The Martian

Some experiences are simply too strange to adequately describe. The morning I spent climbing in May in the desert area of Jordan called Wadi Rum is one example. My guide for this particular adventure was Abdullah, a man more at ease rock climbing with a panama hat than a helmet. During our day together he…

Rough water

Every year I attempt a swim between the island of Lipari and the island of Salina. The idea was hatched several years ago with a good friend while enjoying a boozy lunch on the terrace of his family restaurant on Salina. I was staring across the 4.5 kilometre straight toward Lipari thinking it didn’t look…

Climbing Cariocas

I went to Rio de Janeiro last November and I’m happy to tell you that every single stereotype about this energetic city is true. The beaches are packed with people wearing bathing suits that would get you arrested for public nudity in many US states. The city of Rio shouldn’t bother painting lanes on the…

The roots of wisdom

My garden on Salina is a place of joy and magic. Many friends and guests have sat mesmerized amongst the trees, flowers, bushes and vines looking out toward the sea. This poem is dedicated to Maurizia and her son, Roberto. entwined, the branches dance together the beat is slow inaudible, incomprehensible to me the ancient…

Things you should know about your climbing Sherpa

In western society we have carefully cultivated unwritten rules governing social engagement. Many of these rules are on display riding the Tube in London. For example, you really shouldn’t talk to anyone unless you need them to move so you can get off the carriage. Sometimes these rules are challenged by circumstance. The concept of…

The fish are still laughing

In 1897 Salomon August Andrée, a Swedish engineer, believed that he could reach the North Pole by flying in a hydrogen balloon. Not long after Andrée and his fellow explorers took off on their adventure, things went miserably wrong. Fog froze on the balloon dragging it down as they ‘flew’ only feet above the ice…

Running out of the crater

My house on island of Salina is in the village of Pollara, famous as the setting for much of the film Il Postino starring Massimo Troisi, Philippe Noiret, and Maria Grazia Cucinotta. It rests beautifully in a volcanic crater that erupted violently 13,000 years ago blowing a portion of itself into the sea. Imagine an ancient…