Those Are Some Tall Trees: Valle de Cocora


You can’t really visit Salento without trekking in Valle de Cocora. The Quindio wax palm is Colombia’s national tree. Many varieties of palm grow in Colombia, which I found pretty fascinating, because coming from Georgia I always assumed that a palm was just a palm, but in fact there are 2,600 different species. Anyway, the […]

Guatape: If Colombia Had Summer Camp


When I arrived in Medellin after a mercifully short flight from Santa Marta (that story later), I discovered pretty quickly that I wouldn’t last two weeks in the city as I originally planned. In fact, I think that the five or so days I spent there contributed significantly to my decision to come home. In […]

Hammocks, Mountains, Sunsets, Minca


One of my favorite things about South America thus far is the ubiquity of hammocks. Hammocks to sleep in, hammocks to lounge in, hammocks from which to watch sunrises and sunsets. I spent a lot of time with my butt in a hammock at Costeno, and the change of scenery to Minca was basically an […]

On Driving Cross-Country — Three Times


At the beginning of the summer, I knew embarrassingly little about my own country. I’d traveled more in Europe and Asia than I had in the United States, and I’ll freely admit that most places between the East and West coasts made up one big blob in my mind. Then I had to drive across […]

Discovering Moab & Arches National Park


Another fun perk of the summer: I made progress on several of my to-do list items! On one of my two cross-country drives so far (there’s a third coming in November), I was able to spend some time in Moab, Utah and hike in Arches National Park. Y’all, did you know how incredible our national […]

Summer Camp, SLC Style


I have a blog, apparently. I kinda lost some motivation (and time) to keep up with Here&Afar this summer. It is now in my job description to live out of a suitcase, and while it may not sound as exciting as three months of facing the unknown in Asia, I have had a lot of […]

Days 56-60: Trekking in Shan State


I’ve been meaning to write about my time in Hsipaw, where I unexpectedly spent six of my valuable 27 days in Myanmar. I didn’t know anything about the place until about a day before I hopped aboard a bus in Inle Lake, but once I arrived I found it very hard to leave. Two of […]

Days 62-63: Fresh Air in the City of Flowers


After six days in Hsipaw and surrounds, I decided it might be time to move on to Pyin Oo Lwin, a former (very) British hill station between Mandalay and the high mountains of Shan State. I was not particularly charmed by it when I first arrived — it was evening, things were shutting down, there […]

Day 41: The Elephant Valley Project


In the first draft of my adventure list, I wrote down “ride an elephant.” But the more research I did on how to make it happen, the more I realized that this is the last thing you should attempt to do when you visit Asia. Trekking and tourist camps are everywhere, even at Angkor Wat, […]

Day 39: Welcome to the Jungle


After my sick day in Phnom Penh, I took a bumpy eight-hour bus ride to Mondulkiri Province in northeast Cambodia. It’s a rural area comprised of mountains, rice fields, and jungle, and it’s cool and quiet and fresh and green. Can you ask for anything more? I arrived in Sen Monoram, the only proper “town” […]