Long before I ever jet set to London or Tokyo, and long before I sailed the oceans or bussed to Antarctica, I went on road trips, with my parents.

Every summer we set off in our family van, rolling from one rest stop to the next, on to national parks and the beach and the mountains, discovering the vastness and wonder of America, mile by mile. For sure, road tripping across America is how I learned to travel and how I fell in love with my own country.

I learned to drive a standard transmission coasting the endless horizon of Nebraska. Road trips also taught me how to change a tire, what bison look (and taste) like, that some rocks are purple and red, and that the Mississippi really is a mile wide. Read More…

Two flags hang in the garage: Cuba on the left, America on the right. In the middle of our group stands Luis Enrique González, dressed in a black Harley-Davidson T-shirt, his hair wrapped in a black bandana. Oversized motorcycles from yesteryear stand parked in a row—some red, one bright turquoise. “This one’s from 1938,” explains…

This National Geographic Expeditions Cuba Trip has offered a spectacular opportunity to meet Cubans on their home turf and share with them our own impressions of their country. Though we explored several other areas in Cuba, we began and ended our expedition in the capital, Havana. With 2.2 million inhabitants, it’s impossible to caption this…

We were walking in the same direction, but going different places. The old man carried a folded cloth sack, and I had my camera bag flung over one shoulder. He said hello first, and I reached out to shake his hand. His skin was mocha brown and paper thin—his body frail and his hair as…

New Havana

“I wanted to see Cuba,” explains one man in our group, “Before it changes.” We all nod in agreement, except for the two Cubans in the room, who simply smirk. “I’ve been hearing that for the last twenty years!” says Migdalia, our guide. And she’s right—I’ve been hearing (and saying) the same thing for the…

Back in 1996, not far from my house, someone walking through the park stumbled upon a gigantic stone covered in moss. Finding a rock in Rock Creek Park is not unusual, but when that rock turns out to be a gigantic marble vase as tall as me, adorned with a fierce eagle and a oxidized…

You don’t “drive” a dogsled. You simply hold on tight and try to not fall off. My team of Alaskan huskies only have one speed—forward, and as a dabbling amateur musher, I only have one function—to slow us down. I jump on the rubber drag pad whenever we rocket down steep slopes, or those moments…

Alaska in Winter

In case you didn’t notice, I’ve been on vacation. Last year offered some incredible adventures, but I am glad for this time at home to recharge my batteries and prepare for upcoming travel thrills.  Nevertheless, it’s hard for me to sit still for too long, and so I embarked on a little vacation journey to…

It’s been a grand year of great adventure, and though the clock is ticking the final seconds ’til 2014, I am glad for the chance to review all that we’ve been through in the past twelve months: I opened 2013 on the streets of Edinburgh, exploring the land of my forefathers before leaping back across…

‘Tis the season of snowy nights and short days, log fires and sleigh rides. It’s also the season of ice storms and slush piles and seasonal affective disorder—in other words, the perfect time to escape to somewhere else. This year, National Geographic celebrated all Four Seasons of Travel with our book by the same name.…