About


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Welcome!

Maybe you're here because you love exploration and traveling. You might be curious about expat life. Or you may have arrived on this site after a Google search; lots of my photos draw in curious folks. Perhaps you need just a wee bit of inspiration.

Whatever your reasons, thanks for visiting.

We're here trying to push ourselves a little. Stretch the boundaries of how our lives are supposed to go. We want a life full of possibilities, not limitations. Quit our jobs, move to another continent, and hope it'll all turn out fine? Done.

Check in with us as we travel and live a little bit outside the lines.

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The man behind the camera

My name is Brian, and I'm the guy in the photo above. Behind the camera, as usual. That's my wife, Kate, and our son, Jackson — they're the frequent models and muses for this site.

Call him Finley, or just Finn? Dunno. Maybe both.
Our second kid, Finley, was born in England in 2016. A highly sociable little dude, and Jackson's biggest fan. Slowly but surely he's working his way into frequenting this site as the newest model/muse.

Mattie at Jedburgh Abbey
Mattie at Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland.
Our cherished dog, Matterhorn, used to be a recurring character here on Coloring Without Borders. But she passed away in 2014. Mattie was a full-fledged member of our family. As my first dog, she inspired the kind of puppy love I suspect I'll never surpass. I miss her tremendously.

We also used to have a pretty special old black cat, an expat just like us. He died in 2015. Currently, we are pet-free for the first time in more than sixteen years. It's a strange circumstance for us and I'm sure we'll remedy it.

We moved from North Carolina to Scotland in June 2013 when Kate took a job as a professor at the University of Glasgow's veterinary school. Changing our lives and moving overseas has some potential pitfalls, but we would have regretted not taking the chance more than any of the risks involved.

As for me, I gave up a job as a trial attorney to move here. Pretty good trade-off, don't you think?

At the end of 2015, we left Scotland and moved to Bristol, England. It's one of the very best cities to live in the U.K. Even better, Bristol's a fabulous base to explore all the wonders of both southwestern England and Wales. I think we'll be settling here for awhile. After all, in just a few more years we'll be able to apply for U.K. citizenship, and that'll make living and traveling in the E.U. and the Commonwealth countries much easier.

We all love to travel. Well, not the cat; he stays home. But the rest of us — even the kid — thrive on exploring new places, clambering over ruins, and wandering in museums. For me, the pull of traveling is becoming a need. Living as an expat in Europe helps scratch that travel itch, and this blog is one of the fruits of my obsession.

                        RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME:

Hiking on the Isle of Skye•     I'm crankily  howlingly  gracefully aging into my curmudgeonliness.

•     Calvin and Hobbes was the greatest comic strip there ever was, or will be. However, The Far Side was pretty awesome, too.

•     I love me some chai tea lattes. Hot, iced, whatever. That's the stuff, baby!

•     One day, I handcuffed myself to a complete stranger for two hours. We ended up dating for a couple of years.

•     My superpower: operating the TiVo remote. I can fast forward, press play, and have it precisely hop back to the momentary blank screen after the commercials but just before the show resumes. It's a gift not everyone has. Just ask my wife.

•     I've got degrees in music education, air war campaigns, and law. Oddly enough, they all take similar skills.

•     If I eat ice cream, I usually eat an entire pint. Can't leave a small, forlorn portion behind.

•     I have makeshift mental plans of what to do in case of an extreme emergency, such as a fire, global pandemic, World War III, or, y'know, a zombie apocalypse. Not sure where this comes from, but I think it derives from my brief time as a Boy Scout "Be Prepared," and all that.

Family pic in front of the Eiffel Tower•     Relatedly, even though I dislike the horror genre and hate hate hate the gore, my favorite current television show is The Walking Dead. It ponders big, existential questions.

•     Other favorite things thanks for asking! — include:

       •     sport                          basketball;
       •     book                          The Name of the Rose;
       •     beer                           Sam Smith's Nut Brown Ale;
       •     food                           steak; 
       •     candy                        Twix;
       •     boy band                   none (emphatically NONE);
       •     rock band                  Led Zeppelin or The Beatles
                                               (depends on my mood);
       •     Bluegrass band         Steep Canyon Rangers;
       •     spider                        dead; 
       •     gaming system         Atari 2600;
       •     movie                        Lawrence of Arabia.

•     Favorite girl  =  Kate, of course. Duh. You think I'm gonna admit pick someone else? As she correctly remarks, however, I'd leave her for Harrison Ford. Dude was both Han Solo and Indiana Jones. 'Nuff said.

Ice cream in Barcelona•     I've been a music teacher, a Congressional staffer, a law clerk, a trial attorney, and a stay-at-home dad. The last one is toughest.

•     I am an ever-striving but ever-failing polymath.

•     If I had complete freedom and no responsibilities, I'd probably spend the rest of my life traveling the world.


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What you might unearth on this site, if you're lucky

Hopefully, you'll find something useful here. Like travel stories that are meatier than the typical internet fare. Do you despair when you click a link and get a couple pretty pictures, a perfunctory blurb, and some warmed-over platitudes, but no substance, no insight, and no oomph?

Me, too. I want to delve deeper and explain more, to let you see if it's a place you really ought to visit.

Parthenon in AthensTo be fair, I have nothing against a "Top Ten list of this" or "Seven great things about that!" Truly, those can be great; I'm up for the occasional post. A site shoveling a steady diet of those posts, however, likely doesn't have much else to say.

But, hey now, let's agree we all love photos. I want to indulge you (and myself) with some really pretty pictures from time to time. Even the very occasional naked one.


Culzean Castle in Scotland

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Inside the clock at Musée d'Orsay in Paris, France



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