How a two-day 258 miles bus ride through Kashmir served as my price of entry to Ladakh.
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“I set my watch 15 minutes fast. That way, when I die I’ll sneak into heaven before the devil figures out I’m dead.” – words of wisdom from the local dispensary, a spry gentleman one Guinness down in Westport, County Mayo
In almost every country we’ve visited around the world, with perhaps the exception of Bangladesh and Iran, we seem to stumble across an Irish pub. The problem with many of them: there’s usually something dubious, something un-Irish about them.
Possibly the food. Maybe the owners. Definitely the accent. Continue Reading »
To suggest that one could experience Johannesburg and Soweto properly in 24 hours is almost patently absurd. But you do what you can, you make the best with the time you have. That’s what we did. And here’s how we did it. Continue Reading »
Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe that has eluded us all these years. An upcoming road trip around Ireland to discover its landscape, meet its people, and capture a few stories – with a focus on the in-between places – aims to correct that.
When they say “off the beaten track” in South Africa, Northern Cape is what they mean. And why it’s not more beaten, we’re not sure. This is the sum of our short time there, including a surprising and deeply moving human encounter at the very end.
As we carved a path into the sunset along the Orange River border between South Africa and Namibia, it dawned on me (or would the appropriate phrase in this time context be dusked on me?) that we were far away with the trappings of something eye-catching and mind-wandering, wowing and calming, all without being contrived.
Cape Town. You may come for beauty, but you’ll leave with a story.
Cape Town, a city we had heard so much about over the years, but for so many reasons never took the opportunity to visit – until recently. Like most, we were originally attracted to Cape Town for its natural beauty – think Table Rock cut by coastlines – but we also knew there was more behind that exterior. Continue Reading »
Ladakh, lost in layers.
For all our readers that ask around the question, “How do you balance safety and openness on the road?” A few thoughts.
The U.S. State Department Travel warnings are shaking the news once again. Apparently, many people are wondering whether to cancel their travel plans. We’re getting notes from family and friends asking us to be careful. And we’re currently in Berlin.
And while we could not finesse our way to safety if we happened to be right on top of the next terrorist attack, there are all those other times — whether we find ourselves at home or on the road — when a few safety approaches and techniques come in handy. Some are natural, but most are acquired and honed from our years on the road in places like Guatemala and Uzbekistan, Egypt and Myanmar. These approaches not only enable us to travel more safely, but they also give us the freedom to open ourselves up to more people and better experiences.
So when we’re asked, “Is there a way to stay open and stay safe?” the answer notwithstanding that there are absolutely no guarantees in life is yes. Continue Reading »
This is a story about how when you hear penguins at 20,000 feet, there’s a good chance you’re in deep sh*t.
“Ladies and gentlemen…the weather situation in Srinagar is very bad…flights are being diverted to Delhi…four flights just before us…we will try and see.” I’d absorbed only fragments of the pilot’s announcement as my head was buried in a book. We’d come from Mumbai and rivers of monsoon to escape to Kashmir in northern India, apparently only to find more storms.
Then we began our descent. Continue Reading »