James Donovan


James Donovan

Travel is such an important part of who I am - it's a staple in both my professional and personal lives. Although I'd much rather spend time on the road with people I know and care about, the majority of my adventures occur solo. I try to share the experiences through photos, but sometimes pics just can't do them justice. A friend recently asked me why I don't blog about some of these trips. Honestly...because I didn't think anyone would want to read about them. We're all so busy and impatient when it comes to digesting information these days. So, with that in mind, I'll do my best to keep it brief. Enjoy!

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires January 22nd 2015

I distinctly remember a certain night in the summer of 2003 when I was waiting tables at Landry’s Seafood House. I took care of a table that started at disaster and then quickly proceeded further downhill. While I certainly could have avoided my own mistakes, many were honestly outside of my control. However, as any former or current server knows, you should never blame a colleague for your table’s gripes. As a result, my table berated me the entire meal; all to my face…but entirely in Spanish under the assumption that I couldn’t understand them. News Flash: This is Houston. It may not be Miami, but Spanish is pretty integral to getting by here; however cursory the exposure. Spanish is my second language, and I understood everything they said to me that day, but I played ... read more
Puerto Madero Waterfront
Probably speaking English at this point
With some of my Latin American team members

Asia » Malaysia October 11th 2013

There may not be another country that I enjoy getting lost in so much. For my work, I travel alone quite frequently, and I’m not one to spend my free time holed up in my hotel room watching ESPN when I’m on the road. Normally, if I have an evening or afternoon free, I’ll bolt from the hotel and set off on some odyssey through whatever city I’m in. It usually results in some excellent people watching, off the beaten path meals, glimpses into the everyday life of the locals, phenomenal discussions, and the occasional uncomfortable situation (of which I’ve probably already written about). I’ve been fortunate to make five trips to Malaysia over the past three years including three different cities in three different states. In each stop, I’ve always been so pleasantly surprised at ... read more
Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur
Night market, Kota Kinabalu
Tang City Food Court

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Ubud June 29th 2013

Note: I wrote this at the end of the stay in Ubud, Bali. It is not intended to be a generalization of the island, nor the religion of Hinduism, in general. _____________________________________________________ I think Jenn captured it best, “I want to subscribe to the Balinese religion”, referring not to the island’s majority religion, Balinese Hinduism, nor to the country’s dominant religion, Islam. (At this point, if you haven’t yet done so, check out my blog entry on Jakarta, then come back and follow along. The Indonesian islands of Bali and Java are vastly different places). There is something so seemingly simple, yet fundamentally obvious about how the Balinese people live their lives. Strangers, upon greeting you, clasp their hands together against their chests. This symbolizes harmony between good and evil at the moment. They will also ... read more
Typical Balinese greeting

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland June 23rd 2013

Let’s start with some geography lessons, shall we? Holland = The Netherlands…..True. The Netherlands does not equal Holland (necessarily). Don’t believe me? Check the link or ask your favorite Dutchman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE_IUPInEuc At any rate, it is one my favorite countries in the world to visit. The people are great, quality of life is envious, level of activity is uber-high, and everything just works. If we were asked to move there next week, I would think long and hard about it. But this entry isn’t about everyone’s favorite bachelor-party-destination of the Eastern Hemisphere. It’s about the rest of the country. I was attending a conference in a beach town called Noordwijk, which is a pristine Dutch beach village. June isn’t the best time to go as it’s a bit early in the Euro-... read more
en route to Leiden
The beachs of Noordwijk
JWoww on Noordwijk beach

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Brisbane November 25th 2012

Singapore to Brisbane (8 hours; Depart 9:30 am Sunday, Arrive: 7:30 pm Sunday) Finally into the last hour (#37 since I left my house) of this long journey. It could have been a lot worse, but I do kind of feel like I’ve been tossed about in a tumble dryer. Here are some fun stats from the trip: · Hours of sleep: 2+2+2 = 6 (I actually do sleep well on flights, but never really got into a nice stretch; flight attendants waking me up to eat still blows my mind. That “do not disturb” button doesn’t always imply what you think it does) · Hours spent working on music: 10 (mostly because I had to re-record failed attempts at two different sets – part user error and part “see above comment on Do Not ... read more
Last flight of the trip
Goodbye, Singapore
Hello, Brisbane

Asia » Singapore » Changi November 24th 2012

Moscow to Singapore (9 hours; Depart: 4:50 pm Saturday, Arrive: 5:50 am Sunday) You’d think that traveling often would translate into being a savvy traveler. Sometimes, yes. Other times, no. Case in point: in progress right now. When I was booking this trip initially, I thought I was going from Houston to Perth. In that situation, it is faster to go through Singapore. However, when I was in London last week, I found out I needed to go to Brisbane first, then Perth. Without consulting a map, I called the travel agent and asked that she re-ticket me from Singapore to Brisbane instead; keeping the initial HoustonàMoscowàSingapore route. Bad mistake – go look at a map. Wrong side of a massive island continent. While having Thanksgiving dinner with my brother-in-law, I told him of my itinerary. ... read more
Somewhere over Myanmar
trying to catch a little snooze
Welcome to Singapore

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow November 24th 2012

Houston à Moscow (12 hours; Depart: 4:50 pm Friday, Arrive: 1:50 pm Saturday) So, the fastest way to get to Singapore from Houston is actually through Moscow. If you fly Singapore Airlines, you take the same plane the whole way there and refuel for an hour in Russia. Gate to Gate, it’s about 24 hours total. I’m fortunate enough to fly business class on these long haul trips, so that makes it easier. (That said, SQ’s economy is still top-notch). Anyways, I started this flight by working on a music set to record for Jenn on my laptop DJ program. I am by absolutely no means even close to calling myself a DJ, but if I could be anything when I grow up, it would be a DJ/producer. Unfortunately, I only discovered this a year ago, ... read more
FMIF.  Props to DG.
Leaving the US
My DJ booth

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Abu Dhabi November 15th 2012

So, this trip has been a complete whirlwind so far. After a half week of frantic last minute preparations, I hopped a flight to Dubai via DC. Checked into my hotel in Dubai Mall, grabbed dinner with colleagues, had a few drinks, and then turned in for the night. The next morning we were supposed to leave at 5:50 am for the airport so we could catch a flight to Dammam, Saudi Arabia. I went to bed at midnight and, naturally, was finished sleeping by 3:40 am. Gotta love jetlag combined with being subconsciously aware of an early wake up call. Anyways, we got into Saudi just fine, drove over to Dharhan, had our meeting, drove back to Damman, and flew off to Abu Dhabi at 6:00 pm. This little field trip from Saudi lasted just ... read more
Second day in Saudi
Third day in Abu Dhabi
nothing on the other side

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » London City October 23rd 2012

Back in 2010, I headed over to the UK to spend a few days working in Liverpool. It was a bit last minute and required a move that I’ve done all too often: the suitcase swap. When I have two adjacent trips, I’ll pack two suitcases and leave one in the car at the airport. Then upon arrival, run out, switch bags, and head back in catch the next flight. This time I was going to drop off the work gear, meet up Jenn, and catch a flight down to Costa Rica for my buddy Paul’s wedding. I had a few hours cushion, so it was tight but very possible. Unless of course, some freak accident occurred. When I went to check out of my Liverpool hotel, the clerk asked if I was going to the ... read more
Denied on Day 2
Walking about
Picnic-ing it

South America » Colombia » Bogota October 3rd 2012

When I was a kid, I remember my dad spending quite a bit of time in Colombia. For those of you that don’t know, at that time he worked for Baker Hughes which is where I started my career. It’s too bad he didn’t have a blog back then because, like me, he also traveled internationally quite frequently and came back home with great recounts of his adventures abroad. Colombia back then was a much different place. I remember he told me that he used to carry two passports; his government issued US document and a fake Canadian version just in case he was kidnapped (sorry, Canadian friends, but at the time, you Canucks commanded less ransom potential). He told me about how on the front page of the Bogotá newspaper they had a daily count ... read more
Bogota from Monserrate summit
Beautiful churches
Leaving the office

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