Why I Travel Like A Psycho

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Photo credit: Luxury Travel Magazine

Wooooooh! Woooooooh! The trend train is leaving the station and I’m going to miss it – again. I’ve lost track of all the ones that have passed me by; fedoras, “Breaking Bad”, and kimchi come to mind. Continue reading

10 Ways To Make Every Day A Vacation Day

Used all of your vacation days by April 1? Forgot to chip in on the weekend beach house rental? Avoiding the lunchroom because you don’t want to hear who’s going where next week? Don’t despair. Here are 10 ways to put a little getaway into every day.

1. Pack a beach towel in your briefcase. Take a 15-minute break from your desk and sit outside in the sun. If anyone asks, explain that your doctor recommended it as therapy for your low Vitamin D levels. If they continue to pry, gently remind them of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

2. Take an outdoor shower. Nothing feels better than showering under an open sky. If you don’t have one, a garden hose will do. Grab a bar of soap (Try “Sea Vegetable” from LUSH – smells like lime and seaweed.), lather up and let the sun dry you off. Then, take a bow for the neighbors.

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Is There A Lesser Evil? 5 Options For Getting To The Airport

Travel makes you stupid.

I don’t sleep the night before a trip anymore. I used to – B.A. – before Anchorage. We had a crack of dawn flight from NY to Alaska to begin a family cruise. I was startled to hear the doorbell ring. I stumbled downstairs and found my mom, dad, and van driver standing on the porch, wondering why the 5 of us weren’t ready to leave for the airport. Apparently I’d forgotten to set the alarm clock.

St. Barts Grand Fond

Want to visit paradise? Unfortunately, you’ll have to go through hell first. (Photo: ©The Open Suitcase LLC)

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How To Visit Vietnam, Thailand, And California In Just One Night

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Get ready to drool! Sriracha is a documentary about the origins of the hot sauce. If you believe in the power of sriracha + mac & cheese, you must see this film. (Photo: “Sriracha”)

Inspired by a recent post by Jessie on a Journey, I decided to travel without leaving home. Without leaving my kitchen, actually. Like the rest of the world, I’m a huge fan of Sriracha, the wickedly good hot sauce. I assumed it was an Asian import. It is, kind of. I learned all about it by watching “Sriracha“, a charming documentary about the sauce, directed by NYC-based filmmaker Griffin Hammond. It’s available for streaming on Vimeo for $2.99.

The sauce creator, David Tran, left Vietnam as a refugee in the ‘70′s. He, along with thousands of others, settled in California. These immigrants brought with them their love of phở, big bowls of broth and noodles, but it was missing the hot sauce served at home. David concocted a simple mash of chiles, garlic, and pepper and began filling bottles by hand. Today, Huy Fong Foods, produces 3,000 bottles an hour, bottles that are in practically every restaurant kitchen and college apartment in America.

The sauce may have first appeared in Thailand in the coastal town of Si Racha. The filmmaker travels there to taste our Sriracha’s slightly sweeter cousin. All of this food porn made me very hungry indeed. I was particularly taken with the Thai version of on omelet, cooked up in oil, served over jasmine rice, and slathered with sauce. This is what I wanted. This is what I needed. I probably could have improvised a recipe, but I wanted it to be just right and I found this version of kai jeow on The Kitchn.

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Love at first bite. If this is typical of Thai street food, I need to get on a plane now. (Photo: Anjali Prasertong)

I would not have thought of including fish sauce in the beaten eggs. But it was the perfect complement to the Sriracha. And the best part about my mid-week kitchen journey? I only had a couple of dishes to wash instead of a suitcase of dirty laundry.

Forget Free WiFi. Here’s What I REALLY Want In A Hotel

The Liberty Hotel @The Open Suitcase LLC

The Liberty Hotel in Boston was a prison. The cellblocks overlook the lobby that transforms into a dance club on the weekends. “Jailhouse Rock” anyone?

What defines a great hotel? A billion-dollar location certainly. Would the Plaza Hotel be the Plaza if it wasn’t sitting at the entrance to Central Park? Spectacular rooms? Of course. I’ll take a 4-poster bed with sumptuous pillows and a Juliet balcony at The Gritti Palace in Venice any day.

But I think the hotel industry has forgotten the one feature that can easily take a hotel from good to GREAT. And it’s not free WiFi, heavenly beds, or fragrance butlers. When renovating or building hotels, I’m suggesting that the Marriotts, Hiltons, and Hyatts of the world ignore the rooms, forget modern amenities and bring back a feature of legendary historic hotels: the killer lobby. Continue reading