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What’s the Big Fuss Over Guidebooks?

2010 December 8

Courtesy of

One of the more interesting debates I’ve heard on the backpacking trail is over the use of guidebooks. I’m talking about the Rough Guides, the Frommer’s, the Moons, Rick Steve’s and, of course, the ubiquitous Lonely Planet. They are everywhere these days  it’s rare to go into a hostel without seeing one.

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Finding the Lost City of the Incas

2010 November 30

Some of the scenery on day 3.

Day 3:

Like the previous two days, we woke up at the crack of dawn. The last leg before reaching Aguas Calientes, the majority of day three was spent walking along railroad tracks. Trains going to Machu Picchu (for those less inclined to hiking) traveled along the tracks and we saw them pass by once or twice. These tracks also happened to be the very same ones that were washed out in the March 2010 floods, about a year after I passed through.

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75K Miles From American Airlines

2010 November 17

There’s currently a very hot deal going on where you can get 75K miles for signing up for an American Airlines credit card. There are three versions of the card floating around (Visa, Visa Business, Amex) so it’s possible to rack up 225K miles if you are approved for all three.

Only condition is you have to spend $1,500 within the first 6 months, which should be pretty easy to do. The first year fee is waived and you can always cancel after you receive the miles if you don’t want to keep the card.

FlyerTalk has a very extensive thread on it with links to the offer.

75K miles is a ton and will get you pretty far, see this AA rewards chart.

Also, read my old post regarding earning free flights through credit card miles.

Over the River and Through the Woods, to Machu Picchu We Go

2010 November 9

Cusco morning.

Day 1:

I met Angie, Anna and Michael a few days prior and we decided to go as a group. We woke up early as a long day of travel awaited us: several hours of driving through the Sacred Valley followed by downhill mountain biking down into the town of Santa Maria.

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When I Chilled With Llamas on Top of Machu Picchu

2010 October 25

Awesomeness on top of Machu Picchu.

Look at that picture. It’s awesome. It’s me, getting my llama lean on at Machu Picchu. Wayna Picchu is in perfect view in the background, the clouds had just parted, the weather was warm, and at that moment, everything was right in the world. It’s one of my all-time favorite self-pictures.

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San Francisco, Presented in Wide Angle

2010 October 18

A collection of photos I’ve take over the past couple of months. Most were with the Tamron 10-24mm, a few with the Nikon 35mm and 18-55mm. Body is Nikon D40.

Down past the Marina green area.

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How to Backpack on the Cheap

2010 October 11

Time is fleeting.

There are two limiting factors to traveling: time and money. We often find ourselves with one but not the other. Back in college, I had entire summers that I could’ve taken off except I didn’t have the cash (and perhaps ambition). Now that I’m working, I do have the money but lack the time.

Luckily, one of these obstacles is easier to overcome than the other. As you grow older, you realize that time is harder to find than money. For people who are on a career path (myself included), big chunks of it only come around once every couple of years (changing jobs, going back to school, etc.)

So those of you who do have time, consider yourselves lucky. Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive and if you do it right, a little money can go a long way.

Here’s several ways to lower the hit on your wallet and make that dough last longer:

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