From a visit on July 30, 2006 -MOSTAR, BOSNIA When a place lends itself to the leisure of other people it generally becomes a haven for the lewd and the superficial. I am now in the fifteenth month of a backpacking journey that has taken me to some of the less contemporary parts of the world. In speaking with people and seeing their ways I have found that culture, above all things, is what makes a country endearing, and that a culture exploited is something lamentable. A place that panders to tourism is simply a place without a soul. With an old friend from the States I have recently... Read More
Why do Americans vacation so much? Do we really think it will make us feel better to go somewhere else? Why do we invest so much time and effort into the process? We're still the same people we are at home. The only thing that changes is the scenery. And then we always have to return back to our mundane lives afterwards. In my opinion, the entire procedure is highly overrated and a real letdown. Besides, vacationing is exhausting, expensive and a helluva lot of work overall. You either have to get on a plane or drive in your car, usually going far away, which means you have to go through... Read More
Preparing to fly back to Los Angeles, Gardner hid the ring in a pair of rolled-up socks and buried it in the bottom of his suitcase. "I knew I'd be going in and out of my carry-on and felt it would be safer in my checked luggage," he explained. Handing his suitcase to a Southwest Airline sky cab outside of Tucson International Airport, he entered the airport with his new fiance for the trip home. Upon unpacking, Gardner was shocked to find the ring missing. His disbelief gave way to anger as he told his fiance what had happened. "She was devasted," he said. Gardner found a card in his suitcase... Read More
Google out-scooped me on this one. Google has limitless resources; Google has eyes everywhere and trains them on arcane holidays. Had I been Google, I too might have awoken this morning with the name "Yuri Gagarin" on my mind. The story of Cosmonauts' Day is a good one, though, and bears repeating. April 12th marks the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's historic launch into space. On this day in 1961, Gagarin simultaneously became the first man in space and the first to orbit the Earth. He became a global icon and Russian folk hero overnight. His foray lasted only 68 minutes but has remained... Read More
I climb onto the back of a scooter and putt my arms around a man I have known for less than twenty-four hours. Before I can give it a second thought, we speed off into the darkness. The wind blows against my face, but the numerous beers I had during dinner keep me warm. I am unafraid even though I am speeding around dark curves and being driven by someone I barely know. The sky is completely black. This is in strong opposition to the usual gray haze of the skies at home in LA. The visible stars in the sky are of a staggering number, and I almost canâ€™t believe it. I am on this trip with a... Read More
MEXICO CITY It took a little over two hours to get from the airport to my hotel in the Reforma area of Mexico City. I was a fortunate one, as I had a personal driver that had been hired by a friend and he was able to navigate the scribble-scrabble layout of the streets of this enormous city. I simply sat back and mumbled "go, speed racer, go" to myself, as Antonio weaved his way up one Calle and down the next. As a passenger, death seemed the inevitable conclusion to this sleigh ride of potholes and unread or unrecognized traffic signs. Combined with frenzied, obviously, acid tripping, drivers... Read More
It was cold, very cold. On a quiet, weekday morning I stood on the side of a lonely highway, shifting my weight from one foot to the other in a little jig, rubbing my gloved hands together, watching cross-eyed over the point of my nose as my exhaled spirit transformed into mist. I was headed west from the city of Nice in the South of France, up into the Pyrenees, on the French/ Spanish frontier.
At eighteen years old I was suffering just the right amount of financial neediness, recklessness and youthful faith in immortality, to find hitch hiking the perfect combination of extreme sport... Read More
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