Port of Hamburg: Photo Essay

Sorry Philadelphia, but I’m having a love affair with Hamburg, Germany.  I love its old traditions balanced with a spirit of new ideas, its humble, working class beginnings, and this port city’s seafaring feel.  Where Philadelphia’s shipping history was almost snubbed out because of America’s highway system (in recent years, there’s been a huge push to revitalize it), Hamburg’s is still thriving 826 years later.  Honestly, a life at sea is not complete with a stop at Hamburg Harbor. This past winter, I took a trip back to visit Hamburg and was welcomed by unseasonably beautiful weather.  As a result,

Heini Hiltunen Timo Kaukonen, left, sweats it out at the Sauna World Championships.
From ESPN "Sports from Hell"

That Time I Almost Died in a German Sauna

There are two types of people in this world: there are those who go to saunas for relaxation.  Then there are those who turn relaxation into a competition.  Yes, there are literally people who go to saunas to challenge one another on who can stay in a sauna the longest.  Back in 2010 I read a story about that Russian guy who died in a sauna competition in Finland.  The relaxation aspect of it I can get, but I think it’s a bit crazy that people take it to a whole new level and put their bodies through stress just

dall sheep

Have You Seen the Dall Sheep?

Alaska is teeming with wildlife.  In fact, Denali National Park & Preserve is home to 39 species of mammals, 169 types of birds, 14 fish, and 1 amphibian.  Amongst them are wild bears, moose, coyotes, wolves, eagles, and other creatures worth excitedly wiping out your camera and accidentally dropping it for.  But no animal in Alaska gets the older male tourist population more pumped than the Dall sheep. When compared to the other majestic creatures that you encounter in Alaska, the Dall sheep are simpletons.  You can usually observe them far off in the distance, hanging out on the peaks

Sun Rise

From the Darkness Comes Light

Hey there readers, On A Travel Broad, I tend to focus only on the positive and exciting side of my life and travels.  I share with you pictures from my time living in Germany and stories of my jaunts through Europe and North America in hopes of inspiring you to go out and experience the world for yourselves.  But I hardly ever discuss the difficult times I sometimes face.  Some of these challenging times are by my choice because I love traveling and sharing my travels with you gives me purpose.  In the 5 years since I’ve started this blog,

deutsche bahn

How to Navigate Germany When Deutsche Bahn Train Drivers Go on Strike

If you want to tick off a group of Germans, tell them that the train is going to be fifteen minutes late. But if you tell them that none of the trains will be running due to a strike? Utter chaos! Hundreds of thousands of travelers depend on the Deutsche Bahn to transport them to airports, cities and neighboring countries in Europe. But as Deustche Bahn train drivers prepare to go on strike tomorrow through Monday, these travelers, many of whom will be converging on Berlin this weekend for the 25th anniversary of its fall, are scrambling for an alternative.

roma kids

Playing with Roma Children

Below Acropolis in Athens, Greece, Roma children work as street performers, playing accordions, drums and the bouzouki, a type of Greek guitar, for money.  They purposely target marketplaces and tourist areas, knowing that that’s where the cash flows the fastest.  There are several levels of aggressiveness when it comes to begging.  Some casually perform on the street corner — in fact, the older kids are very talented at playing folk music, turning street corners in to concerts.  Then there are others who go from cafe table to cafe table playing music while simultaneously begging for money. Some get creative by

favorite place in the world

Answer to the Infamous Question, “What’s Your Favorite Place in the World”

“What’s your favorite place in the world?”  It’s often the first question that everyone asks when they learn that I’m a travel writer.  In my younger years, I often answered with a place I had recently gotten back from, mostly for the sake of conversation.  “Oh I was surprised how much I loved Denmark” or “I loved Barcelona for the food”. But the more I travel, the more I realize that there is no definitive answer to this question.  People sometimes expect me to pick a favorite place because of the sites (“isn’t Paris the best because of the Eiffel

York Post

York: England’s Most Haunted Town is Actually Charming

York: England’s most haunted town.  Seems like a bold claim, but when you look at York’s gruesome history of the Black Death, murder, poverty, war, and genocide you can kind of see where these ghost stories come from.  As a result, many businesses in York are cashing in on things that go bump in the night.  Nightly ghost tours take upwards of 75 thrill-seekers at a time to go ghost hunting at famous sites, hotels offer premier rates to stay in their “haunted suite”, and pubs have banners and signs claiming York’s most haunted pub, not because of any quantifiable

cats of athens

The Cats of Athens

People often talk about how many dogs are roaming around Athens, but let’s take a moment to enjoy the cats. With the picturesque views and the natural coyness of cats, I have enough photos to do a 15-month “Kittehs of Athens” Calendar if I wanted to.  Here’s a few of my favorite felines so far.


6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Road Tripping Alaska

This past September, my roommate and I embarked on #RoadTripAlaska.  We flew into Anchorage, rented a car and hit the road with only a vague idea of what we wanted to accomplish.  I must say, that given the minimal planning, my roommate and I did a phenomenal job going with the flow and making it up as we went along. But after the journey, I had a dose of retrospect.  Looking back there are things that I learned on the journey that I wish I had thought of beforehand — but I guess there’s always next time! 1. Bring toiletpaper

Top Five Travel Gifts

You’d think that shopping for travelers during the holiday season would be easy.  But after obtaining every size suitcase known to man and owning a different neck pillow for every day of the week, the traditional travel gifts become over used and easily abused. But all is not lost!  There are plenty of cool travel inspired gifts out there for your favorite traveler.

The holidays are nigh, and if you’re like me, you’ve waited until the last few weeks before Christmas to really start scrambling to get Christmas gifts.  I know you’re reading this, Mom, and I’m sorry. But it’s totally true.  Anyway, I thought I’d take the time and give you a few gift ideas to get your creative juices flowing.  So if you have an avid traveler, adventurer, wanderer, or vagabond in your family, here’s a few gifts that I’m sure will pique their interest.

Vapur | The Anti-BottleVapur | The Anti-Bottle

Re-useable BPA free water bottles are still pretty awesome, but when you’re packing and trying to save space (especially if you’re backpacking), The Vapur Anti-Bottle is extremely useful and stylish!  Under the slogan “Live Flexible”, it’s easy to fold up and put into any suitcase or backpack.  They’re ultra-durable, freezable, dishwasher-safe and BPA-free… not to mention eco-friendly!  They also come in a variety of styles and colors.


Women's Trench from Scottevest


This company has a ton of really cool travel gear, hence their slogan “Scottevest: For the Trip of Your Life.”  But their coolest line of products has to be their jackets and vests which have tons of discrete pockets for everything you need to carry on a trip.  I really like these jackets because it’s a great way to protect your gear from pickpockets, which are extremely talented in some countries and tend to strike during peak season in touristy places.  But more importantly, you feel like a bad ass spy!

World Travel Map

World Travel Map

Many companies offer similar products, but I found this gem on Etsy!  For me, traveling feels like a game where I try to visit as many places as possible.  I collect postcards like a kid collects Pokemon cards – I seriously have to catch’em all.  But for real, there’s no better conversation starter in a traveler’s home than having a map of the world with pins of everywhere they’ve visited thus far.

Travel JournalTravel Journal with Old World Map Another great find on Etsy!  Every traveler should carry a notebook.  Whether they’re writing down train transfers, memos to self or pivotal, life changing thoughts and experiences, a notebook for a traveler is a must!  To be quite honest, my travel writing career would not have existed if it weren’t for a leather bound notebook my good friend, Natalia, gave to me at the beginning of my vagrancy three years ago.
Cocoon | Grid-it 

For the techie traveler who has more chords than stamps in her passport, the Cocoon Grid-It system will help keep her organized.  It’s a grid of elastic bands that will conform to any size and shape and grasp onto small objects.  So it’s perfect to keep your mac chord, your camera charger and all of your adapters as well as small electronics in one convenient spot without digging through your luggage and pulling out tangled up cables. We all know the rule of thumb, the chord you need is the chord that shimmied it’s way to the bottom of the bag, never to be seen until you get back home.


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