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Touch the soul of the world..
About My Trip and This Site   
Shangri La, the hidden kingdom, uncorrupted if not undiscovered. It's not a bad thing to shoot for.. For 2 and a half years, I wandered the world, meeting some of the kindest people I could've imagined. There have been breathtaking views, intestinal parasites, seedy black markets, and even a stint as a professional model..


Ian's in: Dallas, TX, USA
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After the Fact 
Jun 2nd::Dallas::Texas 
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) 
July 8th::Austin::Texas 
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  
June 2nd::Austin::Texas 
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 as pie..

How-to kit for Int'l travel:
Resources Page

Clinics & Shows Ahoy..  Update!
May 15th::Albuquerque::New Mexico 
Great news! I've spoken with several places over the past few weeks about doing clinics and shows -- a place to showcase my photos and the trip in public, answer questions and meet up. I'll also be selling matted, framed and mounted photos, so please feel free to stop by to gawk, learn and say hi.

REI Albuquerque: May 20
REI Austin Downtown: June 3
REI Houston Galleria: June 12
REI Dallas: June 14
From the Ends of the Earth, South Dallas: June 15

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. More soon.

Homeward bound!  
Mar 24th::Split::Croatia 
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...

Mar 13th::Milan::Italy 
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..  
Feb 19th::Casablanca::Morocco 
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 
Feb 8th::Ouzarzate::Morocco 
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 
Dec 30th::Milan::Italy 
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 
Dec 25th::Milan::Italy 
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 
Sept 25th::Kathmandu::Nepal 
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 we went.

The Tee-bet

What the hell?! 
Sept 15th::Pokhara::Nepal 
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! 
Aug 12th::Lhasa::Tibet 
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 
July 15th::Kandze::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 map. 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 
July 9th::Chengdu::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 website for some fun snaps and updates!

Roaring In: Colombia and Venezuela 
Apr 29th::La Paz::Bolivia 
Colombia: My journey through FARC land, Bogota, the Caribbean Carnival and the weird Guajira peninsula.

Venezuela: 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!
Jan 12th::Quito::Ecaudor  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 the Galapagos. 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.  (more)

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.  (more)

Rurre's spell
Sept 1st::Bolivia::Rurrenabaque  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 jungle?"  (more)

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:
  1. 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. 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..  (more)

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.  (more)

Sweet, Sweet Sucre
July 15th::Bolivia::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..  (more)

Hike the Rainbow
July 5th::Bolivia::Tupiza  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.  (more)

Dances with Bicycles, Part 2
June 25th::Argentina::Salta  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.  (more)

Dances with Bicycles, Part 1
June 13th::Argentina::Salta  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?!"  (more)

Valparaiso, Uncorrupted
May 20th::Chile::Valparaiso  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.  (more)

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!!
Apr 12th::Argentina::Patagonia  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..  (more)

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 turba, peat moss in a bouquet of colors: red, green, white, yellow and black, a dragon's mouth laid open..  (more)

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..  (more)

Waterfall Wonderland
Mar 25th::Argentina::Iguazu Falls  Caught somewhere between Disneyland and The Lost World: a tourist trap rightly deserving the title..  (more)

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.. (more)

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... (more)

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. (more)


The Man is down
A Likely Pair
Art Attack!
Camp LaLa
That Big Tub of Sand
Parc Guell
New Year's in the Alps
Dreams of the Himalaya
Meet Tibet
Lake Country
Gods are Watching
Horse Festivities
Treks Ahoy
Grassland Magic
Welcome to China
Beiing Pre-lympics
That's a Great Wall!
Xian Sweetie
Dear God, Man
Lucious Coast
All the Classics
Up in the Mountains
Mad-Max Land?
Carnival 2007!
Carnival for All
Cultural Bog
Dude, Got a Chisel?
Home in the NEW Mexico
Galapagos Goodies
  . .