Around the World in 11 Signs


24 hours in Berlin.

Lao Tzu said, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” It was that nagging fear that made me quit my job to travel the world for six months. Turns out there are signs everywhere. Literally. Here are some of my favorites.

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The Unexpected Ways Traveling Changed Me


I’ve been back from my RTW trip six weeks and I’m only JUST starting to figure out how traveling for six months has changed me. I had hoped I would notice differences on the road. You know, getting calmer, cooler, riskier, freer or just better at navigation. Instead, outside my comfort zone, I was more frazzled, lame, nervous, closed off and got lost wherever I went. Maybe there was some kind of growth delay but I’ve realized I’m not the same person who took off from Bangkok six months ago. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
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Confessions of a Barney: 7 Life Lessons From Surfing (Badly)


Surfer in Playa Arenillas, Spain

Salt water is gushing out my nose like a geyser while I search for my contact lens in my brain cavity. I regain my vision just in time to see another wall of white water barreling towards me. Too exhausted to turtle roll, I hurl my body and my board over the top and lose precious, hard-fought ground.
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Don’t Just Write Your Own Story, Throw a Wrench in the Plot Line

I turned 35 unemployed, uninsured and with a dwindling savings account. I rang in my birthday sitting in a snow covered cabin in Nowhere, Patagonia without heat, electricity or running water, sipping red wine out of a plastic bottle. It was not exactly where I thought I’d be when I was 25 but it was also kinda perfect.

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Diary of a Travel Loser (7 Tricks for Not Losing Your Stuff)

Hi, my name is Abby Sugrue and I’m a loser. I lose shit. A lot. As Billie Joe Armstrong said, “There’s nothing wrong with being a loser, it just depends on how good you are at it.” Well, I’ve gotten very good.
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11 Reasons to Travel with Your Mom

My mom and me in Ireland.

James Joyce said, “Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world, a mother’s love is not.” If moms are our compass, why not take them with us? Whether you set off to explore distant lands or take a long weekend getaway, here are 11 reasons to ditch the card and flowers this year and turn that brunch reservation into a travel itinerary.
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Why I Wouldn’t Survive a Post-Apocalyptic World (And 4 Other Lessons from El Camino)

Credit: Deviantart

It’s only hour 4 on day 5 of El Camino de Santiago and I’m already hobbling like a sweaty, rustic geisha. The blisters on my pinkie toes have grown blisters. While Mike popped his, I stubbornly refused to so now they’re full of black goo. I’m considering removing my pinkie toes altogether or having Mike do it since I can barely remove a splinter. But that’s not why I’m limping. I’m limping because it feels like someone took a hammer to my right heel so that every time I take a step, it screams: You Suck!
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Searching for Ghosts in Ireland

Things I didn’t know before I went to Ireland. Over one MILLION men, women and children died during the Great Irish Famine, mostly the rural poor. There was enough food in Ireland to feed the starving population but the British exported it, around thirty to fifty shipments of food produce left the country daily. It is viewed by some historians today as direct or indirect genocide. One million more people fled Ireland. Their empty, collapsed stone houses still litter the landscape. The country’s population dropped by a quarter. Today, there are only about 4 million people living in Ireland.
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An Open Letter to My Face Rash

Dear Face Rash,

We’ve been together almost a week now and what a topsy turvy ride it’s been. One minute you were a small red bump, a blip on my chin. One could’ve easily confused you for a zit or a cold sore but you proved them all wrong, didn’t you? You exploded a la the Big Bang and then multiplied like gremlins undergoing in vitro fertilization.
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6 Things You Didn’t Know About the Red Light District

When I was in Amsterdam, I dragged my friends on a Red Light District tour run by the Prostitution Information Center (PIC) and led by former prostitutes. While it wasn’t exactly the kind of tour the fellas in our group were hoping for, it was a fascinating look at one of the oldest professions in history. Our tour was packed with tourists who, like us, are all from countries where prostitution is illegal and were curious how this controversial trade works in a place where prostitutes solicit out in the open, pay taxes and get health coverage. Turns out it’s a lot like running any self-employed business.
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