boy and busker on Grafton Street Dublin

on 2012 and things to come

i don’t often get sentimental about new year’s eve. i rarely, if ever, make resolutions. in our house, this night is more about hunkering down, having a nice glass of champagne and going to bed early, resting in the knowledge that tomorrow is just another day.

the louvre, paris, july 2012
the louvre, paris, july 2012

this year, however, things are a little different. yes, we are hunkering down for a homemade dinner and the compulsory glass (or three) of champers and an all-night movie fest.

Sexy Sea Lion - New Zealand
Sexy Sea Lion – New Zealand

but this year, i am in a reflective mood. i have been thinking a lot about the past 12 months and a lot about the 12 months to come. in january, i will be starting a new job with what is perhaps my dream company. the MOTHER SHIP, as it were, and since this change is also marking a new year, it’s easy to reflect on the past and future.

Homage to Ansel Adams - Queenstown, NZ
Homage to Ansel Adams – Queenstown, NZ

2012 was, in many ways, a year of financial health, for me. it was a year in which i transitioned from freelancing to full-time work and it was the first year in too many to count that i’ve actually not had to worry about money.

Shadow of a cat - pub in Reading, England, 2012.
Shadow of a cat – pub in Reading, England, 2012.

with it, though, came a creeping realisation that i was, in some ways, sacrificing my physical health (2011 was my year of kick-ass health) for my financial health. long hours, lack of a proper place to eat lunch (hence eating crap for lunch) and zero exercise have not been good to my body. it was a sacrifice i made very willingly, knowing that 2012 was my year of financial health.

London Eye and the Thames.
London Eye and the Thames.

i want 2013 to be my year of freedom. a year where i can have both financial and physical health. a year where i have the time to do things i love in addition to my work. things like updating this blog (the single post from 2012 can attest to how dry my writing life has been) and writing irishjaunt. a year to regain connections and rediscover my creativity, but this time, without sacrificing financial health.

Snow falling on London - February.
Snow falling on London – February.

2013 is going to be a year of travel. bill and i have already begun planning and dreaming the many city breaks we hope to take, which may or may not include galicia in northern spain, croatia, mexico and boston. we’ll see.

The drawing room at the Wallace Collection.
The drawing room at the Wallace Collection.

also, we are so happy in london, we’re staying. can you believe it? 18 months and counting in the same place. i think that’s a record.

Hasidic Jews - London crap.
Hasidic Jews – London crap.

finally, friends, i will leave you with this photo i snapped on grafton street in dublin over christmas. i want to be as inspired and in awe of the world and life as this little boy.

boy and busker on Grafton Street Dublin

the photos in this post are a selection of my favourites that i snapped in 2012. you can see them all at my flickr photostream.

suburban prague

as you may notice, my last post was in november. it is now march the fourth. i would love to say that time has just gotten away from me here in my enjoyment of prague, but that would not be enitrely truthful. time did get away during december and january, when we had friends visiting for the holidays and then were off for several weeks for our dublin wedding and subsequent honeymoon in lisbon and rome. and i suppose i could’ve blogged about all that, but i didn’t.

so here we are in march.

Continue reading “suburban prague”

the new wave of travel writing: 9 essential skills

travel writing used to be very different. even 10 years ago, it was a travel writer’s job to take people where they couldn’t otherwise go. to describe scene and place. to be flowery and good with adjectives and to write long, exponential pieces about the world the way others didn’t, and perhaps couldn’t, see it. that’s all changed now. i am about 15 years too late in saying “this internet has changed everything”, but it’s especially true of travel writing. and it has changed fast. Continue reading “the new wave of travel writing: 9 essential skills”

traveltuesday photoblog: hooters in china

this most awesome of photos was snapped in hooters (yes, the very same) in hangzhou, china before it, sadly, went the way of the dodo bird. there are, in fact, 4 hooters locations in china which make great spots for happy hour specials and hot wings cravings. stacy (left) and i just couldn’t resist getting this photo with the hangzhou hooters girls – a surreal sight indeed.
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traveltuesday photoblog: pot o gold

after yesterday’s rant about a movie filled with awful cliches and stereotypes about ireland, i decided to remind myself that all stereotypes are born out of some kind of truth.

here, in county clare, where a rainbow meets doonagore castle flanked by emerald green, it takes little imagination to envision a leprechaun hording his pot of goodies just below.

snapped just north of the cliffs of moher, with ballyvara and coogyulla beyond.
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traveltuesday photoblog: new mexicana

this seems to be becoming a theme, in my blogging and in my life, this trying to understand the place i came from and the place i am: new mexico. i think, somehow, posting photos as if i am a tourist in my own state seems to help me work through my issues with being back here, after so long and so many resolutions never to return.

in fact, i am enjoying it.

so here’s your travel tuesday photo blog. a selection of a few snapshots that capture what i think of as “new mexicana” – the unique essence of this place that i fear may be dying. let’s keep it alive, at least in photos. Continue reading “traveltuesday photoblog: new mexicana”