In a future incarnation, we will run world tours that seek to deliver extraordinary travel experiences through encounters with ordinary people. And when we do, a road trip in Northwest Argentina will be one of our first stops in South America.
After stumbling upon a dazzling gaucho festival on the first day of a week-long road trip, we figured our travel karma would have run out. Instead, our journey across the valleys outside of Salta featured interactions with engaging people open to odd encounters.
Here’s a taste. Continue Reading »
Last week my grandmother died. She lived a long, full life to the age of 92 and she died peacefully. The news was not surprising, but it arrived earlier than I had expected. When it finally began to sink in, I cried. Then I wrote a few things in order to unpack and process my feelings – about saying goodbye to loved ones, enjoying them while they are alive, and trying to prepare for something most people don’t like to discuss: death.
Note: This is a personal story. But at the end, there’s some practical advice regarding travel, medical directives and handling the subject of death. Continue Reading »
The Incan ruins of Machu Picchu outside Cusco, Peru grab the lion’s share of that country’s travel press. But before the Incas stormed through this region in the 15th century, there were actually some other clever people living in Peru. They built an impressive city and lived in circular houses on a mountaintop in the north, near the town of Chachapoyas (meaning “People of the Clouds”).
A shot of the ruins of Kuelap, the citadel they built in those clouds, can be seen in the panorama below.
We tend to carry a healthy dose of skepticism with us when visiting ruins, but this particular pile of rocks — and its stories — exceeded our expectations. Continue Reading »
The key to eating grilled mutton is to chew and swallow it before the fat cools and congeals on the roof of your mouth.
— Our guerrilla eating tip for Central Asia.
“You guys seem to have only good things to say about your experiences, especially the food. Have you ever had a bad meal? Something disappointing, gross, or even repulsive?”
You bet. Continue Reading »
Does travel always equal going outside your comfort zone? Continue Reading »
We don’t know about you, but when we think Malaysia we think street food. And hawker centers (awful name, but that’s what they’re called) are where the action is for street food fanatics like us. Continue Reading »
“In your travels, did you ever feel like you were being followed?” a friend recently asked.
We looked up as if to page through our mind-file of creepy experiences: “No. At least we don’t think so.”
Although we use the term “couch surfing” in the title, the experience related below was in no way connected to the CouchSurfing
network but was arranged through a friend. We are satisfied members of the CouchSurfing community and in no way mean to imply that CouchSurfing is unsafe.
Even when we answered, our response struck me as supremely naïve. Although we aren’t terribly important in the geopolitical grand scheme of things, somebody somewhere must have taken more than a casual interest in our movements. After all, we’d been throughout the former Soviet Union – including Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan — and to places like China and Burma.
Surely we had a tail somewhere along the way. Continue Reading »
Visit any European central square on a weekend, and along with the wedding parties in celebration and the locals in transit, you are likely to find tourists shutterbugging away. As evidence, we offer Vilnius’ Cathedral Square (Katedros aikštė). Continue Reading »
As our rental car began to drift atop a layer of windblown sand, I grabbed hold, down-shifted and noticed the hills around me were swirled in a peppermint twist. All those Ruta 40 signs in Argentina finally delivered on an implied promise: you’ll be impressed, and what once captured your imagination will now claim your full attention. But it wasn’t the fabled Route 40 of Patagonia that would provide the exclamation point on our time in Argentina. It was a week-long road trip across the quebradas of Northwest Argentina, where chilies dry in the midday sun, llama comes served with wine pressed just down the road, and gauchos hold harvest festivals in the hills.
Continue Reading »
“For safety reasons, we’ll need to go in groups of at least four to the cemetery,” our Spanish language teacher informed us.
“Why,” we wondered. “Are the dead coming back to life?” Continue Reading »