Latest / page 2

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 Alaska—in winter.

The forecast in Fairbanks was clear with a chance of flurries, with temperatures zigzagging from the upper twenties to the low teens—below zero.

Just how cold is that? Cold enough to freeze your nostrils shut when you step off the plane—and cold enough to make you remember to plug in your car to keep the engine warm so that it will start in the morning. Read More…

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.…

Number Four

Last week, I went to prison. Everyone told me I had to go—that’s just what you do when you go to Johannesburg. So I took a cab to the top of the hill and paid my ticket and joined the group. They were all South Africans—all young, all black, and all very fashionable. And then…

Maboneng

Nothing beats a local introduction to a misunderstood place, and for that, I owe everything to Meruschka. I am no stranger to South African cities. Last year I spent six weeks exploring South Africa’s schizophrenic East Coast-West Coast divide, delving equally into Cape Town and Durban for this year’s National Geographic documentary, “The World in…

Monday I’ve never been so intrigued by the sex lives of animals as to gawk at the television when David Attenborough is narrating mammalian copulation, but TV is quite a different matter than sitting ten feet away from a grown male lion as he impregnates one of the lionesses in his pride, with a growl.…

The Big Tree

With every new mile, South Africa continues to surprise me. One minute I am watching a thousand black-feathered ostriches kicking up the pink dust of the dry Karoo. The next, I see the ocean, wild and white, thrashing the immense sand dunes along the coast, and then, just as the road sign welcomes me to…

Elephants are big creatures, weighing up to 15,000 lbs (much more than a car), and while they are intelligent and gentle, they can also be potentially dangerous to humans, simply because they are so big, versus our own species which is relatively small. Seeing elephants on safari is always remarkable and exciting, and occasionally (if…

The Cave

Limestone caves are like McDonalds—they’re pretty much all the same and they’re pretty much everywhere. The overbearing similitude of karst caves dissuades me from prioritizing them as tourist attractions—when you’re underground and it’s dark, you could be in France, Vietnam, Mexico, or the Luray Caverns of Virginia—all places where what’s happening on the surface is…

I Heart Ostriches

I admit that my job lands me in some pretty special situations (in the lap of a panda, next to mountain gorillas, or among several thousand baby fur seals), but nothing prepared me for the marvelous wonder and utter cuteness of a little newborn ostrich as it breaks out its giant shell.