Does going to space change your sense of wanderlust?

June 3rd, 2015 by
[caption id="attachment_1703" align="alignleft" width="550"](Photo: NASA) (Photo: NASA)[/caption] I interviewed astronaut Chris Hadfield for the BBC and put the question to him. I loved his answer. In part:
It’s not so much my wanderlust that’s changed, it’s more a respect for the absolute commonality of the human experience. Yes, there’s a strong local influence – our own history and culture and sets of laws – but when you go around the world every 92 minutes, the sameness overwhelms the differences. The repeated pattern of human habitation. How we set up cities. How that pattern looks whether it’s a city in Alberta or Africa or Australia. You’re passing over Canada and in 20 minutes you’re over Africa. You see the commonalities much more strongly than you see the differences.

Talking Tacos and Travel Writing with Colin Marshall

November 17th, 2014 by
A few months ago, Colin Marshall of the excellent Notebook on Cities and Culture podcast strolled into my apartment, set down a recorder and began asking questions about some of my favorite topics. We had a great chat, and I'm honored to be featured on the resulting podcast, available on iTunes and via MP3. And on a related note, I just listened to Colin's latest show, Sonic Bibimbap with Bernie Cho, on Seoul and the rise of K-pop around the globe. Really great stuff.

Reading from ‘An Innocent Abroad’

November 11th, 2014 by
An-Innocent-Abroad-1Nearly 15 years ago, I asked my dad, a World War II vet, to travel to Western Europe with me to show me several of the places where he'd spent time during the war. He'd enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 and took part in some of the war's bloodiest battles, including the Battle of the Bulge. He'd always been a quiet guy. I hoped the trip would inspire him to talk more about those times. Mostly, I hoped the experience would bring us closer. I'd been wanting to write about the journey for years, and when Don George told me he was editing a new collection of travel stories for Lonely Planet, I had the excuse I needed to finally write it. I'm honored that Don included the piece, "War Story," in this new book, An Innocent Abroad: Life-Changing Trips from 35 Great Writers. The anthology includes stories from Dave Eggers, Jane Smiley, Richard Ford, Pico Iyer and many other authors I admire. I'm looking forward to celebrating the book's launch Dec. 12 at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California. If you're around, please stop by. P.S. An Innocent Abroad made the Dec. 7 New York Times Book Review's round-up of the season's top travel books. Nice piece by Andrew McCarthy.

View from a Window Seat

October 18th, 2014 by
goldenwing-550 Spotted this out the plane window on a flight back from New York recently. Amazing. Seems like a good first post after two years away from this little blog.

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