things don’t always work out the way you planned. Sometimes they work out better.
Full post: The Mature Hosteler

Ireland 2011: Silent Sentinels of the Beara

The Ballycrovane Ogham Stone on the Beara Peninsula, County Cork, is the tallest in Europe, at 17 feet. ©Marcie Miller

The Ballycrovane Ogham Stone on the Beara Peninsula, County Cork, is the tallest in Europe, at 17 feet. ©Marcie Miller

The Beara peninsula, jutting out in the Atlantic on Ireland’s southwest corner, bristles with stone circles, wedge tombs and other megalithic stone monuments left behind thousands of years ago by prehistoric people. Most of them are estimated to be at least 3,000 years old. Many are just a short walk from the road, but the Beara Way walking trail yields many more.
I had the rare privilege of having an expert on the subject give me a personal tour of sites that are not marked on maps at all, plus I visited a few that are off the tourist track, but well worth the effort to sleuth out.
Full post: Silent Sentinels

 

Korea 2008: Thanksgiving with Buddha

A Buddhist hermitage on the slopes of Mt. Halla, Jeju-do, Korea, welcomes visitors of all kinds. ©Marcie Miller

A Buddhist hermitage on the slopes of Mt. Halla, Jeju-do, Korea, welcomes visitors of all kinds. ©Marcie Miller

Thursday, Nov. 28. Thanksgiving. Or, as they say in Korea, “Thursday, Nov. 28.” Of course they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here. No turkey. No stuffing. No pumpkin pie. Sniff sniff.
Oddly, today’s sixth grade class started a chapter on giving and accepting invitations, with “Thanksgiving Day” as an example. The teacher asked me to talk about the uniquely American tradition, and the kids were really curious. So, with the smell of cow bone soup (really) drifting into the classroom from the cafeteria, and a cold, driving rain outside, I regaled them with tales of juicy roast turkey, freshly baked pumpkin pie and all the trimmings. I skipped the watching football part, because I don’t like football.
Full post: Buddhist Thanksgiving

Japan 2009: A Study in Contrasts

Japan's largest wooden Buddha is in Fukuoka. ©Marcie Miller

Japan’s largest wooden Buddha is in Fukuoka. ©Marcie Miller

Tocho-ji Temple in Fukuoka, Japan, is home to Japan’s largest wooden Buddha. Photo copyright Marcie Miller
I am in Fukuoka (Foo-koo-OH-kah), Japan as I write this, sent here on what is fondly known among foreign teachers in Korea as a “visa run.” How it works: fly to Fukuoka, being the closest port from Jeju, drop off your passport and new visa application at the Korean embassy, shop and eat in lovely Fukuoka for a day, pick up your passport with the shiny new visa stamp the next day, fly back to Korea.
I got here Sunday afternoon and dropped off my application at 9 this morning (Monday), so I’ve had all day to look around. I gotta say, it’s pretty cool here. Compared to Jeju, the sidewalks are wider and in better repair, traffic is quieter, with almost no honking and I haven’t been nearly run over at all.
Full post: Study in Contrasts

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