Navigate / search

Getting Crafty With Vacation Photos

I don’t know about you, but in the day of the digital camera, I’m a prolific and perfectly undisciplined photographer on my vacations, snapping random pictures of every flower, tree, rock, and seascape that catches my eye. Funny-looking bird? I take a picture. Pink sunset clouds? Shutter-click. Friends laughing at some inane joke we’ll never remember later while posing in front of a very serious statue? Smile for the camera.

When I return from my trips, I always look forward to downloading my camera’s memory card and seeing the pictures in their full pixellated glory. At most, I might then download these photos from my computer onto a public gallery site, to share with my friends and family, but I admit that beyond that, I haven’t made an actual physical photo album in years.

But, there are a few ways to parlay pictures into practical day-to-day items. Here are a few crafty, non-album ways to put your favorite vacation photos to use:

Tubing 101

I have a bum knee and haven’t gone skiing in years, so my Canadian friends offered a solution that’s equally as exhilarating: tubing. The best part is that it requires very little physical exertion. Now, that’s my kind of sport! Tubing is the next big thing, and it only requires snow and gravity. If you’re a beginner like me, you should just keep a few things in mind:

Tip #1: Keep your bum up!
The snow may be soft when you touch it, but not when you’re going fast. To avoid a sore bum, rest your legs over the front of the tube, hold onto the loops and keep your bum up.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member AussieBrad.

Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling With Food

Last time I visited home, I had been away too long and missed my mother’s cooking. So she insisted on packing my bags full of home-made pork buns, sweet bread, chocolate chip cookies, and chicken noodle soup so I could bring them back east (I didn‘t have the heart to tell her that I now get my cookie fixes from Rocco’s).

Many people heading back after the holidays have to figure out how to schlep their home-made goodies and gifts all the way back while trying to deal with the complex security restrictions on food. For this reason, it’s no surprise that according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the number one question travelers have for the TSA Contact center is, “Can I take my pie with me on the plane?”

What’s on My Holiday Wish List: Sleeper Planes

It is the season of wish-list making and gift giving, so here’s my humble request of the universe. This year what I most want is the invention of sleeper planes.

On a recent trip to Hong Kong, I was upgraded to Cathay Pacific’s new international Business Class, due to a goof with my ticket. Cathay has a long history of excellent customer service so I wasn’t shocked–but I was shocked at how wonderful the experience was. Business Class has come a long way, baby.

About five years ago I was bumped to First Class on an Air France flight. This meant I had a bigger seat, a personal entertainment player with free movies (mind blowing at the time), and hot meals. It was nice but honestly it was nothing I would have paid extra for. It just wasn’t that different from a Coach seat.

Finding Morocco in Fez

Fez isn’t the first city people think of when they think of Morocco. I know this because before my recent visit to the country, the first question of everyone who heard about my trip was how long I’d spend in Marrakesh.

I wasn’t headed for Marrakesh at all, but for northern Morocco and Fez, the country’s spiritual heart. Besides being one of the holiest cities in the Arab world, Fez is an intellectual nerve center whose most noted university has been educating people for well over 1,000 years, and, within its medina’s ancient walls, the world’s largest car-free zone. But most of its allure, for me, had not much to do with worship, education, or transportation; it was more corporeal. It was the textures, sounds, smells, and tastes of the medina’s web, a sensory overload I’ve never experienced before. It was in this time-warped cacophony that I found the joys of Morocco.