Nothing worthwhile ever happens quickly and easily. You achieve only as you are determined to achieve … and you keep at it until you have achieved ☼ Robert H. Lauer

Travel☼ rss

The Security Manifesto of Schiphol

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August 2, 2014

I remember the first time I returned to my hometown after spending my first year abroad. My connecting flight was routed through Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, and the incredible security measures at LAX were so surprising I remember them every time I fly back to the US. Drug detecting dogs descended on the line of weary passengers…. Read More ›

Instant Coffee: Why China and Colombia Reject the Good Stuff

Instant coffee consumption is on the rise in China and Colombia – but not for the same reasons. A sound marketing strategy mandates that companies adapt to local tastes, à la McDonald’s bringing vegetarian choices to India. In terms of coffee, it appears Chinese patrons have been able to capitalize on this, while Colombians haven’t… Read More ›

World Wise Schools and the Third Goal (It’s a Small World After all!)

When recently perusing the archives for the IAG Awards at the Harvard Kennedy School, I couldn’t help but notice a series of programs from the 1998 submission pool which included entries that were all too familiar. Among the over 1,400 submissions for the year, were three Peace Corps programs I personally came to know and… Read More ›

El Bloqueo: The Swiss Cuban Cigar Trade

Grand Genève. The Capital of World Peace.  “The most boring city in all of Europe.” … and illicit hub for the Habanos cigar trade? The 1962 U.S. embargo on Cuban goods may have seen reinforcement in the 1996 Helms – Burton Act, but in many cases there’s no touching the Swiss and their sneaky ways. Apparently banking… Read More ›

Fifteen Swans and Counting

After a beautiful day of coffee shop scrounging and street festival enjoyment, we found ourselves back by the water’s edge. After four years I am back in Geneva, and it feels so good to get more time with the city. The first week has been incredibly action packed. More updates to follow☼

Caves Ouvertes: Three Kisses on the Cheek and Vin!

“Enjoy Moderately, Love Passionately.” I kicked off my summer with the Geneva Interns Association to celebrate Caves Ouvertes (Open Cellars) Day in the form of wine tasting at several vineyards on the outskirts of the Geneva Canton. Unlike venues back home in the Santa Barbara wine tasting scene, the vineyards in Geneva followed an astute… Read More ›

Visa Drama Visa!

I applied for a post one time as a consulate adjudicator in China (unsuccessfully). As a contract position with the Foreign Service, it came with free accommodation, double holidays (both Chinese and American) and a generous starting salary in US dollars. One thing I’ll never understand: If consulate life is so sweet, then why are… Read More ›

Housing Scams: Beware!

Recently, when hunting for summer housing in Switzerland, the strangest thing happened. I don’t completely grasp the logistics of the operation, but I may have accidentally unearthed an institution! It started with an apartment, a perfect space to live the life I’ve always dreamed – only appropriate when about to undergo the opportunity of a… Read More ›

The Biggest Baddest Bucket List!

Hi everyone! My friend Jean just made this great video about her home town Kuching, Malaysia! She’s trying to win the ‘Biggest Baddest Bucket-List’ Competition by showcasing Kuching and all its wonders! I met Jean last summer, when I couchsurfed through Borneo, and she was an absolutely amazing person who exercised all sorts of kindness… Read More ›

The Problem with Xinjiang

Xinjiang is the Uyghur Autonomous Region that makes up most of Northwestern China. It’s received a lot of attention over the years, as tension continues to spur violent protests and ethnic clashes. Just a few days ago, on March 7, four new casualties were added to the death toll when violence broke out in the… Read More ›