Tag archives for National Geographic Expeditions

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…

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…

It gets cold in Africa. We are just below the equator but over a mile high in altitude, so that evenings are cool and mornings are overcast. In Tanzania, July does not bring the T-shirt weather of home—July means winter. We have traded summer for the African winter and I am shivering beneath a spotty…

Being a “Digital Nomad” means that my office changes constantly. Some days I’m uploading from a hotel in China, at other times I work straight from my backpack up on the highest mountains. Wherever it is, though, I can always count on something thrilling happening right beyond my desk. For this past week in the…

Wet Landing

Like witches, cameras fear water. I know this because I have killed several (three?) very expensive cameras by taking them to the far ends of the Earth and then using them in a light drizzle. There were no survivors. Aware of my own less-than-fatherly track record, I took special precautions with my new Nikon D600.…

Over-quoted and underfollowed, the Chinese sage Lao Tzu famously expounded that, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” I remember this every time I pass through an airport’s metal detector—to affirm that I am not merely a passive subject of security screening, but rather an intrepid traveler breaking the threshold of a…

Not once while I was in China did I eat rice. Perhaps I was ordering wrong but I also don’t remember seeing it on any menus. Instead, I was fed a steady diet of delicate dumplings and noodles so long it took me ten seconds to slurp a single spoonful. Chinese food may have already…

So far, I have never missed a plane in my life. Ever. Perhaps this is because all my journeys begin in the still, black hours of pre-morning, when not even the rats are roaming the streets of our nation’s capital. If I start early enough—say, 4 AM—I can usually make it from my doorstep to…