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Observations from the World’s Ultimate Airport Lounge

Why are most airport departure lounges so terrible? In short, it’s because the airlines want to ensure that premium flyers receive better treatment than the regular people. If everyone were allowed “amenities” like friendly staff and clean restrooms, then no one would want to pay more money to upgrade to a higher class of service.…

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How and Why I Travel (Part I of II)

In 2007 I visited 26 countries, including 15 that were new to me. This year I hope to be on track for at least that many, although as the years go by it will become more and more difficult to get to the “new” places. For the past two years, almost all of my overseas…

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Leaving Hong Kong

After I leave India and go to Tokyo, I pick up my OneWorld Round-the-World ticket at the American Airlines counter in Narita airport. This ticket has 20 flight segments, which is the maximum you’re allowed under OneWorld rules. Like most tickets these days, any Round-the-World ticket under 17 segments is issued as an e-ticket. When…

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Three Days in Amazing Calcutta

Part I – Getting to India Part II – India Travel Journal I After traveling around by land during my first week in India, I arrive in Calcutta on a late-night Kingfisher Airlines flight from Hyderabad. The flight is great, and serves as a good model for what U.S. airlines could learn from if they…

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India Travel Journal Part I

I’m having an Indian coffee in the Churchgate section of Mumbai, roughly 15 hours after my arrival here. Since then, I’ve come in from the airport, crashed at a sad hotel, changed hotels, changed money, and tried to begin the process of acclimation to a culture that is new to me. Mumbai is not a…

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Getting To India

First, a brief warning: this trip report, and the forthcoming ones about this trip and others, may be more detailed than some readers prefer. My regular essays on Life, Work, and Travel will continue to be posted on the usual schedule, so you can choose to read what you enjoy and skip what you don’t.…

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100 Countries or an S.U.V.?

Traveling between Budapest and Prague in the summer of 2004, I suddenly realized how comfortable I felt with the process of moving from place to place. I was 26 years old and beginning to travel independently. It no longer felt strange to fly between continents or change currencies three times in a week. Adding up…

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Two Weeks in India

“The traveler, if he comes from a place of comfort, travels, in part, to be stood on his head; to lose track of tenses, or at least to be back to essentials, free of the details of home. ‘Teach me,’ as Thomas Merton wrote in his journal, ‘to give to a country names and words…

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Airport Adventures from Bucharest to JFK

I arrive at Bucharest’s Otopeni International Airport (OTP) and follow the exit signs that lead to the tourist bureau. I haven’t booked a room for my stay in advance, so I need to check on available budget hotels. Sadly, the tourist office is nowhere to be found. I finally locate an information counter to determine…

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A Short Narration of My Travels So Far

In September 2006 I first considered the idea of trying to visit every country in the world, and I decided to write a short essay about everywhere I’ve been so far. Over the next year I’ll be posting one of the essays each week until I catch up. The compilation below is a short summary…

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