In the end, it was about facing emotional pain.

Photo by Lindsay Moe on Unsplash

For months I waffled about the idea of hypnotherapy as a way to get my life-long struggle with compulsive snacking under control. When I thought about seeking professional help I felt a twinge of embarrassment. Shouldn’t I be able to get on track by using a little discipline? And there’s no sense obsessing about this, I rationalized. It could be worse. And besides, isn’t everybody battling the fat monster right now?

My hesitation and rationalizations felt suspiciously similar to when I quit drinking years ago. Back then, I didn’t want to stop drinking because — go figure — if I…

We must face what’s gone, and then find the gems

Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

Most of our lives disappear behind us like vapor. We’re good at remembering trumpet-blaring moments of transition — weddings, funerals, and jobs that start and end. There are lucid moments when our lives pivot irrevocably in new directions, and these remain clear. We can recount the general thrust of things and lots of bits and pieces. The rest is hazy.

Recently, on December 31, 2020, at 7:22 AM, my life had consumed 34,714,080 minutes spanning 24,107 days. What the hell happened during all of that time? It feels derelict to just let the contents of a life drift away like…

In 2014 I left Portland, Oregon and moved out of the country. There’s a lot of things I’m glad to be away from.

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No place is perfect. I could easily write a list of things I miss about the States, and a very long list of things that are deeply vexing about life in Italy and, before that, Uruguay. But now, after being away a few years, the things I really never liked about the States are more clearly etched in my mind.

Maniacally neat ticky-tacky subdivisions. Horrifyingly bland taupe and beige subdivisions, laid out in perfect grids, blight the perimeters of nearly every US city. The vibe in these suburbs is oddly cheap (despite price tags nudging half a million), sterile and…

Restricted travel, a 10 p.m. curfew, and most restaurants closed

This is the basic mood around here. Foto by author. Colico (LC) Italy.

There’s a dreary sense of resignation around the whole topic of Covid-19. Whatta ya gonna do? The owner of a coffee bar outside of Rome got so sick and tired of hearing about the issue all day she posted signs barring discussion of the virus.

A journey through the labyrinthian depths of the mind.

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I swivel the lens inward, surveying the murky landscape. Self Doubt sidles into view. He’s pacing, running his hand through his hair. Shoulders slumped, muttering. Gesturing with nobody around. He’s ready to lunge, cringe, or slink further into the shadows depending on the threat. His poor soul is wounded. Too many safe havens proved to be mirages.

A couple degrees to the left, the iron gate of a graveyard appears. A marble mausoleum houses the remains of Mr. Professional. He passed away several years ago. Looking inside the vault, I see…

WHO ranked Italy as the 2nd best country in the world for overall healthcare in 2020. On paper, it looks pretty good. Here’s some reflections after living here.

Hospital in Sondrio, Italy. From

As I write this, I’m frustrated. I just walked to the local health center in a downpour, carrying vials of urine samples, only to be told, quite cheerfully, I had missed the window for the collection of lab samples by ten minutes. In two days I will go back, because they’re closed on Tuesdays.

Last Friday, I didn’t have the prescription from the doctor and didn’t know about a form that was needed, so back home I went. A few days prior, at the start of this escapade, I had stopped by the pharmacy to get the collection vials. A…

Year after year the same sad parade marches on. Can we just get up and leave?

Mural on a wall in Venice Beach, 2010. Photo by author.

When Nixon squared off with McGovern in ’72 there was a vague possibility of honest change in the air. A national committee had called for the decriminalization of marijuana. The end of the war was in sight. The people had spoken! Logically, change had to follow.

But the setup was the same as it’s always been.

Door #1: A psychopathic nut job who'd like to shoot those unpatriotic protesters!

Door #2: A confused white fuck who sucks the air out every room he enters!

And, the results are in! My oh my! The psychopathic nut job wins!

Wait! He did…

A vacation is one thing. Living through a cold damp winter is another.

From the deck of the elegant El Charco restaurant, Colonia del Sacramento, UY. Foto by author.

When you make a list of livable, affordable, and interesting places you can actually move to, the number of potential destinations is surprisingly short. Uruguay will be on such a list because the average person can get a residency card there. It’s doable.

Worldwide income is not taxed in Uruguay, earning it a reputation as a tax haven. The main highways are quite good. There’s clean and reliable bus service and a small but modern airport.

Add to this a lot of wide-open spaces, miles of coastline with deep, sandy beaches, and attractive towns such as Punta del Este. …

Greg Hopkins

Retired. Surrounded by beauty. Grateful to have escaped the matrix. Fascinated by our collective evolutionary journey.

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