Hawaii | In September 2016 I had the chance to visit Hawaii: the Big Island and Kauai. We got to do some great hikes, but the most incredible thing was a boat tour to see lava from the current Kilauea eruption flowing into the ocean. Hiking on lava rock was not easy on my old hiking boots, though. Krazy glue kept them together for the rest of the trip but I retired them rather unceremoniously in a trash can at the airport on the way home.
Turkey | In 2015 I visited two friends who were living in Turkey at the time. One was in the German foreign service, stationed in Ankara, and another was living and working in Istanbul. I visited both cities and it was great to have them as local tour guides. The history and architecture were amazing and we had a great time, although it was a tumultuous period in the country. I’ve been upset to follow the news of the coup and the crackdown on political dissent that have occurred in the time since my visit, and both of my friends have now left Turkey.
Berlin | After I graduated college I lived in Berlin for about a year. Berlin is an awesome city, not least because I was paying only 380€ a month to live in a very hip neighborhood (I won’t tell you what I pay in the Bay Area). My favorite things about Berlin were the history, that nobody cared what you wore when you went out, and that there was excellent street art.
Tübingen | I spent my junior year at the University of Tübingen in southwest Germany. The university was founded in 1477, also known as 300 years before America was founded. The town of Tübingen is about as close to a German fairy tale as you can get. Johannes Kepler studied there and Goethe visited once for a couple weeks, an event commemorated with a plaque that reads “Goethe puked here.”
Bay Area | I lived in Berkeley for about four years while working at the Breakthrough Institute. The East Bay and SF are spectacular by themselves, but it was amazing how many beautiful places there were to visit nearby too.