How We Spent Our Summer Vacation in DC

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The BIG Maze at the National Building Museum.

After we had our tickets clipped and entered the BIG maze I expected to accompany my 12-year-old daughter through the special exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. But she was already gone at the first turn. If I didn’t want to run to catch up I’d be going it alone. I expected to run into her at each of the many dead ends, but she was never there. Even when I finally made it to the center of the maze, where I could see over the shorter walls, she was nowhere to be seen. Finally I emerged out the other end hoping to find her. When I turned around, she was already coming out of the maze for the second time. Such is the crazy energy that takes hold of kids when they face amazing things like an indoor maze made out of plywood with walls ranging in height from 3 to 18 feet. Read more »

Two Days In Taipei

We only had two days in Taipei on our way to Thailand last winter.  You can read all about it on my guest post on The Mother of All Trips blog hosted by Mara Gorman.

Descending the stairs of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

Descending the stairs of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

 

Big Changes in Thailand

Check out my article about revisiting Thailand after 19 years away.  It’s on Wandering Educators.

Photo by Zoey Richards!

Photo by Zoey Richards!

Memories of Thailand – Bill

Buddha2Next week my family is heading for Thailand for the Christmas holidays.  We are all very excited to be heading to a destination that combines unique culture and great people with delicious  food and tropical beaches.  This will not be my first Thai experience however, but that does not make it any less exciting.

I first went to Thailand in 1989, on my way east from traveling for several months in Nepal and India.  I was initially disappointed at how easy it was to get around.  I could jump on a water-bus on the Chao Phraya River to get to most places that I wanted to go in Bangkok.  Or catch on a cheap minibus on Khaosan Road to get to almost any place in the country that a backpacker would want to go – north, south, east, or west.  There were no people aggressively asking me for money or competitive jostling in long lines to buy tickets.  It took me several days to relax. Read more »

Blast from the Past

There really are windmills in The Netherlands.

There really are windmills in The Netherlands.

The whole third section of our book is devoted to reinforcing the memories of a trip well taken and exploring the cultural diversity offered in your own hometown.  But what I neglected to include in those chapters is the memory boost offered by electronic blasts from the past.  Every couple of months I get an e-mail message from Nederlands Openluchtmuseum.  Even before I open it, it brings me a little smile.

Making paper at the Openluchtmuseum.

Making paper at the Openluchtmuseum.

Back in 2007, when the kids were seven and four, we took the whole family to The Netherlands for a scientific conference.  On an off day we took a train and a bus to a museum that was supposed to be fun for kids while documenting the everyday cultural heritage of the region.  We had a great afternoon walking through the period buildings of the “Open Air Museum” and interacting with people in period costumes doing traditional labor like milling grain or smithing. Read more »

Finding Lodging

Our affordable London hotel (lower left) was under the Eye!

It wasn’t that long ago when finding a hotel meant pulling out my Lonely Planet Guide and telling the taxi/rickshaw/tuk tuk driver to take me to whichever guesthouse was recommended.  Many other travelers used the same method and inevitably places became too popular and overcrowded.  Sometimes I found lodging by word-of-mouth and by getting advice from other travelers, but often these recommendations were based on the very same guidebooks.  Sometimes lodging solicited me.  I remember coming out of immigration at the Kathmandu airport and being accosted by a sea of people offering beds in their various guesthouses and feeling overwhelmed by it all; the sights, the sounds, the hustle, the bustle.  But that was in the 80’s, when international phone calls were only for periodically checking in with worried relatives at home and incoming mail was so slow it had to be sent general delivery weeks in advance. Read more »

Family Skiing at Snoqualmie Pass

From the top of Chair 1 at Alpental.

Snoqualmie pass is the major east/west migration route through the Cascade mountain range from Seattle.  It is also the home of The Summit at Snoqualmie, an amalgam of four ski areas that each have a unique and distinctive vibe despite being commonly-owned.  There is Summit West, a perfect place for families to learn to ski.  Summit Central has the terrain park and is popular for night skiing.  Summit East (a.k.a. Hyak) is my family’s low-key favorite.  And finally there is Alpental, which has the steeper terrain and backcountry access that expert skiers love.  I’ve been skiing at Snoqualmie pass for over 20 years and have had a season pass there for the last decade.  I won’t tell you where my secret stashes of snow are located, but here are a few other things that I have learned:

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Book Interview

Check out my interview about Family on the Loose: the Art of Traveling with Kids on WanderingEducators.com.

Red jackets, green door.