Travel for the Rest of Us

Headed out for a long-haul flight overseas soon? Use these tips to make it more bearable!

Photo by Emiel Molenaar of clouds and engines outside an airplane window.
Photo by Emiel Molenaar of clouds and engines outside an airplane window.
Photo by Emiel Molenaar on Unsplash

I just returned from my sixth trip to South Africa, which is an amazing country but one that requires a long flight from the US. From the Midwest where I live, travel can include a two-hour bus ride, a flight to DC or Atlanta, and then the flight to Johannesburg. The flight to Joburg is about 15 hours from the ATL on Delta and longer from DC or NYC because of refueling stops.

While the challenges of getting there are always worth it, long-haul flights are exhausting. I thought about this quite a bit on my flight home this time, mostly because on the way over to SA, my partner and I had the luck to have an open seat in between our window and aisle seats. While it was a dream on the way over, that taste of sweetness made the flight home (which was lacking that empty middle seat) more bitter… but I am always trying to find new ways to make these flights more comfortable and less stressful. …


Travel for the Rest of Us

Visit one site or all, you will find the spirit of Madiba graces every corner of South Africa and lives on in the people who will never forget him.

A mural of Nelson Mandela in the Maboneng neighborhood of Johannesburg. Photo by Karla J. Strand. All rights reserved.
A mural of Nelson Mandela in the Maboneng neighborhood of Johannesburg. Photo by Karla J. Strand. All rights reserved.
A mural of Nelson Mandela in the Maboneng neighborhood of Johannesburg. Photo by Karla J. Strand. All rights reserved.

There are plenty of reasons to visit South Africa: the landscape, the people, the food, the wildlife…all amazing. But no less deserving of your interest is South Africa’s rich, yet turbulent, history. Between 1948 and 1994, the African majority of the country was under the stranglehold of apartheid, a legalized system of racism and oppression forced upon them by minority Afrikaners. As you know, Nelson Mandela was one of the leaders of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Under his inspired leadership, millions of people showed strength and resiliency through terrible violence, poverty, and discrimination.

My doctoral research studying South African libraries and their role in alleviating information inequality allowed me to visit this fascinating country ten times. Throughout my travels, I have been able to visit many sites dedicated to Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy. Here are some that I suggest you visit on your next trip! …


Reads for the Rest of Us

A Review of Stephanie Allen’s Tonic and Balm

Photo by Matt Briney of many glass medicine bottles lined up across three shelves.
Photo by Matt Briney of many glass medicine bottles lined up across three shelves.
Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash

Tonic and Balm is a book about medicine shows.

The thing about medicine shows is that they are different from circuses, carnivals, or “freak shows.” I had never really thought about them before reading this book.

When I think of the circus I think of those poor animals being caged and taught how to do stupid human tricks — why do some find it so adorable or hilarious to make wild animals do human things? — so I don’t think much of the circus at all.

When I think of “freak shows” or sideshows I think of American Horror Story — did you watch that season? I feel bad about the curiosity the show aroused in me — it must be offensive to some people. …

About

Karla Strand

Librarian, book reviewer, freelance writer: Ms. Mag, Pulp Mag, ONEPIN, The Startup, Fearless She Wrote. She/her. Views mine. https://www.karlajstrand.com/

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