Alone in Namibia with Martha Gellhorn

“You are alone?” The young woman’s raised left eyebrow gave away her surprise.  It was Christmas Day during a pandemic and I had just driven 10 miles on a gravel road. The other woman behind the Hobatere Lodge reception didn’t bother hiding her alarm. Both eyebrows raised, she chimed in, “You don’t have children?” “No …

A Useless Doctor in Eswatini

When you travel a lot you become impatient with hotel check-in forms: I play the game of how little information I can get away with.  After all, do they really need my address? At a midrange lodge in the western hills of Swaziland, now called Eswatini, the receptionist returned my form. She insisted I should …

Taking Arabic Classes in Beirut

I had just spent two and a half weeks in Jordan, but nothing came out of my half-hearted efforts of taking Arabic classes there.  One course I tried to sign up for ran too long for my travel dates.  Then I just traveled (secretly happy that I had at least tried to take a class), and learned about Jordan …

Powerhouse Women of Kampala’s Literary Scene

I’m on the back of a boda boda, Uganda’s ubiquitous motorcycle taxi, worried about being late for a meeting.  In a traffic jam, my boda driver passes cars and other bodas in a way that should make anyone scared for their safety.  The drivers have helmets but there are none for the passengers.  I am …

The Thrill of a New Country

If they’re worth it, like Lebanon, Turkey, or Georgia, I love returning to places I’ve already been to over and over, but still there’s nothing quite like going to a destination for the first time. Recently I got to experience this thrill in Guatemala.  While I’ve been to neighboring Mexico many times, Guatemala was different enough …