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Travel Cultures Language

Connecting Through the Universal Language of Music

by Meredith Mullins on May 4, 2015

Two dancers in white at the rue Mouffetard in Paris, showing that music is the universal language of connection. (Image © Meredith Mullins)

Sunday morning dancing on the rue Mouffetard in Paris
© Meredith Mullins

A Reminder of Old Paris: Singing and Dancing on the Rue Mouffetard

I want to make people cry, even when they don’t understand my words.   —Edith Piaf

It’s Sunday morning in the Square St Médard in Paris. I am singing in the warm sun . . . belting out the words “Tant que l’amour inondera mes matins” from Edith Piaf’s “L’Hymne à l’Amour” (The Hymn to Love).

With my limited French, I don’t quite understand what the words mean; but the song swells up inside and puts a little lump of emotion in my throat. I feel an unexplainable nostalgia.

India—Cultural Encounters of the Colorful Kind

by Meredith Mullins on March 16, 2015

Flower seller, car-to-car, cultural encounters in Northern India that provide travel inspiration. (Image © Meredith Mullins)

A car-to-car flower seller in Delhi
© Meredith Mullins

Travel Inspiration from Northern India

I expected sensory overload . . . and India delivered.

  • Bright colors warmed by the sun
  • Labyrinthine bazaars, far more organized than first glance implies
  • Horn blasts and shrill shouts from streets crowded with cars, rickshaws, animals, cycles, and carts
  • Spices that pervade the body—smell, taste, and touch
  • Dust and wood-fire smoke permeating air and clothes
  • Mounds of golden flowers—in markets and on shrines to the gods
  • People living their lives in the open—in the streets, on rooftops, in alleys, in unwalled shops, or in just about any open space
Rooftop in Old Delhi, cultural encounters in Northern India that provide travel inspiration. (Image © Meredith Mullins)

Up on the roof . . . in Old Delhi
© Meredith Mullins

What I did not expect was the depth of hospitality or the pride of place that I experienced from the people of India.

Adventure Cycling: Wheeling Past the Dogs of Mexico

by Eva Boynton on October 28, 2014

Drawing of one of the dogs of Mexico, part of the life lessons learned on an adventure cycling trip to Mexico (Drawing © Eva Boynton)

They were mangy, big, wild . . . and fast!
Drawing by Eva Boynton

Life Lessons on Wild Things

They were mangy. They were small. Big, brown, white, spotted, black. Some had long hair and others had it short. They were mutts. They were purebreds. And they did not discriminate between man, woman or child, local or foreigner. They were the dogs of Mexico.

Bicycle by house in Mexico, part of the life lessons offered on an adventure cycling trip with the dogs of Mexico (Photo © Eva Boynton)

Mexico awaits
© Eva Boynton

Don’t Go!

Many people warned me about Mexico. I was headed on a 2,500-mile adventure cycling trip from California to Mexico City (of course this number does not calculate back roads, side trips, and wrong turns).

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