Iceland Final Day, Europe 2015, Day 9!

Good Evening from Iceland!

Today was an exciting day, filled with a walking tour of Reykjavik and my speaking event with the Icelandic Autism Society!

Before the walking tour I went to Hallgrímskirkja, the famous Lutheran Church that overlooks the city. There was a tower to climb with great city views.

The troll photo wasn’t at the church, I just thought it seemed fun.






The walking tour was very informative. We started at the parliament building and walked around central downtown. 



After my tour I came back to the hostel to relax before my evening speaking event.

Right before the speaking event, I went to dinner with some of the staff and board members of the Icelandic Autism Society, which was very nice.

The speaking event was great and I had many great questions from audience members, including what might be some good suggestions for parents or family members to connect with their kids or people they know on the autism specturm. My advice was to take an active interest in what the person on the specturm likes to do. My universal example is Legos. If your person likes to play with Legos and build things, do that with them. It shows them that you are interested in what they are interested in. Also, it shows that they matter to you. Simple advice, but I find it works.




The day was a great success and I’m very happy I had the opportunity to come to Iceland and speak about autism.

Tomorrow my trip ends and I head back to Fargo. I’ll do some brief sightseeing in the morning until my afternoon flight.

Until then…

-The ZEZ


Iceland…Beautiful Nature, Europe 2015, Day 8!

Good Evening from Reykjavik!

It’s close to midnight here at the top of the world, but I still had a fun evening.

This morning I flew out of London and arrived in Iceland at just before 5pm, local time.

Here are some photos from the plane and the drive in on the bus. I felt like I walked into a combination of the IKEA catalog and National Geographic and that’s just here in the city!!  




After arriving at my hostel, I quickly booked a bus tour to see the Northern Lights. My traveling companion was another hostel guest named Lucy, who is from France. She and I sat together on the bus, so it was nice to have someone new to meet.


Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the lights tonight. It was still neat to try and attempt seeing them though. Iceland really is a beautiful country!

I’m now headed to bed and look forward to exploring the city tomorrow, as well as speaking at my event with Iceland Autism!

Until tomorrow…

-The ZEZ

Church and Shopping, Europe 2015, Day 7!

Good Evening/Morning from London! This post was late with photos so it’s now Monday at breakfast in London.

Sunday was started in church and ended in church. I started with a communion service in the original Wesley Chapel here in London. It was neat to take communion in the same building where John Wesley preached.


 Before the service, I paid a quick visit to the cemetery across the street where the poet William Blake and John Bunyan, the guy who wrote Pilgrims Progress are buried.

 I then went to Harrods and spent almost two hours browsing the store. Some of the funnier items I found included a personal submarine.


After Harrods, I went to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. At Westminster Abbey, I went to an organ recital and the evening service, which was cool.



I then returned to the hostel and had some dinner and went to bed.

This afternoon, I fly to Iceland!

Until Iceland…

-The ZEZ



Cambridge, Europe 2015, Day 6!

Good Evening from London!

I had an exciting morning visiting Cambridge University and am now in London until Monday morning when I head to Iceland.

I took a two hour walking tour of Cambridge University this morning and saw two of the 31 colleges that make up Cambridge. First, St. John’s College and then Queen’s College.

Before I did the walking tour, I visited Great St. Mary’s church. 

After St Mary’s, the Cambridge tour began. I was actually the only American on the tour and many other people were from the UK, which is unusual for a Cambridge tour.

The first stop was St. John’s College. While there, I saw the college chapel, punting on the river, which were the boats and a famous bridge called the Bridge of Sighs. 

After St. John’s, we did a brief walk around the city center, including a visit to the Eagle Pub where Watson and Crick announced the discovery of DNA. The bug and golden clock shown below is called the Chorpus Christi clock.   

We then visited Queen’s College. There, we saw a sun/moon dial that is one of only six of it’s kind in the world. Also, at Cambridge, only graduates and professors are allowed to walk on the grass. Everyone else is required to stay off the grass.

We couldn’t visit the major college chapel, called King’s Chapel, located on the grounds of King’s College, due to a graduation ceremony taking place. I was still able to get my picture in front of the chapel standing outside the gates though.

After the tour, I grabbed some lunch at Subway and then eventually took to train to London. I arrived at the hostel in London and settled in for some rest, before having a London tour day tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I will be attending church at the Wesley Chapel, the founding church of Methodism and a night service at Westminster Abbey, among other sightseeing.

Until then…


-The ZEZ

Swansea and Cambridge, Europe 2015, Day 5!

Good Evening from Cambridge!

This morning, I spoke to the Swansea Branches conference of the National Autistic Society (NAS), delivering a lecture on my overall journey with autism. The lecture attendees really seemed to enjoy my presentation.

The speaking event was followed by a lunch with attends, most of who were NAS staff or affiliated volunteers through the surrounding area in Wales.

After lunch, I boarded a train to London. After arriving in London, I quickly boarded another train to Cambridge.

Once I arrived in Cambridge, I checked into my hostel and then went on a short walk for dinner to the main restaurant area and stopped at a small Asian noodle place.

I’ve returned to the hostel and will be headed out in the morning to see some of the various colleges that make up Cambridge, apparently it’s not just one college. The forecast is calling for rain tomorrow, which stinks, but hopefully I’ll still get some good photos and touring in before my afternoon train to London.

Until tomorrow…

-The ZEZ 

Travel Thursday, Europe 2015, Day 4

Good Evening from Swansea, Wales!
Today was a travel day for me, but also another day that began with very little sleep.
Last night, after heading to my room at the hostel in Edinburgh, as I was about to go to bed, some of my roommates arrived. Earlier in the day, I met one roommate, a guy from Australia. When the other two entered, they were two girls, one from California and the other from Australia. 
We all stayed up talking until just after Midnight and I was up at 3:30am for my 6:30am flight to London.
Once I arrived in London, I boarded the London Underground to head to Paddington Station, where I got my train to Swansea.
On the train to Swansea, I sat with a college professor who has lived in Europe for the past 31 years, but was born and raised in North Carolina. We spent a good part of the train ride talking about the differences in American and European social systems and political structures. Definitely some good conversation.

Just before 2pm, we arrived in Swansea and I spent the rest of the day relaxing in my hotel room, ending the evening with a sandwhich from a little shop down the street from the hotel.

Note in the photos above, the train sign and the map are in both English and Welsh, the two official languages of Wales.

Tomorrow I have my next speaking engagement, here at the hotel, for the National Autistic Society, Swansea branch. After that, I’ll get back on a train to head for London and ultimately Cambridge, where I will spend Friday night and Saturday before going back to London on Saturday night.

Until then…
– The ZEZ

Scotland Argh! Europe 2015, Day 3

Good Evening from Edinburgh!
I’ve completed another country on my personal visit list and my autism advocacy speaking list, with today’s visit to Scotland.
I started the morning very early with a 7am flight to Glasgow. I should say that I actually only got about an hour of sleep, which included several “Inception” style dreams-within-dreams. Those don’t happen often for me, but it was certainly odd. After waking up about 1am, I proceeded to get my mind racing with various thoughts on autism research ideas and my trips ahead. I never fell back to sleep so I’ve been up since about 1am this morning.
After my flight to Glasgow, I proceeded to the Millenium Hotel to meet up with Charlene Tait, the development director of Scottish Autism. 
Once Charlene arrived, we headed to a meeting room for the multi-part video interview of myself, that will be ultimately shown as part of resource materials to parents and other individuals related to Scottish Autism.
We covered segments regarding my autism diagnosis, education, employment and general outlook on the state of ASD supports, among other things.
After the interview segment, I hopped on a train to head to Edinburgh.
Once arriving in Edinburgh, I headed to Edinburgh Castle which overlooks the city. I took many photos of the different parts of my self-guided audio tour and learned many neat things, including how the castle entrance gate was partially dedicated to William Wallace of Braveheart fame. 

After visiting the castle, I made a short visit to a local church to admire the stained glass windows and memorials to some impactful Scottish people. One memorial I found to be interesting commemorated the person who discovered Cholorform Anestesa. I guess that was something important with Scottish medicine.

I ended the day with a dinner at the hostel. I’m headed to bed fairly shortly, as I have another early flight tomorrow to London with an ultimate destination of Wales tomorrow night for Friday’s autism event.

I’ve posted more pictures on my Facebook page instead of here, as tonight the wifi is a little spotty and is giving me trouble uploading things.


 Until next time,


-The ZEZ