Travel Writing

Dancing on the Wine Dark Sea

dlb_036_440x600.jpgBATW Best Bronze, Essay in an anthology

My darling Aphrodite, I love you. Will you marry me? The handsome Greek restaurant owner on Santorini pleaded with my eighty-year-old mother as they line-danced to bouzouki music in a late-night bacchanal on a terrace overlooking the Aegean. My mother loved dancing, charming men, and living in general. After being widowed for the second time in her late seventies, she kicked up her heels and, in many ways, relished life to its fullest. During those years we traveled together frequently and had our own high-spirited odyssey around Greece.Dancing on the Wine Dark Sea

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Why I Don’t Stay Home

Straight out of graduate school, in my twenties I married a European and lived, taught, and traveled throughout Europe for several years. My love of traveling outlasted my marriage. I was hooked. However, meeting someone to do this adventuring with was difficult. Just finding someone with whom to go to my choice of movie who likes to sit as close up to the screen as myopic me does is hard enough. Finding a travel buddy compatible in time, money, wanderlust, choices of destination, and personality is one of life’s greater challenges.

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Seabiscuit’s California home

Ridgewood Ranch
By Diane LeBow

California_Home05.jpgIf you missed Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit: An American Legend and the movie based on the book, you can still visit the final home of the racehorse who stood for hope to Americans during the Great Depression. Seabiscuit lived with his owner, Charles Howard, on Ridgewood Ranch near Willits, Calif., from 1940 until 1947.

“It was here that Seabiscuit trained during 1939 for his last hurrah the following year,” says Tracy Livingston, president of the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, which along with the Christ’s Church of the Golden Rule Association cares for the 5,000-acre ranch. Tours (private or group) take visitors inside the stud barn, where the knobby-kneed champion munched hay, and to the groom’s room, where old Glenn Miller tunes play on a vintage radio. In the dining hall of the restored arts-and-crafts home you can see period jockey silks, a racing saddle, 150 photographs, and a 1940 portrait of Seabiscuit. His unmarked grave lies outside amid old oaks. Information: (707) 459-5992,
Photography by Catharine Martin

©Diane LeBow

Published in Via (AAA) Magazine March 2005

This article was first published in March 2005. Some facts
may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

Sophocles Slept Here

I had long been fascinated by Khadafi and his band of female security guards. When I learned that our government was easing restrictions on American citizens visiting Libya, I quickly made arrangements to go. Intrigued by Greek and Roman history and culture, when I heard that Libya had such pristine Greek and Roman archaeological remains, I almost flew over to Tripoli on my own adrenaline.

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Foreign Affairs

Edited by Mitzi Szereto
Sexual delight awaits you in every port of call

Escape the mundane. Fill your senses with the sights, sounds, and aromas of faraway places, the perfume counters of Dubai and the hidden waterfalls of St. Lucia, a café overlooking the beach on Tenerife and a men’s bathhouse on a back street in Brussels. These are stories of lush, ripe sex.

In Linda Jaivin’s “Peking Duck,” a photographer eludes her watchful interpreter to tumble with a circus acrobat at the Old Summer Palace in Beijing. In Donna George Storey’s “Ukiyo,” an overworked professor tours the red light district of Kyoto, attracting unexpected pleasures. And Holly Farris’s magical “Continental Breakfast” puts a twist on the second honeymoon, when a woman staying at an auberge in Brittany finds that the cook and gardener can read her desire better than her neglectful husband.

Foreign Affairs presents luminous erotica with the subtle, sexy undercurrent of unfamiliar waters.

Praise for Mitzi Szereto’s Erotic Travel Tales:

“Buckle up. Erotic Travel Tales is a first-class journey through sexual encounters around the world. You’ll save the cost of a plane ticket and won’t have splinters after sex in a gondola.”
”Playboy $14.95 Trade Paper ISBN 1-57344-192-9 6 x 9, 200 pages Erotica

Dancing on the Seine: My Mother’s Requiem

dlb-011-121x190.gifA Mother’s World: A Mother’s WorldJourneys of the Heart
Edited by Marybeth Bond & Pamela Michael
April 1998
ISBN 1-885211-26-0
233 pages, $14.95When I turned my mother’s ashes loose into the Seine’s currents that dusk on Ile de la Cite, they crackled and sizzled as if with pleasure. It was a quiet evening and I knew my mother would be pleased to be there. After all, this peaceful park of Place Dauphine is a popular spot for lovers, young and old. My mother had been both. The Seine has been flowing past this spot for thousands of years, past the original Parisians, the Parisii, who were already living here in the 3rd Century B.C. The timelessness of this spot was comforting. My mother had first come here in 1929, as a young flapper on her first trip to Europe with several women friends from college¦

¦Making my way back up to Pont Neuf, past Square du Vert Galant, I paused as I passed the equestrian statue of Henri IV, that gay old spark as he is known to the French. A kindred spirit to my mother, did I only imagine that he winked at me as I passed.

365 Travel

365 Travel365 Travel
A Daily Book of Journeys, Meditations, and Adventures
Edited by Lisa Bach
June 2001
ISBN 1-885211-67-8
392 pages, $14.95

The Trout Baron

*originally published as “The Fisher Baron’s Secret,” in France: A Love Story, (ed. Camille Cusumano, Seal Press)

I found Paris especially difficult to leave that morning. Familiar buildings and monuments glistened with fresh snow that had fallen during the night. Teary-eyed, I almost fell as I skidded over the medieval cobblestones of my Marais apartment courtyard for the last time. The cabby studied me in his rearview mirror.
“Why are you leaving Paris?”
“Because I must return to my job and home in San Francisco.”
“Tsk tsk”–the ultimate French negation–and a slow-motion shake of his head registered the cab driver’s displeasure.
“What matters in life is that you make love with someone you care about on Sunday morning and walk out with them on Sunday afternoon,” he counseled me. “It’s not good to live your life alone.”
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Love on the Line (


June 18, 1999 | I travel a lot and mostly I travel alone. When I enter a public phone booth to check in with friends back home, sometimes I feel like I’m opening a mystery novel. I never know what news awaits me, and more than once, love has rung its way into my life — or disconnected from it — in these places.

Love on the Line

“I hate to tell you this way, but your visit to stay with me in Hawaii just won’t work out now,” his voice said on my answering machine. It was at least 100 degrees. Familiar symptoms followed: crazy heart rate, a wash of sweat over my body. I did a quick survey of my life, past, present and future, and found it sadly wanting.

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