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Lake Tahoe Days

When can you start looking at the bright side of a major tragedy without seeming insensitive, or people muttering “Too soon”? Hurricane Sandy in October caused widespread damage and killed 253 people, but I read soon afterwards that it was good for at least someone: namely, ski resort operators in the west of the U.S. [...]

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Return to Stratford-Upon-Avon

It was high time I returned to Stratford-Upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s home town. The last time I visited was in 1997, and we’ve all changed a lot since then (apart from Shakespeare himself, who was already dead). At the time, it was part of one of those bus trips that are so handy when you don’t have [...]

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Japan the Cute

Some readers, aware that I spend a lot of time travelling, might wonder where I am. As I write this, I’m in the world’s cutest country. As I’ve mentioned before, “cute” is one of those words that is best defined through examples. Pandas, koalas, turtles. Smiley faces in people’s signatures. Renee Zellweger dressed as a [...]

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Roaming North Dakota

It’s time for a quiz. The question: What was the fiftieth State of the USA? You know, the last one to join the Union? You think it was Hawaii, right? Or perhaps, if you’re not American, your answer would be something like “How would I know obscure facts about American history?” Fair enough. Let me [...]

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Fine Dakota cuisine

Depending on what statistics you follow, either the US is the most obese nation on Earth, or it comes a close second. I’m sure it would leap to the number one spot if everywhere were like the Dakotas, where the food is served in spectacularly generous portions. Having said that, as a vegetarian I ate [...]

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Fossils of South Dakota

During my early childhood, I had an obsession with animals that could only be understood by someone who was under nine. I knew what an addax was (a type of antelope, from memory), and the difference between Bactrian and Dromedary camels. My favourite living animal, however, was the elephant. Easily. Not only are they the [...]

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24 hours in Boston

Boston by night

Boston is perhaps the most laid-back of the major cities on the US north-east coast. In contrast with the frenetic energy of New York or Washington, DC, it often seems Bostonians have no more urgent concern than whether their beloved Red Sox will win a baseball game. (That’s very important, however.) One of America’s oldest [...]

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The Most Overrated Travel Experiences

When not writing troublesome books and blogs, I’m fortunate enough to be an occasional travel writer. Here is my list for The Huffington Post of some of the most overrated things for the world traveler, including the world’s most overrated tourist attraction. You’ve heard of the seven wonders of the world (whatever they are); here [...]

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Dream Holidays

Like so many young Australians, I always wanted to go to England – and no, I didn’t want to visit Buckingham Palace. To me, the Mother Country had two main attractions: the seasonal Doctor Who exhibitions at the Longleat and Blackpool holiday spots. Yes, back then I was obsessed with Doctor Who (and if you [...]

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The Capricorn Coast: Party like it’s 1770

Published in The Canberra Times, 9 April 2011 Keppel Bay is very violent this morning. The choppy waters, causing our Freedom Fast Cat to rock like a fishing boat, are reminiscent of another famous Queensland attraction: Wet and Wild. Sick bags are handed out to the passengers (though happily, most of them remain unused), and [...]

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