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Border Runs and the Breaking Point

2011 February 28
Koh Phangan, Thailand

Beautiful Koh Phangan, Thailand.

Backpacking is fun. There’s no doubt about it. But it’s also challenging. You’re always catching buses, trains, boats, packing, unpacking, dealing with unfamiliar places and people. It wears you down mentally and physically. Most of the time you just deal with it and move on.

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Fellow Travel Bloggers, Do You Write in Real-Time or Post-Trip?

2011 February 14
Jungle River Lodge, Honduras

Writing at Jungle River Lodge, Honduras.

Here’s a question I’ve been wondering about for a while:

Do you write on the road or wait till you get home?

To get a better sense of this question, I think it’s important that we first categorize the different types of travel blogs out there.

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Antigua, Guatemala: Ringing in 2011, Colonial Style

2011 February 10
Arch of Santa Catalina

Welcome to Antigua, Guatemala.

Antigua, Guatemala was the first colonial town I had been to since Cusco, Peru. I was stoked to be back. Seeing the familiar cobblestone streets, colorful architecture, wide open plazas and sprawling cathedrals all backdropped by a seemingly endless blue sky made me incredibly happy. Although there’s no denying the terrible atrocities committed by the Conquistadors, you have to admit that they certainly had a knack for building charming towns.

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Caye Caulker, Belikin and $12.50 Lobsters: Un-Belize-able

2011 January 31

Very fitting.

“Caye Caulker, Go Slow” was one of the first things I saw after getting off the ferry from Belize City.

It turned out to be a very fitting motto. The four days I spent on Caye Caulker were probably four of the most chilled-out days of my life. I’d saunter down the main drag, with a gallon jug of water in one hand, and hear some rasta guy call over, “Hey mon, slow down mon.” Reggae music (Bob Marley being the preferred choice, of course) played all day and night. People loitered  in front of their shops doing next to nothing in the hot afternoons. Island life, it seemed, was 1/4 the speed of normal life.

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Backpacking With No Plan is a Good Plan

2011 January 21

Caye Caulker, Belize. Not bad for a spur of the moment decision.

I sat near the aft of the boat with the sun shining down, wind streaking through my hair and looked across the Caribbean Sea at the island of Caye Caulker, Belize. If my trip was originally supposed to be Guatemala only, how the hell did I end up here?

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It’s Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy in Flores

2011 January 18

The view of the lake from Flores, Guatemala.

Flores, Guatemala was my first stop, the gateway to Tikal and one of my favorite places I saw on this trip. I only spent two days and nights there but it seemed much longer. I suppose it was because I did so much the first day (showing up ungodly early and staying up late) but time, nonetheless, felt slow.

The town reminded me of Copan, Honduras except that it was surrounded by a lake. It was composed of narrow cobblestone streets and pretty buildings no higher than three stories. The town was so small that you could pretty much walk end-to-end in 10 minutes and circle the whole thing in 30. I tend to have a soft-spot for small towns and Flores was no exception. Not only that, the blue skies, warm weather, lakeside piers and slow pace of life reminded me of summer.

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Finding My Groove With the Travel Crew

2011 January 10

Screw howler monkeys, bring me the crocodile! At Tikal.

Thinking back to all my travels and all the people I’ve met, I’d have to say that a large number of friendships were made on the bus. It makes sense if you think about it: when going to an unfamiliar place, often with no accommodation booked, it’s easy to tag along with someone you’ve just spent several hours chatting to.

Not surprisingly then, the first group of people I met on this trip happened to be on my Tikal tour. After dropping off my large backpack at Los Amigos, me and an Italian guy from the night bus went running around town looking for the 5am minibus leaving for Tikal.

As it turned out, Flores is a small town with only one bridge out. We hopped on as the bus was leaving and headed off in the early morning darkness.

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