My fellow spirited travelers,

What goes through the mind of those lunatic Polar Bear divers who jump into freezing waters? I now know. Nothing, because it’s too cold to think. Your thoughts freeze. I was mandated to go big*. Just ahead my friend Rosalee jumped in cheerfully while double fist-pumping the air. Her smile was the width of a three-lane highway as she shrieked with delight. It was the second time that day her and I had pierced the frosty, iceberg laden surface of Antarctic waters (after she had fallen in paddle-boarding, I jumped in for solidarity). She has made…

My fellow spirited travelers,

I was getting antsy after three days on a ship at open sea. Though the program included seminars and lectures, yoga, meals and mandatory expedition briefings, my legs called for some movement on terra firma. South Georgia was the motivation for my choosing this particular expedition. I had decided on a shorter excursion, on a smaller ship, with a different company. My adventure agent, a sweetheart called Olivia at Expedition Trips in Seattle, had provided several amazing options that all sounded good to me. None of them were Quark (the operator of my current expedition). As…

My fellow spirited travelers,

Off I go. I have been atrocious in my diligence concerning writing. Last year, at this time, I was in a chilly tent — huddled over a dying iPhone — pumping out word after word as we trekked Patagonia. This go around, relative comfort has gotten me on my heels. In Bolivia, I had written for two hours on my adventures in the Salt Lake and the mines of Potosí, only for my phone to decide not to save the text — a moment of pure frustration only toniqued by the most stunning of sunsets —…

My fellow spirited travelers,

Exhausted. That is what I feel at this moment. Although unlike many moments in likeness that precede it, this tiredness is welcome. It is the weariness that comes from seeing something new, something breathtaking. The product of the effort made in ensuring its happenstance and the emotion that comes from the reward. I’d gotten the fever. In truth, I’ve been afflicted since my plane touched down from Argentina last April. Infected with the desire to get lost, I’d sabotaged any relevant and/or wonderful work opportunities that came my way this past month. …

My fellow spirited travelers,

I intend to qualify discovery. I’ve found it is the pursuit of which that produces with the most efficacy the best version of myself. In turn, the method of discovery that yields for me the highest self-actualizing return has always been voyage.

On voyage, I have only my personal reflections borne out of experience to convey. I have no masterful addition to the volumes of scientific-method based praise. However, I can express what it has meant to my personal growth, and perhaps that can be useful. In the interest of defining terms, voyage means a journey…

Dear Latin stranger,

Como se dice “Let’s be friends”?

Because I want to be yours. I fucking love new friends in foreign places. I’m intoxicated by it, by the discovery. By the avenues of experience it creates. Yes, a guidebook can help you find a good restaurant or a fun activity. A website might lead you to a not-so-known club or that coveted #nofilter instagram picture. But a person? A person will take you into their home.

Homes are my favorite places. Let’s Go will not be able to tell you what contents are placed on the brick mantles in…

My fellow spirited travelers,

Buenos Aires you enchant me.

You enchant me in so many diverse ways that I can only surmise you’ve done this before.

I’m I the first weary traveler to flirt with your street signs or scramble in front your accelerating taxis?

Could I be unique when I smirk at your sweatered tress, woven-warm and bound by colorful macrame?

How many of your stunningly beautiful women could actually be the love of my life?

I believe I fell for all of them at once.

Your facades, your facades! Those magical exteriors have witnessed more than my heart…

My fellow spirited travelers,

As a fan of futbol, it was a priority of mine to go to a match during our time in Buenos Aires. Some of the most famous South American teams play in BA. Boca Juniors and River Plate are two of the most notorious. Neither were playing at home during our stay. We had just missed the Superclasico, the match in which they play each other. Racing and Independiente were away as well. Racing’s captain, Diego “Il Principe” Milito, played for my favorite Italian team, Inter Milan. He achieved status as a legend after scoring two…

My fellow spirited travelers,

I had become sick. My physical defenses against illness were decimated. Admittedly, I had pushed my own limits. The main antagonists were obvious. There was the shirtless, sweaty Manu Chao-possessed live music marathon. I had rolled with Luis to a somewhat intense pickup soccer match which was played on a gorgeous but dusty field. My lack of proper footwear had me sliding across the pitch in my casual Le Coq Sportifs (though I still represented the Northern Hemisphere well). In between, we stayed up late drinking a king’s share of wine and beer and were waking…

My fellow spirited travelers,

Our Patagonian hosts knew of no bounds in their ability to impress. Luis and his group of charming allies welcomed us to Bariloche in a fashion fit for the most esteemed of guests.

We cast the first stone. Upon discovering an old brick oven in our gorgeous lake house, we invited all those that we had met the night prior to dine with us. Thinking ourselves impressive, we prepared carbonara with fresh pasta, oven roasted chicken and veggies and a kickass salad. We welcomed six beautiful adult Argentines and one precious little boy, Lorenzo. His mother…

Mark Stevens

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