Travel log

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Where I’ve been, at least that I’m willing to share, in alphabetical order.

Travelers (2015)

On this lonely road,
Though crowded with travelers,
I still feel alone.
The wing of an airplane.

The wing of an airplane.

Overview

I grew up in the United States Midwest and have visited 31/51 US states and 10/63 National Parks.1

I’ve also visited a number of other countries.

Humans.

Humans.

I used to make “video postcards” and zines (printable versions: nz, eu, china) of my travels. I still share some photos, every now and again.

Here are some low-stakes recommendations.

Tips

Go here for some of the things I’ve recently learned while traveling.

Random stories and lists

Worst Airbnbs

  1. A basement in an “active household” with five small kids, two dogs, endless dog toys, children’s television, and a paper-thin ceiling, in Grand Rapids, MI.
  2. A basement with low ceilings - so low that I could not stand up straight - in Wheeler, WV.
  3. The time I had to break into my own room following the host’s instructions, in San Francisco, CA.

Places

Albuquerque, NM, USA

New Mexico (Landscape) by Thomas Hart Benton

New Mexico (Landscape) by Thomas Hart Benton

Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • “coffee” from the coffeehouses, of course
  • the Van Gogh museum, also a bunch of Rembrandts
  • joppie sauce = hate-less chickfila sauce

Asheville, NC, USA

  • pimiento cheese scrambled eggs at Bisuit Head
  • Plant, a hip vegan restaurant
  • Brevard is cute, and Quotations is a chill café
  • get up early, take the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the sunrise over the mountains
  • lots of good hikes (wear sunscreen)
  • kayak along the French Broad, and stop off to sneak into the big mansion
  • didn’t get a chance to visit Moog

Austin, TX, USA

  • like Lexington, but if they turned everything way up to 11 and didn’t make any changes to the underlying infrastructure
  • hard to visit without a car
  • good BBQ can be found in the surrounding area
  • Electric Church is a chill underground psych rock venue, and De Nada Cantina is tasty nearby
  • state capitol building is beautiful even if what they do there is totally messed up

Bath, UK

  • the roman baths are old and cool but the museum is underwhelming
  • the bookshops are good
  • walk along the canal

Bay Area, CA, USA

  • Point Reyes National Seashore ia worth the drive, and you can get oysters on the way
  • Chapel of the Chimes, Urban Ore, and Golden Tee Golfland are all fantastic
  • Burma Superstar is tasty
  • The Knockout is a surprisingly divey venue in SF
  • Once a month you can go to the SF botanical garden for free, the SF japanese garden is quite good, and Oakland’s bonsai garden is incredible
  • Spectator Books is good
  • Friends and Family is tasty, and Understory, and so is breakfast at Alem’s Coffee
The view frm across the bay, my first night sleeping in a van nearby.

The view frm across the bay, my first night sleeping in a van nearby.

Beijing, China

  • you can hop out a little window onto an unrestored section of the Great Wall; don’t fall!
From my exploration of a retricted, unrestored section of the Great Wall.

From my exploration of a retricted, unrestored section of the Great Wall.

Berlin, Germany

  • coolest city ever, probably
  • modern art and more: Berlinische Galerie, Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Neue Nationalgalerie, ME Collectors Room
  • vegan currywurst
  • east side gallery
  • memorial to the murdered jews of europe and the Judisches Museum
  • walking up the Bundestag Building
  • clubs, obviously

Boston, MA, USA

  • Halloween in Salem is excellent
  • make sure to put your feet in the ocean

Bristol, UK

  • Cafe Kino
  • Cube Microplex
  • People’s Republic of Stokes Croft

Cincinnati, OH, USA

  • Rhinegeist brewery
  • Findlay Market
  • Perfect North

Chicago, IL, USA

  • go to a daytime Cubs game
  • malort
  • Calumet Fisheries and the Blues Brothers bridge right next to it
  • Myopic Bookstore

Copenhagen, Denmark

  • amazing breakfast
  • I <3 cargo bikes
  • Christiania
  • dreamy sunsets over the bridge
  • actually livable
A beautiful park in Copenhagen with lines showing the proper bike pathing.

A beautiful park in Copenhagen with lines showing the proper bike pathing.

The beautiful Copenhagen summer beautiful Copenhagen summer sun setting over a body of water.

The beautiful Copenhagen summer beautiful Copenhagen summer sun setting over a body of water.

Denver, CO, USA

  • Red Rocks is fun to visit, along with the nearby dinosaur footprints
  • Evergreen, CO, is nearby and very cute
  • Davies’ Check Wagon Diner was transported there from the East Coast
  • City, ‘O City has great vegan food, and Domo was a great eating experience
  • Meow Wolf is overhyped but still fun with friends
Rudy, my favorite Airbnb doggo buddy.

Rudy, my favorite Airbnb doggo buddy.

A Mountain Symphony (Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado) by Sven Birger Sandzen

A Mountain Symphony (Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado) by Sven Birger Sandzen

Dresden, Germany

  • find Slaughterhouse V
  • the Green Vaults
  • climb the Kreuzkirche rather than the Frauenkirche

Faroe Islands

  • it’s doable by bus, but not easy
  • the edge of the world
  • incredible hikes
  • sheep!
  • fish ’n chips and traditional music in Torshavn
The steep cliffs along the Faroe coast.

The steep cliffs along the Faroe coast.

A remote area of Faroe.

A remote area of Faroe.

Florence, Italy

  • climb to the top of the Duomo
  • it’s all just beautiful, and I enjoyed both major museums
  • Bobolui Gardens were also fun
  • Siena is worth the trip, with its amazing history and cathedral
The view of the Florence Cathedral through a window.

The view of the Florence Cathedral through a window.

A street in Siena.

A street in Siena.

Florida, USA

I’ve been down there a number of times. Not a ton of recommendations, but I enjoyed Miami and the Keys.

Florida Keys

  • one of the keys is a state park where you can walk 100 meters into the Gulf of Mexico and it will still only come up to your waist
  • Key West is a tourist trap but the other islands have some gems
An unexpectedly beautiful view of central Florida.

An unexpectedly beautiful view of central Florida.

Grand Rapids, MI, USA

  • a little boring, in a good way
  • Redux Books is a good used bookstore, and Argos nextdoor
  • Bitter End is a great coffeeshop
  • vegan breakfast sandy at Sunday brunch at Fulton Street Bar and Grill

Hudson, NY, USA

A lot of very expensive furniture, but also a cute town and a great natural landscape.

Lots of good food here, too, including Lil Deb’s Oasis, the Mel bakery, and many more. We also enjoyed the firefighting museum.

Iceland

An incredible place. I recommend spending at least 9 days there, and doing it with at least one other person. Once you get started, and leave Reykjavík, you are unlikely to match the cadence of anyone you meet on the road.

I was lucky to see a rare volcanic eruption when I was there. Lava shoots up from a barren lava field, about 100 meters away.

I was lucky to see a rare volcanic eruption when I was there. Lava shoots up from a barren lava field, about 100 meters away.

Ben Frost and Francesco Fabris made an album from audio of the Meradalir volcano, which I saw erupting in 2022.

A large waterfall sends the current tumbling magnificently down over a large cliff face.

A large waterfall sends the current tumbling magnificently down over a large cliff face.

The sky is visible through a crevice entrance above, the photographer shooting from below.

The sky is visible through a crevice entrance above, the photographer shooting from below.

A special set of concrete buts with spherical ceilings, viewed here from afar, was built to amplify traditional Icelandic musical frequencies.

A special set of concrete buts with spherical ceilings, viewed here from afar, was built to amplify traditional Icelandic musical frequencies.

Indianapolis, IN, USA

Naptown, Crossroads of America, etc.

  • the art museum
  • Kurt Vonnegut stuff
  • Rhythm Discovery Center
  • Yats
  • Maxine’s Chicken and Waffles

Lexington, KY, USA

  • food: Bourbon & Toulouse, Sav’s, Stella’s, Magee’s, GirlsGirlsGirls Burritos
  • CD Central, Sqecial Media, and other spots nearby
  • Institute 193 typically has a good exhibition

Lisbon, Portugal

  • pasteis de nata
  • Versiculo d’O Faia

Los Angeles, CA, USA

You don’t need my help with this one. I mean, there’s the beach for starters. And the desert. Brecht’s take is more interesting.

Louisville, KY, USA

  • Kaiju
  • Zanzibar
  • Actors Theatre of Louisville
  • WXOX/Art.fm

Mackinac Island, MI, USA

  • It’s pronounced “mackinaw”
  • Don’t go in the winter, like I did
The strangely modern, revolutionary-era Fort Holmes.

The strangely modern, revolutionary-era Fort Holmes.

Milan, Italy

  • in addition to the Duomo, check out the Museo del Novecento
  • quite cosmopolitan
The cathedral from inside the nearby art museum.

The cathedral from inside the nearby art museum.

Minneapolis, MN, USA

  • the skyway system is great in the winter
  • the Flour Tower presentation at Mill City Museum is for kids but I enjoyed it
  • art museums are pretty good
  • Mercado Central is a vibe
  • I rode a Nickelodeon-themed rollercoaster at Mall of America

Monterey, CA, USA

  • incredible year-round weather + beaches, beaches, beaches!
  • 17-mile drive
  • Moondog Grill
  • Cannery Row Antique Mall has excellent maps

Munich, Germany

  • excellent museums
  • that spot where people surf
  • also, Hofbräuhaus and gardens

New Orleans, LA, USA

  • mardi gras world
  • crawfish etouffee at felix’s
  • beingets
  • spotted cat
  • flora cafe and gallery
  • studio be
  • the opossums of cocoally

New York, NY, USA

I live here now. Email me for recs.

A bustling local grocery store.

A bustling local grocery store.

A flatiron-shaped building with a flowershop&rsquo;s name written down its face.

A flatiron-shaped building with a flowershop’s name written down its face.

The outside of a cute little bookstore.

The outside of a cute little bookstore.

A handwritten notice on the wall of a bar asking patrons not to leave trash on the street.

A handwritten notice on the wall of a bar asking patrons not to leave trash on the street.

New Zealand

I spent a couple of months there.

North Island

The Sky

Here, the sky is close.
The cold stars blow through my hair,
Just out of my reach.

Rugged

A rugged landscape:
Foreboding mountains and seas
Never cede domain.
A sunny view while tramping north of Wellington.

A sunny view while tramping north of Wellington.

Distant

Distant mountain peaks
Over supple, lively green
And my lack of words
A dormant volcano through a bus window, with the sun setting behind it.

A dormant volcano through a bus window, with the sun setting behind it.

It Sets

The sun sets orange light
Upon the rugged path, bright
Soon to rise again.
Rotorua.

Rotorua.

Hills

Aching feet keep step
With the insistent rhythm
Of a boy's schedule.

It's uphill one way
Downhill and uphill again
Endless hills of green

Pain, now forgotten:
This unfathomable beauty
Heals body and soul.

Auckland

  • excellent contemporary theatre
  • take the ferry to the valcano hike
  • explore the public-private park (sheep!)

Wellington

Wellington, a haiku

Candles on mountains;
The flickering light of lives
Glowing by the sea

Blinded

This country blinds me;
Whether waking or dreaming,
It is all I see.

Memories:

  • The All Seeing Hand live at a bowling club

Kiwis

We are all the same,
The sarcastic kiwi said.
And I simply laughed.

South Island

The sunrise at Tasman.

The sunrise at Tasman.

Bus

Through grubby windows
One witnesses a new world,
The unknown made known.

To Wanaka

The road winds slowly
Towards a lake of clear glass,
My own reflection.
Lake Wanaka.

Lake Wanaka.

Pub Quiz

Distant, white mountains
Stand high with caps out of sight
Seeming infinite

Alps

Great high sentinels
Selfishly guarded by clouds
Quietly peek through
The snowy Kepler Track.

The snowy Kepler Track.

Winter Sun

The winter sun burns
My eyes submit, averted
It is far too strong

Low-Hanging Clouds

The light mist tarried
Above the dark green mountains
A natural twilight
Of beauteous, verdant forces
And I wondered
If I could fly

Leaving

Off and On

On a plane, you're off.
We had something going on,
But now it's long gone.

Jetstar

A jet to the stars--
Just kidding; this airline sucks.
But at least it's cheap.

Nice, France

  • stay with crazy/great people :)

Oakland, CA, USA

See Bay Area above.

Paris, France

  • not to be confused with Paris, KY
  • crepes
  • get an Airbnb that has cats, for a chill time
  • the Louvre is exhausting, but good for people-watching
  • Centre Pompidou was great
  • Chartres Cathedral is worth the trip
  • the catacombs!
The inverted pyramid thingie at the Louvre.

The inverted pyramid thingie at the Louvre.

Philadelphia, PA, USA

  • the Mütter Museum is wild
  • Barnes Foundation has incredible collection
  • Making Worlds bookstore
  • great stuff at Raxx Vintage

Portland, OR, USA

  • rose garden
  • japanese garden
  • the big bookstore
  • arcade bar(s)
  • smith tea

Porto, Portugal

  • going up the hill across the bridge from the city center to watch the sunset
  • drinking port wine

Prague, Czechia

  • a Mozart opera at The Estates Theatre
  • Sex Machines Museum
  • Terezin is worth the trip, I recommend getting a tour guide

Rome, Italy

  • the Vatican is worth the trip, including the Sistine Chapel, although it was exhausting by the end
  • much more lively and urban than I expected for some reason
  • La Famiglia restaurant was near the hostel and very good
  • all the touristy stuff

San Francisco, CA, USA

See Bay Area above.

Seattle, WA, USA

  • going up the big tall thing
  • central library
  • gum wall
  • union station

Shanghai, China

  • get to the top of tall buildings!
  • excellent street food
Shanghai&rsquo;s Pearl Tower at night.

Shanghai’s Pearl Tower at night.

St. Louis, MO, USA

  • City Museum is v fun
  • their botanical gardens are excellent

Sydney, NSW, Australia

Only for a day

Only for a day

  • opera house is worth the visit
  • the quay is gorgeous
  • cute gardens
  • it takes longer than I expected to get across the bridge

Traverse City, MI, USA

  • it’s fun in the winter, haven’t been in the summer
  • try all the free samples at Cherry Republic
  • cross-country skiing (Hickory Hills), hiking Sleeping Bear Dunes
  • Slabtown Burgers, J&S Diner, and 7 Monks are all quality

Venice, Italy

  • wandering the streets, GPS signals bouncing off the narrow walls
  • the Peggy Guggenheim Collection
  • taking a trip out to the beach (water taxis!)
  • Osteria al Tajer
  • Trattoria Alle Lanternine
A street in Venice.

A street in Venice.

Vermont, USA

  • dog chapel
  • climbing mt. mansfield

Vienna, Austria

  • the Olympic-ring-shaped roller coaster
  • Naschmarkt
  • taking a lap on the Ringstrasse streetcar
  • sachertorte, obviously; the wait staff may be unhappy that you only want cake
  • the museum quarter, opera house, and Schönbrunn Palace

Washington, DC, USA

  • Suns Cinema for an art film
  • OKPB for a secretive drink

Xi’an, China

  • the soldiers are worth it
  • amazing food
Three painted rectangles denoting the end of a path.

  1. I’m including DC but not PR. Airport layovers do not count. ↩︎