I don’t know about you, but it’s absolutely thrilled me to see First Lady Michelle Obama taking 9-year-old Sasha on a mom-and-daughter holiday—to SPAIN, no less! I don’t have kids, nieces or nephews, but if I did, I’d be booking us on some overseas trip as soon as they were old enough to appreciate it. And I’d be sitting them down right now to watch video of adorable Sasha meeting the king and queen of Spain (http://news.yahoo.com/video/politics-15749652/michelle-obama-meets-king-of-spain-21295458). How it does my heart proud to see this darling young brown-skinned girl looking confident alongside her mom, realizing she’s a princess in her OWN right. Nothing like self-assurance, even when it comes in the package of a preciously dressed pre-teen.
I was super-proud and psyched last year when the President and Michelle took their two girls with them to Paris and London (http://urbantravelgirl.com/2009/06/10/young-americans-in-paris-the-obama-girls-take-europe-by-storm/). I wrote then about how important it is for youngsters—and especially African-American ones, who don’t always see themselves portrayed positively in the American media—to travel abroad and experience life through a different lens….
Continue August 8, 2010
Those of you who’ve visited UrbanTravelGirl know what a passionate ambassador I am for solo travel. So is Beth Whitman, whose Wanderlust and Lipstick Web site is a treasure trove of info for those chicas who like hitting the road, whether with girlfriends, kids and families, or on their own.
I often am asked by friends—and friends of friends—for tips on visiting foreign countries when you’re female and rolling solo. In fact, I’d planned to write a post with some suggestions… and one of those suggestions is to be open and available to meeting local residents wherever you go. But Beth beat me to the punch, and has a great recent Web site post on “Meeting the Locals: 5 Tips for Solo Travelers.” Be sure to check out her five tips on doing this with purpose—and it’s obviously worked for her, as she’s become friends with folks she’s met on her travels. I’ve done the same, having met and shared my 40th birthday dinner with a charming Irish couple on the French Riviera. I’ve become pals with Parisians I’ve interviewed for travel stories and have developed and maintained real friendships with B&B owners I first met several years ago in Rome….
Continue July 5, 2009
My French speaking skills pretty much suck, so rather than feeling like the village idiot, I decided to take the 40-minute train from charming Villefranche to Ventimiglia, the first town over the border in Italy. While I won’t be winning any prizes for my knowledge of Italian, I sound like a genius in italiano compared to the moron I sound like in français (multiple classes notwithstanding). So off I went to the train station, armed with my Berlitz Italian Phrase Book & Dictionary just in case all my “questi” and “quelli” got stuck in translation.
Ahhh… what a delight to stroll into a city where things felt familiar! Granted, I’d never been to Ventimiglia, but how thrilling to see signs for a salumeria and a gelateria – and actually be able to intelligently ask for my purchase! And, of course, my Italian brothers never let me down… they’re always good for an admiring glance or two and a couple whistles for a single “signorina!” (I made sure to change into my “cute shoes” before I boarded the train for Italy – I know those so-called little things make a big difference in bella Italia.)
Continue January 3, 2009