After three non-fiction books, his first novel.
Avoiding a Parliament funk when visiting London with your family
These London Travel Tips were initially published in 2006
We heard it from friends, from family and from folks we hardly knew; “You’re so brave,” or “Aren’t you scared?” or even “Your kids won’t remember it.”
When we finally decided we’d saved enough money to take our kids to the British Isles, we heard every excuse not to go. We listened politely and even took some of the warnings to heart. But my wife and I wanted to give our daughters an amazing learning experience and we, ourselves, wanted to have fun in a foreign country.
Instead of gearing our trip towards only what we adults wanted to see and do, (like watching a live session of Parliament with all the jeering), we planned our journey around our kid’s needs.
“I’ll bet you’re looking forward to this wedding,” bride Jen said to me as we waited at the front gate of the Renaissance Festival in Holly, Michigan.
That was definitely an understatement. It’s not often that you get to photograph a couple and thousands of their closest friends who went all Medieval on them before, during and after the ceremony.
Not having anything better to do when our electricity abandoned us, I took to social media. My phone was powered alternately between my Prius and one of our camera’s portable flash batteries. Pretending I was transported back to Medieval times, the next 11 hours went something like this:
The trip was exhausting. We were behind the Iron Curtain and at the mercy of the official Soviet travel agency, Intourist. It was 1984. The Cold War was showing no real signs of flaring up or calming down, and my intestines were wracked with what I liked to refer as the commie crud. I sat in a hotel in downtown Moscow, across the street from an enormous statue depicting Russian space flight and all I wanted to do was bend over the toilet. I felt worse than the embalmed body of Lenin who laid in state just down the street.
That’s what the conflict in Northern Ireland has been called for generations. We’ve been told that everything is fine now. The violence has ceased and both sides, Irish Catholics and English Protestants, are getting along fine.
Our taxi driver painted a slightly different picture.
While visiting my daughter during her term abroad in Ireland, we got to meet some of her new friends. These people, from Germany and Finland (and a couple from Australia), are helping her out so much, we decided to pay them back with silly American gifts.
Every 18 months I have the ultimate pleasure of volunteering at a blood and marrow transplant conference. I’ve written about these conferences in the past, saying “These are my people.” This year, in particular, I felt that way even more acutely.
First, there were all those people checking out my book, which was just a thrill.