Wow Place #201: Giant Monopoly Board, San Jose, CA

Growing up, my best buddy Mike and I were game fanatics. Every weekend, we would spend our days playing Sorry, Stratego, The Game of Life, Parcheesi, Battleship, Risk, Mancala, Chess, Checkers, Backgammon, etc. When we had exhausted all the board game options, we would crack open our battered addition of “According to Hoyle,” learn the […]

Wow Place #200: Korakuen Garden, Okayama, Japan

“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.” –Janet Kilburn Phillips One of the reasons I stopped traveling as much in Europe is that I got completely “churched out.” It’s like Ronald Reagan once said, “A tree is a tree, how many more do you need to look at?” By my fifth trip to Europe, I […]

Wow Place #199: Room 800, Rimrock Hotel, Banff, Canada

“A pessimist gets nothing but pleasant surprises, an optimist nothing but unpleasant.” –Rex Stout It took me a few minutes of pondering to unpack Stout’s quote above. A pessimist always expects the worst, so by contrast, a surprise to them would be something positive. Okay, got it. On the flip side, an optimist expects the […]

Wow Place #197: Mount Manganui, Tauranga, New Zealand

“You are you wherever you go.” – My friend, Tim Armacost One of my favorite parts of travel is how it brings out some of my best qualities: resilience, curiosity, spontaneity, organization, humor, and enthusiasm. But along with physical bags, travel also insists that I schlep along some of my less-desirable “emotional baggage”: judgment, irritation, […]

Wow Place #196: Moody Gardens, Galveston, Texas

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” – Boris Pasternak There are two types of surprises: welcome and unwelcome. Because they are, by definition, “surprises,” both experiences tend to arrive unexpectedly, seemingly out of the blue. Take for example, the first time I visit Moody Gardens. Brought here by a Houston-based client […]

Wow Place #194: Temple of Dendur, New York Met

“If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.” –Heraclitus Can you really “expect the unexpected”? I think you can be “open” to new experience. You can cultivate a flexibility toward change. But isn’t the “unexpected,” by definition, about surprise, about […]

Wow Place #193: Gannet Safari, Te Awanga, New Zealand

I wonder when it happened that I became an old person – or at least, a person who enjoys “old people” activities. I’ll admit it: Of late, I’ve come to appreciate the pleasures of sitting on a comfy couch, sipping hot tea and solving crossword puzzles. I’ve come to admire a well-planned garden. And apparently, […]