Monthly Archives: October 2010

Coping with Post-Travel Stillness Disorder

I have a job. A corporate job. I work there just six months months a year, then travel from spring into fall. The job pays well, but for the six months I’m there the company owns me. Literally. I work long hours not under the sun as I did with the carnival, but under fluorescent lights, at a desk, inside a cubicle. It’s dark when I leave for work, and dark when I return. My commute each way is roughly 90 minutes, from the time I leave one place until I arrive at the other. Soon, everyone will look ghoulishly… Continue Reading

From Around the Travelsphere

CRIME One year after three people died in a sweat lodge ceremony gone awry, the New York Times reports last week that bad vibes still linger in Sedona, Arizona, known for its spiritual vortexes, pyschics and crystal shops. Those bad vibes they blame on former New Age guru James Arthur Ray, who goes on trial in February for three counts of manslaughter. Prosecutors say that Ray crammed more than 50 people into a 415-square-foot sweat lodge and chided them for wanting to leave, even as people were vomiting, getting burned by hot rocks and lying on the ground. Three died,… Continue Reading

Chinatown, Philadelphia

Chinatown, Philadelphia – This is one of those communities that might not be long for this world. Philadelphia’s Chinatown seems in a perennial fight for survival from the interests of the city’s business and political establishment, which over the years have chipped away at Chinatown as a viable community or sought to exploit residents for commercial gain. Located in the Center City district of Philadelphia, the area is a stark contrast to the blocks that envelop it. Bound in by the Vine Expressway to the north, a convention center to the west, the Gallery Mall to the south, a transit… Continue Reading

From Around the Travelsphere: Bad Trips, Dark Tourism and More

Bad Trips After saving for nearly five years, British backpacker Rebecca Callaghan, 21, was two weeks into a three-month adventure when a rogue wave on a Thai beach swept her from the arms of her boyfriend and out to sea last June. The Daily Mail reports, “The sea was initially calm, but a massive wave came suddenly and separated the couple, dragging them under the water.” The tragedy occurred on Thailand’s popular Koran Beach, where at least 20 people have died so far this year after being carried off in unusually strong rip tides. At an inquest held in Britain… Continue Reading

Putting the Brakes on Highway Killings

This map shows the more than 500 cases in the FBI's Highway Serial Killings Initiative database the red dots mark where bodies or remains have been found along highways over the past 30 years. Last week, USA Today ran a fascinating story on the FBI’s Highway Serial Killer Initiative, shedding light on a disturbing subculture of long-haul truck drivers who kill. Turns out they kill a lot. Or maybe there’s just a lot of them. No one really knows. Regardless, the body count is rising. Over the last 30 years, more than 500 people, mostly prostitutes, hitchhikers and, to a… Continue Reading

From Around the Travelsphere: Car Camping Edition

If you’re like me, traveling, living and sleeping in your vehicle, odds are you’ve woken up to a cop tapping on your window, shouting at you to exit the ride. Moments like these are fraught with anxiety, especially if you aren’t familiar with the ordinances of the city you’re in. Worse case scenario is you’ll be booked for trespassing, your vehicle towed and your bank account set back a few hundred bucks. If the cop has a heart, he’ll simply run your name then tell you to scram, as happened with a car camper in Steamboat Springs, CO, on Sept.… Continue Reading

Crime, Victims and Cultural Makeovers: I Missed You Philly!

Philadelphia, PA – Philly is short on many things but criminal intrigue isn’t one of them. Really, Law and Order should’ve come here instead of Los Angeles, a cliched backdrop for any drama. Were L&O‘s producers looking for a wellspring of seedy storylines they needed to look no farther than Philly, a city virtually untapped by television. Here, Dick Wolf would’ve quickly realized the daily police blotter is chock full of opening scenes. Take the last 24 hours for example: Yesterday a group of children find a bullet-ridden body in a Fentonville park on the city’s north side. Later,… Continue Reading