before I was a data scientist I served as the editor for a major online travel publication. below is a handful of my published stories. the blue pins on the map navigate to anchors below, each of which contains more on a story or stories drawn from assignment in that part of the world.
In Nepal, You Must Follow the Momos
It is just after lunchtime in Kathmandu and the sun is beginning to sting my skin. The heat of early Nepali summer is no joke. The sleeves of my buttoned-up shirt are rolled back, and my leather shoes are losing their shine in the dusty, frantic streets of this sidewalk-less city. Sweat escaping through my face and forearms is collecting dirt and exhaust kicked up by whizzing motorbikes, which one after the other swerve just around us, just in time. Cathy and I walk single-file for safety as we attempt to hail a cab...
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
In Pursuit of the Edge in Papua New Guinea, Part 2: The Best Day of My Travel Life
I wake up in a one-room, lake-facing cabin at the only guest residence in at least 1,000 square miles. The sun, indifferent, peaks through my window. I hear the chatter of rare birds already in routine, and my eyes follow the bare wood of the walls and floor to the white overhanging mosquito netting that has fallen over my feet in the night. My bearings, or at least what remains of them, come rushing back...
12 Things to Know Before Traveling to Egypt in 2018
At the close of last year, I arrived at Cairo International (CAI) for the second time in my life. Into the dusty sunshine I walked, a six-foot American male on his third passport, to feel again the gentle tug of history toward the main stage. Again I found great treasures of humanity sparkling bare across the Sahara’s shoulders, stretching for the starry heavens—and on a few occasions, in corners I’d not previously known to look for them...
14 Things to Know Before Traveling to Mendoza, Argentina
As any mendocino will tell you in words and wild hand gestures, quality is not something that can be rushed. In the cradle of the crackling Andes, where the air is thin and the sun is intense, a slow and measured approach has helped Mendoza, Argentina, mature into one of the world’s finest places to unwind. Pours of the famed malbec are heavy, and the moment is always ripe for a meandering argument about proper asado technique.
There’s Something in the Air in Losinj, Croatia
Can you remember the best breaths of air of your life? Maybe not. The intake of oxygen is typically the business of the subconscious, forgotten until the participating machinery is jarred out of rhythm. By an illness, for example, like tuberculosis.
In 1895, in his 30s, a tuberculosis-ridden Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary spent six weeks on a wisp of pine-covered rock in the Adriatic Sea. Built into his diagnosis was the gravity of the context; as a force of devastation in Europe, tuberculosis was near its peak in the 1890s...
One Day in Tokyo, Japan
For whatever reason, you have one day in Tokyo. What do you do? At its most guttural, my advice is to plant yourself in an area of commercial density (like Asakusa) and just walk for a while. Stop often, at the moments your curiosity is most inflamed, and eat all that you can. In my mind the energy feeding Tokyo, above which a thin logic of streets and subway maps has been superimposed, resembles the Milky Way, twinkling with hidden wonders and lassoing colorful arms outward at unknowable speeds. Tokyo is like space...
10 Things San Sebastián Taught Me
In San Sebastián, it is easy to lose track of time. Days in the legendary Basque resort town have a tendency to be slow and meditative, as if through some metaphysical contract they have agreed to discretely slip away each evening, into the lapping Bay of Biscay or the glow of crooked streetlights warming the Old Town after dusk. Walks along the Urumea melt into meditations on Belle Époque architecture and European imperial history. Restaurants, as the great theaters of the region, host meals that without celebratory cause stretch long into the night, over good conversation and many bottles of txakolí. Nostalgia comes easy in San Sebastián, perhaps in part because you’re always looking back wondering where the time went...
In Defense of Travel to Africa
As mentioned in an earlier post I had the good fortune to travel to Kenya in November for the 40th Annual ATA World Congress. ATA, for the unfamiliar, is the Africa Travel Association, the “leading global trade association promoting travel and tourism to Africa and strengthening intra-Africa partnerships.” Simple math (and the website) reveals that the ATA was founded in 1975, and with slightly deeper investigation, it’s possible to frame the association as a resource capable of tremendous good, not only for Africa as a whole but for its 58 UN-recognized constituent nations, as well...
9 Things to Do in Qatar (Including a Falcon Market)
Qatar: the wealthiest nation in the world (per capita), modern marvel and falconry capital. Also pronounced “KUH-ter.” It was “kuh-TAR” in my mind for 29 years, but in April of 2017, fresh off an eye-opening three-night visit, my life has become a series of moments in which I say, “Well, it’s actually ‘KUH-ter'” to people. I then say, “So you know,” or “I used to say ‘kuh-TAR,’ too” or something, and I feel sort of sorry. Maybe I should be sorry: NPR’s All Things Considered produced a program entitled “More Than One Way To Pronounce Qatar.” Hmmm...
20 Stops to Make on a Cape Breton Road Trip
Nearly three decades ago, as a speechless baby, I was couriered by CAT ferry from Bar Harbor (Maine) to Nova Scotia. I cried from beginning to end. Among the things I did not know at the time was that people, and especially people of traveling persuasions, desire to visit Nova Scotia in the summer. Not a square foot in the province—Canada’s second-smallest—is more than 50 miles from the Atlantic. Bucolic walks splinter by the dozens up and around a mightily swollen coast. Year-round, celidhs—traditional “kitchen parties”—roar with life.