Camaná & Mollendo: A Tale of Two Eerie Peruvian Beaches

THERE ARE TWO beach towns within a three-hour drive from Arequipa: Mollendo and Camaná. Each costs between 10 and 15 soles to reach, and there are loads of minibuses and regular buses that leave every hour. Neither is better advertised from Arequipa’s bus terminals, and neither is a popular foreign tourist destinations, which might lead a sun-starved off-the-beaten-track backpacker to ask: Which is better? Camaná is known as a young … Continue reading Camaná & Mollendo: A Tale of Two Eerie Peruvian Beaches

lauca national park

In Photos: Reasons to Love Northern Chile

IF YOU’RE BACKPACKING through South America, you’ll likely pass through Northern Chile—after all, the northernmost city, Arica, marks the only route to Peru. But it would be a mistake to truck through without spending at least a few days—the region’s colourful architecture, perpetually cool beaches and proximity to little-seen desert parks makes it a totally unique experience, combining the luxury of Chilean South American with the rusticity of … Continue reading In Photos: Reasons to Love Northern Chile

ayahuasca tourism amazon jungle

Searching for the Amazonian Jews of Peru

THE BIGGEST PROBLEM facing the only synagogue in the Amazonian city of Iquitos, Peru, is that nobody knows where it is. Hotel concierges won’t know what you’re talking about; tell a moto-taxi driver to take you there and he’ll shake his head briskly and drive away. Ask a middle-aged police officer wearing faded pink lipstick who’s standing idly at the corner of the Plaza de … Continue reading Searching for the Amazonian Jews of Peru

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