Comments & Links

Places to Go and People to Meet

I’ll post links to travel sites and to places where people are immersing cross-culturally; some links will also be to blogs that seem very special to me.
I have now been on Twitter for awhile, pushed there by a friend who told me it was a great way to find links to interesting sites and writing, and she was so right. It’s been on Twitter that I’ve followed unfolding events in the Arab Spring, from the excitements of Tahrir Square to the heartbreaks of Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, and the fragilities around the whole surging changing picture.
My Twitter handle is @naomiduguid I retweet (RT) the interesting tweets that I come across, and those have been, because of the democracy uprisings, mostly from @acarvin, @anissahelou, and @zunguzungu, though there are many others.
I’ve got some sites to add here, to this list that hasn’t been much edited for over a year.  Some are blogs, others websites (though these seem so much less dynamic now that blogging and tweeting and FaceBook have become mainstream and widespread). Here they are:
Eating Asia: This wonderful blog, written by Robyn Eckhardt, with photographs by her partner David Hagerman, is a must-fave for anyone interested in food and in Asia. The writing and the photos are fresh and excellent, and show the wide-ranging curiosity and intelligence that goes into them.  Dave’s photo site is calledSkyBlueSky and is a treat.
Expanding Palates: I’ve mentioned this fun and ambitious blog/website elsewhere here. It’s a huge database of info about food and dining in Asia and elsewhere, compiled by the energetic and talented chef Brad Borchardt.  If you are heading out on a trip, or just wanting to know something about the foodscape in any one of a number of cities and towns in Asia, go check in with this site.
LegalNomads: I met Jodi, whose blog this is, this last winter in Chiang Mai.  She’s been travelling with a keen curious eye and a limitless capacity for food exploration, for well over three years.  Her writing is really good, and her enthusiasm and respect for the places she goes and the people she meets, are solid and come through in every word.  Again this is a great place to go for info, since Jodi is generous with travel info and insights.  She’s another good person to follow on Twitter. (@legalnomads)
Zunguzungu:  I don’t know this guy, but he’s a great picker of things to read (he compiles a reading list every Sunday) and very on about things African and more. He also has a great sense of humour. Do go have a look at his blog.
BrainPickings: Here you’ll find wonderful explorations of different subjects, quirky and mainstream, assembled as suggested readings and places to look.  It’s hard to explain, so just go and see. I am constantly stretched by it (and reminded that life is way too short!). 
Mizzima and The Irrawaddy: These are two of the publications of the Burma democracy movement. They are online, and they also tweet.  It’s worth checking in, if you have a Burma interest, as I do, for regular news, since Burma is not of course front and centre in western news media, except when major catastrophes happen.

Jon Radojkovic – The site of a close friend Jon, who is very engaged with barns and their social history, as well as with post and beam structures of all kinds, and does barn consulting too.  There are gorgeous barn photos and links to many of Jon’s articles on agricultural issues. – An amazing site, with a Thai typewriter; when you look at other parts of the site, you’ll find typewriters in other scripts as well.


Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree – This is the bulletin board that has become a lifeline for travellers.  Just go to the index and find the region and country you are interested in, then immerse in all the threads. –  In July 2009 I had an e-mail inquiry from Elizabeth, whose blog this is, asking whether we have photos of Kyrgyzstan. Sadly, the answer was no.  But she had signed her letter with her blogspot address too, and so I went to poke around and see.  Elizabeth is a Russian to English translator who is currently based in Moscow, but I think she’s American. The blog is well-written, lively, and very fun and interesting, especially for anyone interested in language (not just Russian… there’s a lot else) and food.  I now have it on my bookmarks bar, and intend to drop by frequently.

Recce – An online travel writing magazine, a monthly.  Don George, a wonderful travel writer and thoughtful appreciative guy, a founder of the Book Passage Travel Writing and Photography conference (every August in Marin County), is the constant, but there are also contributions from others.  There’s a photo show each issue, in the “Fresh from the Field” section.

Om Laila – Roula Said’s Om Laila system, which grew out of her years teaching bellydance and performing as a singer, qanoon player, and dancer, is anchored in Arab traditions but speaks to us all.  She’s now developed a Seven Waves approach to dance and fitness which is just extraordinary – no belly dance experience necessary. I have been taking Roula’s classes for some years, and always come home nearly giddy with pleasure, as well as stronger and more supple.


Cindy Cullen’s list of culinary schools in the US.  She wrote to me and said she’d felt there was a need for a comprehensive list, so she complied one, and then asked me to post a link.  You can find it here

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I look forward to hearing from you.

– naomi

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This year, 2011, a great guy, a chef named Brad Borchardt, was part of immersethrough.  He’s now written a lovely long description of his time eating and cooking and eating with us, with lots of photos and commentary on his  Here’s a small piece of what he says:

Naomi’s ability to be a teacher and facilitator is extraordinary.  She gets everyone involved. The itinerary is well thought out and when you couple that with the openness and time allotment to explore it makes for jazz like experiences.  There was constant riffing off comments and questions.

Thanks Brad! 


JULY 10, 2009: A great article about the first immersethrough tour is out in the Wall Street Journal.  It’s by Robyn Eckhardt, with photos by her partner David Hagerman.  It gives a wonderful sense of the tour and of the growth in confidence in people from the first day to the last, when they were shopping and cooking unabashedly!


Uighur noodles: A guy named Luke who seems to be fantastically persistent, has recently figured out how to make the Uighur flung noodles. Major immersion!!!!  Even better, he’s made videos to explain the technique.  It’s all at

We hope to try them soon.  Meantime, please write to us if you try them…

A good friend, Kaz, wrote a note after she visited the site soon after it went up.  It was lovely to see her get it, grab the idea of immersion and run with it:  i like the idea of your website being an idea about immersion, the whole act, in its many incarnations, of being taken in, brought through, soaked up by. drenched. how literally this happens in places and with food, which we take into our bodies and are then altered by, augmented by. kept alive, too.

And another good friend, Philly, gave great encouragement when she wrote:  I love the idea of passion being the driving force, and the meeting place model you’re setting up.