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Mother | Worldschooler | Traveler | Peace Corps Mali ‘98-’00 | Top Writer: Parenting, Travel | Founder of Deliberate Detour. Read more

Allow me to enumerate your concerns

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The question first came when I was 17. My high school peers, heading to college, wondered how I could take a year off before going to university myself (this in the days before Malia Obama popularized the gap year). “Won’t you be behind?” they asked. Behind what, I wondered?

More questions arose when I entered Peace Corps in West Africa after college. “Don’t you need to start working?” people wondered. Don’t I have a lifetime of that, I thought? “I wish I could take off like that,” they told me, “but I can’t.”

Immersive world travel, the type where travelers…

While still home during the pandemic

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When the COVID-19 pandemic absconded with my family’s around-the-world trip, I settled into a sequestered home life and a stillness I hadn’t anticipated. Plans to roam Czech streets, dart from shadow to shadow in Luxor, and watch baby sea turtles in Sri Lanka sadly faded as I turned my attention to my daughters’ digital learning.

Like many parents, I became more connected to specific content my children received at school and realized that introduction to world cultures was years away. I decided to do something about that.

I’ve always felt shocked and dismayed at the lack of global knowledge my…


5 tips for making world travel meaningful for you and those you meet

Mother and her son are tourists and sit on a boat in the Mekong River, Vietnam.
Photo: Denis Moskinov/Shutterstock

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that individuals in one corner of the world can profoundly impact people in another corner. The emergence of a virulent virus in Asia can provoke the loss of 30 million jobs in the United States.

The closure of a factory in Mexico can create a dearth of produce in North America. The cessation of travel by wealthy residents of the Global North can compel desperate Kenyans to marry off their daughters as young as 9.

While millions of people have lost their lives, loved ones, homes, or livelihoods in the last 12 months, millions…

Travel- Quiz

A light-hearted quiz for those stuck at home

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As you wait to travel the world again, take this quiz to see what type of traveler you are. Mark your choices on a sheet of paper, and scroll to the bottom to learn how to score your answers.

  1. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
  • a.) Resting on a beach in Cancun
  • b.) At the Uffizi Gallery in Florence with the da Vincis and Botticellis
  • c.) Gazing up at the Parthenon in Greece
  • d.) Spending time at home with my best friend
  • e.) All of these sound great
  • f.) Hiking the Todra…

The power of the moment

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We knew the bus had no windshield when we boarded it, but we felt unconcerned. Maybe we’d been in Africa too long at that point to be surprised. Perhaps we couldn’t envision what the ride might be like without glass. Maybe we didn’t care.

Jimmie and I knew enough to walk far down the aisle, though, and we settled into the back row of the bus. We’d chosen to travel at night hoping sleep would help the 12-hour journey pass more quickly.

As the vehicle made its way south, Mopti, the dusty city on the Niger River, had already begun…

Guide to my most popular stories | March 15, 2021

Twice per month month, I update this list, highlighting what my readers consider my most compelling stories. Medium has named me Top Writer in Travel and Parenting, and I dabble…

And what to eagerly anticipate in 2021

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Grounded travelers have been pacing the perimeter of our rooms like caged animals since March. Many of us have canceled more than one journey or forfeited visas. While it’s unsympathetic to complain when people are risking or losing their lives to COVID-19, we can certainly feel gloomy, fidgety, and confined.

Thankfully, the global community has come together to sustain one another as best we can.

Curious souls can stare at Bran Castle in Romania, the former home of Vlad the Impaler on whom Count Dracula is based, or watch people traverse intersections in Tokyo. British writer Robert Macfarlane, famous for…

5 tips on how to publish it anyway

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Writers write for different reasons. We may use words to process an event or tragedy, unraveling our convoluted thoughts. We may plug a void with our voice or perspective. We may be attracted to the craft itself, using metaphor or other literary devices to express our ideas. We may share our expertise with a wider community.

I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever. - Stephen King, On Writing

While our motivations may differ, writers do share one type of experience: every so often, we’re…

How to travel well in 2021

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Grounded travelers around the world are tired of waiting. You’ve been gazing at family members or roommates across the living room for almost a year, and your heart craves views of Dubrovnik’s red walls, Costa Rica’s green jungles, and Thailand’s blue water. The most fidgety of you are planning your next journey before being vaccinated.

Formerly overcrowded destinations sit empty. Deals and discounts abound. Airfare is inexpensive.

Some of you cannot resist.

We’re not here, in this article together, to discuss the ethics of your decision. We’re here to discuss how to travel well, how to travel right.

(My family…

Stephanie Tolk

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