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Santa Barbara, Ca

I'm a full-time rambler and contract designer with as many skill sets in my quiver as there are plane tickets in my passbook. I've worked in ornamental iron, jigsaw puzzle design, bookmaking, glass engraving, and a variety of other mediums. I'm currently living out of a backpack as I trek my way around the world.


Belfast, Northern Ireland

Michael Erving

(photo courtesy of Michael Erving)

(photo courtesy of Michael Erving)

“You boys want some whiskey?” asked Freddie, the South African front desk attendant at our hostel who was as tall as his accent was thick.  

The vote: a unanimous “Hell yes” from the Brothers Erving.  Zak and I had arrived in Belfast only a few hours earlier, and I had already become transfixed – and the free booze (not to mention the lovely Australian from the airport) sure didn’t hurt.  

The air here is different; it’s deep. It’s not carefree, but it’s by no means heavy – although it thickens quickly when Irish is spoken, and cries for a United Ireland ring out at an old IRA pub.  

Yet, within the last decade and a half, Belfast has risen from being a warzone to a city of undeniable beauty, culture, and history. And, despite the tumult of the last half-century, Belfast has learned to bare its scars. Not all are worn with pride, but the rising Belfast is now a city to be proud of.  

Belfast made me a pilgrim – it was the catharsis I never knew I needed. Looking back, although my troubles are laughable compared to the murderous and bloody Troubles of Ulster, I found that, like the city, I was cut in two. I arrived as a runaway from a series of shitshows, but here, my life didn’t have to be together. And although I will never be able to understand the Troubles that haunt the once nameless streets, being in the presence of something much greater than myself – a city that overcoming something more black than sin – healed me to my core. And I never even asked for it.  

Over a year later, I know that I need to go back and thank it…and get some whiskey, of course.  

—Michael Erving