“Space, as it rolls and tumbles away between him and his native soil, proves to have powers normally ascribed only to time; from hour to hour, space brings about changes very like those time produces, yet surpassing them in certain ways. Space, like time, gives birth to forgetfulness, but does so by removing an individual from all relationships and placing him in a free and pristine state—indeed, in but a moment it can turn a pedant and philistine into something like a vagabond. Time, they say, is water from the river Lethe, but alien air is a similar drink; and if its effects are less profound, it works all the more quickly.”

“The Magic Mountain”
Thomas Mann
Trans. John E. Woods


Poetry Day One – Water

Today’s prompt is “water”. Water, essential. Water – what we are missing here in the central Mexican desert. As I thought on water and gazed out at the dry, barren landscape, I thought more about the absence of water here. So, though the prompt was water, I ended up with a haiku that speaks more to the absence of water.

In the parched, arid haze
The bone-dry sun sets ablaze
A quenching mirage


10 Things I Wanted to do in Mexico…and did

Everyday Inspiration Day 2: Make a List

Before moving to Mexico, I had a list of many things that I wanted to try or do. I should try and find that list again, and post the whole thing. In the meantime, I put together a list of ten things that I have been able to check off of that original list. There are many other things I’ve been able to do and try and see, but I wanted to keep the list short and manageable.

  1. Move to Mexico. Check – lived here for over 3 years…
  2. Get Temporary Residency. Check…next up: Residente Permanente
  3. Eat Huaraches. Delicious! A specialty of Mexico City and literally meaning “sandals”.
  4. Try Garumbullo Ice Cream! Que Rico…
  5. Try Nopales bought fresh from the mercado. Again, muy rico. My favorite is freshly grilled over the hot barbecue.
  6. Visit the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. Absolutely world-class, amazing museum in Parque Chapultepec.
  7. Eat and compare mole from both Puebla and Oaxaca. My favorite, so far, is from Puebla (Poblano). I think we may need to revisit though and just make sure…
  8. Rent a car and drive. Did one better and bought a car – even got a Mexican driver’s license from Guanajuato!
  9. Go horseback riding. Have been twice and loved it! Nothing like a trail ride in the US. You could never gallop a horse down a river bed on your first time out in the US…
  10. Eat “street” tacos. Many, many times – my favorites are Tacos Camechano (Campeche) and Tacos Longaniza.

Next up…10 things I still want to do while living in Mexico.


Everyday Inspiration: “I Write Because…”

In response to the Writing: Finding Everyday Inspiration Day 1 challenge “I Write Because…”, I offer the following 20-minute freewrite response:

To be honest, I don’t know why I write – I don’t have a single, overwhelming need that jumps out to answer “Why write?”. My answer is complicated, messy and clumsy – and probably why I procrastinate so much about writing. I like Sylvia Plath’s quote:

“I write only because
There is a voice within me
That will not be still”
— Sylvia Plath

I do have an inner voice that never shuts up, that constantly chatters, that is in perpetual dialogue with myself. I’m used to it and it is part of who I am, but I think it should speak aloud. Writing is a chance to do that – to merge my inner voice with my outer voice.

Also, I write because I feel like I should. Maybe not the best answer, because to whom or what “should” I be writing? I think there is childhood and even adult guilt that to be a good person, part of the experience is writing.

Ultimately though, I write because I want to! I want to document my experience in the world. I want to be able to communicate with the broader, larger world. I want to be able to pass on something of who I am to my son. I lost my father 30 years ago. I have my memories of him, some pictures, some shared stories – but I don’t know who he was, what he thought, or what he felt, and I wish I did. I’ve been lost most of my adult life and wish I could have known more about how he had navigated adulthood.

I write because I can. I think it would be therapeutic. I’ve never written fiction or tried to create an imaginary world – at least since I was about 10-years old – and I think I would like to try. But I’d also like to write about my experiences – living in Mexico, traveling the world, being a father, about the natural world and the outdoors, about a sense of place, about the people I’ve met, about my career struggles. I write for my boy and as something we might be able to do together.

I write because I want to.
I write because I can.



BloggingFundamentals Introductory Post: Who I am and Why I’m here

My “who I am and why I’m here” post:

Who I am –
A 46 year old guy, father of a ten-year old and husband of more than 20 years to an awesome woman.

I’m a registered engineering geologist in the states of Washington and Oregon. I had lived in Portland for 20 years, where I settled after graduating from college and riding a bicycle across the United States. We’ve been fortunate enough to travel some over the years, but have never been able to do as much as we’ve wanted. So a couple years ago, when life served up lemons, we decided to make lemonade and decided to be rid of the material baggage and set out to travel the globe. We had committed to at least a year abroad. During that first year, we traveled throughout Southeast Asia and Europe before finally settling into Central Mexico. Since then, we’ve established temporary residency in Mexico, where my son now attends school and we, the parents, are able to do freelance work. If we can manage, we plan to keep the adventure going as long as possible.

I am trying to blog for several reasons. I want to improve my writing. I want to improve my communication skills. I want to network with a world full of really interesting people. I want to because I feel like I should. And this is the weakest and stickiest point for me. I haven’t quite come to terms with what precisely I want to communicate via a blog and I’m hoping that using this Blogging Fundamentals will help me concentrate and focus on developing a better message.

My interests are all over the place. I’m a geologist and I am intensely interested in the Earth and Earth Science and the world around us. I’m interested in natural hazards and natural disasters – what they are, why they occur and what turns a hazard or risk into a disaster. I’m fascinated by Deep Geological Time and the philosophy of earth science and the exploration of the cosmos. I’m interested interested in anthropology, peoples and cultures – what we are, why we are, how we are, how we’ve changed and adapted through time…or not, and how we continue to do so through the present and into the future. I’m interested in Archaeology and the material record of what we were, why we were and how we were and how we’ve changed and adapted through time…or not. Finally, I love to explore the world. I love to do “big” travel – moving to other continents, visiting exotic locations, exploring the globe! But I also love to do “small” travel – I love to walk the neighborhood where I live, and explore the trails in the forests or jungles near by, or walk through the city at different times of day to understand and feel and appreciate how a city lives with the vibrancy of the people that inhabit it. I love to experience how a city changes from morning to noon to night, through the different seasons and holidays and festivals.

I’m constantly fascinated by the intersection of humanity with the natural world around us. I’m constantly bouncing around from digging deeper into cities and people and cultures to getting away from it all and going out into the “wilderness” and “nature” to leave all humanity behind. From each place, deep in the city or deep in the “wild” of nature (I put “wild” in quotes, for isn’t there a wildness that lurks in the heart of all cities?), I feel like I gaze on and gain a perspective of the other.

And amongst it all – I am a father to an amazing, talented, vivacious young boy, and a husband to an amazing, talented, vivacious woman – both of whom I relish with all my heart. If there is a way, I want to use this blog to talk some about fatherhood and husbandhood, as well as being a man in the modern world. I’d discuss what being a father and husband means to me, some of the things I’ve learned, some of the mistakes I’ve made, some of the ways I hope I’ve grown. And also some of the experiences of being “on the road” as a global traveler with a young child. How we’ve adapted to moving around and leaving behind so much. And maybe some of my observations about fathers and parents and families in the different cultures that we visit along the way.