Cross Cultural Marriages

Cross cultural marriages have occurred for eons of time throughout all cultures of the world. We, as citizens of the world, are connected by our similar human traits and qualities which transcend language, and beliefs, and all of the other things that one might think of as differences. Cross cultural marriages are a thing of the past, the present, and certainly, the future. In a recent article in the “Hindu”, there are some interesting observations about cross cultural endeavors of relationship.

cross cultural marriages

Hmong Women where Suitors come to Choose their Brides

Those who engage in these “multi-cultural relationships”, particularly those that proceed to marriage, often experience fears, concerns and anxieties, mostly centring around the possible discrepancies between their respective cultures and the impact that these may have on the marriage in the long-term. As a result, every time the relationship hits a roadblock, as even the best of marriages usually do, the tendency is to blame it on culture. When they do this, they are really doing themselves and their relationship a disservice, for, culture can never really break a relationship. Only the use of “culture” as a weapon to settle inter-personal disputes can.

For those who do cross the culture line, relationships can have their challenges, however, we each share a common denominator: Our human spirit. Cross cultural marriages can actually bridge cultural divides in the sense that each person brings their unique cultural lens to a  marriage that contributes to cultural understanding on both sides of the equator. In the end, it matters not what culture one comes out of, rather, it is one’s willingness to break the boundaries of cultural heritage and beliefs to a place of cultural understanding. Cross cultural marriages provide a gateway into understanding, and can illicit awareness for cultural awareness on all facets of belief. Go here to read the article in the Hindu.


Olypiad Travel to London

I love inspiring stories, and this one warms my heart. Why? Because Olypiad travel to London might be one of the compelling reasons to travel to London. Travel to London is exciting without the Olypmics,and includes some of the world’s finest theater and museum visits. The Olympics add an additional bonus for traveling this summer. If you’re considering going, check out this article on the Bdaily business network:

West Minster Abbey London

With one month to go until the start of the London 2012 Olympics, young people in North East England are launching a summer programme of free public events, festivals and exhibitions as part of the official London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad celebrations.

The work of 15 youth arts projects will go on show across the region this summer, including a derelict police station transformed into an art gallery, a festival of Urban sport and arts, a travelling book museum, youth circus shows and a groundbreaking concert featuring DJ’s and classical musicians at The Sage Gateshead.

If you are set on going to London, this summer might be the summer to go, as the Olympics will add another dimension to your travel. There are many wonderful places to visit, and great theater, as well as historical architecture that will knock your socks off. Check out airfares, and plan your trip now to London. Olympiad travel to London makes the cultural travel experience even more exciting. Read all about travel to London this summer here.



Cultural Travel to Hong Kong for the Dragon Festival

In the United States we have team rowing, and camaraderie among the rowers, and in Hong Kong, there is the Dragon Festival. Cultural travel to Hong Kong for the Dragon Festival is one of the most exciting and unusual festivals that you will encounter in Asia. Why? Because this festival is one of those one of a kind events that invites a viewer into culture that is otherwise not accessible. The boats are propelled with the beat of a drum as a rhythmic backdrop to “full on” team effort, and there are many waterways across the territory where these events take place.   The BBC has a great commentary on the Dragon Festival, which gives you a view into the exciting reasons for traveling to Hong Kong for this amazing event.

dragonboatfestival hongkong
Dragon Boat, Hong Kong

During Hong Kong’s annual Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on 23 June this year, the city is split into two camps: the competitors and the spectators.

The former wield paddles and propel elaborately-decorated vessels through churning water toward the finish line — all to the beat of a drum at the boat’s bow. The latter, meanwhile, simply crack open a few beers, eat glutinous rice dumplings and rowdily cheer on those racing in the oppressive summer heat.

The modern-day tradition of racing dragon boats during the Tuen Ng Festival (as it is known in Chinese) revolves around the myth of ancient poet Qu Yuan, who was on the outs with the royals in the 4th Century. After being banished from the kingdom, he committed suicide in a nearby river. Devotees are said to have rowed boats along that river, banging drums to keep spirits and fish from defiling his body. They also dropped packets of rice tightly wrapped in leaves for nourishment in the afterlife (or, some versions claim, to distract the fish), which is why Hongkongers’ consumption of these rice dumplings, called zong, peaks this time of year.

Ok, so I know your mouth is watering thinking about the rice dumplings, called zong, but to experience them, you will have to go to Hong Kong. Cultural travel to Hong Kong for the Dragon Festival is filled with the riches that you seek in experience, culture, and the inclusion of being an outsider looking in. If you’re going, check out Expedia’s airfares on the right. There are many reasons to go to Hong Kong, but this one beats them all. Go here to read the full article.



Cultural Travel to the Mediterranean

There are few places in the world that have the beauty of the sea, as well as history that goes back eons of time, reflected in the architecture that remains. Cultural travel to the Mediterranean is one such place, and it exists in a modern world, with thousands of years of history embedded in the environment. For starters, there is Istanbul, one of the most exotic cities in the world, and a place where ancient history is everywhere in the temples, and the palaces, and the ancient mosques. A lifetime could be spent in Istanbul alone, as the aesthetic and historical architecture will bring you to your knees. If you’re looking for history and culture, and considering travel to the Mediterranean, then perhaps you should consider a cruise.

The Bosphorus

The Bosporus as seen from Nasa


The Bosphorus from Istanbul

The Bosporus from Istanbul perspective

I visited a family in Istanbul in 2002, and had the opportunity to see the Bosporus. The ferry is a wonderful way to see history from the water. It is really a wonderful experience to take a tour on the Bosporus.

Another remarkable city is Istanbul – not least because it sits on two continents. Straddling the mighty Bosphorus in Turkey, the city sits in both Europe and Asia and with a population of over 13
million it’s one of the largest cities in the world. This unique position has made Istanbul the centre of world trade and culture for thousands of years and a melting pot of different cultures. This is one of the reasons that the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The other reason is the amazing architecture on display; ranging from ancient Roman, through Byzantine and Ottoman eras right though to modern skyscrapers – highlights being the magnificent Hagia Sophia, once the biggest Cathedral in the world before being converted into a mosque and now a museum, and the truly stunning Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque – its buildings can hold 10,000 worshipers and its distinctive dome and striking minarets puncture the city’s skyline.

Finally on this whistle-stop tour of the Med’s best cities is Spain’s beautiful Catalonian capital Barcelona. Highlights abound in this beautiful city, no matter whether you’re looking for world-class historic, cultural or sporting thrills. Of course, no trip to Barcelona would be complete without a trip to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia – whilst a little bit of a tourist cliché these days, you won’t fail to be wowed by the amazing and intricate design. You can even climb its distinctive spires for a view of the city and an opportunity to see the ornate stonework up close – although it’s not for the faint-hearted as the spiral stairs are extremely narrow in places.


Cultural travel to the Mediterranean is a rich experience that is not so difficult to do. Istanbul is really full of culture and art at its finest. The museums there, and the mosques and palaces are worthy of getting on a plane to travel there. If you have never been to this part of the world, now is the time. Don’t wait until your life creates an opening. Rather, make your plans to see those places that call you, like the Mediterranean. Go here to read more.




Cultural Travel Research

Before going to any country around the world, it is important to explore everything you can before getting there. Now, there is a website that offers cultural travel research for you before you go to the other side of the world. Included in this site are books, films, restaurants, and cultural places that you might not otherwise find. You may choose to do your own cultural travel research, but this site offers a tool for researching places from the perspective of what is going on now. You might want to check out this site, as it is really a great resource for the cultural traveler.

cultural travel research

This website offers visitors, individuals or companies, extensive cultural information about many cities throughout the world. With cultural information, we’re talking articles, films & books that refer to, or are about countries everywhere.

On their bio page they wrote “We also seek to offer a different perspective on people, places, and cultures that are often marginalised or misrepresented in traditional media. By doing so, we want to inspire people to be cultural travellers, wherever they go, wherever they come from.” The latter being something we’re also very passionate about with our local-orientated and up-to-date content.

When traveling to a country or specific city, this website suggests which books and films you should consider reading or watching before or during your trip

So hey, why not let this website do the heavy lifting in researching places to go to? There are many resources on the web, but this one seems to aggregate information in one place, and is of value to the person who does not like to do a lot of planning in advance. Cultural travel research doesn’t have to be hard. They do it all for you! Read more about this site here.


Cultural Travel to Tibet

Tibet is one of the last frontiers of cultural heritage that remains intact. Cultural travel to Tibet is rich with a culture that has existed for thousands of years in a place that holds it’s sacred beginnings in the temples, the mountains, and the people who live there. Recently, there have been restrictions on travel to central Tibet. A travel agency in Tibet, called “Explore Tibet- a Lhasa based travel agency,” has provided alternative cultural travel experiences in Khan, which is located in eastern Tibet. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle states:

The Kham region of eastern Tibet (western Sichuan and Yunnan Province) has a dramatic landscape different from the central part of Tibet. The high altitude Tibetan plateau slopes down into China’s Sichuan basin, and the rivers dropping down from the Himalayan peaks have cut deep narrow gorges with lush vegetation and spectacular waterfalls.

This area is home to the Khampa, a Tibetan cultural group with their own language, clothing, architecture and lifestyle. Kangding, the traditional capital and trading town of Kham, is the gateway toTibet.

tibetan woman

Tibetan Woman- Photo by

If you have not been to this beautiful part of the world, let me attest to the magnificent beauty and wonder that will take your breath away. In addition, you will see a culture that is still intact with their story, language and cultural traditions. Do not waste a moment more, make plans to visit Tibet today. Go here to read the article in the SF Gate.

Barcelona, Barcelona

Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Barcelona. Traveling alone, it was so easy to get around, see the museums and all of the other wonders of Barcelona. Barcelona is becoming increasingly popular these days for culture seekers and the city has some of the finest artwork in the world. There are numerous museums, the Picasso museum, numerous works by Gaudi, and a city bus that you can travel on all day with headsets in every language to describe the sites. While there, I felt like singing “Barcelona, Barcelona!” I saw some of the most amazing exhibits while there including the Russian Dancer, Diaghilev’s collection of costumes from the early 1900′s. Below is a model of Gaudi’s method of creating arches in the Sagrada Familia.

Sagrada Familia


In addition, Barcelona City is becoming more known for conferences, as it is a city that offers diversity of people, culture and place. Market watch posted this:

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and a major Mediterranean city is gaining touristic popularity year on year, and its municipal government is striving hard to reach even higher standards. It has become a tourist destination worldwide as a result of the beauty of its old town, its cultural mix of tradition and modernity, an exciting nightlife, a mild climate and the duality between the sea and the mountains.

So, if you’re going, do some research. Flights are pretty reasonable and usually direct. Before long, you’ll be singing “Barcelona Barcelona too.”  Read more here.



Cruising in Tropical Paradise

I don’t know about you, but there are so many places in the world that I don’t know about. One such place that I just discovered is Caledonia. Now, do you know where Caledonia is? I didn’t think so. Caledonia is 930 miles east of Australia in the beautiful south Pacific ocean. If you’re considering cruising in tropical paradise, you might want to check out Caledonia and a new cruise that is going there. P&O cruises made their maiden voyage there last month. This tiny island has a diversity of riches from nature that will stir your imagination. For one, Caledonia has the most diverse array of plants and birds per square milometer in the world. In addition, the Indigenous culture there is rich in history and story. It is truly a tropical paradise.

cruising in tropical paradise

New Caledonia from Space

cruising in tropical paradise caledonia

New Caledonia


Kanak Women in New Caledonia-cc wikipedia


If you’re going, here is more information about the cruise. I absolutely love the colors of the cloth of the women above from Caledonia.

P&O Cruises made its maiden call to the island last month and the Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl will visit 14 times this year, giving passengers the opportunity to savour a day on this remote and relatively pristine slice of heaven.It is a delicate balancing act the whole selling point of an “unspoilt” port is lack of tourists but the islanders and P&O are confident that, with care, they can get the mix right.

New Caledonia’s Youth Minister Jean-Claude Briault told Escape that tourism would help create jobs and the islanders are keen to welcome visits by cruise ships while protecting their strong cultural traditions and the environment.

If you’re planning on cruising in tropical paradise, learn more about Caledonia. I know it is now on my radar for amazing places in the world. If you want to read more about it, go here.


See the U.S. in a Volkswagan Bus

For many of us, the 1960′s were not so long ago. I can remember being in Greenwich village in NYC in the 1960′s when there were riots in the parks, and people were throwing bottles out of trees. I also remember seeing the us in a Volkswagan bus. What made the bus so wonderful, was that it had everything you could ever want or need, all contained in one, moving vehicle on wheels. The sense of freedom was awesome. Some had the flip up top that would give you more head room, and space to see the stars. The experience was the most valuable one of a lifetime.

Daman Ristau has created a documentary about the VW bus, and people in it, in a film called, “The Bus.”



The VW bus was an icon that still exists as a symbol of being free, and, well….on the road. It also frames a time, the 1960′s in such a way that when you see one on the road, you are immediately transported back through time when people seemed more free, and more authentic somehow. Or is this my imagination?

Anyway, you can read all about “The Bus” in the Vancouver Sun. Click here to be transported there. Meanwhile, I’m going to see the U.S. in a Volkswagan van. See ya.


Traveling Alone? Tips for Women

Are you a woman who likes traveling alone? Tips for women traveling doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are tips all over the internet, plus free seminars for solo women travelers. Some of my favorite trips have been solo, and there is no reason to fear being the explorer without a group. In fact, groups can get in the way of discovering new places, people, and local culture. In an article in the Sacramento Chronicle, there are tips for women traveling solo, and it’s free.

Join us at the Sacramento Hostel for a free travel education workshop specifically designed for women traveling solo.

Our travel education workshops offer tips on research and planning, budgeting, packing light, and saving money, in addition to ideas and advice in line with the workshop’s specific focus — all with the hope that you’ll go on to explore the world with an open mind, cultural sensitivity, and environmental awareness. This workshop is delivered by local travel expert Megan Seelie.

Hostels are a great solution for where to stay as a solo traveler. So, if you’re traveling alone, check out some tips for women travelers.

Pigeon Point Youth Hostel- Photo by Davefoo

For women, solo travel brings its own set of joys and challenges. It can be an extraordinary experience, to go where you want when you want and meet new people along the way. Many women who have traveled alone describe an incredible sense of freedom and possibility. But there are also the challenges, ranging from loneliness to safety, making solo travel daunting enough that many women never attempt it.

Traveling alone can be a great joy for women and there are tips all over the internet. Go here to the SanFrancisco Chronicle. Here are some other tips for women traveling solo.




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