In late 2007, I quit my job and left the comfortable life in the USA for the open road with nothing but a 20-pound backpack, a long list of countries to see, and a penchant for sharing my adventures online.
Starting in Tahiti, I worked my way west through 20 countries on 5 continents. Low on money, I stopped traveling to spend the first half of 2009 living in beautiful Medellin. My days are spent figuring out how best to help motivate others to travel, while my nights are devoted to learning salsa, Colombian style.
If you’re looking for a way to challenge yourself in 2013, I’ve got a proposition to share."
Theaters try to sell every ticket, for every show, and are therefore willing to release excess inventory at a discount."
Swimming and sunbathing are the best parts of a beach holiday and Sesimbra has plenty of this to offer. When you get hungry, you can pick up some fresh fish from the fishermen who sell their catch on the beach. This area of Portugal is more traditional…"
Just off AJC Bose Road and a short walk from Mother Teresa Sarani (yes, a road named after her), is the Blessed Missions of Charity Motherhouse. Marked by a small wooden name sign and guarded by 2 soldiers I arrived at the charity. Though it is a pilgr…"
The Monaco of South America. This once sleepy fishing village has blown up into one of the hottest Summer destinations on the continent. Due to its proximity to both Argentina and Brazil, it attracts legions of beachgoers during the high season. T…"
Cabo Polonio is a little hippie hamlet that still reflects the old world ways of Uruguay’s coastal fishing villages. During the high season, Cabo Polonio attracts a bohemian crowd. Like Punta del Este, they’re there to party, only they&rsquo…"
Furthest east, near the border of Brazil, lies Punta del Diablo. This fishing village truly is what Punta del Este was like before developers took over. When the bus drops you off in the middle of town, you’ll step out onto dirt roads. S…"
Adjacent the opera house is the Zwinger Palace, which was my favorite site in Dresden. Aside from the ornate exterior, designed in the Baroque style, it boasts the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery, $13 admission), which hous…"
The plaza outside the opera house, Semperoper, is an excellent spot to begin a walking tour of downtown Dresden. Casual visitors will appreciate the rich exterior design, while culture vultures can take a 45-minuteguided tour ($12) to learn about the hi…"
As a backpacker there is a good chance you will be detained. It doesn’t matter whether you’re American, European, or Arab, everyone is a suspect at the border."
Backpacking in Europe is expensive. Aside from the flight, your next biggest expenditure is often accommodation. Hotels will ruin your budget unless you’re traveling with friends."
Located just outside the border of Bangkok in a province called Samut Prakan, is the 3 headed elephant Erawan Museum, one of my favorite sites in the city. Approaching the monument you’ll see the humongous sculpture, proudly towering over the high…"
It’s here! My first book, the Medellín Travel Guide: Insider Advice from an American Expat in Colombia is now available."
The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, which is not housed in a historical building, is instead a modern facility that showcases some magnificent works of Islamic art. Among the many galleries (which are set up in an open space rather than being section…"
After coming face to face with Komodo Dragons in the morning, we boarded our speed boat for ashort ride to Pink Beach, on another part of the island. Arriving at high tide, we were able to pass over the coral, and jump directly off the boat and onto the…"
It was with mild anxiety that I approached Burricleta’s neatly organized row of electric bikes in the village of Sant Hilari Sacalm, Costa Brava, Spain."
After 15 minutes of twisting and turning in the dark, we reached the parking area at the foot of a dirt path leading further up Mount Penanjakan (2,770 meters). From here, we were on foot. It was hard to see in the pre-dawn hours, but the entire path at…"
Ten percent of Iceland is covered by glaciers, with Sólheimajökull Glacier being one of the most frequently visited as a day trip from Reykjavik."
Here’s a recap of my first 48 hours in Miami."
Upon paying a 35 Euro ($45) entrance fee, you’re given a towel, and plastic bracelet which is used to control the lockers, and track your food and drink tab. The men’s locker room was clean, and well-designed. There were shower stalls b…"
Here are the basic tips and insight for the first time traveler that I picked up on my first trip."
It’s not easy to walk from beach to beach searching for the best bungalow. The season for the Perhentians is short so, by April, many places are booked solidly for stays in June, July and August. If you’ve got your heart set on a particular p…"
Located seconds from Madrid’s grand Plaza Mayor, this indoor market first opened its doors in 1916. One of the city’s oldest markets, the building was falling into disrepair until it was refurbished in 2009, when it proceeded to become one o…"
Tours to the Tambopata Research Center benefit from a 6:1 ratio of visitors to guides. The small groups allow more interaction, as well as improving the odds of spotting wildlife during the walks. Kurt, one of the co-founders of the Tambopata …"
All public beaches in Virginia are free. They generally do require a fee for parking, but visitors can even avoid that if they’re willing to walk a few blocks. There are restaurants and vendors, especially near the boardwalks, but beachgoers can a…"
Having already been on a wine tour a few days earlier, I confirmed that their tour would be to three different wineries, in a different region of the city. And instead of hopping in and out of a van, we’d be on Trek mountain bikes."
Steakhouses in Argentina are referred to as parillas."
Bangkok is a city where nearly every possible mode of transportation is available and necessary to use on a regular basis to get around."
As the stadium filled up, and game time drew near, a beautiful cheerleader squad emerged onto the field. From half way across the field, it was abundantly obvious just how short and tight their uniforms were. They proceeded to do a dance number that&rsq…"
Here are 5 incredible fusion eats in Hawaii that you shouldn’t miss!"
It seemed kinda crazy, walking under tons of solid ice, thousands of years old. Ice that is shifting daily. Ice that is melting under the warm Summer sun, right before our eyes. But that’s exactly what we did, and it was fascinating. The first …"
The floods of 2011 were a huge blow to Thailand’s magnificent ancient capital. Many of the national treasures were underwater but hopefully things will be restored and renovated."
On my first trip to Kyrgyzstan, as soon as the weather started to get a bit warm, the people always talked about escaping to Lake Issyk-Kul, especially in August. I later learned that late July and August brings unbearable 40 degree Celsius heat at time…"
Isn't that where Borat is from?"
Ais for Alpaca. The most versatile, delicious, and nutritious creature in Peru."
In 2011, Lima’s Astrid & Gastón was ranked #42 on a list of the world’s 50 best restaurants. It was one of only three restaurants in Latin America to make the illustrious list, with the majority being located in Europe and the USA…"
When I first lay eyes on Wayna Picchu, I had no idea how I’d get up it. I’d heard there were ropes on the steep sections (actually they are steel cables), but from below, it looked impossibly steep. But believe it or not, there is a trail th…"
The streets of Aguas Calientes were dark and empty at 4:20 AM, when I met up with the others from the Salkantay Trek. Together, we began the 20-minute walk down the road to the main entrance of Machu Picchu. We arrived at 4:45 AM, just as the entranc…"
Before I stepped on my first bus, I’d already heard a handful of stories about people being robbed, backpacks slashed, and valuables stolen."
Vilcabamba, a quiet little pueblo three hours south of Cuenca, has a reputation for fostering old age in its residents. The valley in which the town is located is nicknamed “The Valley of Longevity” and studies have been done to try and dete…"
It just so happened that my hotel was located adjacent Parque Seminario, also known as Iguana Park on account of the land iguanas that hang out there. The idea of giant lizards hanging out in an urban park struck me as odd, and piqued my curiosity. It&…"
The Malecon runs one and a half miles along the riverside in the city center, and is best walked in the early morning, or late afternoon, when the sun isn’t so strong. Between both the fencing that separates it from the street, and the strong show…"
Aside from reading Darwin’s Origin of Species 15 – 20 years ago, I had little knowledge of the Galapagos Islands, so it was a wonderful surprise to learn that we’d have the chance to go swimming with sea lions in Gardner Bay, Located on…"
While I still don’t think it’s practical to adhere to every tip 100% of the time, I will no longer be so lackadaisical when taking taxis in foreign countries."
The Basilica del Voto Nacional, which is the largest neo-Gothic cathedral in the Americas. A ticket to enter costs $3. Elevators run up both towers in the front, but I declined them in favor of the stairs. After two flights, and a pounding heart, I reme…"
Mountain biking Cotopaxi Volcano was easily the most scenic, exciting bike ride of my life. And one of my favorite day trips, ever. Unlike other bike tours, the Biking Dutchman’s was more focused on the bike riding, and did not include the (strenu…"
Ah! The life of a travel blogger..."
The following is a guest post by Professor G. Michael Schneider."
The Great Pyramids of Giza are best experienced on a camel. End of story."
The Great Pyramids of Giza are best experienced on a camel. End of story. Arguing that it’s better to approach the last of the 7 original wonders of the world in a minivan, or massive air-conditioned bus, will be an exercise in futility. It may t…"
It's bad when you hear about people getting robbed overseas, but it happens to even the most experienced of travellers..."
It was obvious when I awoke my first morning in Taganga, a small fishing village on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, that the beach would not be joining the illustrious list of other tropical paradises I’ve been lucky enough to visit. T…"
I quickly discovered through this feedback that the Japanese traditionally do not wear bathing suits when using the onsens. Finding this out in advance gave me a little time to mentally prepare for my first nude, public bathing experience."
It was dawn when our train pulled into the station; there was a crowd awaiting the trains arrival. Despite the touts and bicycle taxis that were there to hustle customers to their particular guest house, they were unobtrusive and not nearly as pushy as …"
Exploring foreign lands can work up a man’s thirst, the kind that can’t be quenched by just any girly-man beer."
I knew Barack Obama was popular overseas, however I was surprised to find his image being used to help sell jeans"
I've bought a lot of cheap trinkets in my travels, but there is one souvenir that makes up for all my episodes of bad judgement..."
As luck, or fate would have it, a Canadian woman appeared atop the Pokhara mountain where I was enjoying breakfast with a Himalayan view one morning..."
Professional hacker. World traveler. Thoughtful blogger."
My last dare dates back to December 2008, when I ate sheep’s head (specifically tongue and brain) in Soweto, South Africa..."
"Visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra was one of many highlights from my time in India. Waking up at the crack of dawn to get in early, I took the requisite photos from the head-on perspective, however this random shot from a corner angle immediately became my…"
During my trip through Colombia’s coffee region, it was recommended to me by several fellow travelers that I visit Salento, a well-preserved pueblo which serves as the jumping off point for day trips to the Valle de Cocora. In Salento, as with mos…"
Last month I met a horse named Canario, and if I had my way, that horse would retire from shuttling tourists around, and live out the rest of its years chomping fresh, green grass under the towering wax palms of Valle de Cocora in central Colombia. Ex…"
Bulungula Lodge is situated amidst the rugged landscape of South Africa’s Wild Coast. It was built adjacent a Xhosa village, with the villagers owning a 40% stake in the Lodge. Guest accommodations are in the form of traditional African rondavels…"
Visitors to Guatape, the lakeside pueblo two hours east of Medellin, Colombia, will find there are two main ways to cruise around the lake by boat. First, you can opt for a large, slow boat with a bar and upper deck for dancing as you motor along. This…"
In August Troy and I accepted an invitation to Guatape, a popular weekend destination for Medellin residents."
The night of July 30th kicked off the annul Fiesta de Flores here in Medellin, Colombia. It’s the biggest festival of the year for Medellin and one not to be missed if you are in the area the first week of August. Every day there is som…"
Arepas are the comfort food I missed while in the USA."
To experience the charm of the old, walled Cartagena, one simply needs to walk the streets, admiring the Colonial architecture while mixing with the locals, and maybe munching on some fresh fruit. I left the hostel around 9 AM, passing a bar I remember …"
To experience the charm of the old, walled Cartagena, one simply need to walk the streets..."
Figuring out what to pack is hard enough for a backpacker… and then comes the food problem"
Even though I chose to take a barge-like cruise ship up the Nile River, I still had plenty of time to enjoy felucca rides around Aswan. As with everything in Egypt, the cost had to be negotiated, and it’s best to bring your sense of humor."
If during the course of my travels, I have the chance to visit locations used in movies and TV shows, I’ll always do my best to take them."
Rebel Without A Cause was required viewing for a college class I took called Music, Marketing, and Youth Culture. When I tweeted about my trip to Los Angeles and asked for recommendations, Griffith Observatory was mentioned several times. I remembered …"
Botswana’s Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta. Traditional wooden canoes, called mokoros, are used as a means to travel from the mainland to the various islands within the Delta. They can hold 3-4 people apiece. And unless …"
On the morning of my last day in Rwanda, I visited the old home of former President Juvenal Hayarimana. When his plane was shot down over the compound in 1994, killing him and the president of Burundi, it was the spark needed to usher in the genocide. …"
Dave enjoys the tracking, but will he meet his quarry?"
After crossing Lake Kivu, and ending up in the southwestern corner of Rwanda, we visited a Batwa village."
On March 20, 2010 a volcano erupted in Iceland near the Eyjafjallajokull glacier after nearly 200 years of lying dormant. On April 7, 2010 I got to see this magnificent force of nature from right up close."
After a few nights in Gisenyi, we boarded a sleek, new speed boat to cross the length of Lake Kivu. We donned comfortable life jackets, which were a more fashion friendly black (vs. the traditional fluorescent orange), and took off. As we got some dista"
With only about 700 mountain gorillas left in the wild, the chance to spend an hour with these gentle creatures was a real once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Less than a week earlier, I was in suburban Virginia watching Gorillas in the Mist. Now, I was in the heart of Africa, about to visit these critically endangered primates in person."
In the shadow of Volcanoes National Park, home to the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda, sits Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village. Here, reformed poachers have come together to showcase the traditional Rwandan way of life."
As I was running low on time before my flight to South Africa, I opted to fly from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai, rather than take the slow (and noisy) river boat."
In less than two weeks, I’ll be exploring the Rwandan countryside in the heart of Africa - here's what my itinerary looks like:"
There are a lot of activities you can book from Luang Prabang in northern Laos. As I planned to do a multi-day hill tribe trek across the border in Thailand, I decided to opt for a mountain biking excursion, which included my first elephant ride."
After my Annapurna trek, I returned to Kathmandu for my last week in Nepal. I could only handle a few nights in rockin’ Thamel (the tourist district) after having experienced the tranquility of Pokhara, so I sought refuge in nearby Boudha, home to one of"
Vaccines are just one of those things that every traveler needs, but nobody wants to get or pay for"
This is a guest post by Jerik de Guzman: Re-discover Manila and be prepared for the surprises it’ll bring you."
This is a guest post on Go Backpacking by Deb Lauman."
I can finally admit it…I got bed bugs once! One of the worst things I have ever had happen to me while traveling and I guess maybe if you travel long enough it’s bound to occur."
Sichuan region is best known for spice and for hot pots. Most local spice is bearable, but one, the “numbing spice” (ma la), seriously tingles, then numbs your mouth, lips, and ultimately trachea."
Some things about Asia make me miss Europe."
After a week of serious partying on Haad Rin, including a Full Moon Party, I headed to a small, quiet beach on the northeastern edge of Koh Phangan. Thong Nai Pan Noi was a tropical paradise defined. The beach was small, and quiet at night, which made …"
Since rioting Tibetans and the iron-fist of the Chinese government meant I’d miss the chance to visit Tibet, I was soaking up as much of the culture as possible in Nepal. Nowhere was it more alive than around the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Boudha…"
I booked my departure flight from Australia out of Melbourne for the end of January because it seemed like a noteworthy city to visit. It was only after talking to my tennis fiend of a friend (code name - Sup2dresq) before leaving that I learned my trav…"
Given the 4-hour half-day glacier hikes seemed lame, I opted to upgrade to a heli-hike. Basically, you get a scenic helicopter ride up the glacier (higher than where the regular hikes go), hike around for 1.5 hours, and then get a ride back down. I had …"
I awoke from my slumber in Taupo to a chilly, cloudy, rainy morning. As I peered out the hostel window, I could barely see across the lake to the volcanoes I was hoping to climb. The Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage site, and home to New Zea…"