Why Maps and Meditations?

Both travel and meditation play a role in my fantasy books- but more importantly, they’ve played a big role in my life and who I am as a person. Here’s what I mean…

Travel

Mark Twain wrote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views (...) cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

To me, that’s what travel is really about. Of course, I enjoy seeing new places, too- but it’s the exposure to new perspectives and ways of life that is most important.

Meditation

As much as I love travel… I believe looking inward is more valuable than looking outward. 

I like to focus on the “why” and the end goals of meditation… which includes all things self-improvement, life balance, and connection to something greater than ourselves.
 


Tales from the Road

Legends of DIA part 3: Underground tunnels and secret societies

Legends of DIA part 3: Underground tunnels and secret societies
Jun 30, 2019 by Tamara Spell
The odd stories and conspiracy theories of Denver International Airport don't end with just a demon horse and watchful gargoyles... In fact, there's a whole network of underground tunnels, a mysterious plaque linked to the Freemasons, and rumors of lizard people.

My 5 Favorite Things about Being a Woman in the United Arab Emirates

My 5 Favorite Things about Being a Woman in the United Arab Emirates
Nov 04, 2018 by Tamara Spell
When I tell people I lived in the Middle East, there's always one question that follows - What was it like to be a woman there?

And while I can't speak to all Middle Eastern countries, I can say that being a Western woman in the United Arab Emirates came with surprisingly few restrictions - and even a few advantages. Here are my 5 favorite things about being a woman in Abu Dhabi...

Notre Denver: The good-luck gargoyles of DIA

Notre Denver: The good-luck gargoyles of DIA
Oct 11, 2018 by Tamara Spell

A shout out to the twin gargoyles who watch over and protect travelers from lost luggage.

This has been harder than I thought

This has been harder than I thought
Aug 01, 2018 by Tamara Spell
This isn't my first time to India, but it has been different than my previous visits in a few ways. Everything from people staring, to "creepy crawlies," to squeaky toy horns on the rickshaws present unique challenges every day- with a mix of fun surprises, too. It's all part of traveling deeper, and keeping an open mind.

Why I return to the same places I've traveled to before

Why I return to the same places I've traveled to before
Jul 27, 2018 by Tamara Spell
When it comes to traveling, it's tempting to try to cram in as many sites and destinations as possible into our limited vacation time. But I would argue that there's a lot to be discovered by returning to a place you've been to before, traveling slower and soaking up the vibe and daily life of your chosen destination, and experiencing more than you did the first time around.

Legends of DIA Part 1: Blucifer

Legends of DIA Part 1: Blucifer
Jul 05, 2018 by Tamara Spell
Airport travel usually isn't very interesting- just bustling through crowds and trying to find a quiet spot among thousands of people. However, the Denver International Airport is a fascinating place if you stop to take a look around or research some of it's many conspiracy theories. As a writer, I find this incredibly interesting, and I'm going to share some of the stories here- I'll start with the most well-known of all: Blucifer, the Blue Mustang.

Thoughts on Mailboxes

Thoughts on Mailboxes
Oct 11, 2017 by Tamara Spell
I think, in many ways, my life was less complicated without a mailbox. It was one less thing on my to-do list, and I no longer had heaps of junk mail to sort through.

When it came to mailboxes and voicemail, there was something freeing about not being attached to them. With travel and the experience of a new culture, sometimes it’s the small differences like this that you remember the most.

How I Dress for Long Flights

How I Dress for Long Flights
Aug 22, 2017 by Tamara Spell
I love to travel! Living overseas granted me the amazing opportunity to explore more of the world. However, as much as I love seeing new places, I have to admit that long plane rides and airport transits can get pretty tiring. Planning your wardrobe makes all the difference in terms of comfort. Here are my recommendations...

Vegetarian Restaurants

Vegetarian Restaurants
Feb 10, 2017 by Tamara Spell
Cooking class in Hoi An, Vietnam
I understand that, for many parts of the world, a vegetarian diet just isn’t the norm, and I don’t expect them to change that just because tourists and expats come there. However, when I did find some restaurants that offered a variety of good vegetarian dishes, I really appreciated it. It made it much easier for me during my travels, and I tried some really delicious foods! Here's my list of places I'd recommend...

Monsters on Display in Cebu

Monsters on Display in Cebu
Jan 23, 2017 by Tamara Spell
The monster collection at the Cebu Airport in the Philippines includes: Kapre, Tikbalang, Duwende, and, last but not least, Manananggal.

Why don't we have this much fun at US airports?


 

Holly and Luna's Big Adventure (as told by Holly)

Holly and Luna's Big Adventure (as told by Holly)
Jan 04, 2017 by Tamara Spell
Traveling with pets can be challenging for both the humans and the animals involved, but I'm glad I was able to bring my two cats home from the Middle East, and have them in the cabin with me the whole trip. Here's Holly's story of her big travel adventure...

The Animals of Langkawi

The Animals of Langkawi
Jul 08, 2016 by Tamara Spell
Langkawi, Malaysia is a beautiful place to visit, with tropical beaches, green mountains, and one of the longest cable car rides in the world. But the real highlight for me was the wildlife. Here's a tip for when you travel there: Skip the more expensive rooms over the water, and instead opt for a rainforest chalet, where you can watch monkeys, flying lemurs, and other animals from your balcony.

The Elephants of Pinnawala

The Elephants of Pinnawala
Jul 01, 2016 by Tamara Spell
In Pinnawala, Sri Lanka, there is a rescue facility for injured and orphaned elephants.  You can visit the orphanage, but you can also hang out by the river to see them when they walk here for their daily bath.

                        

Funny Signs

Funny Signs
Jun 23, 2016 by Tamara Spell
It's good to keep a sense of humor while traveling. These are some of the funniest signs I've run into so far. My favorite right now: "No vomiting in the Skydome"

Ramadan in the UAE

Ramadan in the UAE
Jun 12, 2016 by Tamara Spell
I learned a lot by living in a Muslim country during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and increased prayers. It's one of those unique travel moments where you really get to experience another culture. Here's what happens in the United Arab Emirates...

3D Art in Langkawi

3D Art in Langkawi
May 06, 2016 by Tamara Spell
3D art museum Langkawi- escaping from a hungry hippo
There are plenty of beautiful things to see in Langkawi, but be sure not to skip the 3D art museum. It's a ton of fun!

       

The Storm and the Tea Lodge

The Storm and the Tea Lodge
May 05, 2016 by Tamara Spell
Sometimes, it takes being cut off from modern amenities and plunged into cave-like darkness in order to slow down from hectic modern life, and to really sit still and focus on the present moment. In this travel adventure, I got startled awake in the middle of the night- but I found the calm in the storm, and woke up to real tranquility the next morning.

More than Just a Blessing

More than Just a Blessing
May 05, 2016 by Tamara Spell
About to receive a Buddhist blessing in Sri Lanka. It was one of those travel experiences that makes you think about life more deeply.Travel is about connecting with people and expanding your own mindset, even more than it is about seeing beautiful or interesting places. I was fortunate to have such an experience in Sri Lanka, when I helped with an English class at a local temple. They said I was helpful... but I felt like I was the one who received a gift.

A Day in the Abu Dhabi Life

A Day in the Abu Dhabi Life
May 05, 2016 by Tamara Spell
In Abu Dhabi, the mix of many different cultures means I get to meet a lot of new people and learn new things- which is really the best part of travel. However, a lot of my daily activities are not all that different from home. See what I've been up to, and what I get to do for fun in the Middle East.

Simplicity Isn't Always Simple

Simplicity Isn't Always Simple
May 05, 2016 by Tamara Spell
Moving to the other side of the world can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. For me, this experience taught me the value of traveling light.