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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

First Book is Out Now!

Who's that author? Ever heard of him?











When I started my PhD in 2012, I just wanted to hang out in Paris and read some books. Six years later, my research and work has made its way to bookshops, both physical and virtual, published in my first monograph.

Travel Journalism: Informing Tourists in the Digital Age takes a look at questions facing contemporary travel journalists. Specifically, it speaks to those of us who have worked both in print and digital media over the years, to explore how blogging and social media have upended professional routines.

While travel writing, the tourism industry, and journalism have evolved together over the years, we're at a point now where tourists are swimming in a sea of possibilities online. Who can they trust? What information is true? What is the role of blogging? Of TripAdvisor? Of influencers? Of the sharing economy? There are so many questions and this book only begins to offer some answers.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Paris: Pride as Important as Ever

Who hates a rainbow?

Brightly painted rainbow walkways and street signs decorated Paris’s gay district, the Marais, in preparation for the Pride festivities this weekend. It was the most festive I have seen the Marais in ten years of living here. It felt welcoming, a true celebration of the queer community. Uplifting, if nothing else.

The morning of June 26, however, news buzzed that the crosswalks had been vandalized. The daily Libération detailed how the words “LGBT hors de France,” or “LGBT out of France” had been painted across one of the intersections. Mayor Anne Hidalgo reacted quickly, sending a crew to erase the words.

By the afternoon, the intersection at rue de la Verrerie and rue des Archives, ground zero for gay nightlife, looked like a child had scrawled over the rainbows with a Wite-Out pen. It seemed like a small issue for most, but as a gay man in Paris — and a French citizen at that — it weighed on me.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Paris: Finding Italy with Mary

The flavors of Italy, but not in Italy...
So I've become that person. "When I was living in Italy" is a phrase that comes out of my mouth and it's all I can do to prevent myself from hitting myself. Just stop it, Bryan, I say to myself. No one cares.

It's true. Living in Italy is no enormous accomplishment. Plenty of Italians do it, after all, and no one celebrates their achievement. But now that I'm back in Paris, I am trying to relive certain aspects that I grew to love. There were habits, flavors, and experiences that I miss. You might not care. I don't expect you to care. But it fills my days...

I've found decent pizza, but it's not as cheap. I can't find my Kimbo brand coffee, but the Lavazza at Monoprix will do for now. The supermarket even sells taralli, the little savory biscuits that I binged on each week in Naples.

But it wasn't enough. So, I did what any normal Franco-American expat back in Paris after nearly two years away would do. I got a girlfriend.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Paris: Round Two



Hey, so, I moved back to Paris. London was cool and all. Naples was a pizza-fueled caloric dream. But for the moment, I'm back to my old habits.

Everyone keeps asking me what I'm doing. I tell some people that I'm looking for a job (lies). I tell other people I'm just trying to get settled (am I?). Other people learn that I'm here to try my hand at being a falconer (could be). To be honest, I don't know.

My first book comes out in August, and I want to write more. I want to write stories. I'm working on it. I got yelled at recently for being a dreamer, which clearly means I'm doing the right thing.

In the meantime, I'm doing what I know best. I'm sharing Paris. I've thrown my weight behind The Gay Locals, my tiny little company where we give LGBT tours of Paris to clients. I've been making videos (see above!), cleaning up our website, and fielding requests over the past few weeks. So far, so good. We're not industry moguls yet, but maybe we're on our way. The company is mine, and it's fun, so as long as it pays my bills, it's worth hanging onto.

Maybe by the fall I'll be teaching again, or writing scripts, or shopping around a book. Maybe the falconry thing will really inspire me. Who knows? I sure don't, but that's OK. There are chocolate almond croissants on every corner here in Paris, and in lieu of a certain future or cheap Neapolitan pizza, it'll just have to do.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ischia: The Thing About Pizza

Yes, please!
I don't know if you guys knew this, because I don't talk about it a whole lot, but I really enjoy pizza. It's sort of a passion. Or obsession. Maybe addiction. Either way, I like it.

The thing about pizza is that it's just so much better here than anywhere else. And I know. There are those people who always say, "Such-and-such it's better in France," or "So-and-so is better in America." I'm not one of those people. Pizza is not better in Italy. Not globally, at least.

Pizza is better in Naples and its surrounding commune. Ischia is no exception.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Ischia: Sun, Sand, and Dislocated Shoulders

Hiking offers a few nice views...
When I thought about going to an island for a month, it was to get away from the crowds and bustle of Naples. It worked. Ischia, just an hour or so by boat, is a little oasis of tranquility, at least in the off-season. I didn't think, however, that I'd end up feeling like such a local, waiting in the island's only emergency room. Let me explain.

Ischia is a tourist haven, of course. The thermal baths and seaside towns have attracted visitors since the mid 20th century. Today, Italians still flock here in the summer, and it seems as if all of Germany has also migrated to its villas and apartments. It's April, and the weather rocks, but not enough to lure the Italians out in full force yet. I feel like I have the place to myself.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

London: THATMuse at the Natural History Museum

Partners in crime, Daisy and I launched one of her famous hunts at the Natural History Museum London!












When I first met Daisy, creator of museum treasure hunt company THATMuse, I interviewed her for my PhD thesis under the statue of Louis XIV outside the Louvre. Fast-forward to 2017 and we find ourselves sitting in London, a place we both serendipitously moved to at the same time. We were discussing life, books, and projects over coffee. It was during a casual mention of how much I love dinosaurs that the idea for a treasure hunt at the Natural History Museum came to be.

Daisy, as an entrepreneur, developed treasure hunts for tourists in Paris at the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, and now in London at the British Museum and V&A. I attended a hunt with the NYU alumni group at the British Museum and was hooked. Daisy's an art historian, and has tips about the famous works or iconic monuments in most any city in the world (as far as my travels are concerned). The idea of talking about mammoths and Iguanodons, however, seemed foreign. She knows Caravaggio and Edouard Manet, but Mary Anning and Gideon Mantel weren't on her radar. Until now.