Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Early Saturday afternoon I was suddenly consumed with a burst of restlessness, an urgent need to get out of the house and do something that did not involve staying in the house. It was a gorgeous day – high clouds, crystal blue skies, mild temperatures with low humidity. There were plenty of local options to burn off the jumpiness. We could shoot down the road into Princeton and wander among the ivy, day trippers, and shops. A short drive in any direction would take us to hiking trails and parks. We could stroll around our familiar streets and blithely comment on minor changes to our neighbor’s outdoor décor. We could do any of these things, things we’ve done 1,000 times before. But on this particular Saturday I wanted more than the usual distractions. I quickly concocted an impromptu plan.

I slipped downstairs. With the subtlety of a diplomat I asked Caryn if there was anything she hoped to get done before the end of the day. She mentioned a few things, but they all had a self-imposed deadline of Sunday night. Seeing an opening, I shot my plan at her. (Figuratively.) “Let’s go spend the night in Philly!” Within minutes we were headed south to the city where Ben Franklin fathered an illegitimate son, where Angelo Bruno was rubbed out Mafia-style in front of his home, and where (more…)


Rapperswil is part of a municipality in northeast Switzerland. It is *not* a questionable brand of bathtub gin marketed to struggling rap artists. You may think offering that lame pun in a local tavern will elicit good-natured laughter, but the only thing you’ll receive is the dreaded Swiss death stare. It is exactly the same look you get when you kid about money with a wealth manager from Credit Suisse. Switzerland may be famously neutral and their knives more functional than deadly, but their aloof contemplation can be withering. So do yourself a favor. Resist the urge to make a bad Rapperswil joke, especially while in Rapperswil. Don’t be the Ugly American.

Rapperswil was settled many centuries ago and for a long, long time was its own thing. Oh sure, an occasional power struggle erupted to keep things interesting, but (more…)

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For as long as my memory stretches I have seen movies and television shows set at the Grand Canyon. I have seen countless photographs full of color, shadows and light shot by world-class photographers. I have read about the mule trains and the meandering Colorado River. I have flown over this enormous (more…)

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Of all the hours in a day, the Magic Hour is the one to savor. It is the hour preceding dawn, before your part of the world fully stirs and gets on with business. Streets are empty, traffic light, neighboring houses dark and snug. The sky is a curious mixture of (more…)

I am only a short-term visitor, but trust me: Florida in July is absolutely miserable.

Oh sure, people are friendly and polite and far less stressed than those back in New Jersey. But the weather here is brutal. It is Arabian hot and the humidity hovers around 6000%. Strange creatures regularly (more…)

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Salt Lake City – where people find themselves

Salt Lake City is not a place a person expects to find oneself, especially if that person is a male who makes a daily conscious decision not to wear starched white button down shirts with well-knotted neckties. Yet that is exactly what happened last Friday. In this bright city nestled (more…)

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Posted: June 17, 2016 in Travel
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It was a stunning May afternoon when Caryn and I drove to the outskirts of Sedona. Our goal was to hike the Boynton Canyon Trail. Local legend claimed the trail led to the elusive Boynton Vortex, a mystical spot of spiritual renewal and comfort. I was both (more…)

Charlottenstraße 4

Charlottenstraße 4

The image above and the next two come from my book, Surface Mono: Berlin, a collection of black and white photographs taken in Berlin over the course of several days this past May. The last three images were considered for the book, but not included for reasons far too trivial and dull to elaborate upon.

Berlin is a fascinating place. As you can imagine they are dealing with a lot of nasty 20th century history. The balance they strike between acknowledging their past and dealing (more…)

So if you look to the left…

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…you will notice this nifty badge displayed under the heading “Blurb Store.” See it, that large white rectangular shape with stuff inside its borders? The image looks suspiciously like a book cover, doesn’t it? Then come the words “By J.V. Brennan” which are placed a bit too far underneath it. Below those words and to the right is the Blurb logo, a blue irregular hexagon with (more…)

The path turned to gravel

Looking back where the path turned to dirt

We were advised to seek out Victoria Cave, a natural wonder high in the Yorkshire Dales. It sits outside the village of Settle, recessed into the earth, apparently undetectable from the prescribed path. We parked the car off a neglected road with a vague assurance this was the place to start. Caryn’s brother and his two boys led this expedition relying on (more…)