Travel stories

She didn’t believe me


“Tell me the truth. Are you a spy?” It wasn’t the first time an old friend had asked me this, but the others made it sound like a joke. I suppose it was all those strange stamps in my passports: North Korea, China, Burma, Sudan, Syria… That and a twenty-two year-long obsession with a martial art that had historic links to espionage. I always assumed writing for travel magazines helped others make...

Geographies of memory shape today


We talked about ‘spirit of place’ in my last blog — locations and landscapes that hold an almost mystical resonance for each of us. We connect to such places on a deep level. They feel intimately familiar even when visiting for the first time. But we also carry the landscape of our childhood with us, and that shapes how we experience other places. My life was oriented around the St. Lawrence...

New Feature: Is This The Most Popular Destination of 2017…?


This distant northern country might be the most popular tourist destination of 2017. It’s a place where the wind gusts so strong it will literally tear the door off your car. It’s a place where the landscape morphs and changes before your eyes such that you can see geological time. It’s also the country which publishes and translates the most books per capita in the world. Yes, I’m talking about...

A New Anthropology of Drink


Me and Tomoko were shopping in Prenzlauer Berg early one evening this past Fall. And when the time was right, we walked down a quiet street until I found the blank steel door that I’d been searching for. There was no sign. Just a photo of the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett in a dark window. I reached out and rang the bell. A crack of light appeared moments later, and a head poked out. I gave my...

Chad – Tibesti Expedition 2015


It’s been over a month since I posted a new blog. But hey, I’ve been in one of world’s least visited countries  — and in an area that’s considered incredibly remote, even by Sahara standards. I signed on for another expedition organized by my good friend Andras Zboray, who has been patiently searching out and meticulously cataloguing prehistoric rock art in the Sahara for well over a decade. This...

Exploring My Old Urban Haunts


I shared a video with you in my last blog, where I got together with an old childhood friend to search for a campsite we’d set up 27 years before. I hope it brought to mind some of your own childhood adventures and memories, and that you spent a couple days taking a mental journey through the hazy summers of your youth. But I’m not quite finished taking you down Memory Lane… We didn’t just search...

Traveling Back in Time


I found one of my old campsites this summer… nearly 27 years later. In a recent blog, I talked about exploring old haunts in my hometown region with my friend Rob Wilson. Rob was my partner in crime for many teenage exploits. And when we weren’t pulling pranks or getting in trouble at school, we took to the woods near his home on Buckwheat Road, or we borrowed a canoe from my father’s friend Lee...

Three New Stories — On Newsstands Now!


It’s been a bit quiet around here lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been scheming… You were desperate for your travel fix. In need of stories that combine adventure, philosophy, bookish overtones and deep desert thoughts. Well it’s time to get your fix… You asked and I have delivered. But I didn’t just put together one catch-all piece for your reading pleasure. I’ve got 3 totally new...

Reflections in a Broken Mirror: Impressionist Sketches of Istanbul


Istanbul is a city of memory. The past permeates every street, shop, iconic edifice and passing face. As I walked through its streets and explored its buildings, I began to detect the city’s dominant themes. The theme of Topkapi Palace is seclusion. A graduating depth of shadows. Deeper shades of obscuring darkness. Privacy nestled within privacy like Russian dolls, visible in the layers of...

A Week of Expedition Skills in the Lake District


It’s been a little while since I posted a new blog. I’ve spent all of 1 week at home in the past 5 weeks, and I’ve got a lot of travels to fill you in on. Let’s start by talking about the Expedition Skills course I attended last week in England’s Lake District. If you’re planning a journey beyond the farthest fringes of the map, then you really should have this stuff in your toolkit. I first...


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