Travel. USA. Kentucky.

Learn to Love Bourbon!

Aging Bourbon Barrels. Photo by Author

I had never drunk a glass of bourbon before 2013. I doubt if I could even name one brand of it back then. I was never really a hard liquor guy. But that all changed when I moved to “Kentuckiana” (Greater Louisville) around that time.

Kentucky might not be known as much of a tourist destination, but perhaps that’s part of the charm. Distillery tours have become one of my favorite things to do when family or friends come to visit. It’s a great way to share part of Kentucky’s rich culture and history and have a blast doing it.


Travel Tips. Driving. Iceland.

Essential Driving Tips

Photo by Author

Iceland is a unique, beautiful country, and I would encourage anyone to visit there. However, you will most likely need to rent a car. There is very little public transportation in Iceland. There are some bus routes and bus tours, but you will be stuck to their schedule with many other people. There are no trains, and taxis/rideshares are limited. Nothing will give you the freedom and flexibility that renting your own vehicle will.

Renting (and Refueling) a Car is Expensive!

I don’t want to post specific prices because they fluctuate so much they’ll quickly become out of date. It…


Music is a Universal Language

The idea of listening to music in other languages can be completely foreign to some (see what I did there?). Why should I listen to it if I can’t understand what they’re saying? For me, I think it comes down to authenticity. For example, when you visit another country, do you want to eat at the same old restaurant chains, or do you want to try authentic local food? It works that way in music too. When a band is from another country, I welcome singing in their native language. It increases the authenticity of the music and helps promote…


Albums That Enticed Me Into the Genre

When I was first discovering metal, a huge aspect that lured me in was acoustic interludes. Bands incorporating folk-like acoustic passages in otherwise heavier material seemed so ideal. Naturally, I thought, there must be bands out there that are strictly this folk sound that I enjoy so much. Of course there were — I just needed to know where to find them. This is my journey of the most important and influential albums that helped me discover “neofolk” or “folk-noir.”

Photo by Filip Zrnzević on Unsplash

What is Neofolk?

Neofolk can be a somewhat broad term. Its origins date back to the 1980s England punk rock…


It’s a Musical Scavenger Hunt!

Photo by Author

As a huge music nerd, I keep track of many aspects of the albums and artists I listen to. One of those aspects is their country of origin. In a way, it combines two of my greatest passions — traveling and music. A long time ago, I set a goal for myself to own albums from 50 different countries. One of my “rules” is that I would never buy something just to have a new country — I must actually enjoy it. On December 19, 2020, I finally reached that goal. I’m going to discuss some of the metal bands…


Life Hacks That Helped Me Improve Sleep Quality

Photo by Valentin Lacoste on Unsplash

Like many people, I’ve had bouts of insomnia in my life. I’ve read all the articles and tried everything I could to improve this. Strangely enough, stress doesn’t seem to play a part in not sleeping well for me. I’m generally a very chill and low-stress person. If I am stressed about something though, it doesn’t seem to correlate with my sleep quality too much. Stress can absolutely be a big factor in not sleeping well, though. These are things I’ve noticed that personally work for me.

I have spent the last 7 years working as a freelancer. This is…


In case you’re interested in the genre

I am by no means an expert in progressive metal. I wouldn’t consider it my favorite genre. In fact, I probably dislike 90% of progressive metal (and rock) that I hear. I find most of it to be too cheesy and ostentatious to listen to. I consider many vocals in the genre to be downright annoying. So, why should you listen to me then? Well, this is the stuff that does break through and get my attention. It’s crazy how the releases on this list don’t even span a full decade, but that tells you when I was busy finding…


My early tastes getting into music were mostly alternative rock and metal. But somewhere in there, I took a liking to an artist that did not fit the rest of my collection at all — Tori Amos. The first album I got into was Little Earthquakes. There was something about this piano-heavy, stripped-down, emotion-laden record that I connected with. But then, many questions whirled around my head. Is this a guilty pleasure? Should I admit I listen to this? Does this make me less manly? After a while, I just didn’t care anymore and realized no one else really cared…


Sólheimajökull. Photo by Author

The Land of Glaciers, Hot Springs, and Fermented Shark

Iceland is an amazing, magical country for many reasons. Despite having a peak of 2.3 million foreign visitors in 2018, there are still many places where you could enjoy total solitude and not see another human being (or car) for hours. Some spots feel like you’re visiting other planets, with some of the most beautiful waterfalls and landscapes known to mankind. But I’m going to focus on the more unique experiences you can have during your visit. These things aren’t completely exclusive to Iceland, but the combination of all of them probably are.

Hike on a Glacier


Most people are not born enjoying “screaming,” “harsh vocals” or “death growls” in their music. Most people immediately cower away from them like an extremely foul stench or a disgusting cockroach. “Why does he have to scream like that?” “Why are they so mad?” “You can’t even understand them!” They’re possessed!” I have heard so many variations of these quotes over the years. I never try to “push” extreme metal on people, but I will embrace it if they already like it.

“Opeth” by MorganaPhotolive is marked with CC0 1.0

So, how does one learn to tolerate these vocals much less enjoy them? For me, it didn’t happen…

Jason Kolenda

Traveler, Photographer, Music Enthusiast

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