Journal entries from the United States

Creamed Corn

Athens, Georgia, U.S. Creamed corn doesn't lend itself to showy food photography, but then neither do most Thanksgiving dishes. Strange holiday that one.


Athens, Georgia, U.S. Autumn in the South is never as spectacular as is in New England. The colors here are neither as intense nor as long lasting. But still, it is our autumn, our season, our reminder. And this is by far the most colorful year of leaves that we’ve seen in 15 years.


Athens, Georgia, U.S. When you're two years old everything in the world is new every day. Even things you saw yesterday look different, feel different, *are*, inexplicably, different today.

Memorial Park

Athens, Georgia, U.S. Loons, Maine, Memorial Park. *What that sound is?*


Athens, Georgia, U.S. Halloween with three owls, a Theremin-wielding ghost band and a zoo full of ghouls.

King of Birds

St. George Island, Florida, U.S. Watching birds teaches you to see the world a bit differently. You're always alert to flittering movements in your peripheral vision. After a while you start to scan the tree line, the edges of the marsh, the place where the buildings meet the sky, the borderlands where movement begins. You quite literally see the world differently.

Oysterman Wanted

St. George Island, Florida, U.S. The world of oystermen and local fishing industry is doomed. Even the people resisting the transition know they’re no longer fighting for their way of life, but avoid watching the death of everything they know.

All the Pretty Beaches

St. George Island, Florida, U.S. St. George is just off the Gulf Coast of northwest Florida and offers a seemingly endless amount of gorgeous white sand beaches.

Consider the Apalachicola Oyster

Apalachicola, Florida, U.S. If you know the name Apalachicola at all it’s likely because of its eponymous oysters.

Things Behind the Sun

Athens, Georgia, U.S. My grandparents left the home they lived in for 60 years today. I don't know how much of my life was spent in that house, probably well over a year if you added up all the holidays and family gatherings. And now I'm thousands of miles away and someone is clearing out the house.

Street Food in Athens Georgia

Athens, Georgia, U.S. Cheap food, made fresh, in front of you. Served hot, wrapped in newspaper. Street food is the people's food, it removes the mystery of the kitchen, lays the process bare. It's also the staple diet of people around the world.

We Used to Wait For It

Los Angeles, California, U.S. When we first came here, there was nothing. Downtown Los Angeles was an empty husk of a place fifteen years ago. Now it's reborn, alive and kicking. Yet there is something in the older buildings, something in the old walls, something lost in the bricks, something in the concrete, the marble. Something you don’t find anymore. Something we need to find again.

The World Outside

Athens, Georgia, U.S. The world outside the house is blanketed in snow, a monochrome of white interrupted only by the dark, wet trunks of trees, the red brick of chimneys, the occasional green of shrubs poking through. The roads are unbroken expanses of smooth white, no one is out yet, no footprints track their way through the snowy sidewalk. The world outside is the same as it was last night, before the snow began, and yet, it feels totally different.

Charleston A-Z

Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. Charleston alphabetically. For example, Q is for quiet, Charleston has a lot of it. Just head down to the Battery area, walk through the park and starting walking down the side streets. Take one of the many alleys and walkways that weave between the massive, stately houses. Get lost. It doesn't take much to find a quiet place of your own.

Dinosaur National Monument, Part Two: Down the River

Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado, U.S. This is the only real way to see Dinosaur National Monument — you must journey down the river. There are two major rivers running through Dinosaur, the Yampa, which carves through Yampa Canyon, and the Green, which cuts through Lodore. Adventure Bound Rafting runs some of the best whitewater rafting trips in Colorado and I was lucky enough to go down the Green River with them, through the majestic Lodore Canyon.

Dinosaur National Monument, Part One: Echo Park

Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado, U.S. Dinosaur National Monument was poorly named. The best parts of it are not the fossils in the quarry (which is closed for 2010 anyway) but the canyon country — some of the best, most remote canyon country you'll find in this part of the world.

The Endless Crowds of Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, U.S. There is wilderness in Yellowstone, even if it's just inches from the boardwalks that transport thousands around the geothermal pools.

Backpacking in the Grand Tetons

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, U.S. Hiking into the wilderness empties your mind. You fall into the silence of the mountains and you can relax in a way that's very difficult to do in the midst of civilization. The white noise that surrounds us in our everyday lives, that noise we don't even notice as it adds thin layers of stress that build up over days, weeks, years, does not seem capable of following us into the mountains.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado, U.S. Something about the desert inspires me to get up early and watch the sunrise. The cool mornings seem worth getting up for out here in the high plains of Colorado, especially when there's the chance to watch the sunrise from the largest sand dunes in North America, here in Great Sand Dune National Park.

Comanche National Grasslands

Comanche National Grasslands, Colorado, U.S. To say the Comanche National Grasslands is off the grid would be an understatement. With the exception of Highway 50 in Nevada, I've never driven through such isolation and vast openness anywhere in the world. And it's easy to get lost. There are no signs, no road names even, just dirt paths crisscrossing a wide, perfectly flat expanses of grass.

Why National Parks Are Better Than State Parks

Amarillo, Texas, U.S. There are many reasons, but here's the one I currently consider most important: National Parks never close. Take Palo Dura State park outside of Amarillo, Texas. Were it a National Park, I would be there right now. But it's not, it's a state park and so I'm sitting in a hotel room in Amarillo because everyone knows nature closes at 10PM.

The Legend of Billy the Kid

Hico, Texas, U.S. History rarely offers neat, tidy stories. But the messier, more confusing and more controversial the story becomes, the more it works its way into our imaginations. The legend of Billy the Kid is like that of Amelia Earhart or D.B. Cooper — the less we know for sure, the more compelling the story becomes.

The Dixie Drug Store

New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. New Orleans is it's own world. So much so that's it's impossible to put your finger on what it is that makes it different. New Orleans is a place where the line between consensus reality and private dream seems to have never fully developed. And a wonderful world it is.

Begin the Begin

Gulf Port, Mississippi, U.S. It's travel time again. This time I'm driving my 1969 Ford truck out west, to Texas, Colorado, Utah and more — a road trip around the western United States. The first stop is Gulf Port, Mississippi. It's hard to believe, sitting here on the deserted beaches of Gulf Shore, watching the sun break through the ominous clouds, but soon this beauty will be gone. The BP oil spill is somewhere out there, blown slowly ashore by the storm hovering over us, waiting to drown the beaches in crude.