Irish food, despite what Anthony Bourdain would like to assert, is bad in all sorts of incredible ways.

Is there a general agreement on whether or not it’s OK to handle your own luggage at a hotel? I pack light and I’m territorial. Get your paws off my things.

It’s quite a novelty to hear your surname called on the PA at the airport with complete assurance that it’s not you they’re looking for.

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If asked, a true Scottish gentleman will not tell you if he’s wearing his kilt in the traditional style. However, he will often quite happily show you.

There were no oranges in the Orangery.

Scotland has a national toffee.

If you’re ever at a ceilidh and someone asks you to dance the Cumberland, politely refuse.

The best man’s speech involved a recollection of misdeeds in Amsterdam. Still not sure which variety.

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Water and Sky by Tricia McKellar

On the San Francisco Bay: 123.4 nm
On the Long Island Sound: 46.6 nm
On the Mediterranean Sea: 349 nm

Grand total for 2010: 519 nm

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Unexpectedly, it was a banner year for world travel. 2011 should prove interesting as well, considering my imminent departure for Amman, Beirut and our planned escape to Aberdeenshire in March.

*denotes multiple visits.

Tokyo, Japan*
Osaka, Japan
Nara, Japan
Kyoto, Japan
Fushimi-ku, Japan
Tahoe, California
Los Angeles, California*
Marina del Ray, California
Calistoga, California
Alexandria, Virginia
Washington, DC
New York City, New York
Great Kills, Staten Island, New York
Treasure Island, California*
Athens, Greece*
Naxos, Greece
Folegandros, Greece
Sikinos, Greece
Ios, Greece
Santorini, Greece
Astypalea, Greece
Kos, Greece
Kalymnos, Greece
Nissyros, Greece
Symi, Greece
Seattle, Washington
Napa, California*
Mendocino, California
Paris, France

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Naxos to Folegandros / 45 miles
Folegandros to Sikinos / 18 miles
Sikinos to Ios / 20 miles
Ios to Santorini / 39 miles
Santorini to Astypalea / 60 miles
Astypalea to Kos / 62 miles
Kos to Kalymnos / 14 miles
Kalymnos to Nissyros / 41 miles
Nissyros to Symi / 50 miles

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So begins my late summer in Greece.

I’m currently en route to Atlanta for a connecting flight to Athens, at which point I’ll have one night in the shadow of the Acropolis before starting out for Naxos to meet a sailboat. I’ll be cruising the Cyclades on a 50’ Beneteau Oceanis followed by 6 idle days in the small town of Kastro (pop. 100) on the island of Sifnos.

Things I intend to do while there:
Learn to hunt octopus
Buy a pair of handmade sandals
Improve my navigation skills
Celebrate Ciaran’s birthday
Engage in some broader thinking about my purpose
Eat pastitsada
Try kitron on Naxos
Visit Poseidon’s temple at Sounion
Swim alone at sunset

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Ocean and Clouds by Tricia McKellar

On the San Francisco Bay: 183 nm
On the California Coast: 48 nm
On the N. Atlantic/Caribbean Sea: 149nm

Grand total for 2009: 380 nm

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Appalling year for travel, but exceptional due to the wedding. We’ve more than made up for it with a trip to Japan in January and a planned escapade to the Middle East this May.

*denotes multiple visits.

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada*
Arcata, California
Mendocino, Calfornia
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Kingstown, Saint Vincent
Balliceaux, the Grenadines
Mustique, the Grenadines
Petit St. Vincent, the Grenadines
Union Island, the Grenadines
Mayreau, the Grenadines
Bequia, the Grenadines
Las Vegas, Nevada
Capay, California
Treasure Island, California*
Washington, DC

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1. Learn how to crochet
2. Take a year off to go sailing
3. Make a stellar osso bucco
4. Build an ofuro in my bathroom
5. Speak Japanese well
6. Knit a sweater for my husband
7. Attend a birth
8. Invent something
9. Learn some kick ass dance moves
10. Go shooting more often
11. Write a novella
12. Make a beautiful home office
13. Own a piano again
14. Own a bike again
15. Drive all over France
16. Have a best friend
17. Refinish the coffeetable
18. Go scuba diving

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by Victoria Abbott Riccardi

Across from a new green-and-red Fuji film store sat a small restaurant in a decrepit old building offering dusty plastic models of tempura-topped rice bowls and fat rice-stuffed omelets belted with ketchup. The eatery appeared more distressing than appealing, at least on the surface.

The Japanese believe that beauty can reside in things that are rustic, withered, faded, simple, imperfect or incomplete. This aesthetic concept applies to people, as well as things, and stems from the words wabi and sabi. The spirit of wabi tends to be inward and subjective and often refers to a path or way of life, while sabi generally pertains to material objects, art literature, and external events. A monk living in self-imposed isolation in the woods, for example, embodies wabi because he coexists with nature in a state that is physically impoverished but rich in spirit. The restaurant with its dusty models had a sabi quality because, by being housed in a crumbling wooden building next to a modern business, it evoked the corroded elegance of another era, like an antique kimono in a closet of designer wear.

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