Archive for the ‘Life, Ideas & Writing’ Category

The character of cities

I’ve always been intrigued by the character of different cities. Every urban environment, it seems, has a different vibe, a unique feel. The coffeehouses of Seattle, the universities of Boston, the Latin beat of Miami. Each place has such unique traits that it’s not possible to mistake one for another, and individuals who love one […]

Improve your health, take a vacation

Americans work more hours and take fewer vacation days than pretty much anyone else in the industrialized world. Now, though, comes evidence that vacations are more than a fun perk – they may actually help you stay healthy and live longer. Here are the vacation stats: A global study by found that about a […]

The benefits of a walkable city

Do you enjoy living someplace that is walkable? It’s important if you like to walk to restaurants and shops, if you harbor a desire to walk to work, or even if you just enjoy walking for fitness. The act of walking may also be helpful in much bigger ways. Paul Krugman has a column in today’s New […]

Do cities have personality traits?

We often talk about the cultures of different regions of the world. We talk less often about the cultures of different regions of one country, though they certainly exist. But what about the psychological characteristics of geographical regions? Is it actually possible that people in New England, for example, have not only different traditions and foods than […]

Sabbatical resources

I’ve promised more coverage on the topic of sabbaticals (or career breaks), so to that end I’ve developed a page on this site devoted to the topic of life sabbaticals. An excerpt: Who is taking sabbaticals? Sure, college professors have always been able to take a sabbatical, but what about the rest of us? You’d […]

Contemplating sabbaticals

I’ve been seeing more press these days being devoted to the concept of taking a sabbatical from work. It’s an idea that particularly interests me, since my wife and I have taken two sabbaticals since getting married in 2001 – experiences that I chronicled in my book, Two Laps Around the World. So I thought I’d […]

The new world of work – cafes to coworking

The world of work has evolved considerably in the past decade, and perhaps nowhere is this change more evident than in the mobility of workers, who keep finding new ways to move beyond the traditional office environment. It began when high speed internet access and teleconferencing technology enabled more people to work from home, at least for part of […]

Japanese cellphone novels

A few weeks ago, I saw an article in the NY Times about the exploding popularity of “cellphone novels” in Japan. Until recently, cellphone novels — composed on phone keypads by young women wielding dexterous thumbs and read by fans on their tiny screens — had been dismissed in Japan as a subgenre unworthy of […]

Two Laps Around the World

2007 has been a big year. I recently wrote about the birth of my first child. Now, I’m here with news about a different type of birth – that of my first book. Two Laps Around the World: Tales and Insights from a Life Sabbatical is now on the market. The book is about the experiences that […]

1,000 places to see on a sabbatical

First came the book, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Then the Travel Channel decided to base a television series around the concept and selected a Denver couple, Albin and Melanie Ulle, to embark “on a 14-week excursion across 13 countries.” The Ulle’s experiences were filmed for the series, which premieres March 29, according […]

Creating time to travel

It is one of our great challenges, particularly for Americans with little vacation time — creating time in our lives to travel.  Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding, has a variety of ideas for individuals who are determined to hit the road. Short of simply asking for more vacation time, many people negotiate long-term leaves of […]

Cafe culture

I was intrigued by a recent article I came across that described the cafe culture of New York City.  Not the culture that surrounds the crowded Starbucks on every corner, but the life of the European-style cafes where creative professionals gather and network most mornings over coffee or breakfast. Such are the benefits of belonging to […]

    Meet Bob Riel

    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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