Best Spots for Urban Kayaking in Tacoma

When you picture the ideal spot for kayaking, what comes to mind? An isolated river or lake in the woods? Or on an urban waterway surrounded by bridges and skyscrapers? When we got our kayaks last winter, I couldn’t wait to try them out somewhere totally new — my own backyard. Tacoma is a peninsula,Continue reading “Best Spots for Urban Kayaking in Tacoma”

King of the Open Road

Last week, I handed over the keys to my 2005 Honda Pilot to my younger sister. It was an emotional moment, because my baby sister is now old enough to drive. It was also emotional for me because I was saying farewell to an old friend. Call me sentimental, but I have a tendency toContinue reading “King of the Open Road”

Hell on Earth: Dachau

When I was in high school, we read Night by Elie Wiesel, a semi-autobiographical account of the Wiesel’s experience in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. In one scene, a child is hanged and someone asks where God is amid the horror. Someone else responds, “Where He is? This is where–hanging here fromContinue reading “Hell on Earth: Dachau”

The Old/New City: Munich

There’s nothing like summer in Munich — somewhat due to the heat and partly to humidity, but mostly to the Bavarian charm of one of Europe’s great cities and the rest to the laid back, almost Mediterranean atmosphere that has led some to jokingly dub it Italy’s northernmost city. Personally, I think it’s the iceContinue reading “The Old/New City: Munich”

In the Footsteps of St. Columba: The Isle of Iona

You have to really want to get to the Isle of Iona. A speck of land 3 miles long by 1.5 miles wide off the western coast of Scotland, Iona is remote. To get there from Glasgow requires traveling three-hours by train, one hour by ferry, one hour by bus, and fifteen minutes by ferryContinue reading “In the Footsteps of St. Columba: The Isle of Iona”

The Writer Goes to NYC

“Prometheus, teacher in every art, brought the fire that hath proved for mortals a means to mighty ends.” – Aeschylus It’s a famous cliché — a writer goes to New York City and find inspiration. But it’s a cliche for a reason. Back at the end of June, I went to the Big Apple forContinue reading “The Writer Goes to NYC”

24 Hours in Astoria

The Astoria-Megler Bridge spends most of its 4-mile span connecting Oregon and Washington close to the water before rising 196 feet into the sky like a roller coaster from hell. Heading up the slope, we were either going to die or end up in Astoria, Oregon. Over Memorial Day weekend, my wife, sister-in-law, and aContinue reading “24 Hours in Astoria”

A Bookish Getaway

If you didn’t know me, you’d be inclined to think that the trip Stephanie and I took to the Oregon Coast last week was a disaster. I was sick the entire time. Our phones had limited reception. It was cold and windy. Fog obscured our view of the ocean. Rain poured. The road leading toContinue reading “A Bookish Getaway”

Getting Lost In the Footsteps of Plato

It was about 95 degrees in Athens when we set off to find what I consider to be one of the most important archaeological sites of the Classical period. The Acropolis and the Agora are amazing, but we were in search of a site off the beaten path — the Academy of Plato. The AcademyContinue reading “Getting Lost In the Footsteps of Plato”

Honeymoon Beach Reads

In a week, I will be married. After a year of planning, my wife and I will be off to Greece for two weeks of well-earned relaxation. Naturally, the most important part of our preparation for the trip was deciding what books to bring for the plane ride and the beach. Our first rule ofContinue reading “Honeymoon Beach Reads”