Go Solo: Tips on Traveling Alone, and Loving It

INTERVIEW WITH OLIVIA FIERRO AT AZFAMILY.COM: Who needs a plus one to have fun? Michelle Ponto says she found freedom when she started traveling alone. Her adventures have taken her to 47 countries and counting and opened her to opportunities to work abroad. WATCH THE AZFAMILY INTERVIEW HERE Her book, Go Solo: How to Have Fun…

The Lion Tombs of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a surprising country. You never know what archeological treasures you are going to find when wondering around in the desert. Take for example these tombs.  They are located about 1 kilometer from the archeological site of Dedan and they date back to 5th century BCE. They are called the Lion Tombs not…

PHOTO MOMENT: Spring trails

If you live in the northern hemisphere, you take seasons for granted.  Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter…each year they are there to add some variety to your wardrobe and your day. As a runner, I’ve learned that seasons also help add variety to your run as your scenery changes from bare branches to buds to…

Owl Cafes in Japan

While working at The List, one of my co-workers went to Japan and visited a rabbit café.  This was a little café where you sip coffee and pet rabbits.  It sounded like a relaxing afternoon. They told me that they also have cat cafes in Japan. But it seems cats and rabbits are now old…

Goa during the monsoon season

For years people have been telling that if you go to India, you’ve to see Goa.  They didn’t tell me what I would see there. They also didn’t tell me that there are two different Goas: North and South. I learned about the difference while there. Apparently North Goa is a party haven, but South…

Bread making in Goa

In Goa, every village has their own bakery, and it’s much smaller than you think it would be. I know, because I signed up to make bread with a local Poder (bread maker) in Majorda while visiting the area. The bakery was located in a family home and was in a tiny stone room at…

Running the streets of Rome

When visiting Rome for your first time, what you’ll notice is how crowded and full of tourists the city is. They are everywhere – and most likely are in all of your photos. But tourists do sleep as I learned when I booked a Rome running tour through LivItaly. My guide (who was an American…

What would Romans do?

This past spring, one of my best girlfriends decided to try going solo. The plan was that she would do Paris on her own and then would meet me for a weekend in Rome so we could swap stories and catch up. The thing is that after spending a week running around Paris, you kind…

From a hidden garden to the Kasbah in Marrakech

After watching “Keeping Up with the Joneses” on a flight last year, I had to book a trip to Marrakech. The spy families made it seem so fantastic and my only other Morocco experiences have been surfing in Agadir and Tangier. Both were fun. Agadir was relaxing and Tangier was exotic.  Marrakech looked exotic and…

Royal Day Out

  On a recent 10-hour layover in London, I decided to skip the shopping or quickie tour and do something completely different. I signed up for a Royal Day Out. I found Lauren and Max on AirBnB Experiences. Their experience said, “Come spend a day with us by dressing up in 18th Century costumes and…

Learning to make pasta in Tuscany

I’ve been getting a lot of requests on how to make pasta after I had the afternoon lesson in Tuscany. I’m going to share the recipe below, but if you can visit Tuscany and learn from a Nona (grandma) like I did, please do. It was a great experience. After cycling the morning through the…

Mada’in Saleh Tombs

If you get the chance to visit Saudi Arabia, you need to visit the Mada’in Saleh tombs. The tombs are similar to the ones found in Petra, but unlike Petra, they currently don’t get a lot of visitors, which means there isn’t much security (actually no security that I could see).  And at the moment,…

Glamping in Kenya

When I tell people I spent 4 nights in a tent in Kenya surrounded by nothing but bush and wild animals, they are shocked.  But this wasn’t just any old tent. This was the Jamba Mutara Tented Camp where camping becomes glamping. The Jambo Mutara Camp has 15 tents and is the only accommodation in…

Escape to Zanzibar

Zanzibar…just saying it seems like it would be a fun place. In my mind, I was thinking monkeys, spices, dark aromatic coffee and colorful scarves and dresses. You know…the typical vacation place that Jack Sparrow would visit when taking a break from pirating on the seven seas. I was not to be disappointed. The island…

BLOG TALK RADIO: Go Solo

PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH THE FABULOUS TAMARA DORRIS:  We all have places we want to see, things we want to do and items we want to cross off our bucket list. Sure, it would be fun to do them with someone, but what if your soul mate hasn’t come along yet? Or what if no one…

Wine Tasting in Costa Brava

When in Girona, you need to take some time to taste the wine. The vineyards are located less than hour outside the city and Spain produces some of the best wine in Europe. The vineyard I visited was called Terra Romota, which means remote land – and it really is remote. Unless you knew it…

Catching Waves at Paradise Plage in Morocco

Surfing always looks so much fun when I see it on TV – and so graceful.  But then there’s me. I’m not graceful. I’m shaky and unbalanced and look tense when trying to surf. And that’s because I am all those things. Yet, I keep signing up for lessons. My latest surfing adventure was in…

Interview with The List

Want to get started on your “going solo” adventure? Check out my interview with Kristina Guerrero at The List. During the interview I talk about how I decided to “stop waiting and start doing,” and how that led to some amazing adventures. I also share three tips that you can use to travel the world,…

Hejaz: Not your average race

Runners are a strange breed. It doesn’t matter where I live, it seems we unintentionally are drawn to each other. It starts with a sleepy nod in the early morning as you pass a fellow runner in silence during your pre-dawn training. It then extends to “likes” on Instagram and local Facebook running groups as…

Greece: Cycling the Islands of Kalymnos and Nisiros

Cycling the islands of Greece is incredible. Each island is unique and because they are all tiny, you can generally do one a day – at least that’s what I did on my Duvine tour. Kalymnos we started in the port and then cycled up and over the island covering 25.2 miles and climbing 2,729…

Greece: Bike, sail, eat and repeat – Cycling Kos

  We gathered at the luggage collection area of the Kos airport. All of us looking a bit apprehensive, but that changed quickly as the nine of us got to know each other throughout the week. It’s one of the best things of the being on a Duvine Cycling Tour. The people. This tour was…

Running Costa Brava

As you know, I love to run. I also love Ragnar Relays, which are 200 mile running relays where you run with a team from one city to another. There’s something very fun about running and actually getting somewhere rather than running in a big circle like most marathons (although, I do still run marathons…

PHOTO MOMENT: Photo-bombing a Paris wedding

Exploring Paris on a cloudy spring morning and came across this couple taking wedding photos outside the Notre Dame. Their photos are going to be stunning. Naturally I couldn’t resist being a part of it.  

Schwing Festival – it’s a Swiss thing

For weeks my co-worker has been talking about Schwingfest (This was in 2016. I’m late with this blog post).  He had got tickets to this sold out event and had just ordered his button down blue shirt with little edelweiss flowers on it. “These are a Swiss thing,” he told me. “And everyone will be…

Partaking in History at Saudi ComicCon

  Did someone say ComicCon? They did…and I was there. This past weekend marked the first ever ComicCon event in Saudi Arabia and it was pretty amazing. It took place in Jeddah and the guests included Charles Dance and Julian Glover from “Game of Thrones”, Giancarlo Esposito from “Breaking Bad” and one of the world’s…

The Strange World of Old Jeddah

  Walking in Old Jeddah (also known as Al-Balad) is like going back in time, but strangely that time really isn’t all that long ago. While parts of it were built in the 7th Century as a route for the pilgrims on their way to Mecca, other parts were built just a 100 years ago….

Art scene in Saudi Arabia

People always seem to be surprised that art (and really good art) exists in Saudi Arabia.  There may be certain restrictions due to Muslim religion, but art can still bloom within restrictions.  And often what comes out are powerful and memorizing images that speak to you. This was the case of the Maïmouna Guerresi’s  Solo Exhibition…

Mesmerized by the art and words of Qin Tian

Qin Tian’s exhibit at KAUST in January 2017 Writing has always been a part of my life. I wrote my first novel when I was 6 about an Irish Setter named Cinnamon and his adventures living with a koala bear in New Zealand (it wasn’t very good). All my life, I have always jotted down…

Surfing in Muizenberg

  “Danger” is my middle name. No, not really. I’m actually more of an analytical risk-taker and what I mean by that is I know my limits and take risks that push them just a bit – like when it comes to surfing in Muizenberg.   Muizenberg is one of the top places to surf…