Ireland’s Most Haunted Castle

Ireland’s Most Haunted Castle

I love ghost stories. From the haunted vaults of Edinburgh to the castles of Ireland, and from New England battlefields to the streets of New Orleans, I've taken every opportunity to scare myself silly. I even went through a phase in which I watched Ghost Hunters every week on the SyFy channel just to get travel [...]

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742 Pictures Later

742 Pictures Later

I returned home from Ireland in June with 742 new pictures. Some of them will become part of future blog posts, some will end up on Facebook or in my online gallery. Most of them will never leave my computer. One of the challenges I have after each trip is to decide what photo to [...]

Yours to Explore: A Tour of Scattery Island

Yours to Explore: A Tour of Scattery Island

I’ve been fascinated with abandoned monastic sites, famine villages, and other ruins ever since I first visited Ireland seven years ago. Their bones slowing crumbling into the earth, ancient buildings leave you wondering about what life would have been like anywhere from 50 to 1,500 years ago. Achill Island has its deserted village, tucked away [...]

The Streets of New Orleans

The Streets of New Orleans

You first enter New Orleans a little tone deaf and flat-footed, tripping over the broken, heat-stressed sidewalks and the frenetic pace of Bourbon Street. Maybe there’s a Hurricane in your belly. You feel like simmering gumbo, stirred together with so many strange people—your flavors and stenches mixing, mingling with the notes of a distant band. [...]

Capturing Iceland

Capturing Iceland

This is my Iceland Writers Retreat writing competition submission. While I didn't win this year, I was one of the finalists. I'm including the photos I took during the 2014 layover that inspired this piece. The rules: Iceland – Regard the Moon! Many authors have drawn parallels between Iceland and the moon. Write a max 500-word [...]

American Refugee: 5 Reasons to Visit Inishturk, Ireland

American Refugee: 5 Reasons to Visit Inishturk, Ireland

Last summer I read an article about a tiny Irish island that would welcome American refugees if Donald Trump is elected President of the United States. It was a joke, of course, probably meant to drum up some tourism. During every election season stretching as far back as I can remember, Americans threaten to leave the [...]

Sand Dune Sunset

Sand Dune Sunset

Death Valley, California After looking at routes out of Las Vegas back to Washington State, I decided to drive through Death Valley. I'd never been there before, and I wanted to visit - very briefly - the hottest place on earth. Stepping out of my car to take pictures was like stepping into a furnace. [...]

The Melissani Cave

The Melissani Cave

I wanted to like Melissani Cave, located on the Greek island of Kefalonia. The  Costa Cruise excursion brochure said that our guide would lead a select few down a tunnel and into a subterranean world, where a wooden boat would be waiting on the shore of an underground lake. It sounded like some secret adventure far [...]

Skellig Michael: An Adventure Worth Repeating

Skellig Michael: An Adventure Worth Repeating

A Dublin cabbie once told me he’d climbed the island of Skellig Michael—a jagged tooth cutting the waters off of South West Ireland—and he’s glad he did it, but he’d never do it again. I knew what he meant; I flung myself out of a perfectly good airplane once and would never do that again. [...]