Wow Place #163: Goat Rock, Sonoma Coast, California

“Are you kidding me? They pay you to write this crap!!” Some years back, I found myself incensed while reading an article in which the author suggested that we should all just stop traveling. His argument wasn’t about the carbon footprint of air travel (which actually is a pretty decent reason to manage our wanderlust). […]

Wow Place #162: Motown Museum, Detroit, Michigan

My Papa was a rolling stone. Sometimes I’d ask him, “What’s going on?” and he’s just say, “It’s a heat wave, Son. You gotta stop that superstition.” “Oh Dad, you keep me hangin’ on. Don’t you see the tracks of my tears?!!” “Ain’t no mountain high enough, boy!” “I second that emotion, Dad.” The list […]

Wow Place #161: Yunomine Onsen, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan

I’ve talked quite a bit in these posts about Japanese hot springs (Wow Places #28, #61 and #159), which I absolutely love. One of the most unusual I’ve experienced, Yunomine Onsen, enjoys a prominent position on the famous Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route (Wow Place #25). Located near Hongo Town in southern Wakayama Prefecture, Yunomine is […]

Wow Place #159: Goko-Yu Onsen, Kyoto, Japan

While living in Tokyo, Sundays were always my favorite day of the week. Just after lunch, I’d put on my shorts and running shoes, take the train to Yoyogi park and, for the next 4 hours, I’d play vigorous ultimate frisbee with my Tokyo ex-pat friends. Afterwards, we’d head out for dinner – often at […]

Wow Place #158: Kanchanaburi, Thailand

According to Wikipedia, “FOMO,” or “Fear of Missing Out,” is “the feeling of apprehension that one is either not in the know about or missing out on information, events, experience, or life decisions that could make one’s life better. FOMO is also associated with a fear of regret, which may lead to concerns that one […]

Wow Place #157: Awe Redux

Wow Place #157: Awe Of late, I’ve been thinking a lot about the phenomenon of “awe”. So much so, in fact, that I delivered a speech on the topic a couple of nights ago at my local Toastmasters chapter. Here’s a copy of that speech, which references an “awe-some” experience you may be familiar with, […]

Wow Place #156: The Killing Fields

It seems to be true that we humans seek pleasure (and dopamine) while avoiding pain and discomfort. Left to our own devices, we’ll choose idleness and/or enjoyment over unpleasant activities that take us out of our comfort zone. If so, that probably explains why I drag my feet when we arrive in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, […]

Wow Place #155: Yosemite National Park

“Show me your driver’s logbook, please.” “Here you go.” “It seems to be filled out incorrectly. That will be a $700 fine.” “What?!!” I really wanted to hate Yosemite National Park. As a tour driver back in the 90s driving a 13-seater van, I took 2 separate groups of people to Yosemite in the same […]

Wow Place #154: The Bridges of Nepal

In 1995, Clint Eastwood romanced Meryl Streep in a film called The Bridges of Madison County. The movie was okay; I hear the book was better. But as I’m watching the film, I can’t help thinking, “I came for the bridges? Where are all the bridges? Shouldn’t there be a big sign saying, “Welcome to […]