Will Europe End With Marching Boots — or Malaise?

Where were you when the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989?

I was sitting in the back room of our old house watching music videos on TV.

We didn’t have the specialty channels back then, but the cable company was running a free promo all week, and we could watch the movie channel and the music channel for free.

So It Goes by Nicolas Bouvier

“So it goes” recurs like a refrain throughout this collection of essays, and I found myself wishing it would go on and on.

Nicolas Bouvier is one of those legendary writers whose name circulates among travelers, but few of my North American road friends had ever heard of him. It was European friends who told me about his classic road trip book, The Way of the World.

Wandering Through the Crucible of Western Civilization

Views of the Acropolis from the Agora

To journey back to Athens was to exit mythological time and step into the historical.

We walked the winding streets of the Plaka in silence, as though on pilgrimage to a sacred place. As narrow-alley Antifioki wound ever upward, I reflected on my first visit to the Acropolis: eagerly awaited and long overdue.

On the road to Epidaurus

On the road in the Peloponnese

Drifting Through Heroic Time

Mycenae commanded the Argive plain

Standing atop the citadel, it was easy to see how the rulers of Mycenae could command the surrounding Argive plain, a self-contained world of rich agriculture and high pasturelands, walled off by mountains and easily defended passes.

Nighttime in the Vatican Museum

The River Nile personified in stone.

I was in Rome a few weeks ago playing tour guide.

Now, I won’t play tour guide for very many people, but one of my oldest friends was visiting. It was her first trip to Europe, and Rome was the city at the top of her list.

Travel Back in Time to Shibamata

Tora-san welcomes us to Shibamata

I want to tell you about an area of Tokyo I discovered on my last trip to Japan.

It may not be of interest to you on a first visit to this massive city. But if you’re a repeat visitor, you’ll want to check it out.

What is Your Ideal Life?

A lifetime ago in a place far, far away. (Pic by Colin O’Connor)

Something I read in a novel once has always stuck with me.

I don’t even remember what the book was, but I remember this scene very clearly.

I Hate My Phone

Is this thing the bane of travel?

I hate my phone.

Well, not just my phone, but all phones that fit in one’s pocket.

There’s a direct correlation between the portability of one’s devices and the sense of obligation other people have for your attention.

“Futuristic” Tokyo Lodged in the Past

Tokyo Bay at night

I want to share a few Tokyo discoveries with you as I catch up on the year’s travels by posting long overdue blogs.

It’s a city I know well. I lived there from 2000 to 2002, and I go back nearly every year for a visit.