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Souls

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Somewhere near Red River Gorge in Northern Kentucky, 2011. 
I heard somewhere that you encounter the same twenty people in your life over and over again. And I'm starting to believe that it's true more and more. The more I travel, people I meet start to seem increasingly familiar. It's as if I recognize some underlying code within them; their soul which I've seen in others before.

Last week in Texas, I met a guy who volunteered to help me out with some gunsmithing. His easy going demeanor and large frame reminded me of a guy I worked with in Virginia. That guy reminded me of the head jeweler at my college jewelry store job (I was a salesman, I didn't rob jewelry stores).
I lived near Louisville, KY during the summer of 2011. I'd often go to the Barnes and Noble in Elizabethtown for coffee and new book after work, but mostly because I missed the familiarity of another one of my college jobs. One day, I encountered an older bookseller who had the same friendly, a…

One Year Since My End of Time in Service

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It has been one year since my End of Time in Service (ETS). This was my farewell speech:
Before I went Active Duty, I was a Creative Writing student. I loved writing short stories, screenplays, and poetry. It was my passion. But I also loved my country. So now I look back at the last five years and I ask, “What was the story here?” It sure as hell wasn’t an action story. Maybe a comedy. An eccentric writer-turned-officer who loved to see Soldiers smile, and didn’t shy away from parodying the many ironies of Army life. Was it a tragedy? The story of a man who let go of his passion in order to fulfill a sense of duty, already knowing that in many ways he’d be alienated? However you spin it, I was just a guy who loved my country. I wanted to serve it in a time of war and I didn’t want anyone else doing my fighting for me. William Shakespeare once wrote, “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his tim…

The Best Journey is a Return

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Some of my favorite journeys are trips back to places in my past. Each trip to the past seems to have its own lesson or point. One thing I discovered during this past visit to Texas was the joy in returning to the people and things I left behind when I moved to the U.K.

Sunday, I got to take my two teenage stepsisters to lunch. I never got much mentorship in life, even though I actively sought it out. So, I try to provide that to these girls. And it goes both ways. I simply enjoy their company because they're great people. It was nice to take them to Razzoo's (where I held my 21st birthday dinner), introduce them to Cajun food, and just talk to them. 

The Grey Ghost is my 2008 Infiniti G37S, purchased in January 2013 after returning from Afghanistan. This is more than just a car, or even a fast car. Its a symbol of personal pride for me. I pined for the Inifiti G35 when I was in high school and only a few years later I owned its successor. To me, it's the embodiment of wil…

Texas 7-12 April, 2017

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The Wedding


I came back to Texas this month for my best friend's wedding. Phil and I bonded during college because it was rare to find another artistic individual in ROTC. While I continued along the military route, Phil left and pursued his passion and got his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. When I first decided to travel more in 2014, weddings gave me a good reason to go places. When you get a wedding invitation, a friend is asking you to be there for them on what they believe to be the happiest day of their life. This has always meant a lot to me and for the last few years, I attend 4-5 weddings annually. So far, they've taken me to places like Chicago, Pensacola, San Diego, Los Angeles and throughout Texas.

Phil's wedding was particularly special because I got to be a groomsman and had the honor to propose a toast instead of the Best Man (it was kind of a hit). Anyway, I couldn't think of a better occasion to bring me back to Texas. The wedding was held at Phil's…

Homeward

I love Texas. In 24 hours I will be landing at DFW airport. I can't be any more thrilled. The love I feel for that place is like how one would feel about a sibling, a best friend, a parent, or a lover. It's complex and nuanced and not always universally understood by others. But I know her. I know her charms and she knows everything about me.

Texas knew me when I came to her as an angry youth to live on my estranged father's farm. Under her rays I sweat while digging holes for crops, operating a tractor, and wondering about my place in the world.

When I left for my freshman year of college in California, I realized that Texas had unexpectedly become a part of me. I had adopted its values. I had fallen in love with its people and I missed them. When I came back a year later, I found that my past infatuations had moved on, my friends had changed, but Texas gave me new ones.

For one reason or another I keep leaving, but I always come back. And she's always there with her …

Traveling Taught Me that Terrorism is Real

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I wrote this post last weekend. Since then, a Russian train has been bombed.

You've seen me post a lot of photos about monuments and museums, but you probably don't know that less than 100 meters out of frame is usually a heavily armed French, Italian or Israeli soldier. If traveling has taught me anything about the current world we live in today, it's that terrorism is very real. I was in Paris on the anniversary of the Bataclan music venue attack. Rome had Soldiers everywhere. My Air BNB accommodations had a bedroom build to withstand rocket attacks. I've walked across the bridge in London next to Parliament which was attacked last week by a man who was likely inspired by radical terrorist ideology.

Europeans are probably more aware of terrorism today than Americans are. Paris, Brussels, Berlin, and London have all been attacked by individuals either enabled or simply inspired by Islamic terrorist ideologies. The other swing of the pendulum is the increasing respons…

Souvenirs

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I'm normally really bad at giving gifts, especially for my family. While I was in Rome I purchased two Rosaries from St. Peter's Basilica, one for each of my stepsisters. Somehow I've lost one of them in the last 48 hours. I'm mad at myself.