Consumption vs. Engagement in Travel

After a bit more than a month of traveling nonstop, I’ve learned a lot.  I’ve always loved traveling to new places.  Ever since my first trip outside of the U.S. at the age of twelve, getting out into the world has been something I’ve either been doing or dreaming about doing.  The current trip I’m on is pretty different than anything I’ve done before, though – largely because of the length of the trip (a full three months) and the number of places I’m going. But one of the most important differences that makes this trip special to me is that while I’m going to many new places, and I’m taking in the sights and sounds and smells and tastes, I’m not doing this to be a tourist.  Sure, I’ve been able to see and participate in a number of tourist-type things while I’m out and about, but for the […]

From Costa Rica With Love

As I write this, I’ve been in Costa Rica for the past five days.  I have only one day left here, before I venture off to my next location.  It’s been a very good time.  On day one, I arrived at about 7am, got picked up at the airport, and was quickly whisked out of the city.  Similar to many other airport cities around the world, the “San Jose” airport is actually outside of the city, in an area called Alajuela.  I was driven right up through the heart of this small city – it had a good vibe to it.  Up into the hills I went. Before long, I was entering the cool, misty, cloudy volcano area, surrounded by coffee trees with their bright red cherries, banana trees, sugar cane plantations.  This is a lush place, full of life.  Costa Rica is pretty aggressive when it comes to environmental […]

Welcome to Puerto Rico

I’m sitting in the library, on the campus of Seminario Evangelico de Puerto Rico.  I arrived yesterday safely after a long night of travel from San Diego (via Atlanta).  Puerto Rico is, of course, a U.S. territory in the Caribbean.  Its status is regularly a source of controversy – some want U.S. statehood, some want total independence – it’s complicated.  But this is an incredibly beautiful place with beautiful people, beautiful street art, and thus far, beautiful food.  I’ve only been here 26 hours at the time I’m writing this, but it’s already been great. The people here at the seminary have welcomed me warmly, and encouraged me to interview faculty and students.  I’ll write another post about my first interview with a professor, which was great. The seminary was kind enough to arrange a room for me to stay in, right here on the campus – it’s a full […]

My UK Scorecard

I had a great couple of weeks in the UK, driving around on the “other” side of the road, visiting universities that are out of my league, meeting with really good people, and walking the streets of London.  So, here’s my scorecard for the UK. Top Five Likes: Old buildings.  I love that you can walk into any random building in the country and know that it’s been there for hundreds of years.  Much better than the disposable architecture of most of USAmerica. Environmental care.  There’s still quite a lot of room for improvement, but you can tell people are more aware of their environmental impact than in North America.  For example, I never once saw a paper towel dispenser in a public bathroom anywhere in the UK – air dryers only.  Also evident in . . . Automobile design.  Shocking but true, U.S. drivers – big auto has LIED […]

Oh yeah, I’m an Internet Celebrity

This past Wednesday night, while in London, I attended a discussion that the Moot community put together.  They brought in author and holy trouble maker, Dave Tomlinson, to discuss his new book, Re-Enchanting Christianity.  Before things got kicked off, I was approached by a guy named Johnny (pictured), who thought he knew me.  I knew the odds of this being the case were very low, so I thought about just telling him that, no, I’m not Matthew McConaughey, and I’m getting really tired of people asking me if I am.  “NO, I am NOT the sexiest man alive!”  I resisted, and just told him that I wasn’t local, and he was probably mistaken. Not willing to take no for an answer, Johnny persisted, and while I don’t think we ever quite made the connection as to how he might know me, it probably has something to do with the internet.  […]

Next Region: Caribbean

After two weeks in the chilly, rainy UK, which has reminded beautifully of home in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, I’m headed to warmer climates for a while.  My first stop will actually be back in San Diego – my ticketing for this trip just turned out to be much cheaper to fly round trip from SD to the UK.  It’s not efficient in terms of flight times or my carbon footprint, but it does have some benefits.   First, I get to see family and friends one last time before I split for a long long time.  Second, I get to do some laundry.  Third, I get to re-pack my luggage – by doing things this way, I was able to bring warmer clothes to the UK, and I’ll be able to swap them out for lighter, cooler items for where I’m headed next.  Fourth, this two week stint of travel […]

Trip Casualty #1

Well, this was bound to happen at some point on this trip – I just didn’t expect it to happen this quickly.  I’ve had a change in itinerary.  I very reluctantly decided to cut Ireland as a destination for now.  A couple of the things I had wanted to do while there were just not working out, and I felt as though I would have had to rush, rush, rush to be able to see things there, not to mention that it would have put more time constraints on my time in Scotland and England.  So, I made the call to take things at a slower place and not force things through.  This is extremely disappointing, because Ireland has been on my short-list of places I really wanted to go for a long time.  I think it’s the right call to make, though.  This will give me the excuse to […]

Movie Review: Slumdog (Untouchable) Millionaire

Note: This isn’t really a movie review per-se.  It’s more of a reflection from a guy who doesn’t watch many movies, and is, therefore, unqualified for such a task. This weekend I followed the masses and went to a theater to watch the recent Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire.  I had heard from a wide variety of people how good the movie was.  I had heard a couple of radio interviews with the director as well.  The fact that the film told the story of extreme poverty in India, which I was able to witness first-hand last summer, was all the motivation I needed to see it. The movie was as good as advertised.  It tells a compelling story of survival, love, and faithfulness.  It does so while giving a glimpse of the complex changes taking place in India – the extreme disparity between the super-wealthy and the slums.  The framing device […]

Getting it together

Well, after several days of being back on the mainland, I figured that it might be time to try this thing called blogging again.  The time away was helpful in many ways, difficult in some ways, beautiful all over the place, and certainly unique as Thanksgivings go.  My dinner consisted of stuffed Mahimahi (that’s the way the restaurant spelled it) with a crushed macadamia nut crust, and asparagus.  Killer – dang, it’s almost a week later, and my mouth is still watering! The time away, while relaxing, was also a bit of a working vacation.  For the first time since I started writing my doctoral dissertation back in July, I hit the “print” button right before I left . . . 135 pages later, and I was ready to go away for some editing.  I still have at least one full chapter left to write, but I was able to […]

Equal opportunity annoyance

I didn’t mention it here on my blog, but those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook are, no doubt, already annoyed at my status updates, which brag about the fact that I’m with Michelle in Maui for Thanksgiving week.  So I thought it would be good to annoy blog readers as well.  Aloha to you all! Just in case you hate me for rubbing it in, just know that it’s not all paradise here.  I mean, geez, you should see the rental car we got stuck with – horribly ugly, piece of junk!  My opposition to the auto industry bailout got about 400% stronger after driving this thing.  I don’t want to offend any of you who may own and enjoy this kind of car, so I won’t reveal its identity. But seriously folks – I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving.  In these days of […]