Blog Archive for May 2014

First steps, down under

It’s as jarring as all those other countries. The only difference is that I hadn’t expected it at all, not here, not in a place so familiar.   I’m talking about Australia. We landed here la

Brave New World

Quick first impressions of Perth…   1. It’s autumn, and that’s both odd and exhilarating. There’s a bite in the air and a tint of yellow in the leaves, and a slant to the

Western Australia

So much to write about…   At the moment we’re in a cabin along the Margaret River, about two hours south of Perth on the southwest coast of Australia. Of course the river is called Margaret R

Caught Between Cockroaches and Cream Cheese

    Leaving Indonesia was bittersweet. Our last hour in Senggigi was typical of the thousands of moments we have experienced in faraway places, and somehow, we all have felt that these are o

Random Australia

Sitting on the steps outside 3 Raper Street in Sydney, Australia, just waiting for a key to get into our apartment for the week. It’s 1:30pm. The key is not in the box as arranged, and so I wait, a

Sydney, Oh Sydney

It took a day.   It took a day to adjust my eyes to the economy of Sydney, to $21 plates of nachos and short rides on an airport train for $15. And it took a day to adjust to all this space and h

All hail, Sydney

It seems unfair.   Sydney: You got it all. You got the harbor and the weather and a gene pool of fit statuesque people. You got rolling hills and parks but maybe what separates you from all the r

Sydney on a Saturday

  Really, where to begin?   It’s been two or three days since I last wrote, maybe the longest layoff of the entire year. The problem has been that we’ve hit the streets early in Sydney b

A Sunday in Sydney

Our Sunday in Sydney—hey, those are twin words—began with a Mother’s Day breakfast for mommy Dolora. Liam made her a sweet card while I made her a sweet omelet, and together we brought her these

Dolora’s Australia

Speed Blog: Australia   Dolora: It was so exciting to see our first kangaroo. It was dead. Our second kangaroo sighting was a dead one too. We pulled our rental car over and looked at that one th

First days in New Zealand

Picture this:   It is 4:56am. I am in a camper van, beneath as many blankets as we could find. Outside it is 32 degrees, maybe less—or a flat out 0 degrees in Celsius to the rest of the world.

the wheel of fortune

Our fifth day in New Zealand began with clear blue skies—always a bonus, since this is the season for cold rain from slate-gray clouds. We were camping in Queenstown, a city of breathtaking natural

Hunkering down in the rain

I left you in suspense at the end of my last blog, submitted eight hours ago. To catch everyone up on the story, I’d made the bone-head mistake of putting diesel into our tank instead of gas, and no

Great Expectations

The delight of first experiences is that you don’t know what to expect. Everything lives in your imagination jumbled up with bits of shadowy images from photos or other people’s stories. It’s pr

Speed Blog: South Island, New Zealand

    Dolora: When we left the Christchurch airport there was a series of warehouses that said “United States Antarctic Project” and then something underneath about the South Pole. A quick

Every Day

Welcome back.   It’s been a few days. The last time I wrote was inside the bunker of this campervan, the rain in Fiordland so unrelenting that our world for 24 hours was the tight enclosure of


In a year of beauty upon beauty, this moment might top them all. I’m in a park in the town of Picton on the northernmost tip of the south island of New Zealand. In an hour we’ll be boarding a ferr

On the snowy side of a volcano

Sitting in our campervan at 9pm, like the good gypsy family that we are. Liam is working on a school project on the state of Idaho, and Dolora is playing solitaire. Outside it’s cold, too cold for m

Middle Earth

The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Not a fan. I remember walking out of the first one due to the unending battle scenes and sheer volume. Just because the Orcs are men in make-up or computer generated, it

Final thoughts on New Zealand

  You can tell a lot about a culture by the sports it plays. Baseball is unique to America, this perfect blend of the individual and the team, with its vast pastures of green and its journey that