Guilty until proven innocent?

When I arrived back in the States after 20 months in Europe, I had no way of getting a hold of my dad to tell him my flight had arrived at the airport and I was through security. I hadn’t planned ahead so I didn’t have any American dollars to call from a phone booth. I decided to do what I had done many times with a language barrier but without hassle. I decided to borrow someone’s phone to call him.
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Book review: The Devil’s Cup by Stewart Lee Allen

For all you caffeine fiends and java junkies out there, this is your book!

Stewart Lee Allen has travelled around the world and chronicled the history of the world according to coffee in The Devil’s Cup. From Ethiopia to India and from Paris to Oklahoma, this books leaves no ground unexplored – coffee grounds, that is.
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Diary of a mad Icelandic volcano – Grímsvötn attacks

Everyone heard about Eyjafjallajökull (say it with me: Aey-ya-fiat-la-yo-khult, Eyja means island, fjall means mountain and jökull means glacier), commonly referred to as ‘the volcano’ or simply ‘Eya’, that erupted in April 2010.

Most of Europe was affected for weeks by the ash cloud as it coated the continent and cancelled air travel.

When I visited Iceland in December 2010 I realised why.

Even 7-8 months after the eruption, there was still ash on the ground and every wind gust blew blinding ash at us, making driving difficult and causing our cameras to fail temporarily.

The fine ash from Eyjafjallajökull got into every nook and cranny. There was ash in our car and in our bags. It coated anything that was wet or damp and created a fine layer of ash on our skin.

It was an adventure and we laughed about it, but we could easily see why it wreaked so much havoc on the continent.
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Leaving on a jet plane

I’m leaving soon. Very soon.

The last week I’ve spent packing and unpacking and packing again.

I’ve tried to think of what I’m bringing that I don’t need and what I’ve forgotten that I do need.

My packing list has been revised and edited several times. I’ve done my last-minute shopping. I’ve gone through the stress of packing with the excitement of leaving and I’m finally ready to go.

Italy, here I come!
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There aren’t enough meals in the day

Two years ago when I started travelling, I was focused on museums, history and whatever else my trusty guidebook said was important. I spent most of my time on the tourist trail.

It was good. It was interesting. But I wasn’t getting the real feel for the place. I remembered each city by what I saw, not what I experienced.

Eventually, that turned into hanging out with new friends through CouchSurfing and I would remember the cities by what I did.

Now, I remember them by what I eat.
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The San Francisco treats: Mission District and Castro District

A weekend in San Francisco can be full of surprises.

I spent a week in San Francisco when I was in Junior High for a school field trip and we visited Alcatraz and Ghiridelli Square (we had to learn just enough for it to be supported by the school, of course).

In High School, I went to California twice for Spring Break music trips.

In 2007 I stopped in San Francisco while moving from Virginia to Washington State and visited a friend.

Each trip was very different.

Recently, I visited another friend in San Francisco and saw two neighbourhoods that had been left out of my previous trips.

Mission District and Casto District are very distinct and different neighbourhoods, but both hit the spot and left me happy and satisfied.
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Hitting the pavement with Grandma

I’ve done plenty of road trips in my travels through the US. I’ve visited every state except Alaska and every state in the lower 48 was on one of my road trip routes. I’ve driven through the night, slept in my car and had some sort of caffeine constantly in my cup holder. I’ve had car trouble in Texas, credit card problems in Canada and been teased by border patrol men. I’ve had a good time. This trip will be a little different. This trip is with Grandma.
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