Portland offers global flair in cheap weekend getaway

For those bitten by an international travel bug but stuck with a modest budget, a weekend trip to Portland could be the cure. Some may call it a city with a laid-back pace, but in reality Portland pushes its guests to be open to new adventures from savory Thai dishes to the Japanese Gardens. The […]
Sep 5, 2012

Mexicans wait in limbo after failed border crossings

The illegal border crossing from Mexico to the U.S. can be dangerous, expensive and terrifying for thousands of Mexicans walking across the Arizona desert each year. Facing possible sexual assault and death from dehydration, the most devastating turn comes when they are picked up by border patrol and sent back over the border. Rachel Alexander […]
Aug 27, 2012

NBA dreams deferred, Seattle players look overseas for court time

As the Seattle city council ponders a vote approving bonds for a new arena that could bring back men’s professional basketball, the summer Olympics proved the game’s popularity is still growing quickly overseas. The U.S. men’s basketball team sped past Spain for a gold medal in the summer Olympics, but other countries showed burgeoning strength. […]
Aug 22, 2012

Female cab drivers break into India’s hostile male profession

Chandni Gautam, above, is one of the first of her kind; a female cab driver in India. Gautam works for a company employing and training women to become cab drivers and chauffeurs. But the job is about more than getting a license. It means going to work in openly hostile field, where road rage, physical threats […]
Aug 21, 2012
Mendhi, Ramadan, South Asian, henna, Eid

Young Muslim counts the blessings of Ramadan

The scent of home-cooked food at three in the morning and the calm of utter silence as hundreds of people stand together in prayer can only mean one thing: it’s Ramadan. In my mosque, people from Egypt, Tanzania, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Denmark and countless other countries come together to commemorate this blessed month. While […]
Aug 16, 2012

Exotic animals symbolize luxury in Lebanon’s illegal trade

Grey parrots and vervet monkeys mingle with cats, dogs and hamsters in many of Lebanon’s pet shops, but if you want the really exciting animals, you have to ask behind the counter. Lions, panthers and bears—in fact many of the mascots from the American sports franchises—are just a few of the animals you can buy […]
Aug 13, 2012

All quiet on UW campus as tuition rises

When students in Quebec heard earlier this summer that the government planned to raise college tuition by 75%, hundreds of thousands took to the streets of Montreal in massive protests. If the increases go through, their tuition will be almost $4,000 per year. University of Washington students, on the other hand, may soon be paying more […]
Aug 10, 2012
TSA Body Scanner Images

The trouble with traveling while Arab

I waited too long to book a flight home to visit my family in Amman to be picky about my flights. The only option under $2000 was a four hour layover at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. The price and timing was fine. The racial profiling and accusation that I might be a terrorist was not.
Aug 9, 2012
Mass shootings like the one by James Holmes at a Batman movie premiere in Colorado last month have not prompted serious political dialogue about gun control, despite the ease with which mentally ill people and members of hate groups appear to obtain weapons. (Photo from REUTERS/RJ Sangosti)

Getting strapped in New Zealand, Americans learn ropes of gun control

Gun violence is an unfortunate and irrefutable part of American culture. An American my age can almost mark years of their life by instances of extreme violence committed by armed nutcases, from Waco, to Columbine High School, to the DC Sniper, to Virginia Tech, to Tucson, to last month in Aurora, Colorado, and the shootings […]
Aug 6, 2012
Gencer Gokeri, the owner of Fremont's Istanbul Imports, sits on a stack of handmade, tribal rugs that he brought over from Turkey. (Photo by Allison Int-Hout)

Seattle import stores face fierce competition from China and online retailers

With import stores across the country struggling with changing regulations and growing transportation costs, it’s easy to guess why Istanbul Imports in downtown Fremont might have a huge “STORE CLOSING” sign hanging above the door. But the savvy import shopper might be surprised to find out that, unlike what the signs outside suggest, the owners […]
Jul 26, 2012

Samoans in Seattle sue feds for citizenship

Imagine being born in a country where you can work, travel freely and even join the military, but you’re not considered a citizen. That’s the situation facing 56,000 residents of American Samoa, the only one of 14 US territories that does not allow an easy path to citizenship for people who move to the mainland […]
Jul 23, 2012

Seattle Muslims prepare for long Ramadan days

Fasting for 17 hours a day is no walk in the park. But it’s that much harder when the person sitting next to you is eating a cheeseburger, or a succulent slice of pizza. Or, for Mohammad Ismail, there’s that tempting looking Starbucks on the way to work. Born in Pakistan, this is the second […]
Jul 20, 2012
Farm laborers harvest asparagus in Eastern Washington. Many of the low-wage migrant laborers that harvest our fruits and vegetables depend on food stamp programs that are on the chopping block in the proposed version of the Farm Bill (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

Why the food fight over the Farm Bill matters to you

The Farm Bill is a classic democratic-process-headache: a 1,000 page piece of legislation that takes on all things food and agriculture related. It covers everything from food stamps to farmland conservation to nutrition programs to farm subsidies. Past versions have mostly benefited big farmers of soy, corn, and other commodity crops, along with large corporations […]
Jul 18, 2012

Tips for traveling the world with a bike and a backpack

The 32nd annual Seattle to Portland (STP) Bicycle Classic is coming up this weekend.  Ten thousand riders will set out from the University of Washington and, after some 200 miles and 43,000 energy bars, end up in northeast Portland. Sadly, the trip has been sold out for months, so if you didn’t register way back […]
Jul 9, 2012
East Africa volunteer

Want to volunteer abroad? How to actually make a difference.

Every year, more young westerners are traveling to places like Africa, India, and South America in search of meaningful volunteer experiences. And why not? There’s plenty of valuable work to be done, travel and living expenses are low, and even the most challenging volunteer position might look easy compared to trying to find a job […]
Jun 19, 2012

Iranian-American candidates weigh in on foreign policy

This election season Washington has an unprecedented number of candidates who are of Iranian heritage. Sahar Fathi and Cyrus Habib for are running for State Representative (in the 36th and 48th districts respectively), and Shahram Hadian is running for Governor. Though Hadian isn’t likely to make it past the primary, Fathi and Habib both have decent chances […]
Jun 8, 2012

Japantown’s Panama Hotel hides a treasure trove of history

In 1942, in a fervor of wartime paranoia, President Roosevelt ordered Japanese-Americans into internment camps for the duration of WWII. The internment had an especially large impact in Seattle’s Japantown, where Japanese-Americans, many of them US-born citizens, were forced to abandon their homes and businesses almost overnight. Before they were led away to the camps, some […]
Jun 6, 2012

The visitor brings the sharpest knife

Telling the stories of others is a fraught endeavor. It’s hard enough when you’re doing it in your own city or community, but interpreting cultures and places that are not your own is especially problematic. International journalists and travel writers take (often deserved) criticism for superficiality, ethnocentrism or exoticizing their subjects. Not a day has passed since […]
Jun 4, 2012

Surf’s up: Couchsurfing community thrives in Seattle

Casey Fenton was traveling in Iceland in 1999 and decided he wanted to connect with locals. He sent a mass email to the student body at the University of Reykjavik, describing himself while asking for a place to stay. He was amazed at the number of offers he got. Inspired, he teamed up with some […]
May 29, 2012

Travel Technology: What gadgets (not) to bring on your trip

When it comes to packing for an international trip, I’ve always tried to live by the maxim, “if you’d be heartbroken to lose it, don’t bring it.” That means I’ll never take along my favorite old comfy T-shirt no matter how much I’d like to have it with me, for fear that it would be […]
May 17, 2012