This is about Berlin, chunky quotes, something new we’re trying this week, and a few giveaways to tie it all together.
Berlin. A city we love, a city we’ve chosen as a base. As we dig into Berlin and meet others who’ve done the same, we learn a little bit more about the city through them — its layers of history, humanity, creativity, and culture.
This week we’re undertaking something a little different to bring more of this to light. We’ll be enlisting the help of Berlin friends and experts to help — on what we’re calling a Virtual Tour of Berlin. Continue Reading »
Ladakh: a place we had dreamed about for well over a decade, a visit packed with expectations. What made this place remarkable wasn’t quite what we expected.
Ladakh, lost in layers.
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While traveling, we often find ourselves focused on the present. This is a good thing. Then, something helps us appreciate the history, the roots of where we happen to be. This too, is useful because it provides perspective.
Likir Buddhist Monastery in Ladakh, at almost 1,000 years old, is one of those places.
For much of our visit to Likir Monastery we were alone, save a sole monk who tidied up and made sure visitors took their shoes off before entering the temples. We enjoyed it all in peace and found ourselves stepping back, literally and figuratively, just trying to imagine how monks had gathered in those spaces for centuries — chanting, meditating, praying.
Open the panorama to full screen to see if you can imagine it yourself. Continue Reading »
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 »
Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags greet us as we reach Ladakh’s Gongmaru La pass. All the residual fatigue from climbing up to 16,800 feet/5,130 meters seems to evaporate once we’ve reached this place, our goal. It’s been six days in the Markha Valley and we’ve been up and down — and up again.
We have to remind ourselves not to move around too quickly up here, not to exhaust ourselves from the altitude. But it’s difficult to contain the excitement of being on top of the world — and as photographers, to grab a piece of and bask in every little visual slice that we can capture. The scenery stuns with layers of mountains for as far as the eye can see, while a surprise snowfall earlier in the week means our view is blessed with dramatic snow caps. Continue Reading »
This is a story of our re-discovery of a few of life’s truths amidst a seven-day trek in the Himalayas.
“One foot in-front-of-the oth-er.” Continue Reading »
Five days into our Markha Valley Trek in Ladakh, India. We were on our way to Nimiling, a summer hangout for local shepherds (with their flocks of sheep, goats and cattle/yak hybrids called zos) and the overnight base camp for our final ascent to Gongmaru La Pass (5,130 meters/16,800 feet). That morning we endured and enjoyed our share of steep climbs, losing ourselves to the mountains and our slow, deliberate pace.
Then a break: a lunchtime spot at peaceful clear lake with views of Kang Yatze Peak (6,400 meters / 21,000 feet) and the Zanskar range. In so many ways, we felt very much like we were on top of the world. Continue Reading »
This is a story of advice and inspiration and quotable quotes. And how, at the end of the day, the only way our quotes live is if they help spur others — and ourselves — to action.
Oh, and it’s about a new commitment we’re making to put some skin in the game. 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 »
Slum. It’s a loaded word, one that conjures a raft of negative imagery. But there’s one characteristic that’s not likely to come to mind: industry.
That’s where Dharavi, Mumbai’s most populated slum, might surprise you. Continue Reading »