The last week and more specifically the last day has probably been one of the best I've lived through. I've walked up large hills in the rain, snuck into a castle overlooking Loch Ness, drank local Scottish cask ales while listening to great stories told by new found friends, woke up hungover and happy (a strange but true combo). In general, just fully enjoyed the hell out of my life.

I would tell you more right now, maybe show you some pictures, but at 1 pound for a half hour of Internet time i cant afford to.

And now to all of you who i have met along the way i want to extend a huge thank you. Your generosity, curiosity and extreme hospitality has been just what I've been looking for and just what I've needed.

Thank you.


Notes From The Great Caucasian Euro-Hajj

I know, its self imposed exile. Don’t ask me why I do this to myself, because I don’t really know why. Perhaps it’s because of the American Western Cowboy myth that’s so deeply ingrained in my societies story. It’s the legend of a leathery loner riding on horseback into a fading Arizona sunset. In my case it’s all the relationships and communities that I am journeying away from, riding into the sunset of past friendships left unattended too long.

Or maybe it is the more recent myth I am following. The young, lone backpacker striking out in the world (“while you still can”) myth. I’ve heard it echoed again and again. Seen the envy in the eyes of those who have “settled down” and can no longer make the journey.

The grass is most definitely greener anywhere else than where you are standing. I fall victim to that lie quite often. As humans we have this innate ability to project current feelings and emotions onto past experiences. Terrible, lonely journeys of the past become great stories in the future.

If you ask me about this trip five years from now I will have glamorised it enough to make you wish you were there with me.

A thick fog is quickly descending all around me as I pen this entry. I sit on a clear-cut stump in a field of clear-cut stumps. I can see groves of new pines springing up amidst the ghosts of a forest that once was. Grouse communicate in the distance from beneath fields of fern turned brown in preparation for the winter to come. I’m at the edge of the Scottish Highlands near a town named Comrie.

I’ve spent the last few days making beds and cleaning toilets while families and wedding parties scurry around from one beautiful “attraction” to the next. You cannot throw off the bonds of a productivity-obsessed culture in less than a week. Trust me, I’ve tried.

I’m not depressed, just lonely. Some think it’s because I just “need Jesus” in my life. Perhaps, but I suppose it could also be that restless loneliness we all feel. Maybe I’m just honest enough (or stupid enough) to say in writing what we all feel but rarely admit too feeling. Maybe I just run headlong into a good question instead of seeking solace in a safe answer. Maybe I’m just too thick headed to accept what I already know to be true.

I’ll stop there. I’m hungry and need to find a recipe for making creamy tomato soup. Goodnight.


A Day In Edinburgh

“Tell me how does God choose?
Whose prays does he refuse?
Who turns the wheel?
Who throws the dice?
On the day after tomorrow.”

Day After Tommorow, Tom Waits

I am without Matt now. He’s headed back to continue his own journey in the States. He just missed his friends, his community, more than he thought he would. So after more than a month of living out of his overloaded blue backpack he is headed home.

I won’t lie, I’m going to miss him. We had some great talks and heated discussions. I learned a bit more about him and I suppose he learned something’s about me as well.

For the last couple of days I’ve walked the streets
of Edinburgh, Scotland. I’m staying with my friend Ruth and her wonderful flat mates. Yesterday I climbed King Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano that overlooks the city. It was a good little hike, nearly 900 feet or so above sea level. The view was spectacular. Sprawled out beneath the walls of Edinburgh Castle is a city with a diverse culture and no dearth of great buildings dating back hundreds of years.

But today, as I walked amongst these history-laden streets, loneliness swept over me like a cold ocean wave. Not the kind of loneliness that is reminded by the presence of others but a loneliness that is reminded by nothing but time, and even then it might not go away.

So with loneliness as my traveling companion I walked the hour and a half it took me to arrive at the Botanic Gardens. The gardens were dying and that made them all the more beautiful. Leaves, colored yellow, red and brown, fell from trees as a light but cool breeze blew through the branches.

I watched children roll in piles of leaves, mothers standing to the side laughing and taking pictures. But at the end of the day I was feeling much better. I ate dinner with the girls and watched a few minutes of the Fresh Prince with a girl from Singapore (thanks Doreen).

Now I’m editing a few pictures, listening to Tom Waits and trying to bang out a coherent blog entry for those of you who still read this crazy mish mash I write.

Know that I am missing everyone back in the States, from Seattle to Atlanta and everywhere in between (or above, or wherever you may be).

Matt atop Hornhead. The wind was blowing good that day.

Some moss I found in the rock garden section of the botanic. It's native to New Zealand and smells like honey when it flowers.


Family Passage

Yesterday I arrived in a place where some years ago a part of my story began. Not so much my individual story, but the story of my family and their journey across the sea. The story of my great grandfather and the land he left behind. A land of rock and wind, mountain and sea.

I stood in a field hemmed in by stone fences and wondered if his hands placed these rocks i now leaned upon. My eyes gazed out over pastures and hills to the distant ocean and the waves beating upon its shores.

The camera captured barn and house and the land that held them there. But the camera couldn't tell the stories of those who had lived amongst them, lived off of them, and lived at the mercy of them. This was a rugged wind whipped landscape, but wildly beautiful as well.

This was the place we once called home.



A couple of weeks back Matt and I woke to find him an entire year older. For his 24th birthday he asked for only one thing; to see the sunset behind the mountains. As he expressed this wish i looked up at the early morning sky and found a mix of fog and rain greeting us. Being the eternal optimist that i am, i told him i did not think his wish would come true on that day.

So we worked at building a woodshed for the man we were staying with, a nice Englishmen named Hugh. As we worked at making the shaky structure sturdy the overcast sky began to break apart. Rays of sun peeped out from behind fog banks and in a couple of short hours it was a glorious mid fall day.

Hugh arrived home from a painting job and we asked him if we could cut out early and take a nice long bike ride down the Sheep's Head Way. Hugh agreed that that was a splendid idea. And so we went down the road, coattails flying in the breeze as we followed the road through villages and towns. The Atlantic ocean kept us company, always frothing about just off the road and to the left.

We stopped off in a small village along the way (the name escapes me now) and sat down for a birthday pint of Murphys stout. We spoke to the woman behind the bar and asked her how much further it was to the end of the peninsula. She looked out the window at the late afternoon sun and told us it was further than we could get before the sun gave out on us. She advised us to try again another day.

So Matt and I reconvened over our pints and decided to heed her advice. We rode back to where we started from and just before we walked up the dirt road to the house i stopped to take a picture of Matt's wish come true; a beautiful sunset quickly fading behind the hills of Shantullig.



We are now in Galway, a city of music and laughter. I didnt sleep much last night, hostel living makes me restless. I dont suspect i'll sleep much tonight either. Internet has been spotty and my storytelling ability even spottier.

This trip has taught me more than i thought it would, and about things i did not even think of. For some reason Ireland has humbled both me and my brother. I cant get into it now. I'm to tired.

I'll leave you with a picture i took of Ben (american guy we worked with in Daingean).