An American Abroad

The Murals of Toledo’s Old South End

Toledo's Central Union Station, where my sons and I have caught the Lake Shore Limited east many times, is situated in the city's Old South End. I had gone down to the tracks there to photograph an antique steam locomotive as it chuffed through … [Continue reading]

40 Books That Made Me a Traveler — Part 2

This week's entry in my series about books that made me a traveler is all over the map. Literally. Iran, the Caribbean, Congo, the road from Istanbul to India, and South America are all represented in these selections. What these books have in common … [Continue reading]

Nicaragua 2008: The Dogs of El Castillo (Plus a Couple of Horses)

Caution: dangerous generalization ahead. When I was in the jungle town of El Castillo, Nicaragua in 2008, I was surprised to see so many dogs. I noted with pleasure and approval that the dogs generally looked cared for, well-fed, and to belong to … [Continue reading]

Nicaragua 2008: The Town of El Castillo

(This is a continuation of my narrative of a trip I took to Nicaragua seven years ago.) We awoke the morning after our journey down the Rio San Juan to find ourselves in the Victoria Hotel. Since the power had been out when we arrived the night … [Continue reading]

Audio Interview With Yours Truly

Odyssey Master and fellow travel blogger Jay of Jay's Odyssey conducted an audio interview me earlier this week about my travels and tribulations. It was a fun -- even outrageous -- conversation. We covered the pitfalls of eating spicy food in … [Continue reading]

40 Books That Made Me a Traveler — Part 1

Literature and travel are tightly linked with me. Back when I graduated from college, bought a Eurail Pass, and backpacked through western Europe, I learned to love the racks of Penguin and Pelican paperbacks that seemed to be stationed in every … [Continue reading]

Detroit: Chaos at The Eastern Market

The art in the gallery-like ruins at Brush and Baltimore is controlled. Mannered. Almost formal. So when I went directly from there to Detroit's Eastern Market, I wasn't prepared for visual chaos. My initial reaction was confusion bordering on … [Continue reading]

Detroit: The Museum at Brush & Baltimore

I was thinking about why people make art when I came across a desolate intersection in Detroit. In the post-apocalyptic environs of Brush and Baltimore Streets, there are dozens of vacant lots where houses and stores once stood. Most of the remaining … [Continue reading]

Detroit: The Hipsters Move to Corktown

There are signs of an artist/hipster presence in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. Near Michigan Central Station, some abandoned buildings have been painted up and turned into giant urban canvases. Other buildings show signs of … [Continue reading]

Detroit: We Did It to Ourselves

Detroit's Michigan Central Station is now an American icon, a metaphor for the ruination of American industry and the hollowing out of once-vital American cities. Its very existence is commentary on our current inability to construct buildings that … [Continue reading]