Ugly Traveler (n.) — Any person who visits a foreign country, views it only through their homeland’s lens, refuses to learn or participate in local customs and generally shares their self-inflicted displeasure with everyone around them.

-Team Hazard Rides Again

Stories of ugly travelers abound. Whether American, Chinese, German, Australian or from anywhere else on the globe, people can’t seem to behave when they travel far from home.

We’re not talking about the obvious — like defacing historic monuments — that’s flat out criminal.

We’re talking about the people who take their bad behavior on the road and make everyone’s…


Okay, everyone, we need to talk about what it means to travel brave.

People often comment to us, “You two are so brave, I could never do that.”

The thing is, we’re not really taking that much risk. We’re having some wonderful adventures, but they’re not so challenging that most people couldn’t do them if they wanted to.

I mean if Tim, the fat, blind guy can do it — so can you.

Traveling brave is a decision you make when you decide not to listen to all of the doubters, or the fear mongers and figure out what type…


Okay, so you’re a Gen X-er , or a Boomer, whose been underpaid since wages stagnated in the ‘80’s, your kids (those lovable little money-suckers) are grown or nearly there, you’re over 50 and you want to travel the world like you promised yourself you would, but adventures abroad seem so expensive and difficult and extravagant.

You can’t really afford to travel, can you?

Or,

You don’t speak the language.

Or,

You’re not in good enough shape.

Or,

Any myriad of excuses that keep you from traveling.

No more excuses!

Yes, you’re older, and you might not want to party all night, crash…


Camel trekking into the Sahara is one of those romantic travel notions where under the wide open sky, in the middle of nowhere, you have grand revelations about the nature of the universe and your place in it.

Recently I was in Mauritania and had the opportunity to go on this grand adventure.

I had revelations all right, but not from the big sky or feeling like a little speck on the planet. No, my revelations were brought about by a less-than-friendly camel driver, a sore back and a crappy tuna sandwich.

Here’s what happened.

Chinguetti — Base for Camel Trekking in the Sahara

Imagine a Saharan town, with…


Curator’s Presentation — Opening

The story so far…

In Part 1, we covered our arrival to Mauritania and our trek out to see the Shipwrecks of Nouadhibou.

In Part 2, we visited Atar, and the giant rock Ben Amira.

In Part 3, I went on a difficult camel trek into the Sahara Desert.

Now onto the 4th, and final, part of our adventures in Mauritania — The Ancient Desert Library in Chinguetti.

History

In the past, Chinguetti was not only a major trading post in the Sahara Desert, but a major stop on the pilgrimage path to Mecca. …


The story so far…

In Part 1, we covered our arrival to Mauritania and our trek out to see the Shipwrecks of Nouadhibou.

In Part 2, we visited Atar, and the giant rock Ben Amira.

Now, onto the camel trek…

Chinguetti — Base for Camel Trekking in the Sahara

Imagine a Saharan town, with low buildings almost the same color of the sand that encroaches on every street and walkway where they bothered with paving. There aren’t too many people and despite a lot of the buildings being run down or abandoned there’s enough civilization to call it a town. As you move through this place you suspect that…


The story so far…

In Part 1 of Shipwrecks to Camel Treks — Navigating Mauritania’s Highlights, we told you about the heavily monitored road between Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and the quest to see the majestic but rusting hulks of doomed ships, dumped by governments and corporations when they were no longer useful.

After returning to Nouakchott, we set off for the Adrar, a highland natural region of the Sahara Desert. The 6-hour bus ride was more sparse, only one stop with any real substance. And even that was barely a strip of civilization. Knowing that Tim had a bad leg…


Lemo Burial Site in Tana Toraja

I first heard about the unique funeral rites of the Toraja people in Indonesia from a travel show many years ago, probably Lonely Planet, when they had their show on cable. It was enthralling. Not only did they have extensive funeral rites, but the Toraja people buried their dead in stone graves, high up on cliffs. On top of that, every few years they remove the bodies from those graves, re-dress them, spend time with them and generally pay tribute.

I was fascinated.

When we went to Indonesia, I knew we had to see this for ourselves.

Our tour of…


Rust Always Wins

Mauritania is a mystery to many travelers. While some intrepid world travelers have been visiting for years, only recently have travel warnings lightened to the point where more people are going with less hesitation. If you read government websites, you might think it’s still too dangerous. In talks with other travelers and our own experience, we don’t feel like this is the case.

There is, if anything, an uncertainty about foreigners in the Mauritania. Our impression was that while some people were very warm and welcoming, many seemed guarded in their interactions. We chalk this up to a lack of…


Thingyan Water Festival at the Grand Palace in Mandalay, Myanmar

Thingyan is Myanmar’s New Year Water Festival (also known as Songkran in Thailand) and usually falls around mid-April. It is a Buddhist festival celebrated over a period of four to five days, culminating in the New Year. The splashing and throwing of water signifies a washing away of sins and bad luck from the past year, a cleansing in preparation for the new year.

Mandalay

We flew into Mandalay a few days before Thingyan was scheduled to begin so we could get in some sightseeing before the city shut down. We…

Team Hazard Rides Again

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