Breathless (Bruges)
Tower of Church of our Lady, Bruges

Breathless Ok, first thing’s first. I am sorry. If anyone is intending to travel to Belgium, and more specifically Bruges, I’m afraid I have, in my attempt to blend with local custom, done my level best to rid the town and country of as large a supply of beer as I was able. There may be none left. Not just the beer. Waffles, fries, mussels, chocolate. All gone. Seriously. Now, have you ever been to a new place and immediately felt at home? Like some part of you was already there, waiting for the rest of you to show up. Have you ever met a new person and instantly knew that you were going to be fast friends? Lovers? A connection in a moment. Like some part of you was already with them, waiting for the rest of you to show up.  Bruges hit me like that. I’ve returned home from several of these trips now and always have much to report to Mark. But this one, this one was different. I didn’t come home showing photos or discussing a meal I had in a particular pub. I came home adamant, insisting even, that Mark see it too. That he experience it for himself. To this day, and it’s been months since that trip to Belgium, I haven’t changed my mind about this. I think he should see it. I think you should, too. I was immediately caught up. The people. The medieval architecture. The winding lanes and old world […]

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The Greatest Adventure
Gena with family

The Greatest Adventure It’s just after sunrise on a frigid Saturday morning. New York sits under an oppressively deep freeze. The single digit temperatures seem in conflict with the too blue sky seen out my bedroom window. As though the snow covered ground and the frost in the air mock a sun with no apparent heat to offer. It’s only a few days after New Years and while my coffee cools on the bedside table, I wanted to tell you about an adventure. A journey. I love traveling. I love being a little nervous. Landing in a foreign place and finding my way. It’s a little ridiculous how satisfying I find it to negotiate the public transit of Hong Kong. Or finding the right local bus leaving Mexico City for the ruins of Teotihuacán. Swimming through a menu without a word of English. Street signs and landmarks. Local customs and cuisine. And, of course, following the clues left by my grandparents as I track down the location of their pictures to see it with my own eyes. Walk it with my own feet. Touch it with my own hands. And then record it with a photo. I love it all. But that’s not the sort of journey I’m talking about. Now, it has been almost four months since my last trip for this blog, and I’ll be getting back to that real soon. But I wanted to take a minute to discuss a different sort of adventure. An adventure of […]

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Fearless Travelers (Mexico City)
There's your flag shot, Shelly! Zocalo

This is one of the few times I’ve posted an entry with the picture first…but LOOK at it. It’s beautiful. They were beautiful. These people frozen for time in this amazing moment. This stroll through the Zocalo. The heart of Mexico City: formerly the heart of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. The center of the universe. The known world. Well, ok, for some people…in a very specific time (seven or eight hundred years ago or so). But look at these people in this picture. They were fun and adventurous. And fearless. That’s my Nanny on the right. My Papa must have taken the picture. The other two people are Dr. Creed and his wife, the beautiful Jeanette Creed. Longtime friends of my grandparents and frequent travel companions. Now, not to disclose too much information, but Dr. Creed was my kind and gentle childhood dentist, the reason my mom went back and finished high school, and he had no small part in encouraging my mom and dad’s relationship. So you might say these people were quite important to me. While this picture was taken before I was born, this small group of people would have enormous impact on my life. Ok, now the trip was to catch these pictures that I have of my Nanny and Papa with their friends in Mexico City. Ok, now back to the present. While trying to write this post which has already gone through a few drafts, I couldn’t figure out a way to work […]

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The Map of the World
Nanny and Papa's world map pre-refurbish.

When I was young, I loved maps. Still do. On long road trips with the family across TX, through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, or tediously progressing through the monotonous cornfields of the central plains, I had a map. The world in my lap. Dots and lines, squiggles and symbols. A secret code which once unlocked revealed the universe. Atlas at home. Globe in the bedroom. So much to discover. So much to see.  So much to understand. But above all maps there stood one. The map of the world.   It hung in the foyer of my Nanny and Papa’s lake house, home to countless Christmas Eve’s and Easter egg hunts, July 4th barbeques and Mother’s Day cookouts. It was the first thing you noticed when stepping into the hilltop, red-brick ranch-style home. Well, the first thing I noticed. The red-brick outside reaching into the house to become the floor. And there by the door, the map. Now others might say that red-brick floor drew the eye forward to the wall of windows brilliantly displaying the forest beyond and the lake below. But I had eyes only for the map.   Countless pins marked its surface from border to border. Pins puncturing the earth in yellow, red, green and blue. Not the big clumsy push-pins of today, but long, thin, graceful pins with a small ball of color on the end. In an elegant box centered at the bottom of the map, as though floating in the South Pacific, […]

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