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Weekend Intelligence: December 18-19, 2010

December 18, 2010

It’s been a crazy week—finishing up some projects at work before I leave on vacation for the holidays plus submitting my final paper and taking a final exam at school. I’ve been waiting all week for the weekend…just so I could put together what’s becoming one of the more popular features of the blog: Weekend Intelligence. Here. We. Go.

  • What’s the best part of the holidays? Traditions. Whether it’s chopping down your own Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving or lighting the menorah each night of Hanukkah, there is no shortage of rituals that enliven and add meaning to the holiday season. This week, Travel + Leisure Magazine rounds up some of the world’s strangest holiday traditions and while “strange” is a relative term, I’ve gotta admit some of these traditions are pretty unique. My favorite of the bunch? Zwarte Piet or “Black Pete” from Belgium and the Netherlands. Because if a man shows up at my door and wants to whisk me off to Spain, I’m not gonna resist or complain. Just sayin’.
  • The TSA has taken a lot of hard knocks over the last few months, particularly over the new security measures that have subjected travelers to more invasive body scans and “enhanced” pat downs. So it warmed the cockles of my cynical little heart to read this feel-good story about the TSA choir at Los Angeles International Airport. Made up entirely of volunteers who’ve been spreading holiday cheer since 2003, the choir hopes to brighten up the harried holiday travel experience while putting a positive face on the TSA. Well played.
  • “Travel not only opens a window to the world,” Leon Logothetis suggests, “but also grants the traveler an opportunity to peer deeply inside himself.” In a special piece for the Los Angeles Times, Logothetis, host of the reality travel show Amazing Adventures of a Nobody, writes about the benefits of independent travel and suggests that the greatest gift parents can give their older children this holiday season is to facilitate their freedom by giving them the gift of travel.
  • From the Single Occupancy Weekly: Currently on a seven-month tour of Southeast Asia, travel blogger Kate McCulley (better known to her followers as Adventurous Kate) tackles the question every solo female traveler has to deal with from time to time. In “Why You No Have Boyfriend?” Kate addresses the challenges (and perils!) of being young, attractive, and single while trying to navigate the adventure of a lifetime.
  • It was an exciting/awful/great/wacky/wild year for travel and a great time to be a travel blogger. From the giant travel-snarling volcanic ash cloud over Europe to everyone’s favorite disgruntled JetBlue flight attendant to “junk” entering the mainstream lexicon, has documented the good, the bad, and the ugly of this year’s travel stories in “Travel Milestones: The 2010 Year in Review.”

Happy travels and happy holidays!

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