Recent Articles

Traveling in Arctic Norway

Tom Haines of the Boston Globe, one of the country’s better travel journalists, is currently wandering about in the Arctic regions of Norway. He’s blogging about his experiences for the Globe, and also just did an online interview with World Hum: World Hum: Where in the world are you? Right now, at the harbor in Vardo, […]

Do the French think too much?

That’s the question posed in this recent article in the International Herald Tribune, which in turn quotes from a debate taking place among some French leaders. France is the country that produced the Enlightenment, Descartes’s one-liner, “I think, therefore I am,” and the solemn pontifications of Jean-Paul Sartre and other celebrity philosophers. But in the […]

The allure of Easter Island

Easter Island may not have been voted in as one of the world’s new seven wonders recently, but that doesn’t lessen the allure of the place for those travelers willing to make the long journey to this Pacific island. David Swanson recently wrote for the Boston Globe about his own experiences there. Travel to the ends […]

Traffic and culture

Does a country’s culture influence its traffic conditions? Sure, why not? After all, some countries have orderly traffic in which a majority of drivers adhere to rules, whether they like them or not, and other countries have seemingly more chaotic roadways, but nevertheless a traffic system that is understood and followed by locals. These things […]

Confucius makes a comeback

That’s the message of a story in the Christian Science Monitor, which reports that the 2,500-year-old teachings of Confucius are gaining popularity in contemporary China. Come back, Confucius, all is forgiven. For nearly a century the ancient sage was confined to the intellectual doghouse in the land of his birth. Today he is fast supplanting […]

Traveling by teaching

Everyone who loves to travel and who isn’t independently wealthy tends to be engaged in a constant search for new ways to see the world without busting the bank account. Marc Levitt discovered a solution that works for him, as he teaches and consults at international schools. I was always fascinated by travel. To pass the time […]

Visiting the end of the world

Ushuaia, Argentina, is the southernmost city in the world, sitting at the tip of South America, just 700 miles from Argentina. Hence, the city gets a lot of tourist mileage out of its claim to be situated at “the end of the world.” The Los Angeles Times just ran a story on Ushuaia and its growing […]

Diplomacy and culture

In the most recent edition of Newsweek, there is a story about Ryan Crocker, the new U.S. ambassador to Baghdad. In the middle of the article are some excerpts which indicate that Crocker takes the role of culture seriously and that he goes out of his way to learn about the country he is working […]

Food and culture

There is a very interesting story in the most recent issue of Time Magazine, called “How the World Eats.” The writer, Bryan Walsh, discusses the connection between food and culture. Food and diet are the cornerstones of any culture, one of the most reliable symbols of national identity. Think of the long Spanish lunch followed by […]

The quest for different skin tone

It does seem a bit ironic, but the fact is that many Westerners long for darker skin (via sunbathing, tanning booths and tanning creams), while Asians tend to go the other way in a search for lighter skin (yes, often by using skin lightening creams). Now, apparently, a number of Western cosmetic and skin care companies […]

Education in the U.S. and China

Nicholas Kristof had an interesting column earlier this week, comparing the educational systems in the U.S. and China. Here are some of the relevant passages: With China’s trade surplus with the United States soaring, the tendency in the U.S. will be to react with tariffs and other barriers. But instead we should take a page […]

Travels in Turkey

There are a lot of issues simmering these days in Turkey, from negotiations to join the European Union, to agitations by the Kurds for more autonomy, to a debate about democracy between secular and Islamist parties. None of that lessens the allure of the country as a travel destination, however. Tom Haines, travel writer for […]

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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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