10 Tips For More Meaningful Travel

What’s the difference between a tourist and a traveller? And how can we have more meaningful travel experiences even while traveling for leisure?

Throughout my experiences of being a tourist, exchange student, international intern and expat, I have been reflecting constantly on these questions of identity, foreignness and the assumptions bound up in the practice and concept of travel. Continue reading 10 Tips For More Meaningful Travel

Reflections from the Reef

Dreaming Embedded somewhere in my subconscious is the ultimate Tourism Australia campaign. Sure I also learned how to spell, do long division and love reading, but one curious legacy of my primary schooling is my Photoshopped notion of Australia. They immersed us in ecosystems and conservation, the outback and the bush, dot paintings, wet and dry seasons, beach life and the surf. Despite having spent 75 percent of my life … Continue reading Reflections from the Reef

All About Altitude (Charquini and Chacaltaya)

I thought we were going to the jungle. Turns out we went to a glacier. On the road Emerging from La Paz, we drove a couple of hours through the desolate, windswept Bolivian altiplano. Our first stop was a miners’ graveyard – popular with tourists, judging by the busloads that had arrived before us. I don’t blame them. The quaint tombs (like mini cottages … or kennels) … Continue reading All About Altitude (Charquini and Chacaltaya)

Carnaval Act II: Oruro-Tarija-La Paz

After Oruro, the roadtrip. Oruro to Potosí (Saturday) Making it from Oruro to Tarija in the one evening was wishful thinking. We get halfway, pulling into Potosi, a little before midnight. It’s Saturday night, but there’s no party and we can’t even get a local beer – so it’s a can of Paceña, then to bed. Potosí to … Tupiza? (Sunday) A beautiful, sunny day. … Continue reading Carnaval Act II: Oruro-Tarija-La Paz

Carnaval Act I: Oruro

4.30am. Get up after 5 hours of sleep. For some reason, it’s easier than dragging myself out of bed at 7am. 5.15am. Our tour bus leaves La Paz for Oruro. I get some sleep. 9am. We take our seats at the stands on Avenida 6 de agosto (aka Avenida Folclórica). Parade’s already begun, other stands are gradually filling up, sun is out. Partly what you’d expect … Continue reading Carnaval Act I: Oruro

Two words for Washington

If I could choose two words to describe Washington, D.C., they would be EMPIRE and EXTRAVAGANCE. Perhaps they are two words that historically have gone hand in hand: the latter both reinforces and is a projection (and perhaps a symptom) of the former. In twentieth century history and politics classes we often discussed the USA’s imperial character. All the monuments and memorials I saw in DC last week seemed … Continue reading Two words for Washington

Meeting Moscow

Moscow was hot and muggy when we landed. She was temperamental – at times overcast, at times sunny. She was vast, immense like Russia itself. She was full of metro stations, Italian restaurants, kebab outlets. She was completely Cyrillic and very little English. All in all she was quite pretty, really. We dragged our broken suitcase and four backpacks to Lux Apartments (a euphemism if ever I came across … Continue reading Meeting Moscow

The photos you delete anyway

I’ve finally gotten around to the task of going through the 12,000+ photos I took in my two years in South America to select which ones to delete, which ones to keep, and which ones to develop and stick in my photo album. It’s a helluva task. Lesson learned: stop taking so many photos. You don’t need 20 pictures – over split second intervals – of someone … Continue reading The photos you delete anyway