above the clouds

International Travel and Lifestyle Blog

A Quick Stopover in Kiev, Ukraine

Cathedral in Pechersk Lavra

These days, with WiFi commonly available while on the go, Independent travel has certainly become "easier". After arriving at the massive central train station in Kiev, I simply typed the words "hotel" and "hostel" in Google maps and immediately a number of properties popped up within walking distance. This can take a bit of "adventure" out of raw Independent travel - simply removing all human contact. I didn't need to try and talk to anyone for … [Read more...]

The Fabled Montropolis is Found: Jackson Hole


In the evolution of a place there is sometimes a waymark between free-spirited childhood and the discreet somberness of maturity. But what if the in-between actually signifies the third point of a classic Hegelian dialectical triangle? A rough and rowdy cowboy town at one point, an overly-wrought sophisticated metropolis at the other, and the third being some subtly unstated “third way” that draws on the contradictory nature of the first two … [Read more...]

Postcard from Persia


On a Mediterranean boat heading nowhere in particular but probably past Rhodes, an American backpacker wonders whether there is an alternate way to Iran, and if they play Uncle Wiggly in Tehran Once I met this rather good-looking and plucky Swiss adventurer who repeatedly kept trying to convince me to travel to Iran. He said he was treated very well there, and that I being an American, who had pretty much traveled everywhere on the planet, … [Read more...]

Dining on Vancouver Island


John M. Edwards, the only smoker ever allowed onto the premises of snooty “Sooke Harbour House,” visits Vancouver Island in the Pacific Northwest on his own terms. As a paying contributor to “The United Negroe College Fund,” for sage reasons of philanthropy as well as tax evasion, I was a little surprised to find in the maritime city of Vancouver, British Columbia, absolutely no black people—only Commonwealthy Europeans and Asians, plus a few … [Read more...]

Dispatch: Elysian Fields Forever


In Search of the Elusive Rare Blue Morpho Butterfly, Monte Verde Cloudforest - Costa Rica John M. Edwards compares Costa Rican ecotourism vs. narcissism I awake from a Magic Realism dream, evaporating. I am once again surrounded by evil anacondas in the charmed atmosphere of Costa Rica’s “Monteverde Cloud Forest,” breathing the bracing air of golden pre-Colombian pagan gods talking in exceedingly loud voices. I astounded myself by the … [Read more...]

Discovering Nova Scotia Food and Wine

"Dinner at Le Caveau - Grilled Nova Scotia Sea Scallops with prosciutto, Sweet Potato Gnudi"

From the land and the sea, Nova Scotia is a treasure chest of epicurean bounty. For me, that bounty included several first-time experiences and a few surprises. I didn't know very much about Nova Scotia food and wine prior to my visit which made the prospect of my culinary road trip all the more exciting. I was eager to broaden my horizons with new seafood experiences and discover the province’s quickly-growing wine industry. Since Nova … [Read more...]