Recent Articles

The unintended benefit of an informal culture

One of the differences commonly used to differentiate between cultures is the degree of formality or informality exhibited by people in their speech, dress, etc.  There was an interesting article this week in the NY Times that discussed how an Iraqi Olympic official took on some of the informal traits of the U.S. culture during a […]

Travels in rural Ghana

Ever wanted to know what it’s like to travel in rural Africa?  Joshua Berman and his wife are in the midst of a round-the-world journey and just spent two weeks visiting villages in northeastern Ghana.  He writes about their experiences on his blog, the tranquilo traveler: We returned to Accra last night, stiff and loopy after […]

Meeting people, not places

Anyone who has traveled much has no doubt discovered that the best experiences on the road often result from encounters with people rather than places.  That point is emphasized again in a recent Washington Post story by travel writer Tahir Shah.  In an article about books that inspire wanderlust, Shah recounts a meeting he once had with the legendary […]

Contemplating American culture

Happy July 4th, Americans!  Today seems like a good day to contemplate some of the many facets of American culture. First, an article from the Journal Star of Lincoln, Nebraska, that examines some of what it means to be an American: Unlike many other countries where blood and birth define citizenship, America is a nation of […]

Explaining the French

There is a fun little story in the Sunday NY Times about the recent re-publication of a World War II-era manual called “Instructions for British Servicemen in France 1944.”  This attempt to explain French culture to the British has gained a new following in both the U.K. and France.  Even today, it provides an entertaining […]

The Chinese and the Americans

The Chinese are busy with preparations for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.  Apparently, they are planning for every contingency in an effort to make an impression on the world.  According to this article in the International Herald Tribune, the government is even involved in a campaign to improve the manners of the Chinese people in […]

What is good travel writing?

In his ongoing collection of web interviews with travel writers, Rolf Potts this month features Tom Haines, a travel writer with the Boston Globe and the 2005 winner of the Travel Journalist of the Year award.  In the interview, Haines offers some opinions on what constitutes good travel writing: I believe good travel writing, as […]

Appreciating geography

I had an op-ed piece published today in the Arizona Daily Star newspaper.  It concerns the importance of geography to a good education and the ways in which travel can help us to appreciate our place in a global community.  You can read the opinion piece here.

Vacation culture

American workers and employers are beginning to recognize the benefits of having and using vacation time.  Part of this trend is driven by younger workers who value quality of life issues and a balance between work and personal time, according to an article in the Christian Science Monitor. Even so, the U.S. work culture is quite a […]

America within the Americas

There was an interesting column recently in the Los Angeles Times by Richard Rodriguez in which he discussed what he saw as the birth of a Latin American consciousness in the United States.  He suggested that in the future the U.S. was more likely to see itself as an integral part of the Americas.  Here is an […]

World Cup culture

It’s June – the month soccer/football fans around the world have been anxiously awaiting, for it means the start of World Cup ’06 (June 9).  With teams from 32 nations about to descend on Germany, it’s also a chance to look at how culture interacts with sports. In March, I wrote about this topic in connection […]

Literary inspirations to travel

I was intrigued by a recent story in the NY Times about literature that inspires people to travel.  The newspaper polled authors for titles that have aroused their wanderlust. It got me to thinking about books I’ve read that fit into that category.  Not travel narratives, for they are meant to invoke dreams of the road, but other literature that makes one want to […]

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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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