Archive for September, 2008

Tribes and clans in Afghanistan

There is a short but thoughtful article in The Atlantic about the current U.S. engagement with Afghanistan and the story contains some useful pieces of information about Afghan culture. Specifically, it speaks about the tremendous importance of tribes and clans in the nation’s social structure, while suggesting that the U.S. strategy is on the wrong track […]

The Indonesian wonder of the world

One of the most impressive but least known sites in the world is the Indonesian monument of Borobudur. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on this stunning edifice, which is considered the largest Buddhist monument in existence. Making lists of the world’s most impressive monuments is an irrational and ultimately pointless enterprise: Who has seen all […]

The changing face of travel

There is an interesting and in-depth interview with travel writer Rolf Potts on World Hum. Potts covers a variety of topics and it’s worth checking out the entire piece, especially if you’re interested in travel writing. But here is a small excerpt from the interview about the transformation of travel in recent decades. What major changes have […]

Riel World photo – Machu Picchu, Peru


Machu Picchu, Peru The classic view of Machu Picchu, taken from a hill above the Inca ruins. Still one of the most incredible places I’ve visited.

Ancient civilizations in the American Midwest

When one thinks of ancient civilizations in the Americas, it tends to be of those societies that left behind spectacular ruins. The Incas of Peru, the Mayans of Mexico and Central America, or even the Pueblo people of the U.S. Southwest who built the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde. Not many minds conjure up images […]

Pilgrimage travel

A fast-growing travel niche is religion-based tourism, which caters to people who want to have a pilgrimage experience during their journey. This NY Times article has more information. Some 16 feet beneath the present-day street level of Damascus, the Syrian capital, just off the Street Called Straight, is a cramped, artificially lighted chapel with roughly cut […]

Lost Girls on the road

Have you heard of the Lost Girls? They’re three twentysomething New York friends who left their jobs and hit the road together for a one-year journey around the world. Along the way, they blogged about the trip and are now back home working on a book about the experience. Sort of like Sex and the […]

Riel World photo – Masai Mara, Kenya


Masai Mara, Kenya I took this photo while on safari in Kenya, in the Masai Mara game reserve. It was the afternoon of the last day of our journey and it was the first time we had gotten this close to a lion. Safari sightings are often as much about luck as anything else. This […]

The American wanderer

Wandering is ingrained in the American soul. There is a transience inherent in the U.S. which is somewhat exhilarating and sad at the same time, as it reflects both the rootlessness of millions of people but also the unique capacity of Americans to do or be almost anything they desire. The NY Times recently published an intriguing […]

Talking travel with Paul Theroux

In 1975, Paul Theroux published a bestselling travel memoir, The Great Railway Bazaar, about a train trip from Europe to Asia. In the years since he has become one of the world’s most successful and best known travel writers. He recently published a new book, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, in which he retraces much of […]

Describing Seattle

Here is another entry for an expanding collection of posts about the character and culture of various cities.  Charles Johnson is a writer and professor who has lived in Seattle since the 1970s, and he described his vision and experience of this city in an essay for Smithsonian Magazine. An excerpt: Former UW president William Gerberding once referred to […]

Riel World photo – Montevideo, Uruguay


Montevideo, Uruguay Produce for sale at a streetside market in Montevideo, Uruguay.

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    Bob Riel is a writer and a traveler. Go here to read more about Bob, his work and the Travels in the Riel World blog.

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