Giveaway: National Geographic’s NOVICA

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This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered!

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NOVICA, a shopping site affiliated with National Geographic, allows global artisans to express their talent and charge a fair price for quality work that reflects their individual cultures.

And now they’re allowing me to give away a gift certificate code worth $75 to one lucky winner

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Travel Gear: RHA MA350 Earphones vs. Klipsch Image S4 In-Ear Headphones

A few months ago, my beloved earphones, the ULTIMATE EARS TripleFi 10 by Logitech, started to fray by their rubber cords — and then stopped transmitting sound. I was preparing for a trip at the time, and decided it was time for a brand new pair; however, not only have the TripleFi 10s been discontinued, but they had originally been a gift that retail for…$400.

I felt I could do better. (Better than $400, anyway.) So, I purchased a pair of the Klipsch Image S4 In-Ear Headphones.

The next day, I was approached by a British audio company called RHA, and asked to review their MA350 noise-isolating earphones. They looked very different from the ones I’d just bought, so I said I’d be happy to give them a try.

Now that I’ve had an opportunity to compare these two sets of earphones over a few months — both on airplanes and while taking long walks — here is my review.

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Travel Gear: Rollnband Packing Bands

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My Rollnband-packed suitcase, ready to…roll

I find myself packing a suitcase at least once a month, and have long been a clothes folder rather than a clothes roller.

But when a nice young man from the Pacific Northwest contacted me and asked me to try out his stretchy, two-sided packing bands called Rollnband, I figured I’d give this whole rolling thing a try.

Now that I’ve tried them out on two very different trips, I find myself a roll-up-your-clothes-and-secure-them-with-a-band convert — and here’s why.

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Travel Gear: eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible

When eBags asked me if I’d like to review the Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible, a piece of luggage that works as a backpack and/or a suitcase, I was intrigued…and unconvinced.

I mean, where are the wheels? The hard edges? How was I going to lift this thing?

But I’ve since found that, for its capacity, size and versatility, it’s pretty darn brilliant. [Read more…]

Andrew McCarthy’s “The Longest Way Home”

As a longtime subscriber to several travel magazines, I’ve been inspired by Andrew McCarthy‘s travel writing for years; his journeys to Maui, Ireland, Ethiopia and more have helped to put whole swaths of geography on my “go there” list.

But until reading his memoir, The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down (set for release on Sept. 18), I’d never imagined that he and I had much in common. McCarthy’s tale has hit a poignant chord with me, and reminds me why it’s rewarding to be fully present, no matter where you happen to be.

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