Travel typically involves movement. A physical, material shift from one location to another that reveals the glory of this world. The vistas of the Alps versus the Andes versus the Himalayas. The striking contrast between the eastern and western banks of the Bosphorus Strait. The Pacific Coast Highway repeatedly taking your breath away with each successive bend in the road. But, sometimes, you can find a place that allows you to stand perfectly still and let the world reveal itself to you, with each passing moment your view morphing into something new and unique and never to be seen again. Bryce Canyon is one of those places.
There are essentially three different ways to see Arches National Park and still get an idea of what the place is all about. You can drive it. You can short-hike it. Or you can really take your time and venture to some of the more remote locations.
Like so many Caribbean islands, Roatán is one of those places where retired millionaires, optimistic college dropouts, and struggling poets intertwine with the local population to create a culture that is at once endemically cosmopolitan, lazily industrious, and responsibly chaotic. The island's personality is built on a healthy Honduran foundation, but the influx of European, African, American, and Asian expats makes Roatán feel like a place out of time, caught somewhere between the ages of imperialism and information.
Several years ago, I read Chase Jarvis's book The Best Camera Is the One That's with You. His argument is that most people don't need fancy equipment to capture photos; they just need to use the camera they already carry with them everywhere in their pocket. When he wrote the book in 2010, his iPhone had a 2 megapixel camera. I upgraded to an iPhone SE prior to my trip to Morocco, and I have been incredibly happy with the images captured by its newer 12 megapixel camera. For Christmas this year, Mike bought me a set of clip-on smartphone lenses that allow me to take a wider variety of shots. They include a fish eye lens, a macro lens, a wide angle lens, a telephoto lens, and a circular polarized lens designed for bright sun settings. My favorite of these is the macro lens, which allows me to shoot incredibly close details at high resolution. And they're so quick and easy to use!
Scuba diving is one of those things that must be practiced, not only for the purposes of keeping up one’s skills but also, legally, in order to limit the liability of dive operators. Most waiver forms ask if you have been diving in the past year. If you haven’t, dive companies typically require you to do a short practice dive so they can evaluate your skills and make sure you aren’t going to make a deadly mistake on their watch. It’s also a great excuse for guaranteeing one dive trip every year, minimum.
During my volunteer trip to Rabat, my new friend Paige and I had the opportunity to take a weekend excursion to Merzouga. It's a small town in the eastern part of Morocco, just 31 miles (50 km) from the border of Algeria. To get there, we took a 10-hour drive through the Middle Atlas Mountains, and the scenery was beautiful enough that I never opened the book I'd brought with me for the journey.
I make high demands on my camera equipment. Not only must it produce high quality video and still photos, but it must also be compact, lightweight, quick to set up, and able to attach to anything. For bonus points, it should also be waterproof. Because, scuba diving. The 360fly HD is just such a camera, waterproof qualities included.
I learned how to dive in 1984 from a salty Australian dive master named Murray Hill. There were several Aussies who lived on the Bouygues-Blount Joint Venture compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and they always talked about diving the Great Barrier Reef as a source of immense national pride. So, even though I was treated to some truly amazing diving in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea during those early years, I always placed diving the Great Barrier Reef at the pinnacle of my Adventure Travel list.
Angela and I do our best to travel with carryons only. There really is nothing more satisfying than getting off a plane, bypassing other travelers waiting at the luggage conveyors, and getting our passports stamped first in immigration. It's a small victory, but it pays off with great dividends when you're in competition for taxis, hotel rooms, or all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets in Tangier (more on that later). In our experience, traveling light and moving quickly is essential. But I'm unwilling to sacrifice high-quality video or photo footage for the sake of convenience; therefore, I have whittled my camera gear down to the essentials. This is what I pack for every trip.
With all apologies to our friends, both foreign and domestic, who advised us to spend some time in Belfast, we decided to secure our rental car and drive toward the northern coast as soon as we landed in Northern Ireland. We were short on time and long on ambition, hoping to see both the northern and the wild western coasts of Ireland before returning to Dublin and our flight home. But Ireland isn't a country that can be fully appreciated in a whirlwind tour. It is an ancient land, rich in history and slow in distillation. And, as with all fine whiskey, it needs to be sipped to be truly enjoyed.