On Applying to Be The New York Times’ Travel Writer

When I was in elementary school, I had a globe with raised mountains and sunken seas on the surface. The tactile senses elicited by slowly roaming my dirty little fingers over the nubs conveyed a palpable sense of something beyond me, beyond my little town, in the mysterious lands across the Atlantic ocean in which I’d swim every summer. That was my instant and distinct connection to the larger world. What was out there? Continue reading


Can We Talk About Guns? Can We Talk About Anything?

It’s not time to talk about gun regulation when people use guns to kill for fun, politics or revenge. It’s not time to talk about human contributions to climate change when hurricanes sustain category five winds for 36 hours or dump five feet of rain in a few days. It’s not time to talk about health care when GOP politicians are rushing a vote on damaging legislation through secret meetings. It’s not time to talk about the antiquated electoral college despite two of the last five popular vote count winners losing the election. Continue reading

People Are Strange And So Am I

The people I see when I walk around the cities of the world simultaneously amaze, frighten, arouse, stimulate, disgust and amuse me. Some are unbearably attractive, others the kind of ugly that permeates from the inside out. Some are beautiful and life affirming in their actions, others make me feel complicit in their greed and cruelty, simply by being human. Some are good, some are bad, some are pretty, and some are not. Continue reading


The week I turned 30 years old, I had my identity stolen.  I have never had a credit card, and they didn’t steal my social security number or something, they just ripped all the money out of my bank 3 days after pay day and 7 days before I went on vacation.  Someone in Istanbul, Turkey managed to find my 16 digit debit card and bought a pile of petrol.   I imagine some Al-Qaeda agent from Afghanistan driving through the Iraqi desert in a road weary, dusty pick-up, across the Bosporous Straits and into Europe to wreck havoc, all on my dime.  It’s probably not as devious as I think, but, those Muslim militants need money, and they have plenty of time to find our dollars hiding in their wi-fi enabled caves the past ten years.  The scary part when this happens is that you can’t feel safe anymore.  I have always had a good dose of paranoia and thinking people are out to get me, and this will not help.  The timing is also suspect.  Our early years are spent in the shadows of our parents’ video cameras and being held by grandparents.  Then the early tween years of silliness and middle school and finally the “too cool” teenage years of rebellion against good advice.  Most of our generation will step into their adult shoes in their twenties during or after college.  We have our twenties taken care of and chalk mistakes up to “being young and dumb”.  How many times have you heard, “Do it while you’re young” in reference to drugs, travel, or sex?  Perhaps we understand that one must live their id lives before moving on to the superego dynamics of later years.  Perhaps we’d rather regret things we’d done and have stories and scars to prove our tale, than to not do them and have regret as the only scar.  I am thinking about life and choices lately.  I think that we are put in motion and we can’t possibly make the right choice because we don’t have all the information.  If we knew what consequence would occur from our action, we could make a more informed decision.  Life is not designed thusly.  Life is flawed like humans.  Animals eat other animals, fish eat other fish, bugs eat plants, water destroys land, humans crush everything under their ego’s.  No wonder people stole my money, why wouldn’t they?  Our morals could be learned or innate, but if they were innate, no one would misbehave or break laws.  We are the trained seals of the Earth.  Our ancestors hunted and gathered and danced for rain.  They had rules too.  Rules and records are made to be broken, we just hate it when they break against our shores.  Growing old isn’t depressing; it is disappointing though.  You can never go home, you can’t take it with you, you learn from your mistakes.  By the time I’m eighty I will know heaps of things from my myriad mistakes but have no use for them.  You can’t correct an error, you can only not make it again.  One-third of my life used and I’m happy with it.  I learned much, laughed much, saw much.  My new goal is to find the stability to erase the troubled mind and create the compassionate heart.  I didn’t steal someone’s money, I was a victim.  That doesn’t entitle me to anything, it actually makes me want to do something positive to eradicate that jerkwad’s actions from the universal karma.  As the new millenium clicks into gear in the next forty years, we will see if people can learn from history or if we are doomed to repeat it.  We may see religious warriors becoming tolerant of each other.  We may see sustainable farming and fishing.  We may see a drastic reduction of violent crime.  Or, we may see the crusades acted out again in Israel with machine guns, the extinction of tunafish and chickens, and the urban streets become horrific Gotham Cities.  Positive though I want to be, negative as I seem, the world continues.  Thanks for the chance to experience it no doubt, and thanks for the health to reach 30 with only a few gray hairs.