It’s a symbol of freedom, obliquely pictured on your instagram; a document of adventures past, all those visas or titres de sejours, and the basic instrument of travel: the passport. Something at once vital to the highly connected and globalized world but still archaic, a paper book loaded with stamps even as so much of life renders itself online.

It’s doubtful that an App and bomb proof encryption will replace the passport any time soon, but what about that quadruple folded length of yellow paper, the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis as approved by the World Health Organization?

Are…


Photo by Rick Jamison on Unsplash

I’m not a Covid denier but it feels the pendulum has swung a little too far.

Risk is a part of life and it’s often what makes things exciting. Isn’t it that soupcon of peril that makes the adventure? You don’t have to take your life and put it on 50 feet of sailboat down the middle of the North Atlantic but at very least, get out of dodge! And there are plenty of reasons to take a clear, bright blue, sunshiner of a risk.

While the strict isolation of 12 days at sea is a quarantine in itself, if…


And So Appropriate in the Age of Social Media, Declinism and Fake News

I know it’s not real but I thought maybe there’d be a fleeting hint of it

Or at least that’s the way it feels after two weeks at sea, heading down the middle of the Atlantic for the Caribbean on a 50 foot sailboat.

Maybe it was all those videos I watched, the cute couple who saved and bought a sailboat after living on ramen noodles, a vegetable garden and tap water for several years. That carefully documented dream where everything is so blonde and tanned and cute and perfect.

It’s the lifestyle equivalent of false advertising and yet it just looks so…


There are traces of it online. Of course, there are traces of everything online, even the stuff that barely happened; fuck, especially the stuff that barely happened. That’s what gets all the clicks. All those mild pretenses everyone has the good manners to like just the same, politely investing in each other with an amused deference to ancient habit, to reciprocity. And yet, there’s still that cold, scarcely acknowledged anticipation, calculations we never fully made before the algorithm and its new values.

I can’t even remember the last time I was abroad. It was years ago, when Mom was still…


Against Self-Consciousness

I think it was being asked about my origin story. It seemed harmless, but I couldn’t get past it. I just stood there, stalled by the wrong sort of possibility. I couldn’t get past the sense of making one rather than finding it.

I couldn’t settle on the overall biography. The would be professional who put to sea, chasing one of the last earthly intensities? The East Coaster living the implicit dream of everyone back at the yacht club he worked at two summers? …


It Should Be in Your Habits

Travel, as most people now know it, started as the Grand Tour, the travel and education of young English aristocrats in foreign languages, customs and cultures. Lord Byron getting about the Continent, gathering material for Childe Harold, scouring the ruins of the Mediterranean in search of that lingering magic from all the classics he read at Cambridge. Perhaps he sought a place where he might capture that correspondence between antiquity and the actual? What feels like a rare privilege, finding a fleeting or obscure quality that might still persist from ancient poet to present.

Notes from Aground

Surfing, sailing and writing things down, in no particular order. https://twitter.com/NoteFromAground

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