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Sheep Shit, Gasoline, and Thunderstorms: Reaching Punta Gallinas

2011 December 20
Punta Gallinas

Don’t let the blue skies fool you…

I stared at the dozen sheep lying in the boat.

Their thick fur matted down by water and their fore and hind legs bound together by ropes, they laid silently (presumably tranquilized) with lifeless eyes as if they had resigned to their fate, whatever it may be.

A group of men showed up with a large dump truck and began hauling them from the boat. As they cleared the sheep, I saw hundreds of little brown and black bean-sized objects floating around in the brine at the bottom of the hull. I put two and two together and came to the gut-wrenching realization that I would soon be sitting 2-3 hours in this boat, with sheep shit and urine sloshing around, all the while wearing flip flops.

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Finding Ciudad Perdida and the Way Back

2011 November 9
Ciudad Perdida

The main platforms of Ciudad Perdida.

Day one would prove to be one the of the more challenging days on our Ciudad Perdida trek. Despite a relatively short 3-4 hour hike, the combination of the torrential downpour and being out of shape made it a lot tougher than what it looked like on paper. And although we were not caught in similar storms the rest of the trip, multiple river crossings and high humidity guaranteed our clothes and shoes remained soaked the rest of the way.

Yet despite the constant wetness and over 100 bug bites, Ciudad Perdida would end up as one of the best adventures I’ve ever been on.

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Over the Rivers and Through the Jungles to Ciudad Perdida We Go

2011 November 1
Ciudad Perdida, Lost City Trek Colombia

The start of our Ciudad Perdida trek.

Above, the sky was an ominous grey but everywhere else I looked was lush green. We were a couple of hours into our five day hike to the Ciudad Perdida and it had already been raining consistently for an hour. Rain drops the size of small marbles pelted us every step we took and everything we wore, with the exception of our covered backpacks, was soaked through with rain, sweat and water from river crossings.

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5 First World Comforts I Miss While Traveling

2011 September 13
Saigon Vietnam

Orderly traffic? HAH! Saigon, Vietnam.

Travel is awesome but it’s not always rainbows and unicorns.

The majority of us who can afford to travel live in first world countries with many creature comforts that we’ve come to expect. But quality of life on the road can be very different, especially in third world countries.

Here are a few of the things we take for granted at home that don’t always exist on the road:

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Study Abroad: The Best Thing You’ll Do in College

2011 August 23
The British Museum, plundering for the ages.

The British Museum, plundering for the ages.

Hey college people, this is why you should go study abroad.

Ahh… it’s August again which means students around the world are heading back to college. An incredibly unique and poignant four-year span of every student’s life, college is a time for experiencing new things, getting out of your comfort zone, and meeting new people. The classes, frat parties, football games, and people you meet all make college a pretty unforgettable experience. As great as all those things are, the real icing on the cake for me was studying abroad. I’d rank it as one of the top three decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

I believe that studying abroad is part of the quintessential American college experience: a fresh faced 20 year old, heading off to some far-flung corner of the world for a semester or year long romp of debauchery, boozing, new experiences, and a shitload of fun. And oh yea, you learn some stuff along the way too.

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5 Things to Do Before Your 30th Birthday

2011 August 16
London, United Kingdom

The view from Waterloo Bridge, London.

This is a guest post from Gemma Deavin.

Travel is almost a rite of passage these days with gap year students, university graduates and those suffering from a quarter life crisis all heading to the airport for cheap international flights to get them out into the big, wide world. Whatever your reason for travel, here are some worldwide experiences to consider.

  • Europe: It’s on the other side of the world, it’s got as many different cultures as it does languages and its history goes back centuries. The continent offers some of the world’s best festivals, such as Edinburgh’s Fringe, Munich’s Oktoberfest and Valencia’s La Tomatina. Of course, no Aussie has truly come of age until they’ve worked in a bar in the English capital, so have a look at available flights to London to tick that off your bucket list. read more…

Airbnb’s Burglary Disaster and 5 Ways To Fix It

2011 July 29

Could this be Airbnb’s Hindenburg moment?

Wow. Shortly after I wrote my review of Airbnb and my summary of Airbnb alternatives, a burglary on Airbnb resulted in a PR crisis of epic proportions.

A woman in San Francisco, using Airbnb, had her apartment trashed, valuables stolen, and life turned-upside over the course of a week. The incident actually occurred nearly a month ago but didn’t get attention until it was posted on TechCrunch.

So far, Airbnb’s response has been tepid, at best, and even contradictory to what the woman has experienced. All this has resulted in a media maelstrom for Airbnb, including coverage by mainstream media. read more…