Off the Couch

Life is an adventure, time to get off the couch and experience the world!

Liberty and Justice for All?

Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, the former Stasi secret prison.

Author’s Note: When I first started writing this piece, I wanted to talk about my experience of touring the Stasi Secret Prison (Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen), and how as Americans, we must be vigilant against committing similar human rights violations (such as…

Lessons from Nowhere: Of Borders and Bananas

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Border crossings are at best tedious and at worst terrifying. More often than not they’re quite boring, waiting in long lines to have some border guard give your passport the briefest of glances before stamping or not stamping it on…

Quirky Iceland

A restaurant or a dairy farm? Why not both!

There’s something fundamentally different about the way Vikings see the world. The Nordic people always rank among the happiest in the world, all landing squarely in the Top Ten in last year’s index, with Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark coming…

Iceland: The “Ice” Part

Lounging around at Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon.

For a country that prides itself on fire and ice, there is certainly a great deal more of the latter at any given moment, than the former. Sure, there are upwards of 130 volcanoes in Iceland, and a great deal…

Iceland Preview

Don't let the bag fool you,  it's not even close to being fully packed.

When the time came to finally decide how to best use our remaining vacation time in November, Iceland wasn’t really anywhere on our radar.  The criteria were: 1) Somewhere we’ve never been, and 2) Somewhere warm. Imagine our surprise as…

Strange Places I’ve Called Home: Part 6, Paju, Korea

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This is my latest in my “Strange Places I’ve Called Home” series. The rest can be found here.  My first time up to Paju came two weeks before starting my new job at English Village. The first thing I noticed…

Chaos Theory of Travel

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Exactly two years ago today, Christine and I were robbed in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon in Buenos Aires, Argentina. What unfolded from that point forward was an unforgettable, life-changing trip. Was the robbery a low-point in our adventure,…

Strange Places I’ve Called Home: Part 5, Seoul, Korea

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You can read about the other “Strange Places I’ve Called Home” here.  In early spring 2007, I was at a strange place in my life. Nine months into my stay in Japan, and I was essentially told my services were…

The Strange Places I’ve Called Home: Part 4 (Continued), Nagasaki, Japan

Chinatown, Nagasaki

This is the second half of my piece on Nagasaki. Part 1 can be found here. My other posts in my “Strange Places” series include Milwaukee, South Florida, and Knoxville.   Many places have pest problems, but nothing could have prepared me for…

The Strange Places I’ve Called Home: Part 4, Nagasaki, Japan.

No, I didn't get into funny mistranslations, or Japan's bizarre sexual culture. I hope this sign suffices for both.

Author’s Note: When I set out to write this piece, I didn’t think it would take so long to fully convey my complex feelings about Nagasaki. As such, it has become a series within a series, divided into two parts.…

Legoland

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The Danes have a great deal to be proud of. They’re the World’s Happiest People. They have a high level of social cohesion, equality, and standard of living. They have some of the best restaurants in the world. They thumbed…

Lessons from Nowhere: Oruro, Bolivia

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Perhaps it is harsh to call a city of a quarter of a million people “Nowhere” straight from the outset, I know I would be duly offended if and when someone refers to my own similarly sized town of Knoxville…