Travel Psychology Secrets: Why 1000 Words is Worth More Than a Single Picture

“A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” was written above a pod of breaching Orca whales, on a photo taken somewhere in Puget Sound. The words were written in a haphazard cursive as if to imply the weakness of writing, while proving the magnificence of photography. This was was when I was a young boy, on a promotional poster for the ferry company, during the two-hour ferry crossing to see my grandparents from Tsawwassen to Vancouver Island.

BC Ferries

Something captivated me in that quote. It seemed like a challenge. As though you couldn’t use words to create a replica of a moment, or a feeling. Since then I have written enough to realize with 1000 words you can say a lot.

Take the short story I have included in a PDF for a free download. It’s called Kids will be Kids and I’ve been working on it since I was in living in Colombia last year. This version of Kids will be Kids was edited while living in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Sucking the life out of my chosen existence; trying to find some sort of balance between the act of survival, happiness, and an environment which fosters creativity and focus. It will be included in I Killed a Black Dog, my soon to be published second book.

Kids will be kids

Kids will be kids

They were sitting on the grass across the street. It was dry now, but it wouldn’t be later. The rain always came in the afternoon and most of the time after he had taken lunch. It never lasted long, and it was never cold enough to need a jacket, but every day the rain would come.

It was something the man had come to expect and it didn’t bother him anymore. He wasn’t certain, but they looked like they were wearing the same clothes as last night.

There were two girls leaning against each other and two boys sitting on either side of them. A third boy lay with his head in the lap of the girl with jean shorts and a new tattoo. One of the boys, the one wearing a yellow hat, stood up. He wobbled to the right, leaned to the left, and then he fell down in the same spot he’d been sitting. The group erupted in laughter and across the street the man continued walking.

One of the girls took a sip from a can of beer and placed it on the grass beside her. She pulled out her cellphone and said something to thee others. The girl next to her was playing with the hair of the boy whose head was in her lap. He looked up at her curiously and she smiled. Her cheekbones were framed by her short, slightly tangled hair and she smiled back at him. The boy wearing the yellow hat pointed at the man who’d been watching them.

He looked down when he realized he’d ben caught staring and began waking faster. A nervous wave of self-consciousness washed over him when he assumed whatever they were saying was related to him. The only reason he’d been watching them was because he remembered the girl with jean shorts and the new tattoo. She had come in three times last night, each time a little more drunk.

She spoke with rapid, confusing English words and while the man couldn’t understand it, he liked her voice. It was soft and clear, but also piercing in its honesty. Walking along the sidewalk the man tried to listen to her foreign words and wondered if he would ever learn English.

Across the street he saw one of the boys grab the hands of the boy who had been laying down and pulled him to his feet. The others stood and they all looked towards him.

There was no doubt anymore; he knew they were going to follow him and he walked faster. Without slowing, he bent down and picked up an empty beer bottle from the sidewalk, and stole a quick glance towards them.

The girls adjusted their shorts and tops. One of the boys put his arm around the girl with the new tattoo, but she slid out from under his arm and turned around to face him. Grabbing both his hands she began skipping backwards; leading him, and the group, playfully across the street.

The man saw that they were getting closer. Suddenly he felt rushed. He stubbed his toe and stumbled, but used his good hand to keep hold of the railing as he climbed the short staircase. The group had almost crossed the street when he looked back again.

He wondered how long they had been waiting for him when he reached into his pocket and pulled out a key ring with keys of all shapes. He coughed a little, cleared his throat, and then bent down on one knee to open the giant padlock. He jiggled the padlock loose and with a surge of effort stood, sliding the shuttered metal door upwards. It clicked loudly at each fold until it was open.

He slid a different key into the second door and turned it clockwise until he felt the deadbolt drop into the lock. Swinging the door open made the bell attached to the hinge of the door jingle.

The sound had been burned into his memory and by this point gave him a feeling like deja vu every time he heard it. Taking one final look over his shoulder he shuffled inside as fast as his old body would let him.

The group jumped up the stairs cheering.

The beer store, was now open.

Editing I Killed a Black Dog

At just over 700 words, I hope Kids will be Kids says as much as any Instagram photo I’ve posted. For now, I will borrow a quote from Michelle de Montaigne’s Essay’s. It describes the merit of written verse (and prose) in an illuminating analogy :

 Just as the voice, confined in the narrow channel of a trumpet, comes out sharper and stronger, so, in my opinion, a thought, when compressed in the strict meters of verse springs out more briskly and strikes me with a livelier impact

What do you think? Is a picture worth a thousand words? Or is 1000 words worth more than a picture? Sign up here, I have a new post coming soon!

If you want to read more of my writing, check out my first book Five Weeks in the Amazon

Making friends (and enemies) in Thailand

Working on my second book.This is my first play, It is written in a style I like to call True-Fiction, a fusion of creativity and real events. Currently I’m in Sihanoukville, Cambodia and would like to thank Darko Kos, Sonia Sakhi, Dez Price, Tyler Thomasson, John Minns, Brennan McClay for their consistent guidance and support while I travel and write. Without it I couldn’t have written my first play. Dedicated to the girl in a hostel, who was sitting on a bench and editing stacks of paper for hours on end. I couldn’t help but ask her what she was doing. She clearly wasn’t checking her Facebook. Aine Ryan turns out to not just be the girl on the bench, but a “Kitty in the Lane”, as her massively successful play is titled. It wasn’t my first Irish friend, but my first playwright and she inspired me to write a play called…

Making friends (and enemies) in Thailand


–  Albert: DJ wearing red tassel hat, board shorts and a t-shirt.

–  Friend #1: Similar age and dress to Albert.

–  Friend #2: Similar age and dress to Albert.

–  Three Blonde Girls: Two girls wearing similar dress and Demon Whore, the “p” of the three.

–  Demon Whore: Pretty girl, blonde. Wearing “sexy” nightclub dress.

–  Cheap Tourist: Tall male wearing tank-top, boardshorts and flip-flops.

–  Bar owner: Old man with glasses.

–  Bar staff: Mix of girls and guys, wearing collared shirts.

–  Pretty Tourist:  Pretty young lady, nice smile.

–  Bar Patrons: mixture of young people, dressed like different types of backpackers found while traveling.


Act 1 – The Bar

Big cushions set around small tables on the edge of a tiny dance floor, in the middle of a small bar. A Deep-House song plays from two speakers on each side of the dance floor. Half the patrons dance while the others sit at the bar, or around the small tables. 

The Bar Staff serves tourists sitting at the bar and wave at Albert, Friend #1 and #2 as they walk into the bar. Albert steps into the DJ booth and his two friends sit down at the bar to order drinks. Moving his shoulders along with the music Albert looks up to see Three Blonde Girls walk in and sit down at a table.  Friend #1 walks up to the DJ booth with two drinks. 

Friend #1 – Back home, there’s no way we could have done what we did today.

Albert – That’s why being in places like this is so fucking awesome.

Friend #1 and Albert raise their glasses as the song builds toward a thumping hit of bass. The Bar Staff stretches across the bar with looks of apprehension on their face and see the two drinks being raised higher and their arms falling heavily together, cups clashing. Some of their drinks spill onto the dance floor and Albert and Friend #1 try to regain their balance. Friend #1 goes to sit at the bar and Albert steps back into the DJ booth.  

One of the Three Blonde Girls is standing and talking to Friend #2 at the bar and walks away carrying three drinks. With a condemning look she sits down with her friends and points her finger at Albert. Friend #2 leaves the bar and dances up to the DJ booth. Albert is dancing in a full-body boogie.

Friend #2 – Love this song, who made it?

Albert – A couple Aussie’s I used to live with, Cut Snake, they fucking rule! – Points at the Three Blonde Girls – You talked to those girls since they came in?

Friend #2 – Only one, she came up to the bar and asked me to buy her a drink.

Albert – Shitty way to start.

Friend #2  – She said they are from Nova-Scotia, I’ve never met anyone from Nova-Scotia.

Albert – I have, great people! (steps back into DJ booth and covers one eye with his hand to stare intently at the controls, then leans back towards Friend #2)  I’ve got just over a minute until this song ends. Want to go talk with them?

Friend #2 – Sounds good to me.

Albert and Friend #2 walk over and sit down with the Three Blonde Girls. Albert turns to Demon Whore to begin a conversation. Friend #1 stands up and his barstool falls backwards. 

Friend #1 – It’s 50 cent beers buddy, I’m pretty sure you can afford it. (looks the Cheap Tourist up and down)

Cheap Tourist – I’m in a third world country, I’m trying to bargain.

Friend #1 – You’re either a cheap fuck, or a poor bastard. This is the cheapest beer I’ve ever had.

Cheap Tourist – You ever been to Laos, you can get a bottle of whiskey for one dollar.

Friend #1 – We in a bar in Thailand, you’re being a cheap fuck. You know what buddy, here, (Reaches out to pass some bills to the bartender) let me to pay for this one. Keep the change.

Cheap Tourist – Like hell I’m going to let you call me a cheap fuck! My parents are rich! (Takes a wild punch at Friend #1)

Friend #1 – (Ducks under punch and puts Cheap Tourist in a headlock) This just proves my point.

Albert jumps up from talking with the Three Blonde Girls and runs across the dance floor. He slips on the spilled drink and his hat falls off, sparkling under the disco ball. Friend #1 remains arguing with Cheap Tourist at the bar.  

Albert picks up his hat and gets to the DJ booth just before the song ends. 

DJ Albert at the Boom Bar

Hitting a few buttons a saxophone plays into the high-hats of the previous song and next a bongo drum starts bumping from speaker A to Speaker B. The people on the dance floor begin to step from side to side and a full percussion rift is added. The people on the dance floor start tapping their feet and the song’s tempo increases. They begin to shake their hips as well as bang their feet. The sound drops dead and then comes back fully developed, now sounding like a Latin influenced House song, brought together by a tropical Spanish vocalist. Everyone in the bar runs in to join the dance party. 

The Bar Staff look confused, they want to dance but know they must stay behind the bar. The Bar Owner jumps out from a small door next to the DJ booth to see why there’s so much commotion. 

Pretty Tourist walks into the bar and takes the Bar Owner by the hands and leads him onto the dance-floor.

Only the Three Blonde Girls remain seated. They are mostly glaring, but sometimes laughing at people. Demon Whore walks over to the bar and begins snapping her fingers, trying to get the attention of the Bar Staff. Albert see’s her standing alone and dances through the crowd to talk to her. 

Albert – Look, just because I don’t agree you could have sex with any guy in here doesn’t mean you have to be a rude.

Demon Whore – You look like an idiot in that hat.

Albert –  A Thai lady named Darling gave it to me as a present today.

Demon Whore – Well I think you look like an idiot. (Demon Whore steals Albert’s hat from his head and puts it on.) 

Albert (Albert reaches into his pocket and pulls out his cell phone.) I want to make you famous.
Demon Whore – Famous for what?

Albert – Famous for having the worst attitude of any backpacker I’ve met.

Demon Whore – How are you going to make me famous?


Albert – You’d love it if I gave your narcissistic ego the attention it desires, wouldn’t you, I doubt I’ll waste my time but I do want digital evidence of you stealing my hat. (take’s photo)

Friend #1, and Friend #2 step away from the dance floor to join Albert at the bar. Demon Whore sneaks back to her friends wearing Alberts hat. The Bar Owner is behind the bar with the Pretty Tourist and pours them all a round of shots. The Bar Owner refuses Alberts money and a new DJ steps into the DJ booth . While Friend #1 and Friend #2 high-five the Bar Staff, Albert tiptoes up to Demon Whore who is talking about herself. He takes his hat back without her noticing and leaves the bar with Friend #1 and Friend #2.  — END ACT 1 

Buddha headstand— ACT 2

Later in the night Albert and Friend #1 stand outside a shop and watch Friend #2 buying liquor and cigarettes. Laughing, they have their arms around each other when Demon Whore walks up behind Albert and taps him on the shoulder. 

Demon Whore – Can I speak to you for a moment? (Flutters eyelashes)

Albert – About what? (Steps back with suspicion)

Demon Whore – Just come here, I want to talk to you about something. (looks up innocently)

Demon Whores takes Albert’s hand and leads him behind a parked van. 

Albert – (earnest face) Why are you such an angry person?

Demon Whore punches Albert in the face. He bends over laughing and Demon Whore continues to lightly assault him. Friend #1 runs across the street and pulls Demon Whore away from Albert. Albert can’t stop giggling until he realizes his hat is torn apart. Friend #2 walks out of the store. 

Friend #2 – Whoa! Whats going on here?

Demon Whore – Your friend’s going to make me famous.

Friend #2 – Famous for what?

Demon Whore – For being the girl that beat him up, oh yeah! (fist-pumps with one arm)

Albert – (Laughing) Are you kidding me? How am I going to win a fight with a girl, especially one that punches like you.

Demon Whore – What are you trying to say? you’re not even blog-famous?

Albert– (laughing) You punch like Sleeping Buddha.

Friend #1 and Friend #2 begin laughing along with Albert and they turn and walk away from Demon Whore. Demon Whore mutters to herself and turns to stumble away. The lights in the shop go out and the shop owner closes the window shutters. THE END


Click here to check out my book, Five Weeks in the Amazon… Unlike this play, it is a completely true story.

Where the Finca you been?

My first 3 weeks in Colombia I was in the capital city of Bogota.  I needed some peace and a break from the city life.

The view from my office.
The view from my office.

A close friend I’ve made gave me the opportunity to go to her farm, or “finca” as they call them here.  I stayed for a week on my own, spending my days working on my writing and exploring the countryside by horseback and on foot with my canine friend Lucho.

A special thank you to my amazing neighbors; Luis, Mary Yibe, Alejandro, Lorena, and of course Lezlie and Brenda for the opportunity.  Your generous invitation was hugely helpful in my creative process and an experience I won’t soon forget.  Click the images below to see more.

In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play
Friedrich Nietzsche

My Last Look at Bogota

Click on any image below to see my photo journal from my third week in Bogota.

Bogota – Week Two

Click on any image below to see my photo journal from week 2 in Bogota.

Five Weeks in the Amazon

Five Weeks in the Amazon - Ebook Cover

Five Weeks in the Amazon

 A backpacker’s journey: life in the rainforest, Ayahuasca, and a Peruvian shaman’s ancient diet 


At the beginning of the ceremony, nobody knows how the Ayahuasca will react, for them or anyone else. Even though I couldn’t see anybody else in the dark room, I could sense overtones of apprehension within the group. We were sitting there and waiting for the Ayahuasca to do its magic, wrapped in the darkness of the night.

Before anything happened, enough time had passed for me to enter a state of internal calmness. I had been practicing my breathing techniques, trying to enter calm and meditative states for as long as possible during these ceremonies. I tried to observe, instead of control, my Ayahuasca experiences.

Without warning, an explosion of sound and light shook the entire house. The startling interruption made someone gasp, and I heard a quick squeal from somebody else.

The sky crackled to life. I knew at that moment why long ago people thought thunder was the sound coming from the gods fighting.

When it’s that bright, and that loud, and so close it’s right on top of you, there’s no escaping it. I imagined Zeus hurling thunderbolts towards the earth.

The small room became lit again and again by blasts of purple light. Thunder exploded at the same instant as the lightning flashed and I knew the storm was right on top of us. It shook the wooden house with every strike towards the Earth and I could feel the sky’s energy pouring into the room.

Through the door, I could see the jungle illuminated with each white-hot flash of light. The room was still electrified and loud when the Ayahuasca began to start working. People started to vomit, Otillia started singing icaros, and the sounds became mixed together…

Click here to order now…