When I was a management consultant and clients footed the bill for my travel expenses, I had a colleague with a knack for milking his four- and five-star hotel stays for all they were worth. For example, he would request turn-down service multiple times in one night. “For the chocolates,” he’d say. Then he’d take a walk down the hall and raid the maid’s cart for more.
In the understatement of the century, let’s just say that the nature of my accommodation concerns has evolved. The days of watching colleagues stalk turn-down maids have been replaced by nights searching for hotel attendees in dark, dank hallways that recall films like “Psycho” (cinematic excellence) and “Hostel” (a cinematic abomination).
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We’ve spent hours sharing highlights of our Antarctica experience with family, friends and fellow travelers. The result: we get excited, they get excited. And rightfully so — Antarctica is a special place and our experience there was truly memorable in so many dimensions.
Inspired by all of these conversations ourselves, we decided to dabble in a different medium, the audio slideshow, to relate our Antarctica experience in a different way. Continue Reading »
If you keep up with the news, it’s hard not to notice that Thailand and Kyrgyzstan have been in the midst of political turmoil and violent protests this past week. In an effort to offer a foil to images of bloodied protesters in Bishkek, I posted a link to a series of photo essays from our visit to Kyrgyzstan in 2007. Some friends thanked us, while another also voiced what I imagine is a prevailing perception: “Great pics but isn’t it crazy how fast a country/society can turn?” Continue Reading »
I woke up the other morning with a knot in the pit in my stomach. It took a while for my brain to catch up with my gut to figure out what was wrong.
On the surface, everything was ideal. We had just come from weeks of trekking in Patagonia amidst endless mountains and lake vistas, we were on the quaint island of Chiloe (Chile) and the sun was shining (a rarity for this time of year, we’re told), and more trekking and travel opportunities awaited us.
But I was burnt out. Something about our recent travel choices left me feeling ungrounded. The constant movement, logistical planning and searching for the next experience had taken its toll. Usually, we travel without fixed schedules and we stay in places longer, allowing us time to relax, work and take in a place in all its various dimensions.
So what happened? Recently we purchased airline tickets that will take us away from South American in mid-May. With this impending departure, we began to fall into the common trap of travel, the common trap of life: trying to do it all. Continue Reading »
There we were at the end of the trail in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. We had completed the “W” – 60 miles, fully laden – and were basking in the warmth of the Patagonian sun. In the process we had become proficient at assembling our tent in strong winds, cooking wondrous meals with packaged pasta, and securing our stuff from mice at night. We appreciated nature in full: not only the beauty of its rainbows, glaciers, condors and granite towers, but also the wrath of its hurricane-strength winds.
At the end of our journey, the feeling of camaraderie amongst our fellow trekkers was palpable. We all shared an accomplishment. In the soft grass at the trailhead kiosk, we indulged in overpriced potato chips and cracked open celebratory beers.
But something was missing. Continue Reading »