The Price of Sex in Estonia

It’s been months since I visited Estonia, but I’m still haunted by the sex trade that exists there. Estonia is not unique in this regard but it was unexpected because it seems disproportionate to its population. My observations are admittedly superficial and I am no one of significance when it comes to politics or international relations, but my impression is that the growing sex trade in Estonia is dangerous to it — and is creating challenges for Estonia that couldRead more

The Sound of Estonian Freedom

I traveled to Estonia during 2014. Estonia haunts Northern Europe — a country about half the size of Maine. It’s bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia, to the south by Latvia, and to the west by the Baltic Sea. Roughly 1.3 million people live there, which is about the same population as San Diego, California. It was my first visit to Estonia but I had wanted to visit thereRead more

“Live and Let Live” Amsterdam

When I arrived in Amsterdam, I was looking forward to its “live and let live reputation.” But what impressed me the most about Amsterdam is the sheer number of bicycles. For the most part, they are utilitarian and unesthetic: Sturdy bicycles, barely distinguishable from one another except for the rider. Most bicycles are used for commuting; most are “basic black” with thick wheels, old-fashioned handlebars, and no hand gears. They may have baskets or headlights, but most do not. InRead more

A Special Place

There is a sliver of beach on Oahu’s North Shore where I have spent most of my time for the past month. The waves break close to shore here and in many places they break over a sharp, unyielding bottom that protects this place from too much human encroachment – nature’s barbed wire for the unwelcome. Coral reefs are plentiful near this beach– some thriving, some struggling, and some that have been plummeted to pieces by storms and the NorthRead more

The Five Tripping Stones of Hawaii

Navigating a new culture is like walking an unfamiliar path. It’s helpful to know some of the obstacles you may encounter before you begin your journey so you can watch for and avoid unsteady ground. When I observe fellow visitors from the mainland navigating the unique cultural environment of Hawaii it’s clear that many of us have a tendency to stumble over the same tripping stones – all of which are avoidable. In hope that they may be helpful toRead more

The Language of Hawaii

When a child is born and first becomes aware of the world around her, she is more an observer of this world than a participant. Her observations are refractions of life as seen through the eyes of a stranger. Her senses are easily overwhelmed, and her impressions continually evolving. Although she takes comfort in the familiar, she must leave it in order to grow. And so it is with me as I become more familiar with Oahu, the most populatedRead more

“Coloring Outside the Lines”

From an early age, I remember my father showing me how to color within the lines so I could color like everybody else. And I tried… I suppose for his sake at first — and then my own. But I’m not like everyone else. I have rarely seen or remembered things the way others do. Nor do I regret not having done so. Life is simply more beautiful surrounded by unicorns. They’ve made up for the friendships I’ve missed because ofRead more