Without A Path
international / jordan / middle east / travel

A Traditional Jordanian Dinner with A Piece Of Jordan


There are a number of ways to experience a different culture, but few beat dining with a local family.

I was in Petra in the midst of a 10-day trip around Jordan when an invite came for dinner with the founder of A Piece Of Jordan, a community-based tourism project. Basically everyone who’s going to Jordan already knows to check out the Indiana Jones temple from The Last Crusade. I’m of course talking about The Treasury, an incredibly elaborate stone temple constructed by the ancient Nabatean Kingdom around the age of the Hellenistic and Roman Empires, which is why the carving looks partly designed by a Greek architect.

Hiking those ancient ruins went down as one of my personal favorite travel experiences, something I’ve already gone on about in a little travel narrative video I put together on the trip. But what solidified that visit to Petra as truly memorable was dinner with Steph Altwassi and her Jordanian family.

I met her in the hotel lobby, unsure of how much English she spoke. (My Arabic went as far as “hi,” “bye,” and “thank you.”) Then something surprising happened. Continue reading

North America / North Carolina / travel / United States

Raleigh, North Carolina: The City You Already Know Is Cool


Raleigh is one of those cities you hear is cool without knowing why.

“Yeah, I heard they have… a cool craft beer scene or something…?” someone will say with a hint of uncertainty.

I wasn’t any different. I had an inclination that there was something special about Raleigh, but I didn’t know what. So, before leaving the country (again), I strung together an Amtrak route through Raleigh. My wife Melanie and I arrived on a scorching hot summer afternoon, the kind that reminds northerners just how blazing the south can be. Continue reading

Europe / germany / international / photography / travel

A Nazi Military Base Becomes Germany’s Eifel National Park


Eifel National Park. It’s a park that only relatively recently came into existence. The Belgian military and NATO used it as a training ground up until 2004 when a legal decree gave it back to the Germans as a national park. A foundation of the decree states that at least 75 percent of the park’s 26,400 acres must be left to develop naturally. Continue reading

England / Europe / international / travel

Why You Need to Embrace Your Gluttonous Side with Eating London

Enrique Tomas Jamón Iberico Restaurant Soho London

Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. We all know the phrase, but few places in the world actually embody it like London’s legendary Soho neighborhood, the musical birthplace of the likes of The Rolling Stones, the Who, and David “Ziggy Stardust” Bowie. Maybe you’ve heard of them.

Today Soho is the story of gentrification. It’s better known for its fashion scene and upscale restaurants than the sex industry venues of Paul Raymond, The King of Soho, who became the neighborhood’s patriarch throughout the swinging (note the emphasis) 60s. (Though I was told one can still oblige in such services, if so inclined.) Continue reading

Europe / germany / international / photography / travel

27 Photos to Celebrate 500 Years of Martin Luther’s Reformation in Germany

Merchants' Bridge in Erfurt, Germany

Central Germany is preparing to celebrate 500 years of Martin Luther’s Reformation. You know the guy from his hammering of the 95 Theses on a church door. Of course, apparently, this almost certainly never happened, but it speaks to the many legends, surprises, and uncomfortable truths that surround the man. On one hand he was responsible for giving poorer Germans a voice by creating a modern, universally used form of the language they spoke. Then again, he also sided with the aristocracy during the bloody Peasants’ War (even though his words and beliefs arguably inspired the revolt) and his antisemitic diatribes were later used in Nazi propaganda. Continue reading