Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Route...

So it took me two months to travel the northwestern part of South America. My original plan was to stick to Peru, but I headed for my journey with an open mind to travel elsewhere. My thought was " when will be the next time I am this close to these amazing countries?"
I traveled by air, bus, train, taxi, horseback, motorcycle, foot and boat. Here is the route that I took. Click on the map to get a closer look!!!

I have some great tips on how to get around Peru, but I am organizing them so they can be very clear for any traveler.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Inspirational Travel Books

I have been reading several travel blogs and all seem to have a list of inspirational books. So here is my list of books that triggered my imagination, opened my heart to possibility and entertained my adventurous side.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This book is by far my most favorite. It was given to me by a friend and was encouraged by another to read it. I actually read The Alchemist in a time of my life when I needed inspiration.
Its about a boy who set out to find his own personal treasure. His search took him places that he thought he would never be and introduced him to people that filled his heart with desire, fear and love, only to find what he was looking for was in the most unsuspected of places.
Though some may feel that this book is overrated, I contend that this book should be read when hope seems to be slipping or your just having a bad day, because its undeniably a read for the soul.

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

This book I read in college and my good friend Nancy and I usually have a good laugh about how ridiculous the "coincidences" are, however, it resonates with inspirational moments.
Its about a man that trust his instincts and follows "clues" to where he needs to go to find the ultimate answer for human kind and our role with earth (yeah, I know its cheesy, but work with me here). His journey takes him to Peru, where he meets people that guide him toward his own spiritual evolution. Its about trusting a journey when it presents itself and to keep an eye out for signs to get you there.
The book encourages us to seek purpose and meaning through our personal experiences.
There is also an environment theme that I actually enjoyed. It makes you think that we are all connected to this earth and if we just trust this information and respect it, the earth will provide for us for eternity.

Eat, Love, Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book was recommended to me by my friend, Theresa, prior to my departure to South America. It resembles my own life and vision, but certainly not about me!!

This book is about a woman who makes a huge decision to walk away from a marriage. A marriage that had no real reason to walk away from. She falls madly in love with a younger man soon after the split, where the relationship ended as quickly as it started. This sent her to travel to Italy, India and Indonesia, alone, where she too was in search of her own personal peace. The the journey was not as easy as she thought, however, she walked away with a deeper understanding of herself.
It was a little too much on the "women power" side but I enjoyed her imagery and humor of which I found myself relating to at times.

In Search of Captain Zero by Allan Weisbecker
This book was recommended to me by my friend Matt, who is a crazy east coast surfer that loves Costa Rica.

The book is a biography about Allan Weisbecker (author) who sets out from Long Island, NY to find his best buddy, Christoper, in Costa Rica. The book delivers amazing imagery through the eyes of a surfer and outlandish tales of drug dealer. Weisbecker travels alone in his camper truck, stops along the Baja Coast to surf and continues down the Central American coast where he finds some interesting people along the way. Weisbecker gives his readers an intimate peek into the mind of a 70's drug transporter who uses his money to support his surfer lifestyle.
The back stories of him and Christopher are quite entertaining, but the intensity of Weisbecker's search of Christopher keeps the pages turning.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Casio F-91W... The Essential Equipment for Backpackers.

In Cuzco, Peru, I met some pretty interesting folks, Dan Morris and Dominic Watson, that introduced me to the Casio f-91W.
I just needed a watch and had no idea that the watch that I would soon own would have so much more meaning than the amazing built-in stop watch.
I would have to say that a majority of the people that I came across, wore the F-91W. We would huddle around tables and someone would randomly start the "5 second game".
This game uses the stop watch feature. You have to stop the timer at precisely 00:05:00. A skill that requires agility and precision. Glory was the prize, unless you were able to get 3-in-a-row. That required you and everyone else around you to get "pissed" immediately following your success, regardless of where you had to be the next morning.I know of one person that attempted and succeeded the 3-in-a-row, John McGrath from Ireland. I was not there to witness this, however, the story was verified by several fellow backpackers.
But the Casio F-91W does not end with backpackers. I soon found out that Facebook has a group called "I am a Casio F-91W Owner".
Also, if you look real closely in the movie "Napoleon Dynamite", you can see that he is sporting the F-91W.

I did a little more research(aka wikipedia) and found that the watch is used in terrorism.According to Wikipedia, the watch was used is many Taliban attacks.The stop watch feature seems to be handy when timing swimmers, playing games when your bored and blowing up things. Who would have thought!?
Well, there are plenty of F-91w fans out there, but would you get F-91W tattooed on your foot? Well, I met an Australian, Shannon Morris, who did. His foot will always possess the guinessness of the Japanese digital watch Inventors