Articles from my travels around the World

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  • The 2023 election, a vote filled with more regional issues, ended with big wins for progressives. Women kept the freedom to decide what to do with their bodies, and those who enjoy a tote on a joint can smoke away after Ohioans voted to make marijuana legal. I must now put those victories aside, because what awaits people who lean […]

  • Ohio University has found itself where it didn’t want to be: trying to figure out how to use scholarship money that donors established for a certain class of recipient. A good chunk of those set-aside scholarships go to minorities — Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans. Some of those dollars go to first-generation college students of whatever race. Echoing the conservative […]

  • I was talking to a friend who works for a public radio station in the Pacific Northwest, which is where I once lived. He clued me to this story. The story surprised him; it surprised me too. But we both were happy about it. For you don’t run often enough into feel-good stories like this one in the news biz. […]

  • BERLIN, Germany — A short walk from the Berlin Wall, 20 boys and girls surrounded a tour guide at the Holocaust Memorial. They looked like a United Nation of skin colors, but I soon found out they were all from Great Britain. I walked over to a man sitting on a slab near the youths, and asked if he was […]

  • Where have those five years gone? In 2019, I realized my life was rolling toward its expiration date, and I hadn’t gotten as much out of it as I wanted. So on May 15 of that same year, I quit my job as a journalism prof at Ohio University to travel. For a Black man whose roots run deep in Glenville, […]

  • KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — I guess the appeal of working and texting is universal, because even here, in this world-class capital with its share of riches, you see that men and women under 30 are tethered to their iPhones. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been surprised had I gone to Malaysia with more research behind me. Instead, I played the clueless […]

  • I won’t dwell on what the man did during a Hall-of-Fame football career, because O.J. Simpson destroyed whatever that legacy was in my mind when he and his sidekick Al Cowlings drove a Ford Bronco at a turtle’s pace down a California highway with a parade of police cars behind them. Do you remember the sight? I didn’t know then […]

  • I was eager Thursday night to meet Reginald Dwayne Betts, a felon, a poet and a Yale Law School graduate. His bio did more than suggest Betts had a fascinating story to tell about prison to prosperity. I don’t hear such tales often enough. Unlike some of those I’ve heard, Betts wasn’t a victim of wrongful conviction. When he was […]

  • As I close the pages on 2023, I wonder if I should ask all my friends to put a minute or two into trying to figure their win/loss record. How many wins did they have in the 365 days they played? How many did I have too? Well, I can’t say my record was 365-0. I wish I could. But […]

  • I know enough people in New York to make it worth my while to visit the city. I think their camaraderie is what keeps me returning here a couple of times every year. Heck, my best friend lives here. I’m glad he does. I’m glad I have other close friends here as well. More than a handful are former students […]

  • OKEECHOBEE, Florida — Aubee Billie couldn’t miss this occasion. Her father was celebrating another birthday, and she needed to be here for it. “Seventy-nine never looked so good,” she told the 125 or so well-wishers who joined her on this warm Saturday. They all knew what Aubee Billie knew, which was her father, Jim Billie, didn’t have a 50-year plan. […]

  • VIENNA, Austria — I see why travel sites like Travel & Leisure often rate Vienna as the best city in the world to visit. I have no reason to argue with the choice. Yet I only sampled a small piece of Vienna. How can you see it all in six days? My travel plan was to mostly use my Eurail […]

  • It’s difficult to let loose a sidekick that followed you around the world. From Buenos Aires to Bangkok, it had been with me all the while. Like most things, it outlived its usefulness. So I said farewell this morning to my duffel bag. The internet company gave each of its writers one. Some never used theirs; I used mine, […]

  • I know how much most of us long to keep things the way they were, but I’ve come to realize that such a belief makes little sense. The world is in constant change, and if I didn’t know that for certain, I do now after spending five days in Las Vegas. For almost two decades, I have traveled to “Sin […]

  • TOKYO — I’m amused whenever I hear people who should know better tell stories about a stupid thing they did. Put me among those storytellers. While abroad, I thought about the stupid things I’d done after I read what Kevin Hart, a 44-year-old comedian who ought to know better, did last month in his tango with stupid. Hart bet his […]