Instituto Franklin: es lo que hay
Sep17

Instituto Franklin: es lo que hay

A little over a year ago I enrolled in a program. The goal was to live in Spain, work as an ESL teacher, and obtain what was called a Master’s degree by the program. The courses were through Instituto Franklin which operated out of the historical Universidad de Alcalá facilities. There were many nice things about living in Madrid and the school to which I was assigned. This is not about those things and this isn’t about naming...

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6 Lifeskills Gained From Ten Years Abroad
Aug22

6 Lifeskills Gained From Ten Years Abroad

This coming winter marks ten years since I left my cushy government job in the U.S. to move to South Korea, where I’d studied for six months in the course of earning my Master’s in Public Administration, to live. In that time I’ve built a career, started a family, and developed a set of core soft skills that I would not have gained otherwise. 1. Cultural Intelligence My first year abroad I was young and naive. I was simultaneously...

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When You Don’t Belong
Aug07

When You Don’t Belong

I have lived so many places over the years, they all start to run together. I confuse the North End of Boise with The Heights in Houston. Did I catch that fish on the Snake River or was that the James? “Oh yeah, Target? It’s on Kirby by Reliant. Shit, sorry, wrong town. It’s on Main Street in Destin.” Did I see that band in Austin? Houston? Boise? Richmond? I couldn’t even begin to tell you. I grew up in rural Botetourt County,...

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11 Thoughts on Machu Picchu
Jul29

11 Thoughts on Machu Picchu

I just returned from a tough, rewarding and thought provoking trip to several South American countries this summer. For me, like many people who travel down that way, the highlight of the trip was a visit to Machu Picchu in Peru. After going to see one of the modern seven wonders of the world, I was left with several thoughts: Machu Picchu is the definition of why a person should travel while they’re young. There are a lot of...

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In Defense of Travel Snobs
May26

In Defense of Travel Snobs

I recently read an article I really enjoyed: Signs You’re Becoming a Travel Snob. I liked it because I agreed with much of what it said and felt it really tracked the different stages of personal growth and maturing I’ve gone through as someone who has been traveling the world regularly since I was 18. That said, while there are some aspects of travel snobbery I’ve grown out of or have come to realize were just wrongheaded, others I...

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Being Western Doesn’t Mean Being White
Jan19

Being Western Doesn’t Mean Being White

This is an excerpt from Chapter 12 of the book Stranger in a Stranger Land: My Six Years in Korea. In it, I discuss my firsthand knowledge of an event that made national headlines in Korea in 2011 and highlighted how some of America’s racial baggage showed itself in Korea’s expat community. In all this talk of Korea’s problems with isms, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that Americans were able to...

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