Let me tell you about a dog named Emmy Lou.
Here in Mexico some say you die three deaths. The first is when your body stops working. The second is when you are returned to the earth. The third, and most definitive, is when there is no one left alive to remember you.
So I write this with the hope that Emmy Lou will make her way into the memory of a few more people, since she died her first death August 29, 2016 at 7:52 a.m. and died her second death later that same day. I desperately, and likely foolishly, hope she never meets her third.
After three and a half years of running this site (wow!) we decided it was time for an update. In truth, we decided it was time for an update about a year ago, but between travel and work things sort of… fell through the cracks.
Writing this as I sit in the public library in Rochester, Minnesota, it’s hard to imagine that one year ago we were perched on tiny plastic chairs in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It’s still harder to fathom that almost two and a half years ago we landed in Japan, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to […]
If I’m being perfectly candid, we have seen and done some pretty adventurous things during our journey around the world. We’ve trekked in the mountains of Nepal, and over-landed on scooters through the back-country of Laos. We took a tiny boat along some of the wildest and most beautiful coastline in the Philippines, and went scuba diving in some of the world’s best waters. We’ve met real Geisha in Gion, and tried the foul-smelling “king of fruit”, durian, not once but THREE times! We’ve done some epic things, many of them things we never expected that we would ever do.
Sri Lanka has heart. I think if you asked me what I liked most about our time there, it would be that: this earnestness, this particular openness that I can only describe as heart. Very few countries seemed to open themselves up quite so willingly as Sri Lanka did for us. Everywhere we went people […]
**UPDATED** We have our winner! Click through and/or scroll down past our examples to find out who we thought shot the best face of a nation! Thanks to everyone who entered, we’re really happy with the great response! True to the travel plans we revealed in our last post, we have been madly darting around […]
“Give me my passport or I call the police. Your choice.” Momentarily taken aback, the 70-year old Laotian woman across from me paused her tirade and sized me up, trying to decide if I was serious. I was and then some. Having politely but firmly been asking for my passport for nearly half an hour, […]
It was the second morning of our journey around the Thakhek Loop. The sun was barely up, my belly was full of delicious mini French toasts (how something so delightful could be prepared by our most definitely not-delightful hostess remains a mystery) and the road was calling. Thanks to our relaxing surroundings, we were decidedly […]
I’ve always loved motorcycles, motorbikes, scooters… pretty much any motorized, two-wheeled transport. When we were planning our trip years before we ever left the comfort of our home for the first time, I always imagined what it would be like to ride through the exotic S.E. Asian countryside on a motorcycle halfway around the world. […]
I had been looking forward to our time in Kuala Lumpur for a while for many reasons, not the least of which being the chance to get some really great street photography time under my belt. Since well before we left on our tip I’ve been following Robin Wong, a KL-based photographer who primarily shoots […]
Our final stop in Borneo was Kuching, a sleepy riverside city masquerading as the capital of Sarawak province. In Malay, kuching means “cats”; even though the city is named for the Kuching River rather than any actual population (or governing body) of cats, the name still seems apt: like its namesake, Kuching slumbers during the […]
It’s 9 a.m. on our first full day in Brunei on the streets of its capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan (or BSB, more colloquially), and it’s oddly quiet. Despite the early hour, the sun blazes overhead and the heat is already borderline oppressive. Hardly anyone is out, but a few market stalls cling to the […]
As I suspect it was for most of you reading this, in one way or another, 2013 was a big year. For us it marked a full 12 months of the calendar that we spent devoting ourselves exclusively to travel. To that end, it took us to 7 new countries… though, as you’ll see, in some cases, one visit just wasn’t enough and we found ourselves returning to a few favorites several times over.
Borneo. Although few people can locate it—the world’s third largest island and home to three different countries—on a map, the name alone conjures visions of a vast, unexplored jungle where wild animals and indigenous tribes mingle beneath the dense canopy of the forest. Borneo is a haven for sundry wild animals: for now, it’s one of the last refuges of the “man of the jungle” (orangutan), the only home of the Borneo pygmy elephant, and holds a dwindling population of the Sumatran rhinoceros. But Borneo, like the rest of Asia, is rapidly changing thanks to its human denizens. It is also fighting a losing battle with deforestation; the world’s oldest rainforest is quickly giving way to vast tracts of oil palm plantations and slash-and-burn farmland. Much of the flora and fauna of Borneo is on the brink of an abyss, being driven ever closer to extinction by the encroachment of civilization. We knew that so much of the island was changing so quickly that, if we didn’t see it now, it might be gone by the time we had the opportunity to come back.
One of my favorite parts of travel is how a place (and the people in that place) can surprise you, especially if you can find a way to get beneath the surface. Kota Kinabalu by all accounts, isn’t a very exciting city, but when Steph & I plunged into the fragrant, smokey labyrinth of the Filipino market we walked into another part of a very different town. Wandering the sun-dappled aisles of the local market the next day was a similar experience, one that felt very removed from the few tourist zones of the city. These markets weren’t especially large or flashy, but they were filled with local people simply living their lives before us and it was a beautiful thing to behold. We felt a very real sense of honor as we joked with the locals and exchanged smiles with the vendors, honor that we had so been so easily accepted into this weekly ritual with welcoming smiles and good-natured curiosity. I think we’ve said it before, and it remains true: the people are the places. And if you ever want to see the heart of an Asian city, find its local market and jump in with both feet. The sights, the sounds, the smells and the smiles… they’ll combine to give you an experience you won’t soon forget.