Fly, Fly Away

This has been one of those weeks where the clothes in my suitcase got dumped into the laundry machines and then went straight back into my suitcase. That was followed by a full day at work, rush hour traffic to the airport, and more than 3 hours in flight delays.

So, while there are lots more pictures from India to share, for now I’ll leave you with these baby birds. They didn’t seem to be having much luck flying either.


Taking in Goa, India


One of the great dichotomies of India is the apparent mixing–yet dissociation–of social classes. It’s an ironic sight when beautiful, well-maintained Portuguese mansions (above) and small shacks (below) are neighbors.


As I witnessed it, the living situation is very intermingled, with hovels situated in whatever small space is to be found between larger houses and complexes. One of our drivers explained that in a way this is made possible by the caste system, which is very ingrained in Indian culture. Even with people of different castes living so close together, everyone knows their place in society and so maintains a social distance. It was surprising to me as an American, where class-segregated neighborhoods are the norm.

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Goa, India


Over the summer I visited India for the first time to present at the International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences. It was my first time in Asia and a totally different cultural experience than I’d ever had before.

India is an incredible place to visit, but I think tends to be one of the more intimidating ones for westerners. It’s expensive to get to from North America, the language is indecipherable compared to western languages, and the cultural differences are numerous…from understanding the caste system to eating with your hands. The trip was well worth it, though, and it ended up being much easier to get by than I’d anticipated. It’s a trip to research in advance, but not one to miss.

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Day of Podcasts

My latest adventure wasn’t too exotic. It was a trip to visit Brian which includes a roughly 12 hour drive on either end. On the way back I finally got smart — okay, I borrowed Brian’s smarts — and downloaded the Podcast Addict app which allowed me to pre-download podcasts to entertain me on the solo trip. This was a very exciting development for someone like me who dislikes driving, traffic, and all things roadworks-related.

In honor of the brilliant drive that resulted, here are the highlights from my Day of Podcasts.  Below are 5 intellectual-yet-funny podcasts I discovered for this trip, mostly skewed toward science and technology because I’m biased that way. At the end of the post are two bonus shout-outs to my all-time favorite podcasts which I didn’t listen to on this drive only because I was already caught up.

If you have a drive, a boring job, or any other downtime I highly recommend checking for podcasts you might be interested in. You can subscribe via app, itunes, or catch some on the radio itself. There are a lot of great ones out there which help me learn new things and — often — laugh out loud. And best of all, these are all free to listen. Continue reading

Return of the Blog

It’s been a while since I updated the blog with my latest adventures. I’m happy to announce the blog will be back in action starting next week.

There will be posts about a very Texas Fourth of July, a One-Day Walking Tour of London, and a Cycling Tour of Goa, India plus much more.

While I’m working on the latest updates, feel free to look back at some of the most popular posts on the blog from the last few years:


Pyramiden, Spitsbergen — An abandoned Russian mining town, population: 2.

grace-cathedral-UN-muralGrace Cathedral, San Francisco — Classic architecture with a modern message.


Christchurch, New Zealand — Art-rich restoration after a devastating earthquake.


Gliding — Free falling over Central Texas.


Castle Rock, Antarctica — Hiking in one of the most remote places in the world.