California lighthouse

The days between my 30th birthday last year and my 31st birthday one month ago today saw me undertake something of a social experiment, where I committed to 12 months of living experientially. Something I called, my “30 at 30 List.” It wasn’t so much a travel bucket list, since it involved a lot of things that weren’t related to travel, but rather a life experiences list. While travel has been central to my personal growth the last few years, it’s not the end, but rather a means…

I’m on the way to the airport…without a boarding pass. No, I’m not picking up a friend from the airport (and if any of my friends or family are on the way to surprise me for my birthday, you should turn around, since I won’t be here). And no, I didn’t forget my boarding pass. You can’t forget what you don’t have. I’m doing something I’ve wanted to do ever since the first time I traveled: Go to the airport and take the first flight to a destination…

It was one year ago this week, that I remember sitting in the living room of my sister’s house, as my mother and I did something together that we hadn’t done since I lived at home: watch the Carolina Panthers play football. While we had shared this moment many times before, there was something more nostalgic about this time. Whether it was me being older and more mature, the nature of the trip (having decided only days before to travel back east to surprise my mom for Thanksgiving),…

“It’s already left,” the conductor replied out of the window to me when I asked if this was the 11:15 train. I looked above me at the clock that read 11:14, then down at my ticket that read 11:15, and back up at the conductor, who smirked as the train slowly started moving. Just then, I heard a loud click above me as the clock turned to 11:15. It was a familiar scene, as not even 12 hours prior had found me running into a South London TUBE…

If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, then you know I have a little thing for sunsets. Alright, maybe a big thing for sunsets. So what if every other photo I post is about sunsets? While the saying, “Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seem them all,” can be applied to Westerns, I don’t think it can be applied to sunsets. Every time I travel to a new destination, I’m eager to see the first sunset, as if I’m seeing the sunset for the first time, as…

I sat atop the hill, attached at the hip (literally) to Dexter, my paragliding instructor, who was teaching me the science of how we would sprint down the hill and catch a “rising thermal” just in time to rise above the ground, and therefore, not crash into the tree line just below us. It all sounded very black magic-like to me. As if I was in Middle Earth and I was just supposed to leap and somehow one of Gandalf’s dinosaur-sized eagles would appear just in time to…

I pulled the heavily-laded SUV to the end of the driveway and paused momentarily, looking through the rearview mirror at the ranch-style house sitting behind me. I sighed, as my eyes welled up, and a flood of memories came to mind. In that house was (probably) where I was conceived, played my first game of Duck Hunt, received my first spanking, got picked up for my first date, beat my father for the first time in basketball, got my first concussion (from playing indoor basketball that resulted in…

“Brenner,” the bus driver quickly blurted out to me, grabbing my bags and throwing them on the bus before I even had time to decide if this was really what I wanted to do, while also wondering if “Brenner” was in fact the name of a town, or just a German saying I was unfamiliar with. “Brenner?” I quizzically responded, as if saying it with a hint of skepticism would break down the language barrier and explain where I was actually going (it didn’t). “Yes, go to Brenner,…

“Who are you and what have you done with my dad?” I spoke those words firmly with skepticism as I looked eye-to-eye with he who had all the appearances of my conservative father, but was making wild claims that certainly didn’t sound like my father, throwing around words like “gifts”, “month-long trip”, and “senior trip”. I couldn’t help it that my mind immediately wondered off to images of Florida beaches or better yet, Cancun beaches and late nights with friends when I heard my dad say that him…

I let out a big sigh, one that is out of gratification, rather than frustration, as I lay the book I’m reading on my chest and lean my head back on the chaise lounge. I reach out for my iPhone, but then pull my hand back before I’ve had time to do anything more than see what time it is (and read that it’s over-heating). I follow this cycle for the next couple hours, not out of necessity, nor boredom, but rather out of habit. “Sir, do you…