Category Archive: outside the comfort zone

Ukraine and What to Do About It

My friend in Kiev sounds exhausted. Her family lost everything when Russia invaded the Donbas, and she was just getting back on her feet when this current round of menace began. “Just a… Continue reading

Taking a Moment

A former tour member and friend (the latter invariably follows from the former) just asked me how difficult my Romania tour will be. I started my reply with the medieval cobblestone streets, gentle… Continue reading

To Romania, during covid

It’s been true for a year and a half now, but I had never felt it as acutely as I did on the flight from Amsterdam to Bucharest: this is a very awkward… Continue reading

Lessons in China

The restaurant seemed to be staffed entirely with 18 year olds, but how often do you get to eat at “Let Your Mouth Dance”? We went in. The impressively earnest hostess showed us… Continue reading

Two days away

My next tour starts in two days, and I know what the hardest part will be. A tour is an odd blend of likelihood and happenstance, earned probability and inevitable surprises. Will we… Continue reading

Ghosts in the grocery store

Waiting in line at the grocery store made me think about torture and secret police. Around me shoppers huffed their indignation at slow cashiers, one of whom looked ready to cry, but my… Continue reading

The undesirability of heroism

Hearing Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) discuss fungal infections, abscess scars, and which diseases merit treatment was a trip in itself. But it took me a day or so to realize these are far… Continue reading

Sorry to spoil the happy ending

It’s all my brother’s fault. Over dinner he mentioned how much better he felt after getting a massage. The muscles above my right kidney had been grumbling for awhile, so on the way home… Continue reading

I love travel. Right up to the moment I hate it.

The guy behind the counter was smirking. “Why weren’t you here at 7:10?” he asked, taunted, and I wanted to punch right through the glass to smear away that smirk with the smashed… Continue reading

Living the dream

I had a dream when I was a kid. A literal, “I’m asleep” kind of dream, that is. This isn’t an inspirational post. In it, I’m swimming along the bottom of the pool,… Continue reading