This site contains the archives of my travel blogs from 2010-2016.

I'm now blogging via Medium. For other life updates, including opportunities or requests to collaborate, visit my personal website.




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fathoming Amazon - an infographic

When Michael Hyatt blogged about the Amazon Empire earlier this week, I was flabbergasted.  I certainly love my Kindle, whom I've affectionately named Oscar, and get so excited about buying books and having them magically appear in Oscar's table of contents literally within seconds, but my personal satisfaction with this one product line is about as far as my ponderings on the company went.

Apparently a lot of people are big fans of Amazon just like me.
This infographic, compiled by FrugalDad, (and yes, "infographic" is a word), speaks for itself...

Amazon Infographic
Source: Frugaldad.com

So, are you impressed?  Intimidated?  Do you think the Amazon Empire can last?

As someone who best absorbs and processes ideas, and conceptualizes new ones via graphic representations, I get so excited about quality infographics.  Here's an article on 3 Trends That Will Define the Future of Infographics.  I'm especially looking forward to the applications for real-time data visualization!

Monday, November 21, 2011

UK is in Kentucky?

As the oldest of six kids, I'm know I'm under close watch -- not in a bad way, just in the sense that there are five sets of little eyes constantly waiting to see what I'm going to do, how I'm going to do it, and (hopefully) ready to learn from the things I mess up. I step back from time to time and try to think about how I can set the best example for all of them; what I can do to help set them up for success is this crazy, fast-paced world; and how I can encourage them to take off running towards what they really want to do in life.

It's not always easy being hundreds -- more often, thousands -- of miles away from them for 50 weeks out of year, and even with cell phones, texting, and the magic of Skype, I still haven't figured out a way to tele-port myself to my sister's soccer games....not even when her team won regionals this year.  But every once in a while one of them will do or say something that brings a huge smile to my face and lets me know I'm doing something right.

This note from my mom today definitely was definitely one of those happy occasions...

Shirah, I'm reading your blog right now. Raam just walked up and saw the UK’s Patterson Tower title under the pic you posted and he asked, “UK...Wait is that the Ukraine or United Kingdom Patterson Tower?”  I said, “Neither, it’s the University of Kentucky’s Patterson Tower.”  Pretty neat how all of your traveling has opened up his world.  

I left home when Raam was just 5 years old; I think all he's really known is a big sister who's constantly in strange, faraway places with weird names, always bringing home odd toys and souvenirs.  I never thought about it before, but we should really sign this kid up for a geography contest.  I LOVE that he has such a global perspective already at this age!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lexington & the UK PhD in Management


This weekend I enjoyed a trip to Lexington, Kentucky, where I had the chance to learn more about a PhD program at the University of Kentucky's Gatton School of Management. My specific area of interest is in social network analysis, and Gatton has some of the world's leading researchers in this field; it was such a treat to spend the day getting to know them, hearing about their current projects, and sitting in on an afternoon seminar with other students currently in the program.

In my continuing survey of PhD programs I found this website on online PhD programs being offered by several US colleges. Even though it doesn't seem like something for me, I found it interesting to learn that there are opportunities to complete a doctorate without having to regularly attend campus. While online education is emerging as a viable and cost-beneficial way to complete a degree, most colleges are still focusing on traditional campus based education and the benefits that arise from in-person interaction between students and professors.

The drive to Lexington was beautiful, especially on Friday morning as I drove east toward the sunrise. Lexington itself is a quaint little town compared to Nashville, and it's set in rolling green hills neatly partitioned by the white picket fences of the horse farms for which the city has earned itself global renown. Navigating the campus of a huge state school was much different from Belmont; luckily the folk were friendly and, apparently not trusting my internal positioning system, always insisted on walking me to my destination instead of leaving me with even detailed directions.

UK's Patterson Tower - view from the walking bridge

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


I started to write: "I'm in one of the moods tonight that's a perfect mixture between introspectiveness and appreciation for social fellowship; a healthy balance of quietness and exuberance; maintaining focused thoughts yet finding myself on the brink of complete awe and wonder at the world around me."
But then I decided I could say all that in one word.  Peace.

At peace is a most wonderful place to be.
And it is here, where one is most vulnerable to feelings of overwhelming enthusiasm when presented with even the littlest joys of life, that I came upon one of the most awe-inspiring phenomena of the natural world that I've ever seen.  Just look for yourself....

Murmuration, by Sophie Windsor Clive A chance encounter and shared moment with one of nature's greatest and most fleeting phenomena.
Shot 14 days ago on the River Shannon in Ireland.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Fall Foto Frenzy

Autumn in Nashville always inspires me to pull out my camera that's been tucked away since my return from summer travels.  I feel compelled by the beauty around me to capture a snapshot of what feels like nature's annual celebration; the trees seem to put on their best outfits and even the sky steps up to the occasion with a deep blue, cloudless background that provides incredible contrasts with the reds and golds nearer the earth. 

During October and November my point-and-shoot never leaves my purse; I keep it at an arm's length so that opportunities to soak in the Tennessee magic are never missed.
Here are some highlights from this week...

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