Blog Update – Fall 2021

After a long and eventful Summer, I’ve finally settled back in Paris for the Fall semester. This means, of course, a return to regular posting on my website for everyone who reads it.

Clearly there are a couple of changes, the most obvious of which being the website itself. I’ve decided to change the name to Typewriter International, because I think it does a better job explaining what it is I’m trying to do through my site. It isn’t some grand metaphor, nor is it an obscure book reference (as much as I might love and appreciate both of those things). It’s simply what it sounds like: I’m writing stuff with an international lens on it all.

The website layout is new too. It’s a little more manageable to navigate I think, and it just looks a little cleaner overall.

Going forwards, I’m going to be splitting my posts into three different categories. The first category will include things that are a little more “bloggy,” meaning they’ll encompass my life and travels for all those people who want to read about what I’m up to. It’ll have my deep dives into different types of foods or places that I enjoy, and I’ll describe my own experience with it all.

The second category is going to be mostly political commentary. I enjoy writing about politics, and considering the field of politics is essentially the field I’m going into (be they of the international or domestic variety), and that it’s where I spend a lot of my available headspace anyways, it seems inappropriate to leave that column off of my site.

I know there are lots of people out there, particularly where I come from in Oklahoma, who disagree with my perspective on politics. To those people, I understand if you choose not to read what I have to say because you find it uncomfortable. Still, I ask that you do read it, not because I’m trying to convince you of anything, but simply because I want us all to hold ourselves to a higher standard of debate than 120-character tweets and photoshopped pictures of whichever politician you happen to not like. Sometimes you need to step away from dissent, and I respect that, but more often I think we need to thrust ourselves into conversations with people we disagree with. Hold me to the fire if you want, and make me defend what I’m saying. I don’t want to be let off easy on this part. It’s only through real debate like this that we’re ever going to get to any real solutions, and I think that’s what most people really want.

These first two categories will usually be separate, but every once in a while there might be some overlap between the two of them. That is, in all fairness, kind of the point.

The last category is going to be my professional work, particularly pieces that I feel proud of writing. This is work that I’ve written for other publications, and that I don’t necessarily own the rights to anymore, but that I’ve gained permission to post on my site. If you get the chance to look through some of that work, I highly encourage you to. Through much of that work I’ve been able to learn lots about things I didn’t understand before, and meet some very interesting people whose opinion and advice is well informed and insightful. It will almost never be up to date, but if it’s on my site, I found it interesting to work on, and hopefully you’ll find it interesting to read, regardless of its outdatedness.

Ultimately, this site is going to be a little bit of a depository for everything that’s on my mind. Sometimes that will be political, sometimes it will have more to do with where I am and what I’m doing, and occasionally it will have absolutely no relation to anything I’ve ever really talked about before. If you like what I’m writing, that’s fantastic. If it isn’t your jam, I’d love to hear why. Either way, I’m going to keep writing, because that’s the virtue of the whole project in the first place.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Life in Black and White, and a Life in Color

I, as many probably did as well this year, spent my Martin Luther King day listening to and reading works of his (namely his “Drum Major Instinct” sermon, and his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”). In this, something that caught my attention was the theory that photos of Dr. King himself, that had been taken in color originally, have over the years been intentionally produced in black in white rather than color. The belief is that this has happened because of an ill intention to put space between our time and his time, to make it seem as though all racial inequality has been banished, and his legacy completely and entirely fulfilled.

These two photos were taken on the same day at the March on Washington in 1963

Now, the reality of these photos isn’t quite as exciting of a story as it may sound. Color photography did exist in the 1960’s, but it was expensive and time consuming. Because the vast majority of photographers were employed by newspapers, and because newspapers were interested in both saving money and having quick turnaround times, the vast majority of photographs were taken and printed in black and white, rather than in color.

But, there is some merit behind the idea that maybe the question is deeper than a simple historical explanation. Why is it that even the most economically sound newspapers of today still choose to publish photos of him in black and white rather than in color? I find myself without a good enough answer.

Another thing that surfaced in the research I did on Monday about Dr. King was the reality of the depth of his beliefs, specifically that some of them were more callous than much of what we have chosen to remember about him.

For example, this is an excerpt from Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” many of us have heard or read on some MLK day either this year or in the past:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. Whatever affects one directly, affects us all indirectly.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

And here is another excerpt from the same written work of his that is far less discussed:

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride for freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice…

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Of course, there’s certainly a reason we hear one of these more often than the other. Dr. King is largely a figure of love, of kindness, of equality and of justice. The first quote proves these things we ask Dr. King to represent; the second, not so much. One could even argue that giving the second quote a bigger platform than the first reduces Dr. King’s influence, because it presents him in a light of cynicism, not hope, that it has the potential to offend, instead of inspire.

On the other hand, the second quote is very real, and we can all understand that intuitively. The Overton window certainly seems to be the limiting factor in social politics, and it is behind this middle ground that legislation always follows. You can’t move the law without moving the middle ground, and thus Dr. King makes his point that the white moderate – that person sitting in the middle, rather than one one side or the other – is the person who has more power in the end.

I think it is often that a minority of us get caught up in trying to remember the details of a certain legacy to defy its cliché. In the past day, I’ve seen many bring up Dr. King’s beliefs against capitalism, for certain kinds of law breaking, and generally his disapproval with the American system. All of these things are certainly facts of his belief system, and things he held on to throughout his life.

However, the problem I think often comes when we choose to see one set of these things over the other. Dr. King most certainly believed that love was the only thing that could drive out hate, and he also believed that the laws of man were allowed to be broken sometimes. He said that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and he also said that the white moderate (and not the Ku Klux Klan) is the biggest hurdle in the fight for true equality. He had his photos taken in black and white, and he had his photos taken in color. These things can exist together; they are not exclusive.

There are pieces of Dr. King’s legacy that history has tried to wash away in the barely fifty years since his death, and we certainly must remember those pieces in spite of efforts to erase them. However, those pieces fit into the broader themes of his life, and it is his whole legacy, not our biased view of it, that is worth remembering.

The photos of Dr. King can be black and white. These are still photographs that still tell a whole truth, and there isn’t an inherent harm in having black and white photos. There was no ill intention in taking them in such a way, and there is no danger in viewing them that way now.

But there too are photos of him in color, where the lines on the Reverend King’s face are filled in and the crowd seems like more than a sea of faceless people. They don’t tell a different story, but rather a more full one, one where the gaps are closed and the margins are narrowed, and the story is told with just a little more context.

There is room to remember both versions of Dr. King. We can surely remember the black and white outlines of what he lived for as we go about our day to day life, remembering to value equality and love over suppression and hate. But we also have the capacity to remember him in color, remembering the more nuanced and occasionally less comfortable things he stood for.

In retelling his story, the responsibility falls on each of us to choose whether we will tell it in black and white, or in color. We can choose to preach only the big themes, of which there is no fault. Or, we can dare to preach like he did, in boisterous color that might just get us into some good trouble.

If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Remembering 2020

In talking with those that recount 9/11, my generation will often find a similar thread of memories throughout everyone. The story involves the moment an individual saw the news feed, heard the reports of the buildings being hit, and that moment being suspended in time. For those who witnessed the events, though it took months, maybe years, to truly understand what had happened, the shock was measured by an instant in time, the horror of the moment trapped in a single visual that was seen by the entire world at the same time.

But this year has been different.

This crisis, which is truly what the events of this year panned out to be in the end, had no such point. For some, the moment of understanding was watching the President make inappropriate remarks during a televised press conference. For others, it was sending loved ones into a hospital without being able to follow them in, and recognizing that it could be the last time they saw them. The world experienced shock this year in the same way it did nineteen years ago, but this time it was prolonged over the course of months. There was no moment of impact, no catastrophic graft in time that could ever be pointed at precisely.

My intent is not to compare tragedies. Doing so is never acceptable, and often ends up with us deciding one was worse than another. My intention, rather, is to recognize just how massively important this year has been for humanity as a whole.

I’m ashamed to admit just how much of this year I had managed to forget. If someone had asked me to recount the year’s events three weeks ago, I likely would have left out some of the most major things to happen. I would have forgotten to talk about the Australian wildfires that decimated parts of the country. I would have involuntarily omitted some of the major sparks leading up to the Black Lives Matter protests of the summer. I might have even forgotten to mention the cancellation of my own High School graduation, a ceremony that I will now never get.

In the past weeks, I have been reminded by numerous sources of these things and more. Beyond the actual events, which were tragic and terrifying to say the least, I have been reminded to remember the things I felt as I watched the news rush by us like a burst dam letting the ocean flood through. I remember feeling hopelessly confused as the virus began infecting the United States from coast to coast, wondering what it could mean for my future. I remember being angry at the health structures that were systematically removed because they were deemed a waste, the same structures that could have, would have, saved tens of thousands of lives in this country and around the world. I remember the sickness, the literal stomach turning feeling that washed through my body when I watched the video of Ahmaud Arbery shot and killed by two white supremacists. I remember watching the election take place, never more aware of the lasting effects that the presidency can have in almost every area it touches. I remember feeling like I had reached adulthood and been promptly given a mound of broken pieces, and even more, that the mess me and my generation were left with was somehow our responsibility to clean up.

It’s understandable that I pushed so much out of my memory of the past year. The year was packed from March to December with one crisis after another in such a way that any informed citizen needed to devote several hours a day to just keep up with what was happening, and we all collectively experienced a massive overload of information. Not to mention that life just feels better when you don’t have the impression that the world is falling to pieces around you. Ignorance is bliss, and it was easier than ever this year to simply embrace ignorance like an old friend. In fact, you’d be in good company.

But the more I’ve reflected on it, the more I’ve realized that there are major lessons within this year that cannot be forgotten. We learned just how important elections are, and that our elected officials must be held accountable both while they maintain office, and when they ask for our votes again. We learned the apparent value that exists in misinformation, and just how quickly it can spread throughout a population. We learned that to really have the best information we must listen to the best people, and we learned that even the best people can sometimes get it wrong. And with all of these things and more, we learned that the consequences can literally be life or death.

I want so badly to pretend like this year never happened, to return to some warped sense of normalcy and to believe that everything will go back to the way it was before. But I know that to do that would be irresponsible. The lessons we learned in 2020 were lessons that come once in a generation, if that. They can’t be learned from history books, but rather they are only learned through living the things that teach those lessons.

These lessons that we learn through the immense amounts of pain and sadness that we live through must then be fought for relentlessly. We have to be the ones that fight for these lessons. We need to fight for these like the Martin Luther King Jr. fought in the 60’s, like Gloria Steinem fought in the 80’s, and like the threat to a way of life that we fought against throughout the 2000’s.

We’re fighting a new battle now. It isn’t quite as sexy as a battle for civil rights, nor quite as clear as a battle against terrorism or drugs. The battle we are fighting now is for a system that just works to take care of its people. That’s not to say that we won’t have our own conflicts; conflict is always a good thing in this experiment of democracy that is the United States. But we must agree that we should help each other. We must decide unanimously to eradicate issues like the McCarthyistic mistrust we have for our neighbors, and instead we must give each other the trust we deserve for being humans that fight for the same basic goals. With that we can provide each other the help that is so urgently required of us by the communities who are now hurting the most.

My generation is the next one to fill its space in the history books. My peers are future governmental leaders and doctors and inventors, future writers and artists, future thinkers and future doers. This generation has been extraordinarily prepared to fight the battles ahead. We’ve had perhaps the best ever resources to understand the interconnected nature of the broken system that we’re living in, and already I see complex arguments emerging from the corners that address not only one issue, but hundreds of them.

For those who are ahead of my generation, I’m not asking for some sort of blind changing of the guard; such a change in duty is reckless. Rather, I’m asking that my generation be lent ears that truly listen. I’m asking that the criticisms of my peers are taken seriously, and that when the extraordinary among us do step up to the plate, that they are given their chance to make the real change that the world needs.

For those within my generation, I’m asking that you speak up. Do not let only the loudest of us be the ones that lead us. Take initiative in the things worth fighting for, and make the world a better place in whatever small way is possible for you. The world ahead of us can be better than what it is now, but it doesn’t happen without legitimate action.

The lessons we learned this year will be what my generation carries through until the last one of us is dead. We cannot forget them, nor can we ever hope to. We have to embrace what we’ve learned in this long, long year, and use that to ensure we never make the same mistakes again. With this, we will change the world.

Life Update: I Moved to Paris!

As you might or might not know, I have been working on moving to Paris, in order to attend my university, the American University of Paris. What you might not know is what this process has looked like, especially given the uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought us. For the past four months or so I’ve been dealing with getting a visa through embassies that were closed due to health concerns, obtaining housing first through a company that has now gone out of business, and then through the university (which under normal circumstances does not provide this service), etc. It’s been a long few months to say the least. That all being said, it’s behind me now, and now I’m in the city of light and love, Paris, France.

The Journey

I started my journey in France by ending my journey in Oklahoma. After saying goodbye to my family, I hauled my stuff through TSA, and waited for a couple of hours for my plane to arrive (early is on time). My first flight was from Oklahoma City to Dallas Fort Worth, which if you’ve ever flown that flight, you probably know is a joke. The flight takes less than an hour, and almost every time you get packed into a plane that’s just a little smaller than it should be.

In Dallas, I got a sandwich for dinner, and almost immediately boarded the plane to Paris Charles de Gaulle. At the gate, everyone boarding was required to show their COVID test result, as well as their reason for going to France (right now the only people allowed to enter France are people with valid student or business visas, so there is currently no tourism allowed in the country).

The plane I was on was a Boeing 774, which is the huge aircraft that you see typically on these sorts of intercontinental overnight flights. The economy class seats are set up with two rows of 3 seats on the sides of the plane, and a row of 4 in the middle. Normally, these seats are packed, but given the fact that no tourists are allowed in France, the plane was practically empty. The plane capacity is about 300 as far as I could tell, but I think overall there were about 50 people on the entire plane, including the pilot and crew.

The plane after being “fully boarded” from DFW to CDG

It was awesome. I’ve always hated long flights like that, with hardly any room to stretch out, much less lie down. On this flight, however, I could put the arms of the three seats I had to myself up, and lie down. Like I said, it was awesome.

Arriving in France

When I landed in France, it was a wonderful day. Bright, sunny, and perfect. I landed on a morning flight, so about 9:30, and was greeted immediately by the AUP student advisors, who quickly loaded myself and four other AUP Freshman onto a shuttle, and brought us to our apartments.

Now let me just say, my apartment is fantastic for what I’m using it for. It’s nothing huge, and it’s probably not somewhere I would want to live in the long term, but as a Freshman in college, it’s the dream. it has a bedroom (which I share with my roommate), a bathroom, a washroom, a kitchenette, and even a small foyer area. Compared to the people who I know that live in traditional dorms at universities in the US, I’m living large.

My apartment is also in a great location. It’s situated in La Défense, which is considered the business district of Paris. La Défense is home to la Grande Arche, which is a monument that mimics the Arc de Triomphe, but in a modern style and significantly larger as well. La Grande Arche is situated about 5km from the Arc de Triomphe, and directly down the Avenue de la Grande Armée, which is the same road as the Champs Elysées, just on the other side of the arch. This all means that it’s a straight shot view from the arche to the arc, and it’s a fantastic view.

The View of the Arc de Triomphe near my apartment

Why Paris?

Paris is an amazing, diverse, intercultural city. When you talk about diversity, especially in light of recent events, Paris is an amazing place to be where you can get the opinions and viewpoints of underprivileged or even completely discriminated against communities and people. It is, without a doubt, the place to go if you want to figure out how you can contribute to better your community with every breath you take.

That’s not to mention the beauty of the city itself. There’s no denying that Paris is rich in history, society, and culture. The more I look around while I’m here, the more I see how things in the US and elsewhere have been influenced or evolved from the Parisian culture. The architecture of each and every building is well thought out, and durability, not cost, is often the name of the game when building or buying something. So many of the buildings in the city were made long periods ago, with the intention that they would last. People live in apartments that are a hundred years old at least, without batting an eye. Additionally, the monuments themselves serve as a reminder of how old things actually are. From the Louvre, to the Hôtel des Invalides, the city serves a constant reminder that there was so much before us, and there will be so much after.

For more info on why I chose to go to the American University of Paris, check out my previous post “Why I (An American) Am Choosing to Attend University Abroad.”

So that’s that, I moved to Paris! I’ll be posting more about the things I’m doing in day to day life from here on, so make sure you’re signed up to receive email updates when I post new content (form below).

Why I, An American, Am Choosing To Attend University Abroad

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

For many people, attending university abroad is a daunting task to say the least. To bury yourself in a whole different culture for a massive span of time, well it’s just not something people consider. I happen to be the exception to this rule, so here is why I, an American, am deciding to take a leap of faith and attend university in Paris.

I come from Oklahoma, and with its many ups and downs that it may have, something worth noting about it is that the vast majority of the people who live here have always lived here. I don’t mean individuals that never moved away, I mean families whose entire lineage, as far as anyone can remember, comes from Oklahoma. My family is one of those families.

When I first began to show interest in learning French, I had a lot of people, both in my family and out of it, asking very candidly why I would be doing that. There was never an intention to be rude, but they genuinely wanted to know what function French might have in life. In Oklahoma, the only other language that is even occasionally spoken is Spanish, and practically every Spanish speaker also speaks some level of English. Even further, if you’re going to travel somewhere from Oklahoma, the odds are much greater that you’ll be going somewhere that speaks Spanish than French. Truly, in Oklahoma, there isn’t much practicality in learning a language like French, but still I learned it.

The thing I noticed as I began to learn French was that the world was so much bigger than I realized it to be. Sure, I’d taken geography like everyone else, but I had never really grasped the concept that people on the other side of the earth would be leading different, but no less interesting, lives of their own. The more I learned about the culture surrounding the French language, things like the value of art and of treating food with care, the more I fell deeply in love with not just French or European culture, but rather this idea that the world is perceived differently by every individual on it. No culture has it right or wrong, but each different society is equally intricate and equally beautiful.

So as I learned about France, about its rich history of art and literature, of science and architecture, and even eventually got to spend some time there. As I did, I felt more and more like an archaeologist realizing that they’ve uncovered an ancient version of a being that exists to this day. I realized that the culture I had grown up in was adapted from the European culture that I could see across the ocean. I could recognize the pieces and trace their history, like recognizing a bone that exists in two species that look completely different. I could see that American religion, and even the specific southern forms of this that we see so commonly, were not that different from the European versions of Catholicism and Christianity, but that they had adapted to fit the landscape and the needs the people faced in the US. I could even look at American grocery stores and draw comparisons to their French counterparts, but also seeing that they are different for very practical reasons. My view on the entire society I lived in shifted, and I realized that just about 5,000 miles away from me was not some sort of archaic ancestor of the culture mine had come from, but rather a culture that shared a common ancestor, who had adapted to resolve its own set of trials. So just as if you found out you’d had a long lost sibling you’d never heard of, I immediately began to figure out how I was going to get over there, to meet this sister culture, to experience the things that it had that my own did not.

Now certainly Europe is not one contiguous culture or society. They don’t share the same delicacies, the same burdens, or even the same interests. That being said, something resonated to me within France. To me, there is a sort of intercultural exposure that France has seen especially in the last century and a half. Looking at great American and British authors, at the great painters of the world, at the architecture of my own country’s capital, it was clear to me that France, and more specifically Paris, had something within it that was important to the human experience, so important that it inspired greatness (or at least added to it). I don’t yet know what that is, but I plan on figuring it out.

The other piece of the puzzle I had to figure out was how to not just visit France, but live there. There is a difference between being a tourist and being a resident. Being a tourist is great sometimes, and broadening our global perspective through travel is important, but I want to know what it’s like to live somewhere. Being a resident of somewhere is the only way to submerge yourself in a truly different worldview, and if only for a moment, adopt it and see what it’s like.

I looked at loads of different options as to how I would make my voyage, which were received by my parents with understandably variable amounts of enthusiasm and support. I looked into going to a local university and spending my second year abroad, but I truly wasn’t sure I could wait a whole year. I looked into spending a semester with a host family through an exchange program, but that didn’t promise any real level of the flexibility that I desired. I even looked into taking a gap year and straight up moving to France with absolutely no safety net, but that was shot down for what I now recognize as obvious reasons.

Eventually I found the American University of Paris, which immediately caught my full attention and admiration. I had looked at a few French universities, but I also promised myself to never take classes in French until I could consider myself fluent, because the last thing I would want is to fail a course because I couldn’t understand what the instructor was saying. The beauty of AUP is that all of the classes (with the obvious exception being French) are in English, meaning no language barrier to deal with. Not to mention that AUP offers a supremely diverse student body, possibly one of the most diverse in the world. Out of its roughly 1,100 students, 108 nationalities are represented. AUP wasn’t just going to offer me the opportunity to get educated in my favorite city in the world, but it was going to give me the chance to do it with a highly diverse student body that represented cultures from all over the world. I’m definitely not trying to sell anyone on the idea of going to AUP. Choosing a university is a complicated enough process, and my voice trying to convince people wouldn’t make anything better. I’m simply saying that AUP offers me an extremely enticing opportunity that I’m not willing to waste.

That doesn’t mean that it was some sort of easy decision to go to Paris for university. In fact, I’ve been quizzed and drilled about my choice by almost every adult in my life about it. Usually when I mention that I’m going to France for college, I first hear a reaction of congratulations, followed immediately by a host of technical questions relating to whether or not the education will be equivalent (it is), whether or not it will be vastly more expensive than college in the US (it is not), etc. As clear as it was that no one was as confident in my decision as I was, there was certainly a sort of reinforcement to my reasoning.

See, global citizenship is the thing I’m striving for in going to France. The purpose to me is to open my mind up to different cultures, to different ways of thinking and different ideologies. The big looming question, however, was whether or not that is a practical skill set. Sure, it’s fun to go around Europe as a teenager, but what does it really offer for a job, for a career?

The truth is that the world is global now. We don’t just live in our villages or our towns anymore, but rather through a vast platform of international citizens. Almost every major business deals with international commerce and trade, and that’s where I fit in. This world needs people who understand how to delicately navigate the global stage without overwhelming it with too much of one culture. And so with every adult bombarding me with questions, it made me that much more confident that the world needs a global perspective more than it ever has before.

Ultimately, I know that my decision to go abroad for college is risky. I know that it’s not normal, and I know that I’m jumping a bit into the deep end on this one. However, I also know that the decision to expand my worldview to encompass more of the world is one that affects everyone around me, and it’s the best way I can leave my mark on the world.

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The Road and the Tree: Introduction

We live in the age of information, a time in humanity where we have the most communication of any generation of humans in the history of the world. In each of our pockets there lies a device with the computing power 100,000 times that of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. There is nowhere on the planet to which communication is impossible, and the ability to see and hear someone on the opposite side of the world, to tell stories in real time, to talk with them as if they are in the same room as us, is no longer a dream but rather something we have the opportunity to engage with on a daily basis. Planet earth, with all of its different and equally interesting cultures, is now the habitat for a global culture, available for all that seek it out.

It is my personal perspective that this global citizenship comes with a unique citizenship test. Of course, this test isn’t a standardized one in which you fill out lettered bubbles in a sterile exam room with a proctor breathing down your neck. Rather, global citizenship comes with the willingness to understand that the world, as small as it might feel sometimes, is full of vastly complicated and different people. It is to recognize that no two people are the same, and that the idea of a culture revolves around the individuals that keep it alive. It is to intrude respectfully into different ways of life, so as to benefit from its heritage. It is to learn, constantly, about the reason that people do what they do, how they do it. It is to use the beautiful, creative, and brilliant things that one culture develops to heighten the human experience in another.

It is for this reason that I’ve chosen to travel from my roots in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, halfway across the planet to Paris, France. In my view, Paris is the epicenter of culture in the western world. Practically every great novelist, poet, artist, or singer has spent some time in Paris, refining their work and defining what it is to be human. Take your favorite artist, and the odds are in favor that they’ve been to Paris. It seems that to become great at anything with higher meaning requires at least a small stint in France.

I don’t know what is in Paris that has this effect on people. Maybe the Eiffel Tower sends radio waves to our brain that enhances our ability. Maybe the spirits from the catacombs intensify the things we feel so as to make them easier to depict. Or maybe Parisian coffee has traces of drugs that amplify our creativity as individuals. Whatever the reason, I’m hoping that my experience going to Paris will help me build my toolbox for becoming a global citizen on planet earth.

The name of this blog is chosen intentionally for this journey I am embarking on. The road and the tree are symbols found in my personal favorite book, William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying.” (In case you were wondering, yes, Faulkner spent his own time in France) In the book, a character named Anse holds resentment for the road in front of his own house, because of its habit of making things move by while he fully intends to stay put where he is.

“When he [God] aims for something to be always a-moving, he makes it long ways, like a road or a horse or a wagon, but when he aims for something to stay put, he makes it up-and-down ways, like a tree or a man.”

It’s an understatement to say I don’t like Anse all that much, and if you read the book you probably won’t like him all that much either. These symbols, however, are important for me and my perspective on life. My travel to different countries, my love of the road, is not in the nature of my comfortable, rooted nature as an upright human. It’s possible my love for the road is a rejection of the human-like quality of wanting to stay in one place. It’s also possible, I believe, that the soil in which I plant my roots has not yet been found, and I travel the road in hopes of finding it. Whatever the reason for my urge to travel, I have every intention of acting on it at every turn in the coming years.

My plan for this blog is to document this travel on the road, to hopefully find the soil where I belong. I plan to document my journey through the American University of Paris as a student, learning the concrete knowledge it takes to be a global citizen. I will be recording the less concrete things I take with me from my time there. I will also be showing off the cool things I experience, wherever the road may take me. No blog about Paris is complete without photos and stories of all the cool places in Paris, so don’t think for a second this is any different.

And so with this blog I ask you to join me on the road. Follow along on my journey of the road. Stay with me as I see the cool buildings and monuments that Europe has to offer, and the introspection that Paris will hopefully bring me. Experience the road with me, and I promise it will end with a heightened sense of the global community that we all find ourselves a part of at some point.