One glance out of the plane’s window while descending for arrival in Reykjavik, Iceland reveals a startling lack of roads. The only one clearly visible is a dual-lane road snaking off into the distance from the airport. It’s a scene that would be desolate if not for the stunning scenery of ancient volcanoes, coastline and dramatic rock formations covered in dense moss. During my last trip there, the driver I’d hired to escort me to a town on the country’s western coast met me in the Arrivals Hall and led me outside to an enormous four-wheel drive utility vehicle, explaining […]
Beijing is a cool capital city. The intersection of China’s rich history and modern culture is conspicuous. Couples in his/her matching t-shirts wander alongside historic temples and gardens. When you’re in London, curbsides say, “Look Left” to remind us that we’re in Europe. When you’re in Beijing, just look every-which-way. Many Chinese individuals I connected with were rule followers; I was afraid to fly a kite in the Forbidden City. However, cars come from every direction. Add the motorbikes and the standard bicycles, and we’ve got a hot mess. It was 100 degrees at the height of summer. Not so […]
I celebrated International George Cayley Appreciation Day for the first time on December 27th. Is International George Cayley Appreciation Day a real holiday? As far as I know: no. Should it be? Absolutely! George Cayley is credited with inventing the seatbelt (among many other things). After my near-death car crash in Zambia this past summer, I reflected a lot on the fact that I most certainly would not have survived if I had not been wearing a seatbelt (something all too common among both nationals and expatriates on African roads). As someone who was raised Jewish, I have grown to appreciate […]
Classic wisdom states you can never go home. Technically you can always travel back to where you came from, but it will not be the same as when you left it. Time passes on. Home is not dunked in formaldehyde upon your departure, perfectly preserved for your return. After college, I returned to my small hometown in up-state New York. Among the many changes, my favorite dessert shop had closed, replaced by a Weight Watchers. Several years after graduation, a visit to my college alma mater was principally marked by getting lost and discovering the neighborhood grocery no longer carried […]
About the Authors
At Grand Central Station when she was 9 years old, Debra Bokur decided that a different train from the one her parents were boarding looked as though it might be going someplace more interesting, so she took that one instead. She still loves trains, and has since traveled the world as an award-winning journalist, magazine editor and filmmaker.
Bobby Gondola serves as Director of Operations & Development at Year Up, a nationally recognized workforce development and higher education program for urban young adults. He leads both the internal operations and external relations.
My Driver Project
Aaron Shapiro is a 2011 alumnus of University of Maryland, College Park, where he received a B.S. in Global Health and completed a minor in International Development and Conflict Management. After graduating, he joined the Global Health Corps as a program manager for Gardens for Health International in Kigali, Rwanda.
Traffic Lights are Optional in Hanoi
Natalia Jaffee is a 10th grade student at the United Nations International School of Hanoi. She grew up in Potomac, MD and attended Cold Spring Elementary School and Cabin John Middle School. While visiting Maryland in the summer of 2011, she interned at ASIRT and published a personal account of the road situations in Vietnam. Natalia enjoys traveling and has traveled throughout East Asia. In her free time, she enjoys running, playing soccer, cooking, and reading.
From A to B Safely: A Transportation Travel Blog
Laura Blanar traveled through Asia, Africa and Oceania with her husband, Adam, for 14 months. Prior to her travels, she worked at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as a research scientist, and in injury and violence at PAHO/WHO as a contractor. and reading non-fiction and mystery books.