Nomad Stories

Real People. Real Travel Stories. Real Interesting Destinations.

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My Top 10 Travel Experiences in 2016 If there ever was a travel year on steroids for me, it was 2016.  Making the most out of my stationing in Shanghai, I went to 7 new countries and made several trips to new cities in countries I’ve been to before.  It goes without saying that it was a bit difficult to pick the best 10 experiences and I can only hope I’ll be as lucky in 2017.   1.     Snorkeling ...
5 ½ Things I Learned Road Tripping in Iran

1)    Always bring a watermelon.   Well, when in season of course, but if they are, don’t hesitate.  At a picnic spot, you can just cut the top of, cut a crisscross with a knife and dig in with forks.  Afterwards, just put the “lid” back on, pack in the back of the car, and continue eating at dinner, this time cutting the usual slices or adding cubes to a salad. &n...

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In and Around Yazd With New Friends Traveling solo, friends of friends often come in handy. I’ve had the best of times through such recommendations in Addis Ababa, Moscow, Istanbul, to name a few.  Most recently I had friends of a friend to thank for an excellent time in Yazd, Iran.   This particular friend-to-be, Mansurah, proved the famous Iranian hospitality true even before I met her.  My friend Karl-Heinz had p...

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Isfahan Equals Half the World Isfahan or Esfahan. Or Ispahan, Sepahan or Hispahan. The ancient Persian, nowadays Iranian, city has many English spellings depending on the time period and source. Duke Ellington spelled it “Isfahan,” in the title of a beautiful jazz song named after the city, allegedly renamed so after his band’s tour of Iran in 1963.         After visiting Isfahan this summer, it’s ve...
Three Otherworldly Places in Armenia I don’t remember who came up with the idea to travel to Armenia. Piia and I had been planning to go to Georgia together, after a previous visit of mine. We decided to add Armenia. Colleagues of mine had been raving about it. However I had no clue what to expect, no idea whatsoever. I expected some obscure landlocked country, deep in the Caucasus, with a lot of Soviet history. I took a flight to Ge...
The Sulfur Baths of Tbilisi, Georgia How many capitals in the world are named after hot springs or something to do with bathing?  I should know the answer, being the bathhouse traveler I am, but only one name pops immediately to mind: Tbilisi, Georgia.   The ancient capital was named after and built around its sulfur baths, at least according to a legend.  But a legend or not, the city actually does get its name from...
A brief Introduction to the Yerevan art Scene It felt still like early morning when we met up with Rafael for a city tour. The previous night he had brought us to a local restaurant next to our hotel on Hanrapetutyan Street to taste some great beers and food, highly appreciated after a long flight. But we had been too tired for a real walk through town that evening.In the morning, we started with the central square, a beautiful piece of monum...
Lunch and Dinner at Opposite Ends of South Korea In a tired haze the previous night -- after a sauna and mineral baths combo following a day of hiking in the mountains -- I had made a ridiculous plan to travel in one day from the Northeastern edge of South Korea to the southwest corner, the port town of Mokpo. I made the decision just based on one recommendation, Mokpo’s seafood specialties, and because the bullet train from Seoul went there.&nb...
My Top 10 Travel Experiences in 2015 I started off 2015 dancing with friends in a rooftop nightclub in Dar es Salaam.  Obviously this was a good omen for the year to come. The next day, on January 1st, we took the ferry to Zanzibar.  1. Stone Town, Zanzibar While most people go to Zanzibar for the beaches (and they were beautiful), I was most blown away by the Arab influenced, beautifully labyrinthine Stone Town.  Th...

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The Spell of Lapland As much as I’ve traveled, perhaps one of the most exotic places I’ve ever visited, at least to other people, is the Finnish Lapland.  Why I don’t quite notice its exoticism as quickly as others is because I go there every single summer.  In fact, I’ve been there every summer without fail since I remember, even though I’ve lived abroad the last two decades and it’s very far from my family...

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11 Untouristy Shanghai Observations It’s not often that one moves to a new country without ever having visited it first.  Yet this is exactly what I did about three weeks ago: I moved from New York to Shanghai, while I had never been to China before.      When you move somewhere new, the things you encounter and observe are quite different from the ones a tourist does.  So during these three first weeks in...
REAL PEOPLE, REAL STORIES: TRAVEL PHOTO CONTEST 2015 We believe the best part of traveling is meeting local people. Real people, with real stories, who change your perspective.Do you have a story like that? And a photo that conveys it? Share it with us and other travelers and you could win a travel voucher and a published interview with us! Follow this link to access our photocontest on FaceBook. How It WorksYou can enter only one photo in the c...

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A Brief Encounter in Tanga, Tanzania

I really hadn’t planned my visit to Tanga at all: the previous night in Dar es Salaam I had randomly booked a cheap hotel online.  As soon as I got there after my 6-hour bus ride from Dar, I headed out to wander around in the afternoon heat in search of food.  Although a big city, Tanga has a sleepy feel to it and the dusty, unpaved streets added to it. When I couldn’t find food and real...

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#realpeople, Part 2 These are pictures of people we have met on our travels. Once a week we post a new one on Twitter, Facebook and G+.  You can see all of them, without interruption, here. You can find the first 52 of our collection, under the blog entry #realpeople.    Real People #53: We were invited to this Tbilisi wedding just because we happened to stop by the restaurant where it took place. ...

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Chilling in Zanzibar “Chilling in Zanzibar” was a phrase I used already years ago, dreaming about the place with a friend, who lived in Uganda at the time and was planning a trip there.  Looking back, I didn’t know much about the island and I’m not sure what I imagined Zanzibar would be like and why I associated it with chilling.  I guess it was just so far away and exotic sounding that to be chilling there ...

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My Top 5 Travel Moments of 2014

A few weeks into the new year, it’s time to sum up last year’s travels.  My 2014 began in Mexico and I spent the first few weeks of it in Guatemala and Belize.  In the summer, I was on the road for almost 3 blessed months: heavenly!  Out of so many travel days, it was difficult to pick the top 5 experiences, but here we go:   1. Sunrise at the ancient Mayan city and National ...

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Two Afternoons in a Refugee Camp The car goes down a small hill just 45 minutes south of Amman and in front of us opens a view of an open field with hundreds of tents.The site is desolate: it’s dusty, windy, in shades of only brown and grey with no vegetation. This is one of the many Syrian refugee camps in Jordan.      As our car pulls in the camp, there seems to be nobody around.  Only a sea of tents, ...
Transylvania is for Scenery, Coffee and Vampire Jokes I’ll admit it. I travelled to Romania on a whim. I was fortunate enough to receive an opportunity to visit the country for an extremely inexpensive week and with star-crossed dreams of vampires and mountains, I set off on my next adventure. My trip took me on the road less travelled, and instead of staying in the capital of Bucharest or Dracula’s home of Brasov, I took a six-hour bus ride to sp...

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I had already visited Uganda once, but that time I never went on a game drive. This might sound strange as safari is one of the biggest reasons people travel to Africa, but I was happy just visiting my friends, who had recently moved to Uganda, and going road tripping with them and Danny. I was also happy just being in a new place, soaking in its feel and vibe, taste its food and beer, meet its pe...

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Istanbul - Dealing with Change "Istanbul was better 10 years ago". I remember this phrase from my friend Can, who used to run a gorgeous boutique hotel for gay men. He said this a few years ago. I was about to say the same when I found out, upon arrival, that my favorite gay bar was being replaced by a kebab shop and my favorite alternative foodie place invaded by German frat boys, attracted by the cheap beer. Those two places ...
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Departing: September 23, 2017
Georgian wines are becoming quite the buzz and for...