Motivational Madness in San Jose

It’s nearly midnight on a Thursday in the abandoned convention center area in Downtown San Jose. Streets are blocked off in all directions - barricades, orange cones and police officers keeping the peace. Traffic signals are ignored as six-thousand “motivated” people fill the streets in a Tony Robbins trance chanting in unison, “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!”... more

Down and Out in the Chinese Consulate

“I no help you. You stand in that line,” says the stern small Asian woman with a dismissive wave of her hand. I glance over at the line she is referring to. The intense tightening in my chest momentarily steals my ability to respond. The lone blond in the chroma-key blue dress that was in that line when I arrived is still miles away from the front.

I’ve already waited an hour in this starkly clinical Los Angeles Chinese Consulate waiting room, not counting the four-hour drive it took to get here from San Diego. My i-Phone tells me this place closes in 30-minutes and my passport is being held hostage... more

How Gay Paris is with Jim

Hanging out in Paris with Jim is like stomping through a Parisian Smurf village destroying centuries-old mushroom houses with a rolling keg of beer.

The French are all running around in their scarves and tight pants, sipping wine and coffee out of pinky cups. They pack themselves like cigarettes next to each other on unstable wicker chairs atop broken cobblestone, surrounded by doll-house sized café tables in a cloud of righteous nicotine talking of the ills of America... more

Reality Shift in Hyderabad, India

Published in San Diego Reader, November 2011

Hyderabad, India, has yet to be conquered by McDonalds, Wal-Mart or Starbucks. You won't find much tourism there either. The stereotypical pale color of your Western skin makes you a walking target to all locals who walk the piles of rubble and dirt called streets. This is not a place for a pleasure tour.​.. more

Amsterdam, Netherlands on Queen's Day

Published in San Diego Reader, June 2011

This might be hard to believe for the fun-loving Irish lads, but I dare any Irish person out there to out-party the Dutch. Not gonna happen – and I’m not sure you’d want to.

In town for work, I coincidentally arrived in bicycle-loving Amsterdam on Queen’s Day, or Koninginnedag in Dutch. Go ahead, say it – just conjure up the loogie sound and you’re there. It's an annual national holiday on April 30 to celebrate the Queen of the Netherland’s birthday – even though her actual birthday is in January. The Dutch say April has better weather. I mean, how can you get wasted and trash your city in the cold?... more

Mom in London Calling

A woman who runs her household, mothers her child, is a wife to her husband, a member of the workforce and a friend to herself is anything but domestic, less adventurous or weak. They are the underdog, the underappreciated and the finger on the pulse of normalcy. We do it all,sometimes begrudgingly, but always with pride and purpose. That is what womanhood is all about. This is what I am teaching my daughter with my absence for work.... more

Optimistically Uncomfortable in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Published in San Diego Reader, May 2015

After easing through Phuket and bustling through Bangkok, the Northern mountainous jungle villages of Chiang Rai left the friendly smiles of the big cities behind. My first impression of Chiang Rai? Holy crap! Never before have I felt so optimistically uncomfortable. I have had the good fortune of being able to visit parts of Europe, China and now Thailand, but not until this day have I felt more out of my element, more foreign and more unwelcome than I do here.... more

Making a Mockery of Adulthood in Wiesbaden, Germany

I have a stamp on my hand that says “midlife”. WTF? Is that some sick joke the door guys are playing? The whole time we were at the “club”, I didn’t even notice the ink soaking into my skin, what it was implying or how true it was. Now that I’m back in the 4am cloak of my hotel room, I can see clearly that what I was feeling at “the club” is simply what is apparently obvious to the next generation. Never before in my life have I felt so... old.... more

One Beijing Hangover for the Experience of a Lifetime

Our first stop was one of the seven wonders of the world, The Great Wall of China. There’s something strange that happens inside you when you’re actually standing on history, standing on what you’ve only ever seen in pictures or on TV. It becomes surreal. I became giddy with excitement and wired with adrenaline. Coming from pretty questionable beginnings myself, I never in a million years imagined that I would ever get the chance to be at something so magical. And for a brief time, as I tried to ignore the thousands of other tourists and the looming deadline approaching for us to leave for our next sight, I stood in wonder and amazement trying to visualize the time in which the wall was built - what it must have looked like, what the people looked like, what they were dressed like, how they could have possibly built this wall starting in 220 BC along mountain tops and through valleys snaking across the entire country… and WHY?... more

Travel Writer