© Photo by Robert Landon
In order to travel, I have ruined my finances, compromised my health, foregone the idea of career, committed certain minor (I like to think) acts of fraud, estranged family, and made love when perhaps I would rather not have. I chose my university because, out of all those that offered me admission, it was the farthest away from home—and dotted with palm trees that constantly reminded me of this fact. I then chose a major that would justify the maximum time possible overseas—i.e. even father away. I planned a PhD dissertation about exile in American literature (never started) simply as an excuse to live for a while in Paris. I measured money in $600 increments (the cost of a cheap transatlantic flight). And I still define time itself by my travels. My life is divided into the years before and after my first trip to Rio de Janeiro, for example. And 2015 is the year I finally made it to Cuba.
In 2004, a desperate editor who had just lost an author offered me the chance to work on Lonely Planet's guide to Brazil in 2004. I quit my job immediately and spent the next eight years in a profoundly unsettled, makeshift and, yes, often lonely way. It was fantastic. In the end, I got to write or co-write guides to Brazil, Colombia, Portugal, California, Florence, Venice & the Veneto, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, and southern Italy, as well as a Portuguese Phrasebook and Dictionary.
Here are a few travel-related articles I have written, most of which grew out of Lonely Planet research.
+ Houston Chronicle: Cape Verde via Cesaria Evora
+ Denver Post: Gradual Dazzlement in the Bijagos Islands (Denver Post)
+ A Magazine: Contemporary Design/Oslo
+ Houston Chronicle: Why I Love Easy-to-Hate Sao Paulo