To Africa

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Into Africa

This morning, as a stepped out of the shower, I noticed that for the first time in quite a while, I didn’t immediately start sweating profusely as a result of the oppressive humidity that usually blankets New York City in August, which only means one thing: summer is officially coming to a close. (I also noticed for the first time that my neighbors in the nearby 11-story apartment complex, who have a clear view into my bathroom window, like to eat breakfast out on their patio in the morning, something I should remember next time I hop in the shower.)

Here at we like to celebrate holidays, momentous occasions, and the closing of seasons in the best possible fashion: hitting the road. In this case, the road being a 15-hour flight to South Africa, where, as you can see from the above map, I hope to try out my brand new $30 hiking shoes and spiffy Nikon D40 SLR camera in two of Southern Africa’s best known national parks: Kruger and Chobe. (Videos, articles, and much debriefing to come in the coming weeks/months).

Exciting News

Given the high unlikelihood of much, if any, internet access over the next 15 days or so, I’ve enlisted the help of two former contributors, one of whom, Jon Wick, I’m pleased to announce, has graciously accepted the title of “Contributing Editor,” and will be posting his own thoughts, recitations, and insights about travel for the foreseeable future on the site (or at least until he decides that he doesn’t want to anymore).

Further, Hal Amen, of Matador Trips fame, has also volunteered to contribute posts of his own for at least the time that I’m away. This while he’s not sipping lattes at outdoor cafes and partying to 6 a.m. in his new Buenos Aires neighborhood.

For a little info about both Jon and Hal, please see their short bios and Hollywood-like head shots below.

Until Then . . .

As for me, I’ll be posting again regularly when I get back on the 14th. Also, by the magic of the newfangled world-wide-internet, I will also be publishing a couple of feature stories from my trip to Colombia over the next two weeks. I know I’ve exceeded the suggested length for online articles by about 10X in both of the pieces, so I apologize ahead of time.

“For Africa to me . . . is more than a glamorous fact. It is a historical truth. No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.”

Maya Angelou (American Poet, b.1928)

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Jon Wick


I’ve been approaching the age of 30 all my life, but on my 27th birthday I stole a page from the movie “The Bucket List” and decided to create my own, making an effort at achieve one thing a year, for the rest of my life. That has taken me to all but seven of the states, up the flanks of Mt. Rainier, to the strings of hand-me-down guitars, and to Korea, where I am finishing up a year of teaching English and traveling whenever possible.

When I’m not forcing myself to eat Kimchi or quarantined for possible H1N1, I call the mountains of Montana home. I have taught elementary school in Big Sky Country for four years before setting off for Asia. Throughout my travels, I’ve been compiling a list of the “Top 5 Places I’ve Eaten Lunch.” They currently are, in no particular order: a sea cave in the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, any square meter along Boracay’s white sand beach in the Philippines, a narrow canyon along the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park, aboard a junk boat in Vietnam’s Halong Bay, and at Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier.

I look forward to joining team and searching for more places to add to my list!

Hal Amen


Hal Amen has spent 2009 bouncing between volunteer organizations, Spanish classes, and street food stalls in South America, during which his favorite trip by far was a tour of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni and the summiting of the 19,400-foot volcano Licancabur.

His last nonprofit gig wrapped up in August, and he’s closing out the year in Buenos Aires, where he’ll be on the constant lookout for drip coffee and meals that don’t feature half a cow (good luck with that). A freelance educational writer, Hal also co-edits the travel site Matador Trips and has contributed to in the past. He’s psyched to be on board, even if it’s only until Matt (hopefully) returns.

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