If there is one certainty in life, it’s that drinking and driving don’t mix. And yet, when in Mexico—especially when tequila country is practically on your door step—all the rules seem to go out the window…
I’ve always been one of those people for whom the anticipation of things is something I enjoy nearly as much as the object or activity in question. I love planning and I love dreaming, and for me, by drawing out the build up to something good, I’m able to extend the joy of the experience. […]
I am pretty sure that taking Spanish lessons is a rite of passage (akin to a freshman hazing) that every long-term traveler in Latin America goes through. It seems like every blogger I know who has spent any chunk of time in this part of the world has wound up heading back to school in […]
One of my favorite things about traveling is when we find ourselves somewhere that defies all attempts to describe it. Often these places are impossibly beautiful, but they also tend to be incredibly foreign and unabashedly unique as well. I always hold a special place in my heart for these places, the ones that are […]
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.
Like every traveler to Tissamaharma (a name that trips up the tongue rather than rolls off of it, resulting in it being more frequently referred to by its diminutive, Tissa), we trundled into town to see about some cats. Positioned such as it is, Tissa acts as the staging post and gateway to Yala National […]
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. […]
It’s true that I liked Kuala Lumpur a heck of a lot better the second time around, but if I’m being 100% honest with you (and I’m always 100% honest with you), part of why we spent as much time in the city as we did was because of Chinese New Year. When you think […]
Having spent over a decade of my life on university campuses attempting to ascend the ivory tower of higher learning, I can assure you that most of the stereotypes about academia and its disciples are more fact than fiction. Actually, I’m guilty of perpetrating many of them myself, especially when it comes to the joke […]
Stepping out of the pint-sized airport in Mulu is like being vaulted straight into a nature documentary. We’ve already been on Borneo for about two weeks, but it isn’t until we’re walking the 1 kilometer stretch of road from the airport to the grounds of the national park that I really, truly feel that we […]
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.
Walking down the wooden jetty into Semporna’s harbor, I couldn’t help thinking what a difference 180º can make. Behind us lay Semporna, a shantytown so grim and gritty, it can only be likened to an angry red inflammation on the otherwise flawless cheek that is the northern Borneo coastline. But with our faces turned to the Celebes Sea—stretched out on the horizon and that perfect shimmering shade of blue that is too rarely found in nature—it was hard to reconcile what we had just walked through with the beckoning paradise before us. Living in Semporna may not have many perks, but I’d wager that with its views, you’d be willing to put up with quite a lot.
There comes a time during every traveler’s foray through Asia when one is eventually confronted with Durian. Travel through this continent for any length of time and sooner or later, you’ll turn a corner and smell something so fetid and foul it will nearly knock you off your feet. You get used to the assault on the senses (particularly olfactory) that travel in Asia provides, but the odor that wafts about when durian is in the vicinity must surely be considered a crime against humanity.
When it comes to the rain, there is no escaping it. Nearly every day since landing in Taiwan, rain has been dogging our every step. Fleeing as far south as Tainan bought us a brief reprieve, but now that we’re back up in the north, the miserable, cold drizzle has returned with a vengeance.