The Wadi

The rocky path will not always be true,
But it will still lead you to the same place.
Out of the mountains, a wadi once grew,
And hid a paradise in the cliff face.
There is a stream that turned the valley green,
With time, eroding away the hard stone,
Leaving behind swimming holes so serene
That humankind could not leave them alone.
They will travel from every corner
To find some fun in this famous canyon.
What ails them, they think they will find a cure
After a week long holiday is done.
Don’t tell them that the wadi will forget
Every person it helped get wet.

Holiday

It is about the sand under your feet
As the in coming waves wash it away.
It is about the ultimate retreat
You wish to find on a vacation stay.
It is about time I spent with my love
Without having to worry about work.
It is about no new rules from above
Coming from an administrative jerk.
It is about time off that I deserve
Because the amount of your workload.
It is about the resting of the nerve
Due to the fact of the stress that is sowed.
It is about a moment within reach
Where we can spend the day walking the beach.

The New Culture

You all look like ants, crawling down below
When I am able to stand from the height.
I can see how far that this city grew
As it takes, from nature, another bite.
Over the desert, the road stretches forth
To the places where the Bedouins camped;
You may look to the south, east, west, and north
To witness how that culture has been stamped.
It can now be found within the museums,
Or the picture books given to children.
Humankind is subjected to its whims
To ignore the places where it has been.
I stand atop its crowning achievement,
A tower, to God’s grace, will not be bent.

My Place in the Desert

As our feet slowly sink into the sand,
And it squirms into the the cracks of our shoes,
The wind tries to blow us from where we stand,
And the sun pays off its last daily dues.
I can feel the grit filling up my teeth,
And my eyes sting from the wind’s and sun’s burn.
I can find a resolve from underneath
As why I’m on the dune ready to learn.
For it is only here when I’m alone,
I can contemplate things of great import
That this great expanse of grain was once stone;
Nature wished it to be another sort.
Where will the wind send me when I am done?
Will I still feel the warmth of the sun?

The Turning of the Page

We all know that it must come to an end
Even though we try to fight against it,
But this is not a rule that you can bend,
And we must allow the moment to quit.
It will open us to us something new
Though that might be something that is scary,
But these opportunities are so few
That we should not allow them to tarry.
Instead we should look towards their embrace
As if fate even gave us an option;
It might be better what it does replace,
Only if we could seek out its intention.
We may think it something we nurture,
But nobody can predict our future.

Year in Review – The Best Posts of 2022

Two Greek Islands – Santorini and Naxos

Greece had always been one of the places I always wanted to visit, but it is in such a strange location in Europe that makes getting to it a little difficult by Eurorail. It became a no-brainer though when I moved to Jordan. It is a short flight to the islands, and with Spring Break being open to the world again this year, we took advantage of that fact to explore two of the islands, Santorini and Naxos. It was fun to see one of the more touristy islands, Santorini, compared to one of the quieter islands, Naxos, and get to experience them right before the Summer season started in full. It is easily a place that we will eventually come back to.

Sleipnir’s Footprint – Asbyrgi, Iceland

Iceland was another place that I had never been to that I always wanted to explore, and this last summer was the perfect time to do so. Covid restrictions were being loosened and we could spend the whole time outside where any exposure to it would be minimum. The funny thing about this trip is that I caught Covid right before we landed, so we were the ones that people needed to stay away from. The hike that we took on this day was absolutely beautiful, and I would have probably enjoyed it more if I wasn’t sick on this day. It was still a stunning place to visit in a country full of stunning places to see.

Akrotiri Ruins – Santorini, Greece

There are many things to do on the island of Santorini, Greece, but one that is skipped by many of the people that go there is the Akrotiri Ruins on the tip of the island. This is Greek’s answer to Pompeii. This city was destroyed by the volcano that turned the island into a ring instead of the massive mass of land that it used to be. So far, archeologists have just started unearthing the ruins that were left behind, but it is cool to see what Greek life used to be like, and imagine being a part of it.

Ode to Mary

This was one of my poems that people enjoyed a lot this year. Usually they do not make it into the top ten posts for the year, but I guess people connected with the story of Mary. I had been watching It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time in a long time over the Christmas holiday, and I noticed one part of the story that did not hold up as well as I remembered it to be. The awful life that Mary had because George Bailey had never been born is almost absurd if compared to today’s standards. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a great movie, but I’m having a hard time getting over this little part of the story.

Snow Day

This is the second poem of the year that ended up on the list of top ten poems for the year. I love the snow, and I have not been able to see it much ever since I moved abroad. It was a nice treat to see it early in the year, and it made for a nice inspiration for a poem. Evidently, many of you thought the same as well because it was the most popular poem of 2022.

The House of Dionysus – Paphos, Cyprus

This last year was spent learning a lot about the Greeks, and Romans, but one of my favorite trips was to a place that many people forget about when thinking of these two ancient civilizations, Cyprus. It is a short flight from Jordan, and it is filled with ruins all over the place. One of the best places to check out is the House of Dionysus. It has mosaic floors from ancient times that are still being uncovered. They do a great job of telling old Greek stories, and are worth the time to check out.

A Snowy New Year

Growing up, my family had a tradition of getting together on New Year’s Eve and playing game until we could ring in the New Year. As I grew older, my siblings kept up the tradition, and not being able to attend has always been one of the bigger regrets I have had about moving abroad. Luckily, this year was started revisiting that tradition at my brother’s house. It was fun to ring in the New Year this way, and it is amazing that this post was one of the more popular ones as the year continued.

I Failed My Test

Considering that things have started to return to normal after the couple of years of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is hard to remember that it was still going on at the beginning of the year. This made travel exceptionally difficult. Not only did you need to be vaccinated in order to travel, and some countries had not gotten up to speed with that yet, you also needed to prove that you were Covid free. I had to stand in two line in the cold of Portland, Oregon at the beginning of the year to make sure that I could travel back to my job, and this post was an exploration of what that was like.

Happy Campers vs. Go Campers – Iceland by Camper Van

When summer rolled around, restrictions relaxed, and I was able to enjoy my first real travel experience after a couple of years of not being able to do so. Of course, we went big by renting a camper van and driving around Iceland for three weeks. It is a beautiful country, but we were there during the coldest June they have had in thirty years. Because of this, we got to know our camper vans really well. This post has been viewed by a lot of people who are going to travel there as they wonder which camper van company will be right for them. I hope the post guides them in the right direction and they can enjoy the country the way it is meant to be enjoyed.

Blue Wine – Cyprus

My first trip of the year took me to Cyprus, only an hour flight from Amman, and a world of difference from each other. Cyprus is wine country, and one of only three places in the world where you can get the rare blue wine. This was the most popular post of the year, and I can understand why. The wine is a novelty, and it sparked a lot of people’s interest. It is fun to try, but for the most part, it is just like white wine, except the process of making it turns it blue.

Honorable Mentions

Elk in the Backyard – Black Butte Ranch, Oregon

This was a post from a year early that is still getting a lot of traffic. Apparently people love the combination of elk and the forests of Oregon. It was a treat for me to see them instead of the typical deer that roam the ranch, and apparently a lot of other people agreed.

Meow Wolf – Denver, Colorado

This was actually a post that went live at the end of 2021. I was visiting family in Colorado, and my brother and his family took me down for the opening on Meow Wolf. I had never heard of this place, and it sounded interesting. It was cool to see the craziness that it had to offer, and it took until this year before people started visiting the post.

Oath: Chronicle of an Empire & Exile – A Review

During the pandemic, I found my way back to hobby that I enjoyed a lot when I was younger, board games. This was a game that I got for Christmas, and I was able to play it at the end of 2021. This is the review of the game, and it has apparently helped a lot of people decide if the game is right for them or not because it was regularly visited during this year.

The Dead Sea, Jordan – The Salt Flats

This was one of my biggest posts of 2021, and it continued to be a favorite of people’s again this year. It tells people how to visit this cool part of the Dead Sea that is a little ways away from all of the resorts that are further up the road. It is a great day trip and I expect people to visit it often again in 2023.

Bend Sucks! Move Somewhere Else – Around the World Day 39

It always surprises me what people connect with and what they do not. This was supposed to be a throw away post based on a bumper sticker I saw while driving through Bend, Oregon. It has endured over the years, and is always one of my top posts. It is one of the few ones that I have posted that does not even have a picture to accompany it with, but people continue to come back to it again and again even though it has fallen off in popularity this last year.

Wingspan versus Everdell

This is by far my most popular board game review. It pits two of the top board games against each other and helps people decide which one is right for them. Even though I have been able to play Wingspan more over the last year, I still think that Everdell is the better game, and I have even started to see it for sale at Target, making it an even bigger game than when this was first posted.

The Bat Cave – Railay, Thailand

This is far and away this most visited post that I have. It talks about a little hike that you can take if you find yourself in Railay, Thailand. It must be the one that people go to on a regular basis to help them find the way to the bat cave because it gets visits on a daily basis. I am glad that I have been able to help people find there way there, and I hope, if you are reading this blog, that you some day make it there as well as all the other places that I write about. The world is a great place, and you should go explore all of its nooks and crannies while you still can, especially now that travel is a thing again.

Thanks again, until next time.

Westvleteren 12

The bottles have been stored behind the bar,
Waiting for the moment to pop the top.
The aroma will tell tales from afar
Of the history of the Trappist crop.
It must be poured into its holy grail;
Its crown will be a creamy head of foam.
The watering of your mouth will curtail
The last destination of the beer’s home.
It will travel to your table by tray,
Becoming the coaster’s guest of honor.
When the first sip finally comes to play,
The complexity will make you ponder.
The tradition has endured the ages
Without it ever changing its stages.

The Great Debate

In the spirit of our competition,
I will cross the stage so I can shake your hand.
The audience has some expectation
That our exhibition will be so grand.
To see who goes first, we will flip a coin;
The other will pick the side they will take.
Ideas we’ll explore; clashes we’ll join
Will bring us to an agreement we’ll make.
Though it may seem like we are in a fight,
There is a greater purpose happening.
We will find a compromise that is right
That comes about from all this explaining.
The purpose for us to participate,
To learn what is right from our great debate.

The Rhino

I just wish to live a life that’s simple,
Roaming the plains from where I was born,
But there are those that look at my pimple,
Thinking it’s not right for me to adorn.
So I have to spend my days in hiding,
Keeping careful watch for these greedy men.
My problem is my eyes are short-sighting,
Making it hard to see where I have been.
This gives the advantage to the hunters,
Creeping nearby me in the undergrowth.
I will never know about their saunters,
Thinking of a tree as neither and both.
That’s why I keep secret my location,
Keeping horns safe from another nation.

Unraveling

It will only take a tug on the thread
Before another one will come undone,
And soon on the ground, gathered in a bed,
Will be left a weaving that was once spun.
Focusing on one not to pull and pick
Will leave someone else to give a try,
Doing nothing big, just a little flick,
Allowing the rest of it to comply.
You run over there before it’s too late,
But that will leave other idle hands free,
A battle ‘gainst inevitable fate
For a carpet that’s never meant to be.
Still you do your best to clean up the mess
As a model of calm under duress.