When it comes to getaways, many opt for relaxing on the beach, exploring medieval towns or getting lost in nature. Not Dan. OZY’s Europe-based Presidential Daily Brief editor prefers the broad boulevards and gritty back alleys of Moscow, Warsaw or Berlin, and the dusty towns of provincial Ukraine, Romania or the Caucasus for his personal escapes.
That’s probably because Dan has spent much of his adult life bouncing around Eastern Europe, where he’s covered everything from corruption, revolution and war to fashion trends, personality cults and absurdist rap groups. He’s studied the region, including in graduate school at the University of Toronto, and speaks two of its languages: Russian and Ukrainian. Thanks to journalism, Dan has met some of the most impressive and inspiring people out there, as well as some of the most unsavory. He’s visited more unrecognized states than most people he knows and has been stopped by armed men more times than he cares to remember. Most challenging of all? Learning to live with copious amounts of dill.
Despite his love of post-socialist landscapes, Dan still calls New England home, which is why nothing heals his weary soul faster than a few oysters and a drive along the Connecticut coast. And despite being an avowed city dweller — he has no intentions to move back to the burbs anytime soon — some of his favorite memories involve huddling around campfires with close friends under starlit skies.
At OZY, Dan puts his eccentric interests to work for us: Ask him, for example, about Soviet history, obscure liqueurs or where to get a decent tattoo no matter where you are in the world. When he’s not editing or writing, he’s either mixing a cocktail or parked in front of a tube amp desperately trying to emulate a young Eric Clapton.