The Flower Carrier

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One of my oldest and dearest friends sent me this hand-painted image on hand-made paper from Mexico a few weeks ago. It is an image I’ve looked at over and over and over again. It’s called “Cargador de Flores” or in English, the Flower Carrier.

I have been in such a funk for the last few weeks. I refuse to let politics into this space, but I’m realizing that the divisive, aggressive atmosphere of this world that we’re living in right now is affecting me. And I don’t want to block it out. As much as I want …

Solo Backpacking in Lassen NP

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It’s fair to say I’ve camped by myself a lot more than the average human. I’ve probably car-camped 50-100 nights at trailheads, on forest service roads, and in campgrounds. I’ve also backpacked solo more than most people, which is easy to say since most people have never and will never do it. Even among my really outdoorsy friends I can count on one hand the people I know who have done it. And I get it. I will not say it’s easy. But it is one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done. And every time I …

Brussels and Bruges

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First, Brussels. I did not like it.
I arrived around 7:40 pm, the sun was going down but it wasn’t dark yet. I had decided to spend a night in Brussels as a convenient stop-over between Amsterdam and France, and didn’t know what to expect. I decided to walk to my hotel, which was in the south of the city. My first impressions were neither comforting nor beautiful. Prostitutes in windows in the red light district next to the train station. Military everywhere downtown, central squares closed off around the Stock Market and the major train …

Lier, Belgium

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Day two, and I made more tourist faux-pas than I’ve ever done in a single day. It was hilarious.
I visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam before taking the train to Belgium. It was an excellent museum with lots of his work and also art by his inspirations as well as those that he inspired. And also my first faux-pa of the day. I’m traveling only with a small bag, and of course carried it in with me. It wasn’t until I was on the second floor, halfway through, that one of the security guards …

Hallo Holland!

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Surprise! I’m behind on posting a couple of beautiful backpacking trips in California, but here I am in Amsterdam alone in my tiny airbnb room at 9pm (I don’t stay out at night when I’m by myself), and thought I would write an update. It feels like old times when I would post every couple days while out on my big trip. I’m amazed how well I can still type on this little ipod!
Okay, setting the stage: I’m in Europe for a week to attend the wedding of my friends Rick and Marjorie. They live …