We have a weakness for coffee. But, like so many people, we didn’t truly understand where it came from or who the people were behind the process. Then we took a rather adventurous drive along Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan from San Pedro to Santiago and met these friendly guys shoveling coffee berries into 50 kilo bags for transport to the nearest coffee cooperative. Continue Reading »
Q: What’s the proper way to greet family you’ve never met before?
A: In Argentina: with kisses, warmth — and a heck of a lot of steak.
Earlier this year, with a visit to relatives in Argentina only days away, I received my first email in Spanish from my grandmother. This may not sound noteworthy, but the fact that she wrote it in her mother tongue transformed it for me from a simple letter into a welcome to a part of my family I hadn’t known before: the Argentine side.
Author’s note: Our visit to Argentina was months ago, so why am I writing about this now? With the holidays coming, I began to reflect on tradition, family and what it means to be “far away.” Continue Reading »
These days, gadgets and flashy digital toys steal the limelight. And I’d be lying to you if I said we didn’t enjoy ours. But sometimes it’s the low-tech items that literally save the day.
From the dollar store to the health food store, we go old school for a moment and highlight some simple, non-gadgety stuff in our backpacks that we’ve come to know, rely on, and in some cases — love. Continue Reading »
Recently, we’ve been spending time on a beach on an island in Thailand. So you might be thinking, “They’ve gone soft.”
But we missed being near water and having the space — both physical and mental — that comes with looking out over long, wide horizons. There’s a certain calm it affords, a certain clarity.
Open up the panorama below to see why. Continue Reading »
During our most recent visit to Bangkok, tanks full of flesh-eating fish hungry for dead skin were all the rage.
Sound like fun? We thought so.
Watch the video below to find out. Continue Reading »
We’d like to think of ourselves as rather savvy when it comes to Italy, having married in Tuscany and having visited a dozen times throughout the last decade. But when a friend recommended we visit the Maremma region during our 10th anniversary trip to Tuscany this past autumn, we were intrigued. Maremma? Seen it on maps, never really paid it much mind.
Names like Pitigliano, Sorano and Manciano don’t usually roll off the tip of one’s tongue when talking Tuscan hill towns. Same goes for wines and cuisine from Maremma.
But that’s what motivated us to visit – unknown, hidden, maybe even a little bit wild.
Check out the audio slideshow below to find out what we found: Continue Reading »
I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone this before, but this journey of ours actually began with a frozen pork butt. Continue Reading »
My first visit to Riga, Latvia was in 1997; it was my initial stop in the Baltics en route to my Peace Corps stint in Estonia. The city was still very much in the early stages of transition from its Soviet past. My memories: dark buildings, a gray pall.
No longer. Continue Reading »
Thanksgiving, an American holiday fueled by family gatherings and gratitude, came and went last Thursday. Unfortunately, we were away from home this year so we couldn’t spend this occasion with our family. But this was borne of our own choice, circumstances of our own making.
In contrast, many people in this world do not have this choice. Simply put, they cannot go home. Because of their political or religious beliefs, they face persecution and the threat of injury or death if they do.
We met two such families this past weekend in Bangkok. While speaking with them and getting a glimpse of their lives, we began to comprehend what it really means to be a refugee: a life in fear, a life of prolonged uncertainty, and a life of fighting for survival. Continue Reading »
Lake Titicaca, big stuff. South America’s largest lake, the world’s highest commercially navigable one. And if you take it all in from Bolivia’s Isla del Sol, something beautiful. Deep blue skies hang above inky fresh waters, clouds pop over a lonely landscape, and the whole scene is wrapped by the 20,000 foot snowcapped mountains of the Cordillera Real.
It’s one thing to admire the lake from the shores of Copacabana, Bolivia’s main outpost on the lake, but it’s another to hike the length of Isla del Sol. Breath-taking, quite literally. Continue Reading »