Carl Turnley Travel

Carl Turnley discusses his love of and experience with travel.

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Life in Color

Lots of people who travel like to center their excursions around a particular theme. For example, you can go on a literary excursion and revisit the paths traveled from the heroes of your favorite novels. Some sports fans opt to tailor their trips around their love of the game: here’s a cool post about a guy who traveled with a buddy and hit every single MLB ballpark. Turns out these are great ways to see the country and acquaint yourself with your countrymen and fellow fans/enthusiasts. And it doesn’t just have to be domestic either! You can even plan a mythology tour and see some of the sites that have been embedded in the human conscious since antiquity.

These are all awesome ideas for trips, but what about something more abstract? Always feel free to mix and match and do your own thing, but here’s a cool starting point: colors. The idea came from a cool post on Mashable that featured photos from what are literally some of the world’s most colorful cities. The title of the piece references the actual need for #nofilter, and for good reason. These locales are a testament to the beauty of human alteration and expression in our everyday lives. It’s a cool way to see humans make their homes truly their own. Featured are places like Burano, a small Venetian island that features vibrantly painted homes, said to serve as a beacon for returning fishermen.

Other colors have celestial meanings. The Moroccan town of Chefchaouen has a blue hue, said to symbolize heaven— although blue does act as a mosquito repellent (perhaps heaven is free of mosquitos, too!). Similarly, the magnificent cathedrals of Moscow are meant to evoke a heavenly scene.

brown grassy hills

The “Chocolate Hills” of the Philippines

A “color run” needn’t be exclusively urban. You can also visit the natural landscapes that have a bit of “pop”. For starters, there’s the Arizona’s Painted Desert, in which the visibly stratified layers of sedimentary rocks appear as the streaks of a painter’s brush. Or, if you’re looking to escape the US, explore the Philippines’ Chocolate hills, which is really green grass that has turned to a dusky brown.

Color is all around us, and we don’t need a filter to bring out the best of it.

Don’t be a Stranger

Over half of Americans don’t have a passport. Officially, the number of citizens with a valid form of the identification hovers around 46%. If you’re one of the privileged who does have the ability to travel abroad, be sure to make the most of your journeys by not behaving like a clueless stranger.

There’s a good argument to made for not making the effort to blend in, though. Let’s say you travel to Europe during the sweltering summer— a popular time for families the world over to go on a vacation. Whether you’re exploring Paris or Venice during these peak travel times, you’re almost bound to find a fellow countryman in these densely populated areas. Naturally, congregating with people that share the same mother tongue, cultural habits, and worldviews means that you do not necessarily have to be en garde with regards to your accent, questions, and general out-of-placeness.

However, a Fall journey is a well known travel hack. Autumnal romps about the continent will mean cooler temperatures, less competition with gaggles of tourists, and thinner crowds. But it also means a reduced chance of the comforting feeling that comes with finding a fellow citizen abroad.

So what are you to do when you’re dead set on taking advantage of the cooler temperature and lower airfare, but don’t want to come across as the lone gawking tourist? You’re going to need to do a little research, but it’s worth it in the end.

And If France or Italy is on your radar, you’re in luck: travel consultant Faith Jolley, who actually grew up in the Hexagon has recently compiled a few tips on how to put locals at ease. Remember, you don’t need to change who you are. However, it is a common courtesy to adhere to other cultural norms and not force others to bend to the expectations of the stranger.


  • You may very well encounter lengthy lines here. But remember that patience is a virtue: take this time to ponder your place in the world and soak in the different sights and sounds you may not encounter back at home.
  • You don’t need to be fluent in another language to go travel abroad. But try to use the common salutations and valedictions. Be it “Hello”, “hola”, “buongiorno”, you’re at least showing that you’re willing to wade into the waters of multicultural exchange. This goes doubly in France. There, first-name exchanges are rare in formal/business settings, so a “Bonjour madame” is really the only way to go.
  • Get out and eat. Do not stay cooped up in your hotel and chow down on whatever they bring you. Forgo the provided breakfast (which is of usually shoddy quality anyway), and opt for a trip to the local cafe instead.
  • Get lost. Seriously. There’s nothing wrong with ambling about and just seeing where the road takes you. Don’t worry, in big cities like Paris, you’ll usually be safe. And metro stations seem to be everywhere, so as soon as your feet begin to tire, you can journey on home.


  • Pizza’s been largely co-opted by American tables. Nothing wrong with a pepperoni pie, but when you’re in the motherland you should consider getting it topped with figs and ham.
  • As with much of southern Europe, dinner is served on the later side. And not an American “7:00” late— expect to get your evening grub closest to 8pm, when the night is just getting started.
  • In many cities of Europe, Rome included, automobiles have the right of way. Just because you have the crosswalk does not mean you should expect cars to stop or slow down for you. Just be mindful of your spatial relationship with motorists, and you should be fine.
  • Much like midtown Manhattan, hailing a cab in Italy can seem to take a lifetime, defeating the time-saving qualities of a cab in the first place. Instead there are designated cab areas that you can go to in order to save yourself the headache.

Travel Times: the Food Edition

Let’s be honest: part of the thrill of traveling is all the delicious food you get to eat. But a lot of people, whether exploring unfamiliar locales at home or abroad, will be quick to flock to the familiars of big name fast food. These are the people that will go to New York and walk past a Deli or Pizza joint and stroll into a Subway or Sbarro’s. Or the ones who win a trip to Tokyo and indulge their appetite for McDonald’s.

We know that locals don’t necessarily always eat there. Each culture has its own foods– whether delicacies or common fare– that can cause tourists to raise a few eyebrows and reach for something that reminds them of the conveniences of home. While trying new foods can take a lot of mental preparation, kick back with the locals of whatever town or city or country you may be visiting, and give these “strange” foods a taste.

North America

Escamoles (Mexico)– This nutty tasting dish is made up of the edile ant larvae! The ants themselves are found near tequila agave and maguey.

Rocky Mountain Oysters (US)– These bad boys definitely aren’t oysters. Instead, they’re the prepared teticles of bulls and, less commonly, sheep or pigs. A stable of “cowboy fare”, you’re most likely to find these delicacies in the American West.

Jerk Chicken (Jamaica)– Delicious! Tangy and spicy, Jerk Chicken is the pinnacle of Caribbean flavor. What gives the chicken its unique flavor? It’s all in the rub– a combination of allspice and Scotch bonnet pepper.


Haggis (Scotland)– Offal has a place in cuisines all across the world. Scotland is represented by Haggis, a kind of pudding containing a mix of a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs (called “pluck”). Traditionally, it is served in the stomach of the sheep, but now you may find it in an artificial casing.

Steak Tartare (France)– When you order steak tartare, you’d better be ready to have a steak that’s rarer than rare. This dish contains raw ground beef served with onions and capers. It is usually served with a raw egg on top.

Svið (Iceland)– This delicacy is a remnant of the times when no part of the animal could go unused. Svið is a sheep’s head cloven in two and boiled. And yes, if you were wondering, the brain is removed. Many superstitions surround consumption of the dish: Don’t eat the ears, lest you be accused of theft; if you don’t break the bone under the tongue, a child who has never spoken a word will remain silent forever.


Khash (Middle East)– This Caucasian delicacy is also found in Iraq and Mongolia. It consists of a cow’s head (and sometimes feed), boiled into a stew. It is most commonly eaten at social settings near breakfast. Variants exist throughout the Caucasus region. For example, one Azerbaijani and Iranian derivative is known as Kale Pache, which uses sheeps head and hooves. Iraqi and Albanian spins also exist.

Kare Kare (Philippines)– This stew mainly consists of oxtail, but sometimes contains ham hocks and offal. Consumption of this comfort food stretches back to pre-colonial times, and was a favorite dish of the Elite classes.

Century Eggs (China)– These fermented quail, duck, and chicken eggs are a delicacy in china. They are preserved in an earthy mixture for up to several months, and eaten on special occasions. As you can imagine, they have a very strong smell, but a nation of at least 1 billion people find them super tasty!


Kangaroo (Australia)– Yup, Kangaroo meat is a thing. It was the traditional source of protein for many indigenous tribes. Today, you can find it in supermarkets and use it wherever you might use beef or other ground meats.

Marmite (Australia and New Zealand)– This is a spread that is made from the dregs of beer brewing. Sounds odd, but it is a savory addition that spreads on toast and crackers. It is also eaten in the UK.


Black Pudding (South Africa)– This is a kind of blood sausage made from congealed pork blood and oatmeal. Many people find it delicious, and it is widely consumed throughout Europe as well.

Jollof Rice (Nigeria, throughout West Africa)– This is an awesome and versatile rice dish. The rice is combined with onions and tomato paste, and can be served with nearly any type of meat or vegetable. It’s most likely an ancestor of Jambalaya.

Baklawa (Egypt)– This dessert pastry has its origins in Ottoman times. It consists of many layers filo dough and molasses, topped with nuts.

Classic London Attractions

The city of London, England, has been established now for roughly two millenia and, as the capital of England, is one of the World’s leading global cities.  Having prowess and prominence in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism, and transport, it is no wonder that London is recognized as a Global powerhouse and entity of success.

Should you ever have the opportunity to travel to this glorious city, there a few must-sees of the city. These sights, albeit tourist-y, would be a travesty to overlook on your travels. After all, they’re tourist destinations for a good reason- these locales are iconic and unique to this beautiful city, playing a part in what makes it such an unforgettable and classic destination.

Big Ben:

Even if you’ve never seen it, odds are high you’ve heard about it. Big Ben is the nickname for the stunning clock tower which is also a part of the palace of Westminster.  This neo-Gothic style tower is stunning in photos and even more breathtaking to behold in person.  Not to mention, in adding Big Ben to your sight-seeing list, you’ll be able to check off having seen Westminster Palace and the Parliament building as well, all of which embody historical feats of architecture.

Tower Bridge:

Also known as the, “London Bridge,” the Tower Bridge was completed and opened in 1894. Originally, the drawbridge was steam-powered, although today it is electrically operated, allowing large ships to pass through when they need to make their way upstream.  Just this past year (2014) the high level walkways of the bridge were upgraded with glass floors, allowing pedestrians to look down to the street, roughly 138 feet below.

Buckingham Palace:

If you’re in London, you simply cannot miss the home of the Royal Family. As I’m sure you can imagine, the home of the Queen is not typically open for visitors.  That said, if you happen to visit during the summer months, the interior is open for a short time during this season.  On this visit inside, one can viethe State Rooms, still used to entertain dignitaries and guests of state, and part of the gardens. The outdoor visitor route includes a short stroll along the west side of the palace garden, in which you can see views of the garden, palace and nineteenth-century lake.

The Queen’s Gallery is open year-round, allowing guests to view her personal collection of treasures, including paintings by Rubens and Rembrandt.  Definitely worth checking out!

These locales are just 3 of the endless things to do in London, England. Hopefully this will pique your interest and get you excited about all of the possibilities within London!

First Blog Post

Hi there, and welcome to my travel blog.  Be sure to stay tuned, there’s plenty to come!