Comanche National Grasslands

Comanche National Grasslands, Colorado, U.S. To say the Comanche National Grasslands is off the grid would be an understatement. With the exception of Highway 50 in Nevada, I've never driven through such isolation and vast openness anywhere in the world. And it's easy to get lost. There are no signs, no road names even, just dirt paths crisscrossing a wide, perfectly flat expanses of grass.

Why National Parks Are Better Than State Parks

Amarillo, Texas, U.S. There are many reasons, but here's the one I currently consider most important: National Parks never close. Take Palo Dura State park outside of Amarillo, Texas. Were it a National Park, I would be there right now. But it's not, it's a state park and so I'm sitting in a hotel room in Amarillo because everyone knows nature closes at 10PM.

The Legend of Billy the Kid

Hico, Texas, U.S. History rarely offers neat, tidy stories. But the messier, more confusing and more controversial the story becomes, the more it works its way into our imaginations. The legend of Billy the Kid is like that of Amelia Earhart or D.B. Cooper — the less we know for sure, the more compelling the story becomes.

The Dixie Drug Store

New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. New Orleans is it's own world. So much so that's it's impossible to put your finger on what it is that makes it different. New Orleans is a place where the line between consensus reality and private dream seems to have never fully developed. And a wonderful world it is.

Begin the Begin

Gulf Port, Mississippi, U.S. It's travel time again. This time I'm driving my 1969 Ford truck out west, to Texas, Colorado, Utah and more — a road trip around the western United States. The first stop is Gulf Port, Mississippi. It's hard to believe, sitting here on the deserted beaches of Gulf Shore, watching the sun break through the ominous clouds, but soon this beauty will be gone. The BP oil spill is somewhere out there, blown slowly ashore by the storm hovering over us, waiting to drown the beaches in crude.

Los Angeles, I’m Yours

Los Angeles, California, U.S. Los Angeles is all about the car. Shiny, air-conditioned comfort, gliding you soundlessly from one place to another without the need to interact with anything in between. But I have discovered that if you abandon the car for the subway and your own two feet, the illusion that L.A. is just a model train set world — tiny, plastic and devoid of any ground beneath the ground — fades and you find yourself, for a time, in a real city.

(There’ll Be) Peace in the Valley

Death Valley, California, U.S. Watching the sun rise over Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park, wondering why I have never been here before.

So Far, I Have Not Found The Science

Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, U.S. A canoe trip through the Okefenokee Swamp down in the southern most corner of Georgia. Paddling the strange reddish and incredibly still waters. Begging alligators, aching muscles and the kindly folks of Stintson's Barbecue all getting their due.

How to Get Off Your Butt and Travel the World

Athens, Georgia, U.S. How do you make the leap from cubicle daydreams to life on to the road? You want to travel the world, but, like me, you have a million excuses stopping you. How do overcome the inertia that keeps you trapped in a life that isn't what you want it to be? Here's a few practical tips and how tos designed to motivate you to get off your butt and travel the world.

No Strangers on a Train

Athens, Georgia, U.S. We mythologize trains because they harken back to an age of community travel, a real, tangible community of travelers, not just backpackers, but people from all walks of life, people traveling near and far together in a shared space that isn't locked down like an airplane and isn't isolated like a car; it's a shared travel experience and there are precious few of those left in our world.

Leonardo Da Vinci and the Codex on Bunnies

Birmingham, Alabama, U.S. A few pages from Leonardo Da Vinci's notebooks make a rare trip outside Italy, to Birmingham, AL, of all places. But the Birmingham Museum of Art is home to far more alarming works of art, works which depict the eventual, inevitable, bunny takeover, after which all the elements of our reality will be replaced by bunnies. Seriously. You heard it here first.

Elkmont and the Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, U.S. Pigeon Forge is Myrtle Beach in the mountains. Redneck weddings cascade straight out of the chapel and into the mini golf reception area. Pigeon Forge is everything that's wrong with America. But we aren't here for Pigeon Forge, it just happens to have a free condo we're staying in. We're here for the mountains. Smoky Mountain National Park is just a few miles up the road.

Rope Swings and River Floats

Mountain Cabin, Georgia, U.S. Two weekends ago we went up to the mountains, just outside of Dahlonega GA, and floated the Chestatee River using inner tubes, various pool toys and one super-cool inflatable seahorse. Unfortunately, proving one of my travel mottos -- you can never go back -- a return trip proved disastrous.

Our Days Are Becoming Nights

León, Nicaragua A short thought on the eve of our departure from Nicaragua: Everywhere I go I think, I should live here... I should be able to not just visit places, but in habit them. Of course that isn't possible, which is too bad.

Tiny Cities Made of Ash

León, Nicaragua The church bells of León have become a constant cacophony, not the rhythmic ringing out of the hours or tolling from Mass that the human mind seems to find pleasant, but the atonal banging that only appeals to the young and dumb. But Francisco is entirely unperturbed; He's too fascinated with the tattoo on Corrinne's shoulder to bother with what slowly just becomes yet another sound echoing through León.

You Can’t Go Home Again

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua The first time we came to Little Corn Island it was April, the tail end of the dry season. It rained once or twice, but never for more than five minutes and always followed by more sunshine. This time it's the end of June, just well into the wet season, and the island is an entirely different place.

Returning Again — Back on Little Corn Island

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua Generally speaking, the world seems so huge and so full of amazing destinations that repeating one never struck me as a judicious use of my short allotment of time. But for Little Corn Island I'm willing to make an exception and of course, the universe being what it is, our second trip to Little Corn Island has been unpredictable and entirely new.

In Love With a View: Vagabonds, Responsibilty and Living Well

Athens, Georgia, U.S. Why all the vitriol about a seemingly innocuous concept -- that traveling doesn't have to cost a lot of money, isn't all that difficult and hey, you can even go right now? People like us, who feel tied down by responsibility, find the suggestion that we actually aren't tied down patronizing and yes, elitist.

Little Island in the Sun

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua We arrived on Little Corn Island around sundown and met Ali, whom I at first took to be a tout, but he showed us the way to our guesthouse and, after settling in and getting a feel for the island, I realized that Ali, wasn't a tout, he was just a really nice guy who enjoyed doing favors for tourists, just beware the Yoni beverage he offers.

Return to the Sea

San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua Southwestern Nicaragua is a very small strip of land with Lago Nicaragua to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The main town in the area, Juan Del Sur, surrounds a well protected harbor with a mediocre strip of sand. For the nice beaches you have to head up or down the coast to one of the many small inlets.

Ring The Bells

Granada, Nicaragua The Church, which dates from the 1600s has the the narrowest, steepest, circular concrete staircase that I've ever encountered. It had a low railing and circled up four stories worth of precipitous dropoffs before you hit solid ground. From the top was a views of Granada's endless sea of mottled pink, orange and brown hues -- terra cotta roof tiles stretching from the shores of Lago Nicaragua all the way back toward the hills.


Athens, Georgia, U.S. The trees are in full technicolor swing. The land is slowly dying, and not just because it's Fall, we're also in the middle of a prolonged drought and this year the leaves are opting for a James Dean-style, leave-a-good-looking-corpse exit. If you're a leaf and you've got to go, do it with class.

On The Other Ocean

Catalina Island, California, U.S. Consider what would happen if your house were tilted 30 degrees to the left, how this would complicate ordinary activities -- like say walking. Now throw in a bouncing motion that lifts the floor five or six feet up and down in a seesaw-like motion on a perpendicular axis to the 30 degree tilt -- things become more like riding a seesaw that's attached to a merry-go-round which is missing a few bolts. That's sailing.

Being There

Myrtle Beach Airport, South Carolina, U.S. Myrtle Beach does not exist. Nearly everything in Myrtle Beach is a paltry derivative of some original form. For instance, most of the country has golf courses, in Myrtle Beach there are endless rows of putt-putt courses, where most towns attempt to draw in big name musical acts for their tourist venues, Myrtle Beach is content with impersonators.