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Cabins of the Smoky Mountains

A Visit to the Marconi Museum in Tustin California

Gold plated rims on Oscar de la Hoya's truck

When one meets founder Dick Marconi for the first time, one soon realizes just how passionate he is for both the thrill of racing and the vehicles that he has acquired over the years. But it is not only all about his personal interests - as some private car collections can become. His passion goes much deeper than that and ultimately his goal with the museum is to leverage it as a vehicle to give back to the community and help raise funds for a … [Read more...]

Hotel or Apartment? In Barcelona, the Barrios Have It


Barcelona is a city of barrios, sadly most visitors only get to know the famous ones. Because like most hugely popular cities, Barcelona’s become very good at corralling its tourists and keeping them in check. It’s not that it isn’t welcoming, it’s just a lot easier to enjoy life in the lesser known (and often lovelier) barrios when the crowds are elsewhere. The city’s hotels are totally complicit, of course. Selling themselves hard on proximity … [Read more...]

Outback Beyond: 6 Months in Australia

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PART I: QUEENSLAND I landed with a thump on a Quantus long-haul flight, back when smoking was allowed and drinking encouraged, like a character out of a Bruce Chatwin novel. I was ineffably in error while reading my Lonely Planet guidebook on the plane--thinking that “Cairns” was pronounced with an “r” in it, when to local “Aussie” cobbers (not “Ozzies,” a common mistake both of Septic Tank Yanks [Americans] and Bloody Pomes [Britishs]), it … [Read more...]

The Paua and the Glory


New Zealand’s Prized Sea Snails John M. Edwards voyages to remote Stewart Island to capture one of New Zealand’s most expensive endangered delicacies: paua. Finding no “paua” on the menus of New Zealand’s North or South Islands, a dirtbag backpacker and “stringer” correspondent was forced to go to way remote Stewart Island in order to find and forage some for his own in the wild. At this island outpost on Half Moon Bay, he thus discovered … [Read more...]

A Guide To California’s Top Natural Beauty Spots


California is pretty amazingly beautiful, so selecting the top 5 spots was pretty tough, but in the name of being succinct that's what I have done for this post. So here are my favourite few places in California - must see spots for any nature lover. 1. Redwood National Park I just love forests, so this was always going to be on my list. The national park is mostly made of dense forest and beautiful (and huge) redwood trees which are sure to … [Read more...]

Mad about Mad Magazine


A serious Interview with Bill Gaines John M. Edwards, as a snot-nosed enfant terrible, tries to get a job at his favorite magazine: MAD. A long time ago, when I was a young canny kid and a memorabilia collector, I was hellbent on getting the entire collection of valuable MAD Magazines back issues sheathed in plastic. (I already owned all the paperback collections which fit neatly into three wine boxes.) Unsurprisingly, I decided on a … [Read more...]

Arriving in Almaty, Kazakhstan

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I left Chopan Alta, Kyrgyzstan at 8am this morning and arrived in Almaty, Kazakhstan at nearly 6pm. If there wasn't a mountain range between these two points, a line of site drive would probably be a few hours at most - but the route around these mountains through the main border crossing is much longer. Kazakhstan recently opened the border as visa free for citizens of the USA as well as select other countries on a trial basis and supposedly … [Read more...]

Tulum: The Most Beautiful City of The Mayan World


After spending a week enjoying the leisure life of the Mayan Riviera, we were excited as we boarded the bus for historic Tulum, edging this flourishing tourist region of Mexico. A land of greenery and white sandy beaches edged by a deep blue sea, it leaves an image of paradise on one’s soul. In addition, it offers lagoons, ancient Mayan ruins, ecological reserves as well as the world’s second largest coral reef. I hardly slept the night … [Read more...]

Maybe Montserrat, Maybe Not?


Caribbean Chic and Volcanic VIPS in the Dead Zone "Lifestyles of the rich and famous" spokesman Robin Leach has nothing on budget jetsetter John M. Edwards. A West Indies "Old Hand" -- One who cannot sail, surf or fish - he still says Montserrat can't be beat for ATMO. If you don't mind destruction and destitution in the wake of a deadly volcanic eruption ... Maybe Montserrat? You plan your next Caribbean vacay around a disaster of … [Read more...]

Mom’s Weekend in NYC: Press Reset

Central Park

It’s become a cliche that moms don’t prioritize themselves enough, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It’s difficult to hear your own thoughts, needs and desires when someone else’s needs keep needling into your brain, demanding milk, socks and Zerby Derby. As with triage, the most urgent desires get attended to first and lesser urges, namely your own, get relegated and relegated until they begin to atrophy. A weekend away may seem a … [Read more...]