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The Open Window Exchange


Serving up travel sketches that bypass the big picture

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The Open Window Exchange


Serving up travel sketches that bypass the big picture

The Open Window Exchange is a collaborative project that showcases real travel stories through beautiful photography, video, and writing. Focused on the people, food, and authentic culture rather than the postcard view of a place, these sketches give a window's glimpse into a different part of the world.

We are currently accepting submissions from any travelers that share our passion for the unique moments that come from experiencing other cultures.

 

Featured Stories

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An American in Pisa


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An American in Pisa


BY SAMANTHA LORD & REID LOESSBERG

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LOCATION: PISA, ITALY

I love adventures. They make life so interesting...like the time I broke into an Italian airport. I literally pried open the doors and spent the night in the darkened, vacant building. I'm not sure I should be admitting this here...

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Brussels Sprouts


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Brussels Sprouts


BY LAILA SAID

LOCATION: BRUSSELS BELGIUM

February 26, 2010: Armed with a list obtained from my Belgian friends. It read: "1. Chocolates from Neuhaus 2. Classic speculoos from Dandoy Biscuiterie, 3. Gaufres from any street stand... " Skye, my former roommate from France, and I were ready to expand our European horizons and travel to Brussels for a sweet, gastronomic stay...

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Carrots and Lip Gloss


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Carrots and Lip Gloss


BY SALLY BAHO

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Location: Madrid, Spain

“Te gustan las zanahorrias?” (You like carrots) he asked with a smirk on his face, as if asking me if I would follow him to the bathroom on the back of the bus.

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Broken Down Outside of Hanoi


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Broken Down Outside of Hanoi


BY MITCH TAYLOR

LOCATION: HANOI, VIETNAM

We were riding from Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, to Hanoi in Northern Vietnam. They told us it would be a twenty-two hour bus ride. Ouch was my first reaction, but what the hell! It's Asia right? This was backpacking and after all, we had two friends to meet in Hanoi. What we couldn't have predicted was the numerous breakdowns we would experience on the bus. All in all, it broke down seven times, three of which left us standing on the side of the road...

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We Are Not Tourists


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We Are Not Tourists


BY AMBER MORGAN

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LOCATION: RODEO DRIVE, CALIFORNIA, USA

We made the decision to walk from the Culver City metro station to Rodeo Drive because taxi cabs are too damn expensive. We are small town kids who do not ride in taxis. We walk or we bike or we get rides from our neighbors because we know all of them. We do not ride in taxis. Especially not after yesterday, when we spent 80 dollars trying to get a good view of the Hollywood sign.

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To The Asia Side


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To The Asia Side


By Steph Barnhart

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Location: Istanbul, Turkey

My skin had never felt so soft. Back now in the neighborhood near our hostel, I let my hand brush back and forth across my left shoulder as Zach and I waited for our lentil soup at the corner cafe we had spotted out the window of the taxi. Hours earlier, I was naked, lying face down on a marble slab in a hamam on Balat Street. 

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Icebreaker


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Icebreaker


By Andrew Peacock

Location: Southern Ocean, Antarctica

I'm a pretty relaxed sort of traveller. I've seen a lot, experienced many highs and low and been all over the world working as an expedition doctor and adventure travel photographer - getting paid to do both at the same time is my holy grail. So when the Russian vessel I was on was beset by thick ice in the far Southern Ocean...

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Wandernotes, Vol. 2: James for the Jet Lagged


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Wandernotes, Vol. 2: James for the Jet Lagged


 

The second volume of our Wandernotes music mixes is up! Volume 2: Jams for the Jet Lagged is scientifically proven to help you overcome your tired instincts and and carpe whatever your diem has in store for you!

 
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Collar Bones


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Collar Bones


By Michelle Gardella

Location: Little Talbot Island State Park, Florida, USA

I noticed his bike wheel mangled, leaning against the Airstream. I noticed the backpack, unzipped, in the middle of the dirt driveway. I noticed the lack of sound from the other side of the door. But for some reason, when I walked in, I was still surprised.

Slumped over a metal bowl, holding his dangling arm in place, he didn’t look up to meet my eyes. 

He gagged over the bowl, and I told the kids to wait outside. 

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Bikes Weren't Made For This


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Bikes Weren't Made For This


By Ellie Beeson

Location: Many Places

I journal. Always have in some form or another. For whatever reason, a lot of my journal entries are short and sweet and often take haiku form. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I have a love for using and abusing the haiku format to share my emotions about tiny events in my life.

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Blame It On The Pope


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Blame It On The Pope


BY HANNAH QUAAS

Location: Rome, Italy

Pope Francis. It’s his fault. It’s all his fault. I munch on my last Peanut M&M while I scrunch the yellow wrapper in my hand again and again. We’re going to miss it. I cannot not block out that thought as my wide, twitching eyes stare out into the clouds. I’m not going to make it back to Alicante.

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Without A Paddle: A Letter From The Editors


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Without A Paddle: A Letter From The Editors


 

Dear Adventurer,

By talking with others who travel, it has become quite clear to us that the best, most vivid stories people tell about their trips usually involve misfortune. Lost passports or being miserably lost in Prague. Broken down rental cars or broken bones. It’s here - in the middle of mishap - that we as travellers are confronted with the opportunity to learn from circumstances beyond our control (or sometimes within it). These disasters have made us cry, swear, sweat, crash on couches, crash on park benches, call home, take taxis, trust strangers; the list of things we had to do in a bind abroad is infinite. And mainly, they make for fantastic, often hilarious tales once we’ve made it safely back.   

 
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