Tag Archives: Haiti

Passport DC Around The World Embassy Tour: How to Go Around the World in a Day


Yesterday was the fifth annual Passport DC “Round the World Embassy Tour” – an all-day open house at over 40 Embassies in downtown Washington DC, with all sorts of free cultural goodies – from food tastings to drinks, live music, dancing and pretty much anything the embassies decide to organize for the hundreds of people coming to discover and sample their countries.

This year’s event was outstanding. I had so much fun walking around the city, hopping from one culture to another. The only downside? Not having enough time to make it to even half the Embassies. So much to sample and experience. And, super long lines by 2pm.

I started off at the Mexican Cultural Institute - I figured it would be fun given it was Cinco de Mayo (OK – I was hoping for free Margaritas). Well, none of that but they had hot tamales flowing, non-alcoholic drinks, desserts and other goodies. A mariachi band was blasting on the top floor and the gorgeous murals at the Institute made me want to stay longer.  I finally left after an hour and headed to Dupont Circle’s Embassy Row, venturing wherever the wind took me (kind of like my own virtual RTW trip). Here’s where I managed to travel: Bahamas, Haiti, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Trinidad & Tobago, Peru. And all that took about three hours and some change (mind you, I’m into details plus I shoot).

All were a good time – particularly Haiti with their dance and skit performances, and Cote d’Ivoire with traditional junkanu dancers and drummers outside the Embassy, real Ivorian-style (you guys know that took me back to my childhood days). I didn’t go in given the long line – but was happy to see the interest in my other country. Maybe Drogba has something to do with it?

I slipped away at one point to run to the National Cathedral for the Annual Flower Mart honoring Jamaica (more on that later) but the lack of good (and zero Jamaican) food made me return to Passport DC around 3pm, thanks to a friend who suggested we check out Trinidad & Tobago. What a brilliant idea.  Forget the neat lining up outside, it looked like Carnival on Mass. Ave. They had “moko jumbies” all up and down the sidewalk and on the steps outside the Embassy, and a full-on steel pan band you could hear for blocks. Not to mention, a hot buffet at $5 a plate, lots of rotis and rum punch (finally)!  It was simply fabulous, and I kicked myself for >> Continue reading »

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S&S ABROAD with Brendan Van Son – Travel Writer, Photographer & Editor

The life of an expat is fascinating – to pack up, move away from “home” and make a new life is no small feat. It’s an experience available to the few of us in the world who have the privilege of freedom and choice.

Over the past few years I’ve met some incredible expats, both on the road and from connecting to an amazing network of travelers in person and online. People like you and me, who took a chance to create a new life, through travel. They moved away from their “patria” for reasons as wide as the universe –  a better chance at success in their fields,  more quality of life, or to satisfy their need to explore. Some are nomads, others picked a new country and called it home. They all have one thing in common: the courage to pursue their dreams.

Though this “Abroad” series, I will profile some of these unique individuals. They’re willing to let me peek into their lives abroad – why they moved, what they do and how travel has transformed them beyond work. My goal is to continue to inspire through my blog, and what’s more inspiring than knowing that anyone can press the redirect button on life?

They are writers, teachers, photographers, computer nerds and much more.

Meeting them fuels me and I hope it does the same for you, whether you wish to live abroad or not. (Plus you get to read about someone other than me!)

For the first profile in this “Abroad” series, I’m happy to introduce writer, photographer and travel-entrepreneur Brendan Van Son. I first heard of Brendan when I stumbled on a post he wrote, ranking travel blogs into a Top 100 list. I sent him an email to introduce myself (hello, what about me?!) and he was quick to respond, inviting me to submit my work for his new digital magazine, Vagabundo, which aims to showcase the sea of fresh talent that’s out there. I loved his down-to-earth, tell-it-like-it-is personality. Plus, he’s managed to turn travel into work – through publications of his own and through his blog.  I’ll stop now – read on to find out more!


NAME: Brendan Van Son

PATRIA: Canada

OCCUPATION:  Photographer, Author, Editor



Brendan, you’re originally from Canada. Where are you currently living and how long will you be there?

Yes, I’m from a small town called Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, but I’ve been on the road for 3 years now.  I don’t actually live anywhere.  I’m a nomad of sorts, a week here, a couple days there.  At this exact moment I’ve just arrived in Madrid, Spain.

What triggered your desire to leave home and travel the world?

I decided to start travelling once I realized that all my career ambitions revolved around which job would allow me the most opportunity to travel. I gave up a lot of “good” career options to seek out my own career discovering the world.

What’s your travel style, do you structure your time in any way in each destination?

I’m a backpacker, and not a long-stay traveller at all.  Since I work from the road I stay a little bit longer than most tourists, but not much. Generally I stay 3-5 days somewhere >> Continue reading »

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