Archive for the 'Travel' Category

April 9th, 2012


My bags are packed! My iOS devices are synced and charged! I’m leaving tomorrow morning for a couple of days in Amsterdam before departing on the MacMania 14 cruise down the Rhine river, visiting various German, French, and Swiss locations before ending in Basel a week later (and then—super excited about this—a tour of CERN and some free time in Geneva).

As I said when I first wrote about this cruise just over a year ago, I’ll be teaching classes about interesting things you can do with iOS devices and Macs, and I’ve got all kinds of cool stuff planned. Time and energy permitting—wouldn’t that be a change?—I’ll try to post some photos and impressions of the cruise over the next couple of weeks.

March 28th, 2011

Care to Join Me for a Cruise?

Hey, are you busy a year from next month? Care to join me for a cruise…and a tour of CERN?

I’ll be a featured speaker on the MacMania 14 cruise, which will run from April 12–19, 2012. This is the first time MacMania is doing a river cruise, and it sounds fantastic: leave from Amsterdam and follow the Rhine through Germany (and, eventually, along the French border), with stops in such interesting locations as Cologne and Strasbourg. The cruise ends in Basel, after which you can opt for an add-on tour of CERN in Geneva (I’m so there!) or a few days exploring Paris (I’m, uh, already there). The classes I conduct will cover both Macs and iOS devices, with a special emphasis on the iPad. (By the way, if you read the descriptions of my sessions, you may be able to find a subtle clue as to the subject of my next Take Control book.) Other MacMania 14 speakers are Josimar King and Chris Marquardt.

But wait, there’s more! This particular cruise happens to share the same ship and itinerary as the Bright Horizons 12 cruise, sponsored by Scientific American. So you can also attend seminars on astronomy, neuroscience, and other fascinating scientific topics.

The cruise and its various add-ons are, as these things tend to be, on the pricey side, but I think it’ll be money extremely well spent. Start saving your pennies (or centimes) now.

A good time will be had by all; I hope you’ll join us!

July 24th, 2007

Our new Paris blog: Truffles for Breakfast

We’ve been promising this for a long time, and it has finally sprung to life: Truffles for Breakfast, our new blog about life in France.

Our original idea had been that we’d start the blog at the same time that we “officially” started the process of trying to get to France, so that we could document everything we went through—applying for our visas, dealing with all our household goods, etc.—in real time. Unfortunately, all that stuff kept us so busy that we didn’t have time to write about it too. But now that we’re here and most of the difficult work is behind us, we finally have time to sit down and reflect on what happened before, as well as begin writing about day-to-day life here.

As I said in Introducing Truffles for Breakfast, one reason for the new blog is laziness (or, to put it more positively, efficiency): it saves us from having to retell our stories many times. But we also hope it’ll be an inspiration for anyone who’s thought about doing something like this, and a resource for people who want to move to France in particular but have found the existing information available to be somewhat unhelpful.

We’ve got about a dozen posts up already, with dozens more in the pipeline. Enjoy!

July 22nd, 2007

Striking a Nerve

Since I announced that we’d moved to France (both on this blog and on Interesting Thing of the Day), I’ve received lots and lots of feedback—some in comments, but most by email. The vast majority of people who have written have been enthusiastic that we’re doing something we really want to do; more than a few people have said they would love to do something similar.

But today, I got two messages, from two different senders (neither of them known to me), along the same lines:

Message 1:

Enjoy France, That is just enough information for me to remove you from my homepage. I do not have any love for France.

Message 2:

I liked this better before I learned you had bailed the good old U.S. of A. and fled to subversive France.

I would like to be understanding, sympathetic, conciliatory. But…seriously? You honestly mean to say that you liked me, or at least my writing, until you found out that I’m living in France—and that alone is a complete deal-breaker? Really? Every single person who steps within the borders of France, for any reason, is anathema to you? It boggles my mind.

I can only guess what’s prompting these comments. My supposition is that they’re from people who are unhappy about France’s military nonparticipation in the Middle East conflicts. People who, in protest, (still) eat Freedom Fries. I don’t know this to be the case, but it seems likely.

If my guess is correct, and if that’s the only rationale behind these comments, then I feel even sadder about the quality of education in the United States than I did before, because clearly some basic facts about France haven’t gotten through. Politically speaking, France is considerably more conservative, on the whole, than the U.S.—and it just elected a very conservative president who’s a big fan of George W. Bush. There’s also much more popular support for the military here than in the States. (On the other hand, there’s also (at least here in Paris) vastly more acceptance of people with other cultural backgrounds, especially people from Muslim countries.)

Those important facts aside, the whole notion of saying that because a country’s political leaders made certain decisions, the whole country is bad (or good) is incomprehensible to me. The United States has millions of patriotic, flag-waving Democrats who have disagreed with pretty much everything Bush has done but still love their country, and France, too, has plenty of citizens whose views on war differ from those of their leaders. How anyone can paint an entire country—tens or hundreds of millions of people—with the same brush is beyond me.

So, for the record, my moving to France has nothing whatsoever to do with my political views about either country. Good bread is good bread, regardless of who you do or don’t want to shoot.