Selected Travel Writings


“It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy...let’s go exploring!” - Calvin & Hobbes

Reflections & Appreciation (pdf)

August 12, 2008 -- Southeast Asia

“...Every day on the road reminded me how much I’m insulated from poverty, from violence, from having to choose between 75 cents for a day in the rice fields and $5 for 30 minutes with a Westerner...”

Hope - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (pdf)

July 11, 2008 - Phonm Penh, Cambodia

“They used a school. In 1975, the Khmer Rouge turned a school into an interrogation compound and four years later 20,000 people had passed through those school gates and four years later only seven made it out...”

Marley’s Ghost: Reflections from a Kenyan Refugee Camp (pdf)

July 7, 2010 - Nakuru, Kenya

“I visited a refugee camp on Saturday. In the disputed Kenyan elections of 2007, tribes and parties used rape and murder to make their point, and tens of thousands were displaced. They are refugees in their own country, and they live in squalor...”

Gli Innocenti (pdf)

June 8, 2004 - Dachau, Germany

“[I] walk back into the rain, crossing over the roll call area where mornings and evenings prisoners were brought out for hours, and the sick separated from the healthy, the living from the dead. I start to wonder how many times it was raining. I wonder how many were younger than I...”

A Typical Day in Kenya: Living at an Orphanage, Teaching at a Camp (pdf)

July 21, 2010 - Nakuru, Kenya

“Most of these kids lost their parents to AIDS or have moms in the slums who can't take care of them. They have so little, yet they're so appreciative of everything. They’re so full of hope...”

It’s the Journey: The Lares Trek to Machu Picchu (pdf)

August 17, 2009 - Lares Trail, Peru

“We went to bed with nothing but the sounds of the river and the occasional sleet storm in our ears, the foreign stars of a foreign sky providing our only light. On our second night the Milky Way was especially clear, ...[only] fading behind a distant cloud formation and its subtle strokes of lightning...”

Everyday Altruism on the WIlliamsburg Bridge (pdf)

September 10, 2010 - New York City

“He was unresponsive and wide-eyed when we reached him, spread over both bike lines. The blood from his head had already formed a thick stream that was spilling onto the subway tracks below...”

Reflections & Responsibilities (pdf)

August 11, 2010 - East Africa

“The people in the Nakuru slums literally live in a dump. They dig through the trash alongside dogs and pigs; when a dump truck arrives the men race to get first pickings...”

Moving On: The Rwandan Genocide (pdf)

July 26, 2010 - Kigali, Rwanda

“250,000 bodies are buried in a small mass grave outside Kigali’s Rwandan Genocide Memorial. After a century of successful divide & conquer tactics by the Belgians...the tension between the Hutus and the Tutsis came to a head in 1994...”

Reflections & Reminders from Auschwitz (pdf)

January 14, 2012 - Auschwitz, Poland

“This place is so familiar I know I’ve been here before. I’ve been here in Germany...and Cambodia...and Rwanda. I’ve visited in photos and stories and statistics. It’s always the same. It’s always new. It’s always raw.”

Part II: Epilogue...and a New Narrative (pdf)

July 12, 2011 - Cairo, Egypt

“You can’t stand long under the shadow of the pyramids...without wondering how long we gazed at the heavens before trying to reach them. You can’t talk long with an Egyptian youth or taxi driver without wondering what incites a person to risk stability and survival merely to gain a voice...”

How I Thwarted a Robbery, Got Punched in the Process, and Ended Up in a Portuguese Hospital (pdf)

February 22, 2012 - Oporto, Portugal

“Suddenly, I hear a loud punch, a muffled yell, and out of the corner of my eye see a man fall and two guys run off with a of course, as a good New Yorker, I jumped up to chase after them...”

Why I Hate Traveling...and Thoreau (pdf)

February 15, 2012 - Valencia, Spain

“In May of 2004, I gave up a girlfriend, a growing bank account, and a fairly secure existence to spend six weeks abroad in Europe, my first time east of Utah. I was driven there both because I didn’t want to teach my students about the world if I hadn’t experienced it myself, and because of a Thoreau-inspired desire to live a life free of regret and “quiet desperation.” One week into that trip, however, I found myself at a train station in Madrid...with my passport, ATM card, and everything of value...freshly stolen. I was broke in a country where I didn’t know the language, helpless and shattered and lonelier than I’d ever been before.”