Ready to Visit Vietnam?

Vietnam 100 Travel Unusual Tips coverI recently had the opportunity to read a new book about Vietnam.  Part travel guide and part love letter, “Vietnam: 100 Unusual Travel Tips and a Guide to Living and Working There” is an eclectic combination of travel tips, culinary insights, and cultural information.  It is peppered with so many glorious photos that every reader is transported, just a little bit, to bustling cities and lush rice fields as they learn and discover the real Vietnam.

 

 

This is a book that attempts the nearly impossible – explaining Vietnam to an outsider. The country is a fascinating mix of old and new, urban and rural, Communism and capitalism, with wafts of Chinese and French influence.

 

 

 

 

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The Family Traveler’s Handbook – New book, New perspectives

When we leave our homes, we leave behind the web of possessions and accumulated to-do lists and focus on spending time together” – Mara Gorman

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There’s a new family travel book on the market!  Why would we review the competition?  Well, because it’s a great book with lots of new perspectives to offer.  I read it cover-to-cover, enjoyed it, learned from it, and smiled regularly.  It’s a quick read with no nonsense.  Mara’s inherent philosophy is that everything can be travel.  She describes her first trip with her son – a trip down the block to visit neighbors.  Mara’s vision of family travel encompasses all activities that get parents and kids out the door, exploring the world together.  Read more »

MKB Book Club – Bilingual is Better

logoMKBbookclub2I’ll start this week’s chapter chat with a joke my kids told me:

What do you call a person who speaks two languages? 

–       Bilingual

What do you call a person who speaks three languages?

–       Trilingual

All right then.  What do you call a person who speaks only one language?

–       American

IMG_20130424_161930_847And, just to be clear.  That’s “American” with a derogatory tone.  I’m so proud that my kids think this joke is funny!  When I was in college, I took a seminar in which we had to describe the three things we really wanted to give our children.  I don’t even remember the first two things I listed.  Most likely something like “a roof” and “love”.  But I remember the somewhat desperate feeling I had about the third thing – “a second language.” I knew even then that my horizons were limited by my monolingualism and it seemed daunting to dream of doing better for my own kids.  As you can imagine, when Multicultural Kid Blogs offered up a book club on Bilingual is Better by Ana Flores and Roxana Soto, I jumped at the chance.  I picked Chapter Two: Why Bilingual is Better.  The discussion of Chapter 1 was sparked by a great post hosted by Spanish Playground. Read more »

360 Degrees of Longitude: Memories and Philosophy

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I just finished a book that I originally really didn’t want to read, ‘360 Degrees Longitude’ by John Higham.  Traveling? Awesome! Other people’s travel memoirs? Not my thing.  But, my best friend said “read it” and, well, actually I ignored her for over a year but when she said “Seriously, read it!” for the 5th or 6th time, I caved and ordered it.  I then carried it around for months and finally opened the front cover a week or two ago.  And, guess what? I enjoyed every page!

Longitude CoverIt’s the story of a family traveling around the world.  As they plunge from Silicone Valley into Europe and then Asia and finally into the remote Amazonian jungle and over the Inca Trail, I started remembering travel details, travel lessons, and feelings.  By the end of the book, I was sharing in their vision of just how small and fascinating the world can be and spending a lot of time thinking about the value of travel.

The Highams apparently designed the first part of their itinerary around our past travel destinations – England, Prague, Krakow, Denmark, The Vatican City, Thailand.  In each of these locations, I could see the place with fresh eyes and yet remember funny anecdotes or similar experiences.  For example, I first visited Prague as a refuge from the high prices of Scandinavia.  The Highams fled there to avoid high prices as well.  In Krakow, they searched medical facilities for a wheelchair.  In Krakow, I developed a raging fever Read more »

Packing cubes

OK, ok, OK …they are expensive and seem silly but I love them.  They decrease the volume (but, sadly, not the weight) and they keep everything organized.  When the kids were little, each kid got one small “cube” and they stuffed in all their shirts, PJs, underwear, pants.  What didn’t fit in the little cube, didn’t go.  At each stop, they got their cube and returned their cube … they were proud and independent.  We had one less hassle.  Buy them at stores like REI, travel stores, luggage stores, or on-line.  (Yes, you can buy these too at Amazon).

Tiny Books

I love Annick Press books.  They’re good stories, they cost $1-$3 each, and they are tiny.  You can fit an entire library in a sandwich bag.  You can request them at your local bookstore and they are sometimes carried on Amazon.  Search for Annikin or Annikin Edition.