• Brussels, Belgium

    Dear Friends,

    Apologies…I have been blog-slacking in the midst of busyness, business, and bees-knees.  The summer season with Rustic Pathways is worthy of a blog in and of itself, which would land somewhere between Unicef, Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations, Invisible Children, and Gossip Girl.  Life is grand and I do love my job.  I’ve also stayed quite busy on a few life projects and recently acquired a loft in Riverfront Park, Denver to have as a vacation rental and “permanent home”, and am getting Elick.com up and running.  Excuses, excuses – I know.  Justified or not – it’s been great work/fun.

    Brussels, the topic at hand, was a complete surprise – in the best way possible.  It’s a sleepier version of Paris , a unique blend of modern culture and historical context ^TM.  (Lonely Planet better not steal that trademarked line) I thoroughly enjoyed my first airbnb.com accomodation, street footy with the homies, mussels in Brussels, photo ops, and the Royal Museum for Central Africa – where the British School of Brussels so kindly hosted me at a fundraiser for their Best of Both Ghana Campaign.  This unlikely international spot on the Euro tour has to be coined with none other than the usual travel and box office quotable “A Must See!”  (I’ve gotten a bit rusty at this and am borderline traveler guide corny – meh, oh well)  Mo and mo betta posts to come soon…

    The proof is in the photo pudding, and the song could have been nothing else.


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  • England

    Global fam,

    I honestly don’t want to be writing this post because I’d rather be surfing in Bali – no offense.  So here we go, the up and clean.

    The trek from Nice to London was a bit brutal (20 hour drive); luckily I had Anago and Chio as copilots until we parted ways in Paris.  After sleeping 3 hours in the now “well seasoned” (with roadtrip snacks) Citroen I was pleasantly greeted in sunny London town (London fog is a a well-executed hoax to keep tourists away…) to the Manchester City @ Chelsea game.  This greeting was epitomized by my pregame ballyhoo at a local “Chelsea ticket holder’s only” pub near Stamford Bridge, where I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation, comradery, and crushing of Fuller’s London Pride pints with some proper English hooligans.  This banter and wit eventually led to dealmaking which then landed me an incredible season pass seat via one of the lads, Martin (row 12 on the 18 yard box).  The game, deemed the most expensive in history (due to the price-tag of each player on the pitch, and the uber-weath of each club’s respective owner) was nothing short of an epic battle, and I was buzzing about it for days.  This experience was worthy of two cliché’s combined = “A childhood bucket list realized and crossed off the dream”.  There’s so much I can say here but I’ll let Facebook, Twitter, and most general conversations that turn to the brilliance of the EPL do the talking.  The rest of my limited free time in London was spent on a jaunt around Greenwich = GMT = 0°0’0.00” Latitude, and some good fun with my London-based Rustic Pathways counterpart Shar.

    England Round two was a month later than Round one due to scheduling “delays” and in hindsight, I can’t be more thankful for these timing and process difficulties.  Round two was also bucket dreamable when I took a Saturday to visit the largest Land Rover – Defender 90/110/130 sales and tuning shop in England – the Tyler car – as I like to call them.  The movie Big had nothing on this day.  I spent much of my free time having early morning convos with Pete (I crashed at his new flat in the Shoreditch district) and hanging with Edward and his girlfriend Nicola.  We had the opportunity to enjoy a few nights at the Berkeley in Knightsbridge where our connection to this incredible (and free) lodging gave us the simple recommendation to “milk it.” That we did (all maturity and inhibitions aside).  The exclamation point of the trip was the Liverpool @ Arsenal game where I was able to see my two favorite teams face off and finally decide and confirm my sole EPL allegiance to The Arsenal Gunners.  What a match!

    The ocean is calling and you really don’t want to read any more of this half thought witless post.  Enjoy the pics…and enjoy today!

    Round 1 – London (Chelsea, Kensington, Greenwich, Shoreditch, New Cross, Brixton)

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    Round 2 – Cambridge & London (Shoreditch, Knightsbridge, Highbury)

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  • French Riviera – Nice, Monaco, Eze


    Six weeks behind on posts and the French Riviera feels like some sort of passed-by whimsical dream.  A quite lovely dream that I don’t mind reliving…

    As far as things go, work has been going gangbusters and I have been fortunate enough to be busting up gangs all over Europe.  In all honesty, I feel incredibly blessed with my current work situation and usually reply to the typical “What do you do?” with, “I talk.  I simply talk about what I love: travel, humanitarian service, experiences, developing countries, and the opportunity for transformation.”  These talks may be a full-on presentation to the student body of an international boarding school, a coffee meeting with a university headmaster or community service adviser, or even a nice dinner at an interested family’s home.  All in all, I talk.  The perks of my vagabond occupation (oxymoron?) include leisure evenings and weekends in unique places with chances to encounter interesting people, and discover.  Just discover.

    Back to the point, the French Riv is beautiful and the weather was absolutely not un-incredible (triple negative = unbelievable = 24 degree centigrade days in early March).  Along my fortunate discovery (wow that sounds cheesy, too much Thoreau) I was accompanied by a few not un-lovely girls including Nicole and Megan (from previous post in Paris) and later by Rocio ‘Cio’ and Ana ‘Anago’ (also made a brief debut in Paris).

    The pictures convey our enjoyment with much more accuracy and enjoyment than my written circles (did you catch that one?).  So please, as usual enjoy and send me a thought or post a comment.

    > I am going to try something new to keep things so fresh and so clean for ya. As I go along I am constantly adding new music to the iPod and have acquired quite the Euro trip soundtrack.  Listening back takes me to a distinct place in time and location, so I figured I’d share a song at the top of each photo section for a little viewing music (at the risk of potentially being cheesy). *note: I am a huge hip hop head, but will keep the beats and rhymes to myself as I know many of you may not be the most keen on the Rock ‘n’ Roll of my generation. (click the play triangle icon in the little audio egg below)

    That about says it for now.  Off to rent a bike in Berlin and see what Saturday has in store.


    An evening in Monaco with Nicole and Megan.

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    Weekend with Cio and Anago in Nice, Eze, and Monaco.

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  • Paris and Épernay

    Fam et alia,

    I am over a month behind on blog posts so bear with me and my crazy schedule of travel, business, and gallivanting (in the most innocent sense of the definition).  I found myself back in Paris, in a new location of this ever-diverse city, with new friends and an entirely different experience.

    To keep it short and sweet.  I enjoyed the hospitality of my good (and now better) friend, talented designer, and fellow creative acrobat Eric Benjamin.  The creativity and acrobatics are evident in the random couch photo session to follow…on the way back from a football (true to the moniker of football – the one played with your feet) game “Hey do you need a couch? No, but we do have cameras and a bit of time today.  Let’s take some photos!”

    Eric and I were later joined by San Diego blond and brunette beach beauties (in the classiest and most respectful sense of the definition) Nicole and Megan.  The four of us enjoyed macaroons with Moet & Chandon champagne in Epernay, as well as some lively dinners in the City of ?Light? (more like City of better say Bonjour before you Speak, Expensive Boutiques, and easily angered Turkish Creeps)

    The final note and major mentionable in this second visit was Luis, the fresh prince of Barcelona, and his lovely Spanish friends Anago, Chio, and Paloma.  We also all had some great dinners with a most memorable evening spent at Luis’ humble accommodation, so generously provided by the prior Spanish ambassador to France.  This place was unreal and pictures cannot do justice to the history in the guest book, original art on the walls, and the coveted (by Eric) 1930s LV Trunk.  A direct quote is, “Dude! I literally just saw one of these at the Luis Vuitton museum on Champs-Élysées surrounded by glass and alarm systems!” – E

    Enjoy the pics and share in the fun.


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  • Spain


    I love Spain and will live there at some point in my life. Done and done.  Vale.  After weeks of butter, bread, and coffee, I arrived in Spain, met Oliver (the most savvy host one could ever ask for) and ate some of the most amazing seafood, meat, and vegetables. Fueled by protein, friendly locals, and a culture that doesn’t believe in sleeping, beautiful days (at work) and entertaining nights (at play) were nonstop in Spain.

    My most accomplished streak of Spanish cultural immersion was a mere 4 hours of sleep in a 51 hour period. I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead, or at least when I’m back in my bed (Wait…my bed is in a storage unit in California)

    Spain is undeniably full of wonderful food, art, design, culture, language, and energy; but what truly made my time here were the amazing people.  Big shout out to Oliver (the Closer) and the gang – Vicente the Suave, Alvaro the Honest, Manu the Hilarious, and Ignacio the Passionate + a hilarious Barcelona crew of kneecap appreciating inside jokesters – Josiah, Bryan, Melissa, and Christine + fellow experience industry buffs - Gordon, Luis, Frank, and Rosie (they each paid me a large sum of money to put these links in, so click them as many times as possible, whenever you have a free moment, and I’ll be rich!!!)

    I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the selling…


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  • Switzerland

    Travel addict support group,

    For our two weeks in Switzerland, Sammy and I hit the road like bandits and were all over the country.  During this perpetual road trip, we came to find Switzerland has by far the nicest gas stations (sorry no pics) with full fine dining and an appropriately fine price tag.  We learned a bit about price tag checking upon purchasing a 7.00CHF Gatorade, as well as two 5.60CHF glasses of water to accompany our sit down rest stop burgers.  When we brought this atrocity to the attendant’s attention he replied with a cool, “Welcome to Switzerland”.  Price tags and whining aside, Switzerland is a beautiful country; we landed some incredible weather; and we both felt so very fortunate to be in this place at this time.

    The places:

    Geneva: The place for timepieces, banks, and Middle Eastern airline storefronts, Geneva is small city at the foothills of the Alps (think Denver with a lake).  The lake is a perfect buffer that balances the city life with a clearly serene vibe.  *Rick Steeves, eat your heart out.

    Nyon: We dropped by this lakeside town for lunch after an incredible school visit to the International School of Geneva.  Intriguing mix of modern art and historical culture.

    Bern: Quick stop, wish I could’ve spent more time and rented a bicycle to cruise the city that’s for the Bears.

    Interlaken: The adventure capital of Switzerland, think Queenstown, NZ of Europe.  I’d love to see this place in the summer

    Liechtenstein: Actually a country.  The locals are called Liechtensteiners, enough said.

    Zuoz: Wondrous and secluded mountain town situated in the connection of the French and Italian Alps, this is the Aspen of Switzerland.  The old world charm was inescapable – embodied by the ornate hand carved stucco accents.

    Zurich: Blending the hip, modern, and historical, Zurich was the biggest city we encountered.  My German is lacking, gotta prep for Germany…

    Not sure how much I like the travel guide rundown, but I’m going to keep it for now.  The sun is finally peeking through the clouds in Madrid, so it’s time to go.

    Auf wiedersehen,


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