Travel Tips: Can Americans Use Debit or Credit Cards While Visiting Cuba?

I often fantasize about the jobs I’d hold in alternate realities. Singer. Hair stylist. Travel Agent. I can’t sing a song that anybody would ever really say was worth listening to, and my bangs are terminally crooked despite the fact that I’ve been hacking them off myself for two decades now, but I do still confidently maintain that I’d make a fantastic travel agent. Continue reading


The Great Affair of Moving: A Fantasy Train-Travel Itinerary, inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson

British author Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote: “I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”

Agreed. Movement is major, no matter how you accomplish it. And, lately, I’ve felt strangely compelled to do a bit more of my moving by rail. Not by air. Not by highway. Not by feet. Give me, instead, two simple, snaking parallel tracks of steel, wood and creosote, and an ample-bosomed parade of linked cars to shepherd me willy-nilly across its shiny, tempered back, ever onward toward the disappeared horizon.

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Fake jobs, real jobs, and the Internet of Vocations: Why it’s no longer embarrassing to earn a living playing online poker

I met this guy on a tropical island in Belize once. Steven.

He was very New Jersey, and I feel somehow qualified to describe him as such although I have never even been to New Jersey: pasty skin, caterpillar eyebrows, and costumed always in an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt and a pilled-up Bowler hat.

Steven sauntered around town in a pair of tacky sunglasses, chain-smoking Colonial Light cigarettes and making frequent allusions to some obscure Internet business he was running.

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Good afternoon and not goodbye: Thoughts on my summer in Barcelona

Last evening here in Barcelona. It’s 5:36 p.m. and I’m struggling to rouse myself so that I might do a bit of work. Later, we’re heading to El Born Barrio with our friendly Catalan landlord to enjoy a final meal out, and, most likely, a few glasses of cava. We told him we had to be home by 11 p.m. on account of our early flight and I could just about hear him laughing at us over text message.

“That’s a prudent hour,” he texted us in his formal Spanish. But doth I detect a hint of good-natured sneering?

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Tilting at Castles: On writing, risks and unintended time travel

As I may have mentioned one or a thousand times since I arrived in Spain back in early June, our terrace has a front-and-center view of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.

This sprawling, Roman Catholic Basilica is a work in progress, to put it mildly. Construction kicked off in 1882. It’s supposed to be finished by 2026, on the centenary of Gaudi’s death. (Tragically, ironically, unbelievably, he was struck by a tram while crossing a street near the church, headed to another day at his life’s great work. I can just picture him, starry-eyed, gazing up at the unfinished spires, and BAM! Poor guy.)

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It Happened in Tangier! Photos and a brief dispatch from Morocco

We are just back from a side trip to Tangier, Morocco. I pushed hard for this journey, as I’ve long been fascinated by tales of the various and sundry and sometimes-even-legendary creative types who have landed there through the decades, from writer Paul Bowles to The Rolling Stones to a few of the more rough-and-tumble Beat poets.

They came, mostly, I suppose, for the mind-altering substances and the whores and the general social permissiveness of the place. (Odd, considering that it is and always really was a devoutly Muslim corner of the world.) I came for the mint tea and the nostalgia, characteristically late to the party, and it turned out to have been a good thing, as this place has changed its stripes drastically in the years since all those poorly behaved artistic types recast the medina as their own personal drug den.

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Tapas, Xampanyet; Barcelona, Spain - Erin J. Bernard

Photo Gallery – Barcelona, Spain

We’ve been here in Spain roughly three weeks. I’ve lately been rather enamored of Instagram (find me there: @erinjbernard; you can also check out my latest Instagram photos by navigating to the homepage of this website and scrolling to the bottom lefthand corner. You’re welcome!)and have been uploading photos daily there. I like the simplicity of shooting and sharing photos by iPhone, but of course, there’s no comparison between a cell phone pic and an SLR one. Thusly, a few shots taken recently with my Canon 5d.

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Cava, queso, and that red-wine-macaroni sea

Last night I dreamed that I was drowning in a soupy sea of red wine and macaroni noodles, and it’s really no surprise.

We landed in Barcelona almost a week ago, after dark, with the sky awash in thunder and lightning, and  a few long, deranging days in, it’s already pretty clear that the Spaniards, and perhaps Western Europeans in general, have a certain zest for pleasure that’s conspicuously lacking in daily American life.

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