Cañon de Colca

An Independent Traveller’s Anecdotal Guide to Trekking Colca Canyon, in 11 Aphorisms

1. Appreciate silence.  Near the end of our six-hour bus ride from Arequipa to Cabanaconde, three awful, young French people boarded the bus, standing near our seats. The loudest wore a backwards cap and blue tinted shades, and I could see the flowing tattoo of an angel wearing armour on his arm beneath his too-tight white T-shirt. He could not stop talking, joking, tapping his hiking stick on the … Continue reading An Independent Traveller’s Anecdotal Guide to Trekking Colca Canyon, in 11 Aphorisms

Taj Mahal Travel

A Long Way Back: Stories of Travelling Home is Now a Real (e-)Book

A LONG WHILE BACK, I said I was going to publish a book based on a four-month trip I took in late 2013. I finally did. You can buy it for Kindle here. The book is a simple one, roughly two dozen chapters of two millennials’ travels from South Korea to North America. It’s a collection of travel stories for people who genuinely like those sorts of things—misadventures, characters abroad, a … Continue reading A Long Way Back: Stories of Travelling Home is Now a Real (e-)Book

Mollendo travel

If You’re a Liberal-Minded Westerner in a Poor Country, Maybe You Should Pay More

ABOUT A MONTH AGO, V and I hailed a taxi to Arequipa’s central bus terminal. We knew how much it should cost—eight Peruvian soles in total, less than $3. When the driver quoted us 10 soles, we brought him down to eight. That was the objectively fair price, we reasoned; after years of being overcharged abroad simply because we’re white, we’d gotten used to haggling, as all travellers do. It’s … Continue reading If You’re a Liberal-Minded Westerner in a Poor Country, Maybe You Should Pay More

arequipa-expat

Stray Observations on Living in Arequipa, Peru

While standing in line at the Metro supermarket—something I have spent an aggravatingly lot of time doing—I saw, on the widescreen television, a muscular blond actress urging a crying redhead to presumably assault a tied-up man, whose face was purple and beaten. The redhead was literally shaking with terror as the blond one screamed, eventually pushing the redhead aside and pointing a gun at the man. A yellow bubble appeared … Continue reading Stray Observations on Living in Arequipa, Peru

I’m Writing a Book

BASED ON A FEW REQUESTS and the desire to spend these next few months quasi-usefully, I’ve decided to write and self-publish a travel book based on this four-month round-the-world trip. It won’t be just these blog posts — they’re frankly too lazy and short independently — but will instead be an expansion and detailed account of what it means to be an aimless twentysomething traveller … Continue reading I’m Writing a Book

In Defence of Malaysia: Don’t Let MH370 Be Your Last Impression

MALAYSIA’S BEEN BESMIRCHED in the media lately, and for pretty unfortunate reasons. First the shocking vanish itself of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370; then the rumours about Iranian terrorists, stolen passports, hijacked planes, suicide missions and missing black boxes. Maybe they found some rubble in the Indian Ocean; maybe they didn’t. Maybe it’s on land; probably it isn’t. Then, weeks later, adding political distress to emotional grief, a group of … Continue reading In Defence of Malaysia: Don’t Let MH370 Be Your Last Impression

How I Spent $7,634 to Travel the World in Four Months

FINALLY GOT AROUND to calculating my trip costs this weekend. I may have discovered a secret fetish for spreadsheets. A quick glance at the chart below tells the whole story: the later the month, the more expensive the country I travelled. As such, even though the total amount spent per month doesn’t change drastically. (With the exception of when I had to hop an emergency plane back … Continue reading How I Spent $7,634 to Travel the World in Four Months

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is Travel Propaganda at Its Worst

IT ISN’T RIGHT TO SAY Ben Stiller has created a love letter to ambitious travellers everywhere with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, though he obviously tried very hard to do that. The nearly-two-hour-long kaleidoscope of Central Asian and Arctic Island postcards seems hand-stitched for a modern travel community whose members’ ambitions soar miles over how much time they’re allowed off work, and indeed has … Continue reading The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is Travel Propaganda at Its Worst

Notes From the End of the World

“I BETTER TAKE MY PHONE,” the redheaded farm boy said. “In case we get stuck out there, to call someone to pull us out.” He had done this before. He searchingly patted the pants he’d hung up in the downstairs shed that smells faintly of sheep and dung and eventually found his small cell phone, the kind with a fuzzy green screen, then tossed it … Continue reading Notes From the End of the World

The Many Cons and Mighty Pros of Iceland in December

THE FIRST THING TO GIVE UP in Iceland’s December is the sun, and with it the loss of humanity’s very conception of time itself. Darkness shrouds the jagged island for 20 hours a day; the sun peeks out only briefly between 11 and 3 o’clock, which forces locals to reconfigure “morning” as a painfully taunting three-hour sunrise. Rising at daybreak—that very primal notion that dictates … Continue reading The Many Cons and Mighty Pros of Iceland in December