America – New York


This gallery contains 82 photos.

“Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel’s immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and … Continue reading

Ameerrrriicca.. Ameeerrrriiicccaa.. God shed his grace on thee

Love your country.  Your country is the land where your parents sleep, where is spoken that language in which the chosen of your heart, blushing, whispered the first word of love; it is the home that God has given you that by striving to perfect yourselves therein you may prepare to ascend to him.  ~Giuseppe Mazzini

When I taught English at Hanyang University in Korea one of my favorite assignments was focused on home and country.  I would start the class by asking, “How would you feel if you were told you would not ever be able to come back to your country, to the land of your birth?” I was always a little surprised at the student’s reactions.  Several even indicated that it would not bother them at all.  Those sentiments surprised me a little. I love my international travel for sure and I have chosen jobs that require me to work mostly overseas, but my home and my heart will always be in the United States.

When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea.  He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect.  ~Adlai Stevenson

No matter how far and wide I travel, my base, my essential roots will always be in the good ‘ol U.S. of A.  I know the United States has its faults and we as a people have our disagreements but this land is the land that I love.  We have freedoms and responsibilities that do not exist in other parts of the world.  We have the potential to do just about anything we want.  Other’s strive to go to the U.S. simply to start a new life and our country was built on the people from every part of the world who succeeded.

I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.  ~Abraham Lincoln

My personal philosophy is that one should know as much as possible about their own country either before or after they start touring the world.  I’ve taken that to heart and through chance and circumstance I have been fortunate enough to have been able to travel to or at least through approximately 42 of our beautiful states and 3 of the 5 U.S. territories.  I have lived in Washington State, Washington D.C. Virginia, Indiana and California over the years and loved each state in very different ways.

I have driven around the United States completely one time (from California to Washington to New York to Florida and back to California, it took me 3 weeks and I had my own children and a neighbor’s child with me) and I have made 2 other trips nearly around the U.S.  I have driven from Washington State to New York and back approximately 5 times in my life; from Virginia to Washington and back about 3 times.  I have travelled Route 66 and through the Black Hills in the Dakotas, the Redwood Forest, the Pacific Coast Highway and Glacier National Park. I have travelled across country several times over the past 20 years on Amtrak’s California Zephyr, The Capital Corridor and The Empire Builder.

My favorite thing about the United States?  Lots of Americans, one America.  ~Val Saintsbury

All I am saying is that from these national trips I have grown to love and understand the U.S. and it’s people on a much deeper level.  I have learned acceptance of others ideas and ways of living and a humbleness that comes from being presented with such a grand vista of people and their places each so different from the other.  America the Beautiful – from the mountains to the prairies, from shore to shining shore, this land is my land this land is your land indeed.

My next several blogs will be focused on a photo journal of my most recent coast to coast trip.  I hope you enjoy.

Capture the Color

I was recommended to participate in a contest called “Capture the Color”, sponsored by TravelSupermarket – click (here) to see rules for the competition.

All you have to do is publish a post with photos that capture the following 5 colors – Blue, Green, Yellow, White and Red. You then nominate five other bloggers that you admire or enjoy to enter a post following the same criteria of the contest. Lastly, you enter your post at “Capture the Color and there actually is a prize for the winner in each color category. I don’t often enter contests of any sort as I enjoy looking at other’s amazing photos rather than participating.  I also don’t play the lottery.  However, I found the challenge fun in that I was able to go back over my own photos and find some of my favorites that might “capture” the colors listed.

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The Sequence of Events that Led to the Smile…

Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
― Mother Teresa

The smile.. oh the smile.  It is what draws me to a person and it’s one of the criteria’s from which I judge who will be my lasting friend.  I know it’s wrong to base an entire life-time friendship on how a person smiles, but I do.  If you smile frequently or can make me smile frequently.. rest assured we will be fast friends and will wage life’s storms together for many years.

As I’ve mentioned in many past blogs, I love to take pictures.  One of the reasons I love to take pictures is that they capture very precious memories for me and I can go back and remember that one moment in time.  As I said in Photographs and Memories “I can’t explain exactly what it is about these specific photos that cause me to pause or smile, I just know that they do.” and for me that is what’s it’s all about.

1972 or 1973 Family foto

Now having said this, I must admit that the 2nd reason I am obsessed with photos of people smiling is that I have spent my life not knowing what to do when I am in front of a camera. I usually look somewhat confused and often-times a bit crazed.  Can you guess which one is me?

Wait Let me help.

Crazed gleam in eyes – all teeth showing

I just can’t seem to get that photo perfect smile down.  My sister has been trying to teach me “the look” which apparently is a perfect smile that draws people in, makes them want to get to know you and sometimes even makes them wonder what you’ve been up to.  I’ve definitely developed a look, but it’s scary.  Even to me.

I’m just glad friends don’t choose me for my ability to take a good smile picture.

My inability to capture a normal smiley photo has been the bane of my existence.  It is usually the reason I am behind the camera.

There are tons of instructional websites that “teach” you how to take the perfect foto.  None of them have worked for me. I’m not the only one obsessed with how to take a great photo or how to look great in a photo.  I know this as there are a million sites out there that try to tell you how to do it.

However, when I later look back on my favorite pictures, they all typically include people smiling or laughing or pretending to smile.  I love candid shots and sometimes those are the pictures that don’t have the perfect smile they were just perfect moments in time that made me happy.  When I’m having a bad day I go back and preview video’s or photos of my favorite people laughing and having a good day and there it is.. bad day gone.  If you are having a bad day try it.  It’s amazing how often this works.  I would encourage everyone to start a video/photo journal of happy times.. it’s a great hobby and a great pick me up.

Research has proven that forcing a smile or a laugh when you are feeling down or a “fake it to make it” attitude can really permanently change your attitude.  Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.   Just looking at a smiling face can make a person smile even if they are not aware of it.  There are serious health consequences behind smiles that should not be underestimated.  The reasons to smile are innumerable.  Even if no one else is around to reap the benefits.. it just feels good.

Smiling is an amazing opportunity to make yourself stand out as well as a way to improve your health, lower stress levels, and bottom line, it just makes you more attractive. Remember the one who laughs lasts.. start the day with a smile.

Whether it is my own granddaughter or random babies. Laughing babies always make me smile. Check these out.  If they don’t improve your mood and make you smile or even laugh out loud i won’t believe you.  Video of my granddaughter- Baby Jemma laughing.  Laughing baby in highchair.  Laughing baby ripping paper.  Laughing quadruplet babies. 

They are not always the prettiest and some aren’t even true smiles but these are some of the people and events that make me smile.  Even my least favorite photos of myself can bring a smile to my face now.  So there it is.  I hope you enjoy.

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More posts to make you smile – How to include humor in your life.  Animals.  Smiling Men.

Calling All Travel Bloggers

I am posting this as an excellent opportunity for those interested.   I’ve been on this mailing list for an organization called, Glimpse Correspondents Program”   for over three years now.  I have never submitted before but I’ve seen so many excellent blogs on here that I wanted to pass on the information.  You can visit the website and see some of the most amazing travel blogs out there.

Here is the email I received with all of the pertinent links.

This is just a quick reminder that applications for the Fall 2012 Glimpse Correspondents Program will close in one week, on July 30th.

The Glimpse Correspondents Program is currently accepting applications from emerging writers, journalists, photographers and filmmakers who are working, living, studying or volunteering outside of their home countries for a period of at least 10 weeks. This is an excellent opportunity for students or recent graduates to develop a portfolio of published work with the guidance, feedback and support of experienced editors.

Each fall and spring, the Glimpse editorial team selects 10 Glimpse Correspondents. These correspondents are expected to produce two long-form feature stories and/or photo essays, and in return receive one-on-one support from professional editors, free tuition to MatadorU, career training in travel writing and photography, a $600 stipend, and publication on Matador Network and

Matador Network is the world’s largest independent travel magazine. With millions of monthly visitors, Matador is a key place to get attention from a wide and enthusiastic audience. Powered by Matador Network, the Glimpse Correspondent’s Program offers a unique, funded opportunity to learn to develop and publish quality, complex long-form travel stories and to establish a dedicated readership.

If you’d like more information on this topic, or to submit an application, please visit the Glimpse website You can read the stories of previous correspondents at on Matador Network.

Please feel free to contact me at with any further questions.


Sarah Menkedick
Editor in Chief,

Good luck to anyone interested.