• What Makes Burano, Italy a “Must Visit?” (According to Anthony Bordain…)

    The illustrious city of Venice is a wonder to behold, yet, the whole surrounding lagoon offers an abundance of wonders and rewards for venturesome travelers willing to take a little nautical journey. One such place is Burano. Like walking straight into a Wonka-esque, rainbow village, the delights of this quaint island go far beyond it’s vivid, techni-color facades. The whole island seems enchanted by the myths of the sea, where even it’s most famed product- handmade lace-is said to have originated from mythological beings. Legend has it an engaged young fisherman was out in his boat, when a siren tried to lure him in with her song. When the fisherman…

  • I Made These Cultural Blunders in Italy….(So you don’t have to!)

    Like many Americans traveling to Italy, my imagination of Italy and Italians ran wild with romantic images of pin-stripe suit and gold jewelry-clad men, beautiful, feisty stilletto-heeled women, cozy trattorias with slow, romantic accordion music playing in the background and mountains of fresh pasta. Of course, these are highly stereotypical ideals and not met in reality (except, of course, the mountains of pasta!) Yet, even if you read all the non-stereotype perpetuating literature you can get your hands on, nothing can fully prepare you for being in a new culture entirely. Part of the fun is challenging your own expectations, throwing away your romanticizations, and learning the nitty-gritty details of…

  • Exploring the Pomp and Grandiosity of the Vatican

    Although the Vatican is the smallest country, by both area and population, what it lacks in scale it certainly makes up for in unbridled opulence. Indeed, nothing exposes that opulence more than the exquisite works of art on display at the Vatican Museum. The elegant, bright sheen of ancient sculpted marble still gleans, sumptuous frescoes dazzle the senses from all sides, while the post modern works refresh and remind us of a changing world. As you meander the Vatican halls, you are literally walking the hallways of the progression of modern civilization. The Vatican Museum sees six million visitors per year and is the fourth most visited art museum in…

  • New Adventures, Blossoming Romance in the Cradle of Western Civilization

    Hi Folks! I’m biding my time in the Philadelphia airport, anxiously awaiting my flight to the farthest from home I’ve been. This is my first trip to Europe, and I’m about to board a flight to one of the oldest cities, not only in Europe, but modern civilization-Rome. After spending the last three months voraciously reading travel guides, listening to historical audiobooks and podcasts, and feverishly researching the style and etiquette of  the beautiful Italians, it is finally time for me to board.  After all the agonizing hours of wondering what color scarf to wear and how tall a heel on my boots will allow me to walk for hours…

  • Purple Hazy Clay Beds

    The desert is full of surprises, especially when you know where to find them! These clay beds outside Kanab, Utah made me feel like I was swirling in the midst of a Jimi Hendrix song circa 1967(cue phsychedelic guitar riff of “Purple Haze). Even without mind-altering enhancements, these clay beds are a far-out, surreal landscape of magenta, violet and mustard. Ombre ribbons adorn these strange, dried hills to create an art deco museum in the middle of the desert. Lucky for us, however, this museum is completely free and created by nature. Called the “chinle” formation, these vibrant clay beds are made of fine sediments left from ancient lakes, river…

  • Confession of Love: Townes Van Zandt

    When all the world seems mad and upsidedown, truth is obscured and I find my heart turning bitter, I know it’s time to seek out some morsel of art, beauty, or goodness. This week I found my hearth in the rusty rhythms and stories of a folk legend too many have never heard of- the late Townes Van Zandt. His voice is the dusk of Americana. Singer of bandit lullabies, lonesome trails, and wistful loves, Townes Van Zandt’s mournful melodies could uncover that place in your soul buried deep in the soil.  His voice was raw as chickory and smooth as a river stone. His simple, yet intricate picking style…

  • A Grand Weakness

    Visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time is an experience I’ll never forget. Peering out into the vast, surreal desert void makes you feel as if the whole thing could swallow you into oblivion. Yet, despite its breathtaking power and grandeur, the Grand Canyon somehow asserts an introspective and quiet vulnerability. Truly, what is the Canyon but a massive open wound in the skin of the earth? A wound revealing the tender and humble weakness of rock that once appeared indestructible.  Over millennia, with each silky passing of water and ripple, the mighty rock has given way carving the canyon deeper and even more spectacular. What exquisite weakness, indeed.…

  • Four Ways To Really LOVE Your National Parks

    Admittedly, my last post was a bit was of rant. Living and working near a national park, I see firsthand the catastrophic level of use and abuse these wondrous lands receive. And it makes me irate. (For those unfamiliar with the issue, check it out here and here). Yet, rather than drivel on about the hegemonic industrial-consumer paradigm that is the basis of the problem (it is), I will spare you and offer up a few solutions. Cultivated out of experience and observation, this is my short list of actions individuals can take now to connect on a deeper level to their national parks to ultimately become their fierce protector.…

  • Stop saying our National Parks being “loved to death”

    It’s a common trope I hear these days that our National Parks are “being loved to death.” (Looking at you New York Times). While much of the conversation is accurate and valid-that our parks are seeing record, unsustainable number of visitors, budget strains, and unmanageable waste calling it “love” misses the mark and the larger, systemic problem at hand. If what is happening in our National Parks is “love,” it’s the love akin to swiping right. Love would imply stewardship, responsibility and deep, mutual connected-ness. Yet, we collect parks like Tinder matches, as we stamp our passports and vie for fleeting likes and followers, with our parks playing the pretty…

  • The Wonders and Mysteries of Pisac

    After playing tourist in Peru’s most famous-and suffocated-  sites including Machu Pichu and Cuzco, the quaint town of Pisac was like a cool breeze on a hot day. I left the crowds and chaos behind as I stepped into the tranquility of this Peruvian gem. Known for its touristy Sunday market, Pisac is much more than its vendors and crafts (although they are quite lovely.) It’s bewitching and mysterious ruins and chill, chakra-aligning energy, left an indelible imprint on my journey. Referring to both the town and the ruins, Pisac is perhaps derived from the word “Pisaca,”  the Qechua word for Partridge.  While nobody know exactly why the ruins were…