Jan 292011
 

Step 1: Fly back to Ireland and see Gideon, Hannah and Kathie again. Observe what happens when travel-addicts live in one place for over six months.

Step 2: Fly back to Oregon to spend holidays with the fam. Surprise sister. Notice the big cars and people, huge supermarkets, and cheaper everything – even most products imported from Europe.

Step 3: Fly back to Dublin and then… Continue reading: Steps Retraced

 Posted by at 11:37 am
Aug 042010
 

6 days in Manchester

Despite its large populace (second in UK metropolitan area to London), many parts of Manchester feel deserted, forgotten, unfinished. The city has the world’s first train station, but it is neither preserved nor called out as a landmark. Manchester’s “castle” is a two-brick-high cross-sectional reconstruction, flanked by signs depicting how the full building and village would have looked before they were destroyed. Museum… Continue reading: England, Part 2 of 2 | 4 Comments

 Posted by at 12:38 pm
Jul 302010
 

On the bus ride from Edinburgh to Newcastle, it occurred to me suddenly that the wind was driving everything. It raced cloud shadows over the expansive fields of barley, wheat and grass; it massaged the plains themselves into unsynchronized, rippling oceans of grain; it turned the actual ocean beyond into a formidable, entrancing and disruptive power. It spun small white windmills along the highway; it resisted the coach in which… Continue reading: England, Part 1 of 2 | 1 Comment

 Posted by at 3:10 am
Jul 232010
 

At a hostel in Edinburgh I coincidentally ran into Tim, an Australian economist I’d met the week before at a party in Belfast. I had plans to go out with a group of German recent college graduates that night and invited him to join; he invited a Danish couple he’d just met and they invited a British friend of theirs.

Our group’s first stop was a downtown Spanish night… Continue reading: Edinburgh | 1 Comment

 Posted by at 4:18 am
Jul 202010
 

My first stop after a quick lunch of vegetarian Cornish pasties was touring the Oban distillery, one of the oldest and smallest in Scotland and renowned for its signature 14-year West Highlands Scotch (highly recommended). After that, as instructed via email by my host-to-be, I asked a cab driver to take me simply to “the lookout.” The driver responded, “Oh, you mean Leo’s place?”

He drove me a mile… Continue reading: Oban | 4 Comments

 Posted by at 4:15 am
Jul 152010
 

My first experience in Scotland was using the wi-fi at a Glasgow bus-station cafe to find a hostel (no CouchSurfing hosts were available). As I compared prices and locations, a woman across the room yelled at her crying toddler to “shut up!” before taking the girl out to stand in the doorway of the cafe and wait in tears while her mother finished eating inside. I started a scorecard. Scotland… Continue reading: Glasgow | 3 Comments

 Posted by at 3:49 pm
Jul 092010
 

After exchanging drinking stories with a local on the bus ride from Galway to Belfast, I met up with my next host, Richard, a Belfast native and website designer, fitness fanatic and entrepreneur. That night we joined a few of his friends for a pint at a pub known for its traditional Irish bands, but which actually had a screamcore-folk group playing (not as cool as it sounds).

The… Continue reading: Belfast and Carrickfergus | 2 Comments

 Posted by at 1:04 pm