Category Wanderlusting

Love at the American Embassy in Ukraine

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 […]

Waking Up From Paradise

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 […]

President-Elect Trump and Other Near Death Experiences on Praslin

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

My Life As A Fruit Bat

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 Lost, Five Years Found

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 […]

Trieste – City of Fog

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 […]

What We’ll Always Have

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. […]

The 11 Rules of Traveling

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 […]

The Estonian Equivalent of a Bus Driver

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 […]

Sour Cream and Pedicures (Fragmented Memories from Ukraine)

A couple of weeks ago I was sipping limoncello on a balcony overlooking the lower Amalfi Coast, but it feels more like an era has passed. Much has happened since then, and dreams and reality have intertwined a seemingly endless number of times. I might still be on that balcony sipping limoncello, or I might […]

How to get Back into a Country (an instruction manual)

It’s hard to remember the last time I approached the passport desk without an underlying sense of dread. Adding to my detriment, Ukrainian immigration officials are like rabid dogs, sensing my uneasiness and eager to draw blood (in the form of a back-room bribe). As a result the woman behind the desk spends an eternity […]

The Patron Saint of Vernazza

When you’re traveling on a tight budget, one of the first things to go are the train tickets… paying for them that is. Now, you might think that this would cause a problem, mainly in being able to take the train, but when the country you’re train hopping in is Italy and the person in […]

An Officer, not a Gentleman

After spending eight months in Polignano a Mare, a pearl of a city buried deep in Italy’s heel, a combination of factors led me to make the move to that famous capital located squarely mid-calf, Rome. In the more than four months I’ve been here, I’ve often questioned my decision to move from a seaside […]

Adventures in Laundering

Far from the world of pizzas, pastas, and gelati I’ve been immersed in these last two weeks lies another, dirtier truth. While I’ve managed to shove it as far back into my wardrobe as I could, the truth is starting to smell. It’s high time I did my laundry, you see, and not only because […]

How to get Banned from a Country (an instruction manual)

The passport desk is an interesting place. All that separates you from entering, or in this case leaving, a country is a thin yellow line and some glum looking individual sitting in a little glassed-in cubical. Regardless of where you are, they all look the same. Immigration officials are almost like royalty in that they […]

Embarrassing English (Saved By the Grunt)

Whoever it was that conceived of the word “tedious” must have spent some portion of his or her life as a teacher. Not to say that teaching is boring, often the contrary, but when you’re spending seemingly the same rainy December day leading the same roundtable discussion on the same hour-long topic hour after hopeless […]

Helsinki Harbor after sunset

A Lesson in Speaking Finnish

-On the Shoot of the Latest BMW Short Film- One of the first things I notice upon stepping out of Helsinki-Vantaa airport, literally the first thing, is the seemingly endless queue of taxis which await me. What’s odd about this isn’t the fact that these drivers are lined up at one in the morning anticipating […]

Important message from a WC (in Ukraine)

I’m on the new express train running from Kharkiv to Kiev in a record four and a half hours. These express trains are nice, which is to say, they’re almost akin to the second class compartments on Western European trains. Before leaving Kharkiv I committed the error of opening a liter and a half container […]

Finnish

The lights flash, the music pulses and I am with you. You – a masterpiece, a Van Gogh all awash in glittering indigo. Your arms are over your head, your hair fluttering in fated wind, your blue top rising, tantalizing over your abdomen and I feel like an inexperienced seaman. I want to reach over […]

Death and Disconnect

I feel, despite its beauty, disconnected from this place. Though the square is, in every corner, bursting with life I am foreign to it.From the left a couple stumbles towards me carrying a box of doughnuts and a bottle. As blissfully unaware as they are of the world taking place around them they are nevertheless […]

Losing Myself in the City of Distraction

It is a threatening, overcast day when I step out from Amsterdam’s central station into the beating heart of the world’s foremost adult playground. I only have a day here and after dropping off my luggage and waiting in a seemingly endless queue to get a reservation for my next train that day has turned […]

In Transit (Stop This Train)

Realizations are sometimes easiest made in the dark isolation of a train compartment… listening to your beating heart.