Westward in Comfort and Style

There were bad decisions made that fateful night in 2010, right TMO?

The last time Blondie and I went camping, biblical rain showers mixed with a shallow bowl-shaped campsite caused our little haven beneath the trees to become a giant pain in my swamp-ass. That next morning, after a near-mutinous and soggy night, we packed up everything in silence and, upon arrival at our place in the city, we deposited the sodden muddy fabric of our camping kit directly into the dumpster. That, according to Blondie, was the end of that BS – no more sleeping on the ground – that was Summer 2010.

Since then, our many outdoor ventures together have been cabin or lodge based – usually near a bar –  and that seems to suit us both as we like a bit of pampering and a stiff drink after a day of adventuring (who doesn’t?). Our most recent trip to Big Sur was, however, a departure from the norm in that we were going to get back into a tent, but this time a tent with a bed and lights and a sink with fresh running water. Yes, we decided to give glamping a try.  Ech! Personally, I cannot stand the moniker “glamping” as it implies that this old mountain man has gone soft, but in reality it is a cloth cabin with a comfortable bed that is great after a long day of being outdoors. Depending on the campground, you still get to do all the fun campfire stuff, you still need to be vigilant about forest creatures running off with the Doritos (seriously, guard those chips), and, in our case, you still get to be nestled into a mountain niche under a tall stand of coastal redwoods, but you get to do it all with comfort and style and there is absolutely nothing wrong with comfort and style.

Please read on to find out more about our first foray into the luxe-camping life and check out all of the pretty photographs that I made for you… Continue reading

Update and Request from Afield HQ – Spring 2018

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These are a few of my favorite things…

Even though it is snowing here in Boston preparations are underway for a few upcoming warm weather trips – one quick run to Dallas and then another not-so-quick run to Belize, where we are meeting up with the rest of our travel team to explore, hike, dive, point cameras at everything, and run up an ungodly bar bill wherever we go. Good times.

Meanwhile, in order to do more research on our upcoming destinations…

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Bengaluru: A Beautiful Mess

BengalAutoRickshawSM

Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, is indeed a beautiful mess. Our visit last November was my first introduction to India and I must say that it wasn’t a good first impression. Blondie was there to attend a conference so, naturally, I tagged along, but I wasn’t ready for the full-frontal assault on my senses. The first thing I noticed was the traffic – millions of cars, auto-rickshaws, scooters, trucks, and buses going somewhere fast – all the while laying on their horns using them as part warning and part bat-like sonar. The second thing I noticed was that there were people everywhere. Bengaluru has a population of nearly nine million people and apparently none of them like to stay at home. Thirdly, and I say this not as an insult but more of as an observation, the city has a dire waste management issue as well as a number of other infrastructure problems, but I won’t get into all of them here. There are piles of trash of varying sizes and consistencies all over the city. Someone told me that occasionally the trash piles spontaneously combust, which must be a solid gold drag for the people who live near them. Lastly, one is never truly ready for their first encounter with a gigantic cow ambling down a crowded city sidewalk or the amount of stray street dogs giving you the stink eye – every time I encountered dogs I either felt bad, like I was sitting through one of those Sarah McLachlan animal cruelty commercials, or I felt like they were sizing me up as a possible meal. Continue reading

In Love with Hong Kong

Just some regular storefronts in Causeway Bay

Just some regular storefronts in Causeway Bay

The title of this post says it all. I love Hong Kong and it is my current all-time favorite city on this planet. That town gets me – if I want to go out and shoot beautiful scenery or grubby street shots, they are right there. If I want to go out until five in the morning with some crazy Kiwi that I met at an American bar, then I most certainly can (and I did, twice – that guy was what we would call a character – an older Dean Moriarity type who believes the global shit is about to hit the fan and by the end of the second night I believed he was right). If I want to eat tacos for breakfast, dim sum for lunch, and a burger for dinner, I can, and I must add here that finding good crispy tacos in this hemisphere is not an easy task. You don’t miss things like crispy tacos, macaroni and cheese, proper BBQ, or a reasonably priced steak until they aren’t there anymore. Luckily, you can find all of those things in Hong Kong plus an entire galaxy of other stuff you absolutely do not need but want anyways – because if there is one thing I have learned in my 39 years is that excess and self-destruction are fun. Continue reading

A Cold Day in Dandong

Hushan Great Wall

A little while back when it was still booger-freezing cold here in Dalian we decided that it would be a good idea to go on a road trip to Dandong, a town about four and a half hours away and equally as cold. When we spoke to our man Lv about driving us there in the middle of the winter to have a look around he appeared puzzled and was quick to say that Dandong was more of a summer destination. However, after a little chiding and remembering that he gets overtime on the weekends he agreed to drive us up there. For those of you who have never heard of Dandong, which I might add is a satisfying word to say aloud, it is a city that lies on the Yalu River which separates Liaoning Province in China from The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or, as we know it, North Korea. Continue reading

Getting Older in Joshua Tree

We recently spent a long week in the desert southwest exploring and also celebrating my birthday/yearly mid-life crisis. Here are a few pics of and a few paragraphs about my new favorite piece of America.

Ah Vegas. We have been to Vegas a number of times and we rarely get more than a few pictures. That is by design.

Ah Vegas. We have been to Vegas a number of times and we rarely get more than a few pictures. That is by design.

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