We humans are a reflective sort, forced every 24 hours to plunge the depths of our subconscious and dream. The universe opens in these few hours, whispers secrets to us that are forgotten mere moments after waking. Some things survive the light of day, an encounter or memory that our subconscious has chosen to draw […]

I recently left civilization. I was one of the last to board the plane, chasing after my rolling hand luggage as it sped towards the ticket desk, having been informed by the flight attendant that the gate was about to close. Just because it was in a rush didn’t mean I couldn’t be amiable. “How […]

I’ve always loved islands more than the mainland. They’re cut off from the world at large, leaving you feeling a sense of isolation on even the busiest, most tourist-infested rock. The smaller the island, though, the deeper and wider the seas around it, the better.  My imagined paradise is a tiny, sandy spit of land […]

Ever since moving to Ukraine, I have lived in a bubble. My interactions with the people and culture of this country have been decidedly limited. This is likely why I haven’t become an alcoholic.* My job requires that I speak and write in English, which I thankfully can manage. My girlfriend speaks English and she […]

I love coffee houses. Let me clarify, I love coffee houses that aren’t multinational chains masquerading as desirable places for people who dig coffee and mermaids to hang out in. All of which to say, I love Vienna. How could you not delight in a place whose people consider coffee houses to be their “living […]

Part of me has always envied taxi drivers. Think of all they see, all the people they talk to. The world passes through their cabs, connections are made, stories are told. That’s why there’s often no better place to be than in the backseat of a cab. Unfortunately, I don’t usually take cabs when traveling. […]

In my tendency to occasionally write about subjects that aren’t directly related to places I’ve been, I’ve had people say to me, “Brendan, you have a travel blog – focus on travel!” But watching a film is a form of travel. I love movies, always have, always will, because of their power to transport us someplace else. […]

There are moments in life when you realize that you’ve made a mistake. A big mistake. A mistake that there is really no getting out of. I say this because it’s common in today’s world for people to say that they have “no regrets”. This isn’t true of course. What they mean is that they […]

As I’ve aged, my nightmares have ceased to be about evil clowns and being trapped in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood to being about me, at the airport, on the day I leave paradise. There’s nothing I can do about my imminent departure. I’m certain of this even as I dream. I’m stuck. They wouldn’t let me […]

Near death experiences from the Island of pounding rain, mutant sized geckos, and President-elect Trump.

Other than one or two trucks, used for agricultural purposes, there are no motor vehicles to be found on the island of La Digue. The inhabitants of this 10km² island, part of the Seychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean, get around on foot or by bicycle – mostly the latter. No cars and the most […]

Five years ago last week, I left America for a life abroad. As I was 25 when I left, this means that an entire sixth of my life has now been spent living outside my own country’s borders. That may not seem like much, but to me those days feel like an old film being […]

You know how this goes. Relatives you haven’t seen in years – some you can’t remember ever having seen – gathering around the table to eat and share what they’re thankful for … in this case, not having seen each other for the past year. Your cousins are all there, little Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. […]

Part 1 in Weird Correlations With Democracy: Why Clapping on an Airplane Makes You More Susceptible to Authoritarianism.

Trieste is a city with an identity crisis. Part of it longs to be back with its previous Hapsburg rulers, while another part clings to the Italian mainland. Trieste became part of Italy only in 1919, and it shows. Like a party guest who arrives after everyone’s already had a few drinks, she can’t decide […]

Last Tuesday a friend I haven’t seen in eight years left a comment on my Facebook wall. We had met in the summer of 2007 in Prague, the two of us participants in the same study abroad program. I would often see her in between classes on the steps of a building at Charles University. […]

Of all the chairs it’s possible to find one’s self in, the dentist’s is possibly the worst. Ok, on second thought the electric chair likely gets that title… but you get my drift. It’s not that I’m afraid of the dentist exactly, I go willingly enough, but I do so with the knowledge that this […]

If there’s one trivial piece of knowledge that the traveler can attest to, it may just be this: city to city, country to country, we don’t all smile the same way.  Did I say trivial? Perhaps I spoke too soon. After all, what says more about us at first glance than our face and the […]

While Americans back home celebrated the Fourth of July in the typical way – fireworks, barbecues, pool parties – I celebrated at a Ukrainian restaurant in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. I’d been invited by an older American acquaintance – let’s call him John – and now presently find myself seated at an outdoor table […]

1. Never eat at McDonalds  You won’t get a bear burger (above) at McDonalds. You’re not Christmas shopping at the mall needing to quickly fuel up at the food court – you’re traveling. One of the primary joys of traveling is trying the local food, so why would you have food that you (hopefully) wouldn’t […]

To get started, head to Baku’s international bus station. Once your taxi deposits you onto the curb, right into a waiting crowd of aged Azeris clamoring for your attention like malnourished seagulls, good luck finding your way to the illusory ticket office. The fading grey building here might sell many things, from secondhand pantyhose to […]

I was one of the few walking down Lenina Avenue this past Saturday, the rest of the city was running. It was the day of the Kharkiv Marathon, and as I walked past on the sidewalk I couldn’t help but summon to mind the images that had flashed across our TV sets two years ago […]

I recently introduced the topic of “pet peeves” to my class of 10 students in Baku, Azerbaijan. “A pet peeve,” I explained, “is something you find annoying about something or someone, that perhaps another person would not. Does anyone have a pet peeve they would like to share with us?” A particularly bright girl in […]

Navigating the English School scene in Rome is akin to trying to make your way across a minefield. It takes time, effort, and a lot of luck. During the year I spent in Rome, I had more interviews than does your average recent college grad-wielding-a-liberal-arts-degree and as a result got to see more of the […]

As I was spending a few days in Tallinn my general preference was to walk whenever possible, all the better to explore the Estonian capital’s enchantingly twisty streets and spires so crudely beautiful they’d pierce the heart of even the most worldly of travelers. My destination today, the Estonian Forensics Institute, lay further than my […]