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Do Women Explore and Travel the World Differently Than Men?

February 17, 2015 by  

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WHAT DO YOU THINK about women explorers? It is my view that men and women have have a different approaches to exploring. While men seek to conquer, women seek to understand. Perhaps this is the reason that women explorers traditionally get short shrift. I didn’t discover my “inner explorer” until I was in my 40s. After several personal losses left me feeling depressed, I packed up my apartment, lit out for India and spent six months traveling from one end of the subcontinent to the other. Since then, I’ve been back to India six times, and many other places, too. What I discovered is how alive traveling and having adventures makes me feel. And I’m not the only woman who feels this way. There’s a scene in the second Lord of the Rings movie, The Two Towers, when Aragorn asks Eowyn, “What do you fear, m’lady?” and she answers, “A cage.” Laura Dekker, who sailed around the world when she was 16, said in her blog she was far more haunted by memories of Dutch social services threatening to lock her up than she was scared of pirate kidnappings, treacherous seas or being shipwrecked. Eowyn in The Two… <a href=

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Spiritual India: Beyond the Vrindavan of Myth & Legend

January 8, 2015 by  

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I wake in Vrindavan. I wake with two problems on my mind: money and food. I slept without dinner and no breakfast is available; and the day before, I tried two ATMs and both were out of money. So, with a mixture of hope and trepidation, I haggle for an auto and go straight to the ATM. The sound of the money dispensing is more delightful to me than all the temple bells in this moment. Even in a holy city like Vindravan, money is necessary. Mirabai, expedition, Kensington Tours, India, Krishna, temple, Vrindavan, poet, female, woman, ITC Hotel, Mughal, luxury Above, Krishna and his gopis in the Vrindavan of myth and legend. From there I go directly to Govinda’s Restaurant at the ISKCON Temple for breakfast. As it is an “ekadasi day” — a day without grains — I have a strange breakfast of fruit, juice, a mango lassi and kind of potato dosa. Then I have their thick herbal tea and a coconut laddu. With money in my wallet and food in my tummy, I feel so much better about life and about the day. These things do matter, and I don’t agree…

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All Things Beer & Behind the Scenes of a Master Cicerone

January 4, 2015 by  

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milling What do opera and beer have in common? Not much, other than the fact one of the world’s leading beer experts used to be an Opera singer. Mirella Amato, a Canadian native, is the first non-US resident to earn the title of Master Cicerone. After enduring a 14-hour exam to achieve the coveted Master Cicerone certification, she can now claim a title only seven other people in the world hold. While Amato got started with her foray into beer drinking when she was a child, taking a few sips here and there from her father’s cup and thinking it didn’t taste very well, her opinion as she got older changed completely, from objection to obsession. Mirella Amato, Master Beer Cicerone
Above, Mirella Amato, First Non-US Resident to Earn the Title of Master Beer Cicerone.
The exam took place over the course of two days. During this time, students were tested in five areas of beer service: Keeping & Serving Beer, Beer Styles, Beer Flavor & Evaluation, Beer Ingredients & Brewing Processes and Pairing Beer with Food.

Basically, becoming a Master Cicerone is no easy feat.

While the certification…

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The Story of 3 Women Who Are Reviving Ladakh’s Culture

January 3, 2015 by  

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LADAKH IS THE NORTHERN most region of India, a high-altitude desert of stark beauty, arid landscapes, Tibetan influenced culture and mountain passes that can get snowed in almost all year round. Below, is the Tibetan Buddhist temple at Matho Monastery.
It’s a dream destination for photographers, Buddhists, trekkers, motorcyclists, people interested in Tibetan culture and those on the hippie trail. The landscapes are vast, the sky moody and the international borders loom. It’s place that gets seared into the souls of many who make the effort to visit.  Below, the Matho Monastery is home of the Matho Museum project. Monastery, Ladakh, India, Buddhist, mountain, art, culture, travel, tourist, tourism Here, I learned how a French Thangka restoration export, a Buddhist nun and the founder of a women’s fair trade store were reviving Ladakh’s Culture. I went to Ladakh in September, just at the end of the tourist season, with my eyes open — to witness the beauty of the landscape and discover another face of India. I toured the monasteries and markets, visited chortens and chai shops. Though I loved what I saw of Leh and Ladakh, it was the women who interested me.…

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Traveling and Living From a Place of Purpose

December 25, 2014 by  

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On the road to Raiwala Village, outside Aurovalley Ashram, India Over the past several years, I’ve been traveling extensively and achieved some great milestones and goals. This year, while things seemed to be going great, something felt wrong and I couldn’t put my finger on it until I had a revelation at Aurovalley Ashram in November. Above, on the road to Raiwala Village, outside Aurovalley Ashram. Aurovalley Asham, yoga, ashram, India, travel, sunrise, spirituality, peace, quiet Sun rise from the roof of the World Temple, Aurovalley Ashram

Warmed by the Sun

The sun glows gold behind the Shivalik Hills of Rajaji National Park before it appears to shine its life-giving rays on the meadows and fields, villages and ashrams of Rishidwar. It’s a profoundly peaceful time at Aurovalley Ashram, with only the sounds of temple bells and bird songs in the air. The ashramites wrap themselves in shawls to keep away the fresh, morning chill as they walk in silence to the circular meditation hall. It is here at this garden-like ashram, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where I unplug from worldly life, and plug into spiritual energy, each…

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In the Heart of Curaçao, Dinah Veeris On Why “Going Natural” Matters

December 19, 2014 by  

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I’ve always been a fan of natural herbs for as long as I can remember and that includes recipes of natural things that are known to have curing or healing properties. It could be in part from the magic wonders that my grandmother’s concoctions seemed to have when I was a child, usually created from a wive’s tale passed down from her grandmother or so the story goes. One of them was used when my cousins and I got the “winter croop” which we always seemed to get at the same time. She would use a variety of mint oils and her magical concoction was stored in a glass bottle, the kind you’d find in old fashioned pharmacies in the sixties and seventies and today, only see in photos of early brands advertisements before plastic would take over every consumable we’d ever digest over the next several decades. When I started to hack up a storm, she’d get her glass bottle out of the cabinet, put it in a small pot filled with water on the stove and there it would sit until near boiling before she’d slap a third of it on my chest and back. By morning, I…

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Merry Christmas From the Digital #RuralRockstars of South Africa

December 19, 2014 by  

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I almost never post a video that touts a corporate award in it, however truth be told it is big business who often sponsors awards, and whether it’s entirely a PR play for them or they really want to change the world, bottom line, change can happen as a result. That said, I still wouldn’t have posted it, however I have a personal story connected to South Africa, women and education and am passionate about change for all three. As someone who has lived in South Africa a couple of times, and attended her 12th grade year there, I have a soft spot for the country. I ran across this video through one of our RSS feeds and rather than post it as it was, I decided to write about it through my eyes. I learned about the deeds of the Good Work Foundation (GWF), which helps 185 rural adults qualify for their International Computer Driving licenses. What’s even cooler is that 81% of the students are women, as is the CEO Kate Groch. Go girls and go South Africa! A staggering 7,394 online hospitality modules were completed and for the first year ever, 139 adults…

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Australia’s Flag Lady is an Icon for Sydney Railfans

December 15, 2014 by  

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Even though you may never have heard of her name, 87-year-old Kathleen Payne is Australia’s oldest trainspotter and a national icon. Known as the Croydon Flag Lady, she’s a breath of fresh air for Sydney railfans.
Kathleen Payne has inspired thousands of train riders who have made the 4,362 kilometer journey across Australia on the famous Indian Pacific train. This train apparently holds a special place in Kathleen’s heart because her late father Edward was aboard that same train on its maiden journey back in 1970.
She has been greeting the transcontinental Indian Pacific train with a wave of a full-sized Australian flag as the train rushes through the inner Sydney station of Croydon for decades. The friendly crew of the luxury train knows she’ll be there, and provide advance warning of horn and headlights, to let her get in position. It can’t be seen in the video, but both driver and second man give a familial wave. Chris Myles, an old Aussie friend of mine, has been in the transportation industry for over 20 years and was interviewed in the Today Show segment – he…

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