|After the Fact |
As all good things do, this trip too came to an end. I ended up with thousands
more photos than I can ever seem to manage to cull for this site. For the
wonderful people I've met on this journey, I hope SeekingShangrila captures
small slivers of our time together. For those I knew before and after, I
hope it better explains me. Here are a few of my favorite posts:
|Photos from Burning Man |
|Sept 8th::San Francisco::California
Apparently, I wasn't finished traveling. Though the summer in
Austin was sultry and comfortable, I wanted to get out and
see a bit more of the US before settling back in. So, I put together
a 5-week trip through New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and now Northern
California. The centerpiece of the trip was the week-long sojourn
at Burning Man
which is difficult to describe. Some call it an
exodus from society, or a "bunch of dirty hippies", or
simply nudity and drugs in the desert. The answer, as you can
imagine, is not so simple.
Photos can be found here (NOTE: mild nudity)
|A New Show: Travel in the Himalaya (free) |
Austin's Casa de Luz Center for
Integral Studies invited me to present my photos in their
Auditorium next Friday, July 18th
. The show will be less
how-to than REI, more stories and photos. Please come and
listen! Casa de Luz is at 1701 Toomey, Austin TX, just off
Lamar and Riverside.
The show's free, but feel free to
dine first at 6pm and stroll into the Auditorium at 7pm.
Casa de Luz Calendar:
Event: Travel in the Himalaya - July 18th, 7pm
|Resources Page |
The first clinic at REI was great, with healthy attendance.
Not your uncle's vacation photo show. To all
Texans (native or adopted): please stop in if you're able to the
upcoming shows in Austin, Houston & Dallas (see below). Surely, I
can inspire some wanderlust with a few tips to make it easy
How-to kit for Int'l travel:
|Clinics & Shows Ahoy.. Update! |
|The Photos Begin.. |
|Apr 17th::Corrales::New Mexico
First the eating, then the sleeping, then the sorting of
possessions. Not just the boxes I left behind, but I'd
almost forgotten about some of the souvenirs I shipped home.
At the very least, I know what to do with the photos...
Have a looksie:
Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Morocco
|So, Finally back |
Apr 8th::Corrales::New Mexico
Seems nobody thought I would really return, but my parents
believed enough to pick me up at the airport and trundle me
home. There's much work to do with the backlogged photos
from Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Morrocco, the Balkans and
England and Ireland. Crap. Can hardly believe I'm back. The final
tally is 789 days, but I think I just like the pattern of the numbers.
|Homeward bound! |
Well. I finally went and bought my ticket back to the US. It will be
rather abrupt, compared to the rest of the trip. Just 2 weeks from now
I will be back in NM. 26 full months, bringing the tally to
789 days. Wow, hard to believe. Depending on what happens in Bosnia,
I may or may not post photos. Could just be better to wait until I
have green chile chicken enchiladas to fuel the fire...
Back in sweet, sweet Italy. Food is good, even for those of us living
the simple life. After ringing in my birthday with several great
folks I've met here, I went to London and am back again, readying
for an Easter Ultimate Frisbee tournament and a jump across to Croatia.
|And back to Europe.. |
Still no photos until I rid myself of these crappy keyboards and
get back to computers that don't shout "virus!" The
airplane gods say Madrid tomorrow, then Porto, Portugal (Feb 26)
then Milan (Feb 27) then London Mar 6-13...
|Into the Africa.. sort of |
Damn French keyboaqrds.. they qre preventing ,e from updqting
seekingshangrila in qny zay. In fact; they qctually make my
typing look zore French. Zell, this little note is to say that
I'm finally on my 5th continent, zhich looks pretty ,uch like
the .iddle Eqst, the "iddle" of what is a great question...
|A Farewell Smooch to 2007 |
We are all victims of the calendar sometimes, and damnit,
I didn't want 2008 to rise high in the sky before I shared
a bit more of my globetrotting. Though more will come,
I picked out some favorites from both Nepal and
India. Hope you enjoy them! Happy New Year!
Nepal: Mountain Madness
India: Crazy for Camels
|The Long Pause |
It hasn't just been procrastination that's kept me from updating
the site. I've had trains, planes and automobiles ferrying
me through India, Romania, Bulgaria and now Italy. Plus, I contracted
a mysterious virus which could only be called "werewolf fever"
for its exclusive appearance at night, peaking with the full moon.
Photo updates on the way.. zoom zoom.
|7 Weeks in Tibet |
Tibet is part of China -- that sad truth is not a question any more.
But the Tibetans -- Khampas, Amdo Tibetans and Lhasa-ren are still
a breed apart. Mark and I journeyed through the NW Sichuan and SE Qinghai
provinces, a mountainous region just outside the "occupied"
Tibetan plateau, and what wondrous things we saw: yaks a-roaming,
monasteries almost undisturbed by the Chinese, hospitable nomads
ushering us into their tents, enormous
horse festivals and "tashi delek!" (good fortune) wherever
|What the hell?! |
Freshly settled in the breezy lakeside town of Pokhara, all set to update
Shala, and what happens but a virus attacks my hard drive and erases
all my files. Photos, web pages, everything. I'm working to recover it,
but I'm beginning to wonder if Asia hates my computer hardware. 15
months in South America without a problem, and 3 months in Asia with the
following casualty list: Apple iPod, 80GB hard drive, 20GB hard drive, 2GB
memory card. Is karma making a statement?
|China Pics! |
Just 4 galleries survived from China - a data drive crash killed
another 2 and half. Still, for just 3 weeks in China proper,
it's not a bad haul. Mind you, these are "learning" shots
on the new camera, so expect no miracles. That, and the polluted haze
that engulfs every Chinese city except Lhasa helps nobody.
Without further delay:
Shanghai, Beijing, the Great Wall, and Xian
|Entering the Tibet |
After sweltering down in the Chinese summer, I'm back at an
altitude that seems appropriate to Kham, the Eastern region
of Tibet. Still wild, with nomads in yak hair tents, jewelry
adorning faces lined with age and creased with smiles. The
exuberant "tashi delek!" has replaced Chinese recalcitrance and
the mountains are just beginning.
Unfortunately, as we are in the boonies, I haven't been able to
process and load photos. So, the stalling continues. To get
an idea of where these Tibetans are hiding, check the crayon-scribbled
. Note, it's not in "Tibet" proper, which promises to be
a tourist trap that only the Chinese could manufacture. Still, it
lies in our path to Kathmandu:
|SeekingShangrila in China |
The Middle Kingdom is a bad place to do internet..
So, I am stalling on an update. But rest assured, there are
some good "China Moments" in the pipeline.
We successfully camped on top of the Great Wall, and are now about
head out towards Tibet, via rough roads and many mountains, in
the Northwest corner of Sichuan province (yep, that one)
My travel buddy, Mark, has posted more pics than I lately.. feel free
to check out his
some fun snaps and updates!
|Roaring In: Colombia and Venezuela |
|Apr 29th::La Paz::Bolivia
My journey through FARC land, Bogota, the Caribbean Carnival
and the weird Guajira peninsula.
A country of natural paradises blessed with a blustery dictator. The beach,
the mountains, and the most amazing trek in South America.
|Tall Tales of Travel |
|from La Paz::Bolivia
Touching the Place the Void Touched:
Solo at 15,000ft, 5 miles from anyone, in front of one
of the world's most beautiful lakes, sick as a dog.
Nomads in America:
Braving a blizzard to ride in a 1986 station wagon across West Texas.
Why didn't I fly, you might ask..
|Ecuador, at last! |
Ecuador, the tiny, yet diverse nugget of mountains, beach
and jungle was supposed to be a quick one. 6 weeks later,
I was still there, and had slept along side the tortoises in
Check out the pics!
|Big Bad Argentina |
|Nov 24th::New Mexico::USA
The Argentine photos are plumped up, big and bold with
new additions in Buenos Aires, Patagonia and Iguazu
Falls. Sure, it's not novel, but the view's nice.
|Photos from Peru! |
|Nov 20th::Peru::Everywhere but Cusco
It's been a long pause, but Shala is back, with all
my photos from Peru. Trekking in the Cordillera Huayhuash, the
"eyebrow" of the Andes, and the big bad Amazon.
|Rurre's spell |
My trip to the Amazon Bolivian basin was nothing short of a plant and
wildlife cornucopia, and got me wondering, "when are you *really* in the
|The Art of Getting Home |
|Aug 20th::Bolivia::Quimsa Cruz Mtns
Ever lusted after a choose-your-own-adventure moment?
One cold night in a worsening snowstorm I had two options:
- Wait for 4 hours in a small shack at the intersection
of two dirt roads for a bus that may or may not pass at midnight
2. Run uphill at 16,000ft after a minibus that wasn't strong
enough to climb the snowy highway to the pass with us in it
|Ever Updward |
|Aug 1st::Bolivia::Mt. Huayna Potosi
It was 7:00am and maybe 15F. 6000m (19,600ft) above sea level,
I was climbing a wall of ice and snow, with just 100m to
the snowy summit..
|Shamanic Verses |
|July 25th::Bolivia::Lake Titicaca
I didn't expect to be sitting on a starlit ledge with
an Andean Shaman for a midnight meditation,
but there are stranger places than Lake Titicaca for this to occur.
|Sweet, Sweet Sucre |
What happens to a traveler every day? What if
that traveler is in Bolivia?
And what if there are juice bars?!
A day in the life..
|Hike the Rainbow |
Although my luck hadn't been stellar in the past month,
I decided to test fate on a two-day minitrek and see if I could
avoid killing myself.
|Dances with Bicycles, Part 2 |
The truth was that all the cyclists were scared. Some
had holed up in Salta for nearly 3 weeks, waiting for
European reinforcements to arrive before entering the
spare-parts wasteland of Bolivia.
|Dances with Bicycles, Part 1 |
After meeting a horde of cyclists in Salta, in Northwestern
Argentina, I bought a used bicycle and began to plan an
assault on the Salt Flats of Bolivia. An appropriate
response from a fellow traveler: "Bolivia!? Do you know
how many f-ing mountains there are?!"
|Valparaiso, Uncorrupted |
Traveling, there are some places you fall quickly and stupidly in love with.
Valparaiso, Chile's historical and once-again great port, was the
lair of indomitable poet Pablo Neruda. It's a realm of cobblestones,
plaster and tin -- shifting, crumbling and rusting in aesthetic concert.
|On the Wheels of Jesus |
|Apr 30th::Chile::Carretera Austral
Stuck on the border
Couldn't buy a ride outta town.
She said, try the padre.
Hell, it's Easter.
|The Fitz! The Fitz!! |
As the morning sunlight first hits my face, I'm cooking oatmeal with
Argentine dulce de leche
(milk caramel) on
a campfire stove. For the last hour, I've been at
a rocky lake at the foot of the peaks awaiting the
"sunrise of fire" on Mt. Fitz Roy, a 3405m peak
in Parque National Glacieres..
|Magic Boots |
|Apr 8th::Argentina::Tierra Del Fuego
Mariana and I marched faithfully towards Lago Esmeralda, following
the paper map that "Gato" had given us.
On either side, sawtooth mountains looked ready to tear
the soft grey sky overhead. The valley floor is carpeted by a rainbow of
, peat moss in a bouquet of colors: red, green,
white, yellow and black, a dragon's mouth laid open..
|BsAs: Ni Olvida, Ni Perdon |
|Apr 5th::Argentina::Buenos Aires
In a tourist playground of tango, currency arbitrage and
all-u-can-eat meat, remembering that 30,000 people simply
vanished 30 years ago, including the woman standing before us..
|Waterfall Wonderland |
|Mar 25th::Argentina::Iguazu Falls
Caught somewhere between Disneyland and
The Lost World: a tourist trap rightly deserving the title..
|The Island of Honey |
Mar 12th::Brazil::Ilha do Mel
At nearly 7pm, I'm trotting down a dirt path; my only light to
catch the curves from intermittent lightning flashes
against a dark purple sky. There are no roads here,
no cars, just a three feet of dirt snaking through
the mangroves between villages..
|Moments from Rio |
Mar 4th::Brazil::Rio de Janeiro
Seven-eighths of the way up Sugarloaf Pao de Azucar -- the famous basalt
monolith that peers over Rio de Janeiro -- has won this round.
Good tourists take the tram up to wander around the top and drink
Brazilian caipirinhas at sunset. Or, adventurous ones hire a
climbing guide and ascend with proper gear. Being neither,
I am free climbing up a route...
|Inside the Toy Chest |
|Feb 25th::Brazil::Rio de Janeiro
Behind the scenes
access used to be special -- a treat for the lucky or well connected. Now, it's a
genre of TV and variety show. Well, folks.. today I was lucky enough to be part
of that variety show.
The Man is down
A Likely Pair
That Big Tub of Sand
New Year's in the Alps
Dreams of the Himalaya
Gods are Watching
Welcome to China
That's a Great Wall!
Dear God, Man
All the Classics
Up in the Mountains
Carnival for All
Dude, Got a Chisel?
Home in the NEW Mexico