Travel Story: That Time I Went Sledding in Heidi Country

Sledding in Gimmelwald, Switzerland


Travel, especially when you’re young and going solo, is such a portal into other worlds. That was especially true when, from Summer 1989 to Spring 1990, I went around the world, visiting more than 20 countries along the way. I was, and am, an awfully lucky guy.

One of the best nights on that trip was in Gimmelwald, Switzerland, when several of us were called from our hotel in the snowy mountains to join some locals on a sledding trek. It was exactly as magical as you might think. Continue reading “Travel Story: That Time I Went Sledding in Heidi Country”

New Project: My Old Memphis Flyer Travel Columns


My career as a travel writer — as opposed to a traveling writer, which we’ll get to — actually had its start in the advertising business.

Not that I worked in advertising, heaven forbid. But I worked near it, and apparently under its powers, such that in one strange moment I went from “kind of a sportswriter” to “professional travel writer” because of a decision made across the hall in advertising.

Continue reading “New Project: My Old Memphis Flyer Travel Columns”

Note to Self: Planning is not Living!


I recently arrived at a significant decision in my life, one that has many layers, challenges and opportunities. It’s big, kind of scary, but very exciting. It also doesn’t really start for about seven months, and there are major factors involved which I can’t control.

In short, aside from curiosity and perhaps a few long-term elements, there’s nothing I need to be doing about it right now.

Continue reading “Note to Self: Planning is not Living!”

Thoughts and Plans on my 24th Anniversary in Portland

pittock mansion portland

There’s really no significance to anniversaries, other than our tendency to take stock when they roll around. Where I “am” now versus where I “was” 24 years ago doesn’t mean a lot, but it is interesting to think about, as is seeing a photo of myself from back then and think, “Wow, I was really young!”

What did I think my life was going to be in 1996, when I arrived in Portland by Greuyhound bus, my car having finally died at an I-84 rest stop near La Grande, Oregon? (That, as they say, is “a whole nother story,” here in parts 1 and 2.) I had come to Oregon to get out of my hometown and away from that whole life, but also to explore the Pacific Northwest. I didn’t (and still don’t) orient myself around jobs or relationships, neither of which have stuck around for very long. I saw coming to Portland as going to a new area, close to many mountains, to build a new life. And I did.

Continue reading “Thoughts and Plans on my 24th Anniversary in Portland”

My Latest “Breakfast Bulletin” Newsletter: In 2020, Rain is Sunshine


Every couple of … well, years lately (hanging my head), I write a newsletter I call the “Breakfast Bulletin.” The name comes from my old days as the Portland Breakfast Guy, and I keep it to honor those good times.

The latest issue is about the strange times we live in — for example, when the city of Portland celebrates rain in September. Tough times bring weird thoughts, I guess.

Continue reading “My Latest “Breakfast Bulletin” Newsletter: In 2020, Rain is Sunshine”

What It’s Like Being From Portland in 2020


First, a little historical context. When I moved from Memphis to Portland in 1996, people in other parts of the country would say one of two things about my new hometown: “I hear it’s pretty there,” or “Isn’t that up near Seattle?”

Somewhere along the way, Portland has become both one of American’s “it” cities, as well as a canvas on which people paint all sorts of assumptions and fantasies.

Continue reading “What It’s Like Being From Portland in 2020”