Category Archives: Travel

Back on Board

MV Explorer by you.

No grand entrance, no re-cap of the last 18 months other than to say that I worked, I played, I laughed, I cried, I fell in love and most relevant of all…realized that the more answers you learn, the more questions there are.

I am now an aunt 3 times over with the addition of a niece and nephew and so in awe that my family continues to grow and my love for them does the same. Just when I think it can’t get any better, any fuller, it does. So, I hope that all of you have found that the last 18 months have brought you the joy and insights of a full and well-lived life.

As always, just when I get to the point that I am itching for adventure, some opportunity presents itself. My friend and colleague Mike Zoll asked me the 2nd best question ever: “Would you sail with me, as my Assistant Executive Dean on the Summer 2009 voyage, the 99th voyage, of Semester at Sea?” Ummm….yeah! And here we are. We kicked it off in Nova Scotia and we will spend the entire summer sailing the Mediterranean. We will be in Europe and North Africa with 721 students, 67 staff, 17 lifelong learners and 3 teachers at sea, plus 22 kids of varied ages and sizes and crawling and climbing abilities. I cannot believe that after 9 years and 3 applications, I have not only had my dream come true with the first voyage in Spring 2007 (wherein the lucky narrator got to sail with Archbishop Desmond Tutu), but to be invited to sail again, less than 3 years later.

I am in my element in a way that I haven’t been in a while. I am growing and learning at a rate that surprises me daily. The blessing of being a young senior leader on a highly functioning team, is that I get to make a new mistake every day, and every day I also get the honor of bringing my expertise and insight to the community we’re building and the challenges that we face as we work toward getting all 838 of us around the Mediterranean safe and on time at about 17mph. 

And so with that. Check out our itinerary. Follow the Summer 2009 voyage on twitter (I am co-tweeting), follow me on twitter, or Facebook, and drop a comment with your name and address if you want me to send you a postcard from somewhere in North Africa or Europe!

Ciao Bellas! You have been missed.

Things To Do In New York

Happy belated Valentine’s day yall! I was up to the usual ridicularity. I had hibachi with KJ, Charles and Papaya, drank some beer and fell asleep with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head (or maybe I was drunk!..just kidding). In a fit of unmitigated domesticity I baked mini-cupcakes for friends and colleagues! I actually mailed out a valentine’s package to my nephew! (A cookbook for kids, a card and some candy). There must be a full solar eclipse coming.

Despite work being insane. I headed back to NY last weekend. I met up with LN at Arena Studios for a Molly Crabapple gallery show. We lasted about 10 minutes. The draw was art and “free champagne”, we couldn’t think of a better way to kick off a friday night! But the studio was hella-packed, hella-hot and hard to move around. Plus, it just wasn’t either of our “cup of tea”, the people watching was FANTASTIC though. There was a burlesque model in the back and people could sketch if they so desired. I opted out of that and headed back to the champagne! We ditched the show and headed to get some italian food after walking 40-eleven hundred blocks. The food was okay, but the drinks were the winners (Clementinis!). We killed time jibber-jabbering about race issues, socio-economic issues, travel and women’s reproductive rights…it was fabulously nerdtastic, then we rushed uptown to catch Paul Mooney’s late set at Caroline’s. This was my third time seeing him and I will never get tired of his humor and insights.

Saturday I caught up with SJ in lower east village (?) for lunch, but we ditched that since we’d both eaten already and hit the Italian Wine Merchants saturday Wine Seminar. SJ is into Italian wines and this class focused on Tuscans and Super-Tuscans for you vinoheads. It was one of the best wine classes I’ve attended (and cheap!). A Beautiful venue, proscuitto, an array of cheeses, breads and 7 wines. And they were cracking lobster tails when I realized I should switch to water. We chatted up the whole place and I got invited to dinner by a random family of four, while SJ got hit on by a cutie-pie who was about 4 inches shorter than she is! We headed next door after the class for…more wine of course!

I had to decline the dinner invite to head to Thomas Pink to pick up a gift for KC’s birthday party later that night, then showered and changed and met Josh and Dennis at Vlada for drinks, then we walked over to Ariba Ariba! for food I’ve had outside of Mexico. Actually, this was the best restaurant/non home-cooked meal I’ve had in weeks. And this was the worst (also in NYC). We cruised in Dennis’ pearl white Mercedes CLK to KC’s uber-bachelor pad in Chelsea and I realized I’m These kids have moolah! All in all a good night of dancing (techno, really? really?) and spoon bread (no that is not a euphamism). Fortunately there was no pork fried rice at 5am this time. But I can’t make any promises about next time!

Let me know what your favorite NYC spots are! Or where is your favorite restaurant/eatery in the

It’s Getting Hot in Here…NYC edition

I’m just back from New York. The plan was to go see the Kara Walker exhibit at the Whitney, catch up with a friend or two and enjoy restaurant week, maybe watch a little hotel t.v. and get some work done.

Who was I kidding?

Friday started off great with a special delivery (yes, that’s cryptic, I know. lol). Unfortunately, the weather turned all The Day After Tomorrow on us. Snowflakes as big as tissues on an already snowpacked tundra-looking land was just one more reason KJ and I were ready to get outta dodge. Through snow, sleet and rain (really) we made it into Brooklyn by 8:30pm and into Manhattan by 9:30, just enough time to check-in, stash the car and hit Caroline’s Comedy Club to see Sheryl Underwood’s late set. There was no question that it was going to be hella-funny, and she didn’t disappoint, we laughed our way through 3 martinis each and had to explain some of the more “urban” jokes to the unsuspecting folks of the non-brown variety. After the set, at the bar (waiting for KJ) Sheryl walked up with several people in tow and uttered the most beautiful phrase in the human language: “Hey cutie, come hang out and let me buy you a drink.”

How could I say “No” to that? Yeah, of course I didn’t. Thus began a night that I can barely put into words here (to protect the innocent AND the guilty). KJ and I hung out with Sheryl and her friends, at the bar and acted up until the wee hours of the morning. Sheryl is razor sharp smart, kind and talented.  It was one of those nights, that was magic, where you don’t want to be anywhere other than where you are in that moment in time. It was not the last we’d see of the crew though.

Saturday, we hit the Whitney where KJ hustled a student discount and the exhibit was worth the journey. It wasn’t easy to get through either physically (so many people) and emotionally (antebellum south images of race/sex/brutality, etc.) kind of like my reactions to Frida Khalo’s work…Good art makes you feel, and not always good. My favorites where “Creme in your Coffee and Chocolate in your Milk” sketches from the 90’s and one of the video pieces from 2004. The exhibit moves out to UCLA’s Hammer Museum for the rest of the spring, so catch it if you can. Amazing. Here’s a brief, but good, everyman’s synopsis of the exhibit “My Enemy, My Complement, My Oppressor, My Love.”

We scooped up a couple bottles of wine to meet KC and the crew at his pad in Chelsea to whoop it up before heading back uptown to see The Color Purple on Broadway. Thanks to S for the hookup on a 1/2 price tickets link! The show was phenomenal. Chaka Khan was funny and fierce. I’ve seen her live before and she didn’t disappoint, she was so obviously born for the stage.

After the show we met up with Sheryl and the crew. again. until the wee hours. again. And she wouldn’t let us pick up the tab. again. KC and his crew met back up with us, toasts were made, friends were hugged and my favorite quote of the night was: “That’s why they put me in jail last Thursday!” As uttered by an arrogant “D” list rap personality who shall remain unnamed (hey, I ain’t crazy!).

We metro’d downtown for more club hopping KC and Kirk, but not before I got into a rather delightful conversation with a housing-challenged gentleman who regaled me with tales of his walk from Richmond (Virginia) to Atlanta (Georgia). Before we hopped off the train, we promised each other we’d meet up in Palermo, Italy one day.

The rest of the night gets sketch, Rated R/x, NSFW, TMI, WTF? and OMG! So, I’ll just let you fill in whatever story you’d like, I am generous enough to fill in the details like: Pork fried rice at 5am?

Sunday, we sent Sheryl a gift bag over to her hotel before heading to brunch at Junior’s over in Brooklyn off Flatbush. We decided to stay in Brooklyn and watched the game. I was down for the Pats the whole way, and I couldn’t be mad that they lost because the Giant’s defense really won that game. I lost a dollar to Charles who flip-flopped at half-time. Argghh! It was in the 40’s in NY and I guess that is like The Day After Tomorrow to them, Ella had the heat on in her apartment and when I woke up from my nap, I was convinced that I was in hell (and after the weekend, who could be surprised?). But then I realized I had on my hoodie and was too close to the radiator.

Whew. That was close.

I have to be back in NY on Wednesday. Who else is scared?


Maple Leaf Madness

Hallo from Canada!

[1] I’m pre-sick. You know that feeling where your head is fuzzy, feels like a 50 lb bowling ball, kind of head-achey and all you want to do is lean your head against a cool pane of glass and sleep? yeah, that is how I feel.

[2] On the way to Montreal I sat in front of a guy who, no lie, was either drunk or coming down off of something. He kept moving around, changing seats, coughing & sneezing and as we neared the end of the trip he started spouting profanities. Not to anyone in particular, but just in general. In the end I ended up touching him, to wake him up and let him know we’d arrived. Don’t worry, the only thing I could bring myself to touch was his shoe.

[3] At the Canadian border:

Immigration/Border Guy (IBG): You sure do pack light lady.

Me: I try, makes the travel more fun.

IBG: (inspecting my passport) When was the last time you were in Canada?

Me: Uh, I’m kind of ashamed but I’ve been about everywhere except Canada

IBG: (poking through the stamps in my passport) Yeah, I can see that…

[4] I love the Hotel Intercontinental so much that I want to take it out behind a middle school and get it pregnant* I thought the one in Montreal was nice, but the one in Toronto…class-ay! I also got a free upgrade to the executive level wherein I strolled around and got my free drink, hoity-toity finger sandwiches and some hot tea for my anti-pre-sick campaign. Then I had to go to work, because this afro ain’t gonna oil itself!

[5] When I left Montreal to head to Toronto…it was snowing. God help me, I don’t know if I’m going to make it. I haven’t spent a winter in the US in TWO YEARS!! Now I remember WHY!

[6] In response to all the frenchy-frenchness of Canada I have adopted an almost sociopathic southern drawl, insisting upon replying to the “Bonjour Madame!” with “Howdy, Howdy!” Yes, yes I am that brand of ridiculous. 

*30 Rock reference

Not Drunktastic


Sorry I’ve been off the grid the last few days. Work is getting busier by the week including new trips on the horizon (a return trip to Miami and a trip up to Toronto and Montreal). After the hustle of the last few weeks I was ready for a mini-road trip and headed down to Maryland where I met up with The Entreprenuer (TE) and The Attorney (TA). TE is a photography aficionado and TA is a “culture vulture” so we hit the Corcoran Musuem for the Annie Leibovitz exhibit: A Photographer’s Life.

The exhibit was really amazing. I loved her portraits of Jamie Foxx, Oprah, Colin Powell and a couple of shots of Serejevo and Rawanda the most. Wandering the museum with TE and TA was also a pleasure because we all felt comfortable going our own way so that we could linger where we wanted and get drawn into whatever compelled us. I loved how most of the photographs were black & white, but every now and then there’d be something in glorious color. Likewise most of the photographs were pretty large, but there were groupings of small prints that forced you to get intimate with the exhibit (wait, that didn’t come out right).  There was also an Ansel Adams exhibit in-house and that was interesting though I’m not a big fan of landscape photography.

We ended up acting a fool and having a good time which led us to drinks and bad, bad (but oooh so good) food at Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles in DC and a late night, raucous showing of Tyler Perry’s new movie: Why Did I Get Married? Now if you’ve ever been to an African American film, at an African American theatre, with a packed African American audience, I don’t need to tell you what went down. Let’s just say that everybody had a good time and thought that the characters on the screen could hear their individual comments.

Sunday, TA insisted on watching Inside Washington so I mustered up the energy to hit the workout room and put in some time on the treadmill to combat the previous evening’s fried goodness and preempt the afternoon’s revelry.  TE picked us up and we headed out to Linganore Winery where we met up with The Politician (TP) for the Jazz and Wine festival. And by festival I mean hundreds of people, in camp chairs with coolers full of crackers, cheese, grapes and summer sausage. It was great to see a diverse crowd (ethnicity, age, families, LGBT, groups of friends, etc) and to relax in the sunshine on a near perfect day listening to the David Bach Consort and wondering when exactly we became our parents? Wait, we’re not our parent’s yet but these two are.

Despite the wonderful nectar available (I highly recommend the Skipjack, TE’s favorite and the Sangria, TA’s favorite) no one was “Drunktastic” at least not in our group. But there were a few others who may have been. To include the 3 women next to us who drank at least 5 bottles of wine, the old white dude who kept hitting on all the older black women, the barefoot hippie teenagers twirling and kicking up dust, and the saxonphone player who kept coming out into the crowd to check out women. I joked at one point that there was only two ways that the day could be better, and one of them actually came to fruition. And thats all I’m gonna say about that!

A Traveller’s Heart


Last night I dreamt and the conversation I was having was in spanish. It was lovely, the sensation, not so much my skills. But it flowed and the feeling and sound of the language on my ears and tongue were….amazing.

I know that I’m starting to get that “itch” to travel, I’m happy where I am right now, but I can’t help but wonder where I could be, who I could be meeting and what I could be learning if I were on the road right now. Is the sun shining in Guanajuato? What kind of classes could I take in Thailand? Can I afford an overland Africa trip?

It doesn’t help that a good friend is off in Latin America hiking Machu Pichu, then heading to the Chilean winelands. A fellow travel blogger is off to Ghana. I’ve been getting Facebook notes from Green Tortoise Travel.

I’m sure part of it is that it is starting to get chilly here in New Hampshire. The days are shorter, the nights longer and I know it is going to be a long, long time before I feel sweat on my brow from the rays of the sun.

My life now consists of a Healthy Eating cooking class that I took a couple of weeks ago, wherein I learned new and amazing things to do with Portabello mushrooms. Cultural pursuits like an evening of woodwind quintent music and artsy fartsy film festival treats. My decisions now are things like: Do I try ice hockey or intro to karate? I’m engaged on a totally different level than when I’m travelling and I like it. But there’s still that….”itch” There’s nothing like the freedom of travel.

So…I’m trying to coerce my family into a destination christmahanukwanza vacation at some resort with sunshine, golf, massages and sand. Because you can take the girl out of the vagabond lifestyle, but you can’t take the vagabond out of the girl. And yes, I realize that a resort vacation is not quite vagabonding, but you try to convince my mom to bunk up in a hostel dorm!

So, do you all have any travel plans in the near/long term? Holler at us in the comments.

Wish You Were Here


hard rock hotel pool, originally uploaded by funchilde.

[1] Dear Hard Rock Hotel, I am enamored of your pool area. However, all of your waitstaff look like extras from a bad teen Disney movie. I am impressed with your level of open-mindedness. I’m not sure I would’ve hired the guy with the tattoos on his neck, arms and knuckles. I was however, mildly amused that his right-hand knuckles sported to word “lost” and those on his left hand “soul.” Truth in advertising never ceases to amaze me, tell “Dru” I said hi. You all do however, brew the best iced-tea ever.

[2] Dear Ford & Volvo motor company(ies), Thank you for throwing the best “Grown and Sexy” party I’ve been to ever. I thoroughly enjoyed the indoor/outdoor fabulousness of the Blue Martini lounge. Your choice of DJ was superb, a mix of old school hip hop and R&B including a “Tupac retrospective” and an “ode to Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” album”-brilliant.

Also, your signature martini with the flashing blue “ice-cube”…lovely, in form and function. Thanks for the free drink tickets. We tipped Tiffany VERY well, considering we ate our weight in meatballs, german chocolate cake and had a “never ending” dirty martini (damn you Nate, Tammy & B!).

[3] Dear Shaquille O’Neal & Penny Hardaway, Thank you for gracing the Blue Martini lounge with your very tall presence. I’m just as glad as you are that everyone kept their cool, noone bothered you and that VIP was stocked with food to fill your ginormous bodies. I hope that you both avoid unwanted stalkers, paternity suits, STD’s and late night phone calls from all of the ladies throwing themselves at you. But you’re probably used to that by now.
[4] Corey Bayne Wowers (name changed to protect the guilty), Thank YOU for the most hilarious quotes of the week. You easily topped last year’s gems by being both endearingly ghetto-country fabulous and street-smart. My favorites (I swear this was from an actual conversation):

“I shoot good with a shotgun!”
“I swear, dude was fishin’ out the car window while we was ridin’ down the highway.”
“My wife is country, she can cook ANYTHING.”
“I don’t do violence against women, but a man…..he fair game.”
“I had to take off my clothes, so the cops couldn’t see me. It was night time.”
”With the right seasonings, alligator taste pretty much like chicken.”

[5] Stella, I don’t even know what to say. Pure foolishness and comedy. Thanks for dinner. You owed me after sticking me with that lunch check. Who orders a “triple” cocktail? You.

[6] Dear bed, I love you. I want to take you out behind a middle school and get you pregnant*.
*30 Rock Reference

[7] Denny’s we do not love you. Fortunately your more attractive cousin, IHOP, came to our rescue. Along with Tammy’s pleading and the driver.ever. I’m not sure that there’s anything better than french toast at 3am.

[8] Akil & Siddiq, how did you manage to escape my camera lens? And Siddiq, how many martinis did you have before you took this photo?

[9] Dear Reader, yes, yes in fact I DID get some work done!

PS: Happy Birthday DAD!!

To Whom It May Concern


Cabs, originally uploaded by shinya.

[1] Dear NY Taxi Cab Drivers, thanks for going on strike during Fashion Week. My 11pm ride on the 6 Train has scarred me for life. I am somewhat ashamed that I pretended to be asleep when the beggar came through the subway car asking for “anything…even a quarter.”

[1a] Dear Philly Taxi Cab Drivers, thank YOU for not going on strike until I left.

[2] Dear Douchebag in front of me on flight 1913, thanks for reclining your seat as far as you could so that I had the best view of your male pattern baldness, couldn’t reach my drink, or open my laptop. Charming.

[3] Dear Miami, please make every one of your residents re-take Driver’s Ed. I’m particularly concerned about their ability to “merge.”

[4] Dear Hampton Inn Manhattan. I love you. Thanks for the USA Today AND the Wall Street Journal. And Breakfast. I want to take you out behind a middle school and get you pregnant*.

[5] Dear Devil Toddler, aside from being the most unpleasant two year old I’ve ever met, I want to thank you for going after my glass of red wine, and flinging most of my delicious, delicious nectar on your grandmother during our flight. She was amused, I am not. You owe me $5.00.

*30 Rock reference

It looks like I’ll be adding Washington DC to that list of places I’ll be visiting this month too!

On The Road Again (4 Work)

New York

And that’s just THIS month! Fortunately I love what I do, so that makes it easy and I’ve been traveling my entire career except for the very first year, so now I know someone or someplace I love in almost every city I have to visit. Cool.

[2] On the up side I found out that Stella will be in Orlando so we’ll get to cut up in yet another state together. So much for sleep, credit limits, and a healthy diet. I don’t think we could possibly top last year’s shenanigans (sp?) in Atlanta and I’m too old to want to try.

[3] I actually used the phrase “I’m old enough to be your mama.” this past weekend. And it was true. I got carded buying some wine for an event and a 16 year old asked me if I was still in College or Grad School.

[4] Does anybody else love Hampton Inn hotels as much as I do? Probably not, but you should.

[5] Five things I can’t travel (4 work) without:

1. Delsey hardcase rolling suitcase in electric blue.
2. Mentha Lip Shine Lip Gloss
3. Sleep mask for trains/planes
4. iPod
5. A Book

What Five things must you have when you travel? Keep it clean folks!