Next Time, Leave Your Camera — and Your Judgments — at Home
A year and a month ago, we were in Narbonne A coastal town in the south of France, sixty miles from the border with Spain. In 118 BC, it was home to retired Roman legionaries. Next, Narbonne was conquered by the Moors, who were later supplanted by a Jewish principality that lasted through the Middle Ages.
How To Be a Digital Nomad Without Being a Jerk About It
Among the sky-is-falling shrieking that makes up modern news coverage, I recently read the story of Kristen Gray. Gray was living with her partner in Bali as an American ex-pat when the Covid 19 pandemic swept across the world. With impressively tone-deaf timing, she decided to release a book telling other Americans how to move to Bali and make a living. The end result was that she got herself deported.
When the Wilderness Looks Back
A branch cracked above me A noise trees make in winter. Shriveled leaves rattle to the northern wind. Branches turn brittle once the sap stops flowing. North of here, it gets so cold that trees explode. I moved to the warmest part of Canada for a reason.
Visiting the Ghost Forest: Exploring Golden Ears Provincial Park
A horse splashed along the beach There were three of them, clustered together at one end of the lake next to the hydroelectric dam. Water churned and splashed around the hooves of the white horse as it playfully kicked, stray beads leaping up to cling to the animal’s skin.
Lose the Fear. Keep the Love
It’s easy when it’s like this. A perfect day under a perfect sun in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo, my favourite place in the world. Even the puffy clouds are only there to provide a welcome break from the heat, and tourists gasp with pleasure at their tables as the light dims. They applaud when the sun comes out, as though it can hear them.
Palermo, That's All
I don't tell those kinds of stories. You know the ones. The Three Drunk Norwegians. The Narcotrafficantes Who Chased Me Through The Jungle That Time. The Multigenerational Balinese Family Who Taught Me How To Love. Is there any greater bore than a travel bore? I can see myself even now, desperately checking my phone for messages while some pompous narcissist drones on about how in Mongolia, like, everything was like, four-dimensional. They talk about travel broadening the mind, but I see people's focus narrowing constantly, shrinking with every border they cross until every country merges into the others, and all that remains in the bright bare circle of focus is themselves.
The Albanian Maneuver
“Too much.” “Too much?” The gas station attendant thumbed through the crumpled bills stuffed into an envelope he held and shrugged. More lek. The last thing we needed was more Albanian currency. We were leaving the country in an hour. The car didn’t need much gas, but the rental agreement demanded it be returned with a full tank. The €50 note I had given him glowed red in the midst of the pale blue Albanian money.
You Can Never Go Home
Sparrows live here. It stays warm all year, of course, and the crumbs of overpriced food dropped by passing travelers who eat from boredom more than hunger are enough to raise a family on. I know that the birds live here, raising chicks in the steel rafters and shitting on the polished floor, rather than it being a case of a few unlucky individuals getting trapped and lost inside the cavernous space of the airport. Because I’ve seen them before. I’ve been here before. I almost live here myself.