Llama at the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary, Sacred Valley, Peru

Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary, Sacred Valley, Peru

The Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary is a privately-owned, family-run organization in the Sacred Valley of Peru that rescues exotic animals that have been injured or have been used for cruel entertainment purposes. ...

Hand and typewriter

I’m Writing and Publishing a Book in 3 Weeks. I’m Also Crazy.

So I’m writing a book. If you know me at all, this isn’t news to you.  I’ve been “writing a book” for three years now. In fact, my friends are ...

PeruRail versus Inca Rail

Taking the Train to Machu Picchu: PeruRail or Inca Rail?

There are three ways to get to the famous 15th century Inca site of Machu Picchu: Hiking Train Bus or Car ( A lesser known option and, depending on whom ...


Me at Machu Picchu

How I Afford to Travel (Yes, I Reveal Exact Dollar Amounts)

How do I afford to travel the world? In this post I ...
How to Start a Blog

How to Start a Blog (in 10 Steps)

People often ask me how to start a blog. This post has ...

I Quit My Dream Job

Yesterday was my last day at work. For most (some of my closest ...

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“Traveling is a fool's paradise…At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”

On Grieving While Traveling, and Traveling to Heal

Grief. Who among us can escape its snare? Back in May, I met an American woman in her 60s who had come to South America after falling into a deep desolation when her husband passed away. “I was a mess,” she said, shaking her head. “Then, one day, my best friend said, ‘Let’s go to [...]

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My flooded kitchen in Cusco, Peru

Today I Flooded My Apartment and Neighborhood in Peru

Cusco is a noisy place (fireworks go off all the time), so I am not too surprised when I’m jerked from my sleep by a “bang bang bang!” But this sounds different. I jolt up in bed and check the time on my phone: 6 a.m. Who the heck is knocking on my door at 6 a.m.? [...]

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backpack and me

Is Solo Travel Lonely?

They say childhood is when you form deep wounds that carry over into adulthood and affect your behavior. I don’t know if that’s true (I’ve never been a big fan of Freudian theory) but if I had to pinpoint a time, I guess it all started in Kindergarten. I was sitting with my mom at [...]

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Me at Machu Picchu

10 Ways to Avoid Altitude Sickness in Cusco and Machu Picchu

You’re scared. I know. I was too. Before heading to Cusco, I obsessively scoured the Internet for information about altitude sickness. I even read a couple of articles about people who died from altitude sickness (or complications from it). This almost led me to cancel my trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu. That was silly for [...]

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My Heart Is a Map

When I was little, my grandma would leave the U.S. every few months to visit the Philippines. I always cried when she left. With hands pressed up against the cool window at the airport gate, I would try to find her seated on the plane so I could wave goodbye.

Often she would tell me stories of when she was a little girl growing up with nine siblings on a farm, where she played among the water buffalo and the banana trees.

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Cuy al horno, baked guinea pig

Eating Guinea Pig (Cuy) in Peru

Would you eat a guinea pig? In Peru, cuy is a delicacy. Check out photos and details of my experience eating cuy in Cusco!

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Faces of Peru | Marko the Estonian

Among a crowd of Peruvians in Cusco, Marko the Estonian is easy to spot. He is tall, blonde, and perpetually in shorts and flip flops despite this city’s chilly weather. On his left arm, a black tribal tattoo reaches down, like roots, from his left bicep; on his right arm, a black lion tattoo sits [...]

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Man on rope in Cusco Peru

Cusco Has a Party Problem

Dear Cusco, This is an intervention. I have stood idly by for too long while you blasted music, set off fireworks at all hours of the day and night, threw confetti everywhere and drowned yourself in Pisco sours. But yesterday was the last straw. As I walked past a lovely Catholic church in the Plaza [...]

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In front of Huayna Picchu in Machu Picchu

My Trip to Machu Picchu Part 2: How Much It Cost & How I Did It

If you’re one of the approximately one million people planning a trip to Machu Picchu this year, you’re probably wondering how to get to this secluded ancient Inca city. There are several options, from taxis, to trains, to hiking, to buses–or a combination–but in this post I’ll detail exactly how I planned my trip to [...]

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Machu Picchu, Peru

My Trip to Machu Picchu Part 1: What I Thought of This Famous Inca City

Machu Picchu has just been named as the most desired travel destination. Hostelworld.com held a survey that asked users to pick which trip they would most want from a list of the world’s 30 top destinations; Machu Picchu won by a landslide, surpassing the second best pick by more than 1 million votes. In 2013, 1,177,308 [...]

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