My friend Ben had sent me a calendar of beer festivals in Germany this autumn. Neither of us had been able to visit Oktoberfest this year and were keen for a mulligan. Ben wanted to meet me in Stuttgart for the second-largest beer festival after Oktoberfest. I had just arrived into Split, Croatia however, and was decompressing from my time in the USA and quite enjoying it — I declined the invitation. Fast-forward a few weeks and it turns out there will be a different festival happening in Bremen the last weekend of October. We booked it – my first weekend adventure for quite some time. I had never been to Hamburg or Bremen and this reconnaissance trip was shorter and easier than Havana and Mexico City  in terms of logistics — two nights, 48 hours. Short trips like this afford the freedom to be picky on what you do with your time because with so little of it, you are unencumbered by standard tourist obligations;  you can curate what is most convenient and “best” without being obliged to visit a museum that other people feel is important. I had not done a trip like this one for a while […]
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Havana, Cuba

by Reid Peryam· September 12, 2018· in Somewhere else, Travel· 0 comments
One of the trendiest vacation destinations for Americans completely underwhelmed me. Perhaps expectations of Cuban cigars, classic cars and a laid-back atmosphere poisoned me to the reality I immediately perceived of deep economic and social problems masked with a tourist-friendly facade; the entire impression felt as though I was watching a performance with a simultaneous eye on the happenings behind the curtain. There are a few places I never need to return to and Havana is one of them. I knew going into it that it was a place for European and American tourists and “the real Cuba” existed in the rural areas not the capital. Nevertheless I was looking forward to a four day reconnaissance trip to scope it out to see if I wanted to come back to explore the rest further. I anticipated that I would see lots of touristy stuff – vendors, solicitors, “authentic Cuban X” for display and sale; none of that was a surprise. Nor was the highly curated 4-block radius of Old Town Havana — which is delightfully cute and very clean. Musicians playing in cafes and bars, asking you for tips. The classic old American cars from the 1940s and 1950s really […]
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I shake my head recollecting the period of time I believed Mexico City to be a polluted, dirty, crowded, dangerous and ugly city not worth visiting. I’m not exactly sure why I came to believe this but it probably had something to do with an American bias that perceived things happening south of the boarder generally repugnant. This same perspective admittedly also inhibited me from choosing to learn Spanish in school as a second language (instead I chose Latin — who chooses Latin?) — a limitation I am currently working to overcome. It’s a shameful memory to remember a time when I could off-handedly intuit a city, and probably its nation, as not worthy of my interest without ever visiting. I was thankfully forced to reconsider this perspective as friends (many of them) kept relating how wonderful Mexico City was. I looked at them unconvinced — “what about all the kidnappings and murders?” — then it was my turn to be looked at strangely, “uh — it’s not like that at all.” And just like that I became one of those people I encounter all the time in the USA who are guilty of being a little out of touch […]
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After spending 5 months in Denver, Colorado I needed a change of pace so I heeded the invitations of my international friends who now call Venice Beach home and spent three nights steps from the ocean, channeling some raw creative humanity to break me out of my routine. Boy did it work. Something I have had to rediscover and reminded myself of the past few months is just how much I require transition to be the best version of myself. I thrive with the discomforts of the non-routine and find myself more myself when I seek it out. My short trip to LA could never be described as uncomfortable — everything was easily facilitated with the help of my local friends Arestia, Johnson, Derryl, Chris and Brittany. Between In-and-Out burgers, a Saturday bar crawl on electric scooters and a hip, industrial art show in downtown LA — I had so much fun mixing things up. A total jolt to my system and a needed reminder of just how important environment and wonderful people are to maintaining a healthy, happy Reid.  
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I returned to my favorite city in the world for two months of living my daily routine in the grungy, bustling neighborhood of Chapinero. When I wasn’t working from cafes in the area I was exploring neighboring towns in Cundinamarca like Sopó and La Fuente. With every returning visit Bogotá feels less like a destination necessitating exploration and more like a comfortable home to live a life. As for learning Spanish – I continue to improve slowly though focus is spread among other endeavors contemporaneously which serves to limit dedicated efforts. As a historically all-or-nothing person it is an exercise in little-by-little. I was honored to host my sister and a niece and a nephew in Bogotá for a week as they celebrated their spring break with me. After hearing how much I love Colombia they were brave enough to visit; but since Bogotá is not an easy destination it required effort to show and help advocate for all the great stuff sitting beneath the trafficy, somewhat-dirty exterior. The first day of their adventure featured a stroll around grimey Chapinero, a visit to Monserrate, the historic, graffitied neighborhood of Candelaria, the Gold Museum featuring lots of artifacts from the indigenous […]
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After fleeing the United States to Bogotá for a week after San Francisco, I rendezvoused with a group of international friends living in Medellín for six days and took it as an opportunity to hang out with international people that are otherwise hard to pin down. I stayed in two different apartments in Poblado, a really nice and also touristy neighborhood of Medellín where my friends had chose to stay. I’ve only been to Medellín once before and as I wrote afterwards it wasn’t a city that I really enjoyed. I hesitate to pass further judgement this time around because I didn’t even set foot outside of Poblado — instead choosing to work and hang out with my buddies rather than venture and explore a city I already decided I dislike. Nevertheless I will pass judgement! I really dislike Poblado. Just about everything about Poblado — from the dense demographic of expats, the meandering roadways with narrow sidewalks on a single side that switch from one side of the street to the other seemingly at random necessitating that you wait for the line of passing cars to give you passage between them so you might again not walk in the road — to repeat the […]
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Back in December my sister forwarded an airline promotion email between Denver and San Francisco so I bought a flight to visit her and her family for a week in February. The intent was to inject some state-side adventure and family time as a way of self-training appreciation for what America has to offer me. It worked well in Kansas City for Christmas, Breckenridge in January; could such an ongoing strategy of regular, domestic adventures be the key to avoiding American stagnation? Is this the mode that can allow for me to live a conventional life somewhere in the USA without getting stuck in the sort of time hole that makes five or ten years of my life disappear in the blink of an eye? It’s a coping mechanism I’ve been aggressively testing in 2018. So I flew out for a week in early February to live the life my San Fran Fam lives — and it was great. My nieces and nephews are rockstars and being able to hang out with them was the highlight of my week. My sister’s family lives on the West Side of the San Francisco bay in Marin County which is really posh and […]
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This past autumn I knew that I would be living in Colorado for a few months while I recalibrated my direction for 2018. In order to reduce the risk of state-side suicide I plotted with my friend Sam to spend three weeks skiing and working from the small ski town of Breckenridge, Colorado. We really lucked out because Sam’s friend happened to be renting out her very comfortable Breckenridge condo, 4 blocks from Main street. We booked it and Sam flew out from New York at the beginning of January for the month. The condo we lived in is located two blocks from the free Breckenridge shuttle bus that drives to the lifts. We would ski either in the morning or afternoon and in the evenings we worked, slow-cooked pot roast, watched ski movies, watched the NFL playoffs and enjoyed the Summit county, Colorado lifestyle: the USA equivalent to last year’s Swiss Lifestyle. A friend asked how the two compare — I told him that the people are more friendly in Colorado but the lift tickets more expensive. The second weekend I drove north two hours to Steamboat Springs, Colorado (two hours north from Breckenridge) to stay and ski with […]
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I have been anticipating spending Thanksgiving with my relatives in Georgia for years and was finally able make it happen en route back to Denver, Colorado. Special thanks to April and her boyfriend Vince for hosting me for a weekend of sight-seeing and barbeque eating in Kirkwood — a neighborhood of Atlanta very reminiscent of my home back on the outskirts of Denver. Both are industrial, warehouse districts with train tracks crossing them that have undergone gentrification over the past several years as new cool cafes and restaurants spring up. A personal highlight of the weekend was eating pecans fallen from the backyard tree. I created a monstrosity of a coffee by creating a grinded coconut milk infusion for my morning coffee. After that I headed about an hour south of the city to Brooks, Georgia, a very small town where my father’s first cousin lives with his wife. I spent twelve days here working from my computer on their kitchen table, eating a lot of Andy and Susan’s food and disrupting the organization and serving of breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition to helping with that, I was perhaps the most dull houseguest they have ever had the pleasure […]
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I was intending to return to the USA for a few months this autumn. Coincidentally there was passage available on a transatlantic cruise ship leaving from Lisbon shortly after my departure from Split, Croatia. My mother had been planning for months to cross the Atlantic by ship and invited me to join her. Unfortunately there were no rooms aboard left to be booked three weeks before departure. As luck would have it, my step-father opted out of joining my mother and there was room and availability to share her room with her. We had two small beds and an outside deck overlooking the port side of the ship and were offered a great deal to upgrade to a larger room with unlimited mini-bar and clothes ironing included for $200 extra dollars. What a steal. In the mornings I awoke early as our journey was continually traversing time zones during the 12 days of our cruise and adding extra hours to the day. I exercised in the gym which was well equipped, even for an athlete-hobbyist such as myself, though the circular dumbbells were ill-equipped for a ship that was continually rocking side-to-side atop an ocean. Afterwards I would take a […]
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