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330 days. 26 countries. 336 seconds.

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to a friend visiting Medellín

I'd been in Medellín about a month the first time a friend asked me for recommendations. After one lonnnnnng draft to her, then a few more weeks and a few more edits when other friends asked the same question, I ended up with what you see here. All shared with tons of love for this vibrant and fascinating city!


First things first, general stuff....

Neighborhood. Everyone's going to tell you to stay in Poblado. Don't. It's like the Khaosan Road of Bangkok or the Cancun of Mexico -- it's not awful and it definitely has some stuff worth seeing/eating, but knowing you and how you travel, it's not your Medellín. I recommend Laureles personally: still a little touristy, but on a whole different scale. Plenty to do and eat, but with much more of a neighborhood vibe. If you want more hustle and bustle, El Centro is gritty and has a lot going on. On the opposite end of the spectrum would be Envigado.

Food. Obviously I can't speak to the meat dishes, but they're re…

Winter in Iceland

If a friend asks me about my trip to Iceland, I tell them about the people. My multi-continental travel buddy who agreed to meet me in Iceland for Christmas. Our new bestie from Couchsurfing. The board games and matchmaking and bracing ourselves against the wind, and the board games again. The long winter's nights give you plenty of time indoors.

But if a friend who's going to Iceland asks me about my trip to Iceland, I tell them so much more about what I loved of the country itself.


The Northern Lights
Now that I've seen them, I can be honest. The Northern Lights were the reason I wanted to go to Iceland in the winter. And they were totally totally worth it. But between solar activity and cloud cover, it is highly likely to miss them. So it was important to me to focus on the other reasons to go, and to make sure I wasn't setting myself up for a very expensive disappointment.

Once your travel dates are set, there are three remaining guidelines that optimize …

A Taste of Andalucía. Part 1: Culture.

After hiking the Jesus Trail in Israel, I sped through bits of Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Turkey, and Sicily. Ready to slow down for a while, I settled into Andalucía for about a month. I've learned a little from my experience and a lot from the locals,* and I'm loving every bit of it. Here's a taste...


Gazpacho
Most of us are familiar with gazpacho, but many don't realize that it's actually a drink. It's served with an ice cube and no spoon. If you want a cold tomato soup, order a...

Salmorejo
This is unbelievably delicious, especially considering how simple it is. Raw tomatoes, raw garlic, a little vinegar, and old bread soaked in water. Add some spices and a ton of olive oil, and that's it! The bread and oil make it rich and super creamy -- this one is definitely thick enough to merit a spoon! And it's easy enough that I'll happily make it for you when I get back. If I know you in real life.



Paella
What we think of as paella is not true paella. Ac…

The Jesus Trail.

I started thinking about hiking the Jesus Trail almost a year ago. I'd always wanted to see the actual sites of the Bible stories I'd grown up hearing. But a big tour group didn't seem right for me. I wanted more time for reflection, more flexibility, and more quiet. Enter the Jesus Trail.

The Jesus Trail is a 65km hiking trail that takes you from Nazareth to Capernaum. This is a route likely walked by Jesus, as he grew up in Nazareth and later lived in the Capernaum area. Landmarks along the trail include the site of His first miracle (turning water into wine), the site of the feeding of the 5,000, and the Mount of the Beatitudes (blessed are the peacemakers, etc). But they also include olive trees, wheat fields, goats, and manure. To me, it was just as special to observe these mundane sights and sounds and smells that would have filled Jesus' senses throughout his life.

The trail seems relatively underrepresented on the tourist circuit. We only met one other pilgrim …

India Photojournal.

I have visited some amazing places on this trip. Some have been charming, some welcoming, some delicious, some jaw-droppingly beautiful. But none as utterly picturesque as Patagonia and Vietnam. None that gave me quite such a sense of urgency to grab my camera, none that made me quite so scared to lose my memory card. None, that is, until I got to India.

When I get home, I'll upload my photos and process them properly, and then will hopefully claw out of some of my trip debt by selling them on Etsy. Until then, enjoy my favorite views of India in all their rough draft splendor.

By the way, I post lots more travel photos on Facebook and Instagram. And, as always, portraits are only taken with permission.


Udaipur City of Lakes
Delhi National Capital Territory

Agra Land of Palaces

Jaipur The Pink City

Jaipur The Pink City

Jaipur The Pink City

Udaipur
City of Lakes
Delhi National Capital Territory

Delhi National Capital Territory

Delhi National Capital Territory

Delhi National Capital Territory
Delhi Nationa…

10 Days in Vietnam.

Ten days in Vietnam is not enough time. That's just a fact. But I had three weeks free, and I couldn't let go of the idea of seeing either the Philippines or Vietnam. So I made the decision that made every other backpacker think I was a weirdo, but made me really happy: I visited both.

Do I wish I'd spent more time in each? Of course I do. But do I wish I'd skipped either for the sake of seeing more of the other? Not a bit.

But there's still the issue of how to spend those precious 10 days in Vietnam. The stunning natural beauty of the Phong Nha Caves? The peacefulness of Dalat? The picturesque rice fields of Sapa? The hustle and bustle of Hanoi or Saigon? Some combination of the above? In the end, I decided to aim right for the center. There's no one right answer, of course, but it did teach me a lot of lessons about what's right for me.


Day 1.
I flew into Da Nang, then headed directly to Hoi An. I strolled around the busy streets, then happened upon the t…