Posts in International
Ireland Roamings

There are places whose beauty defy photography, which can be frustrating, as a photographer. Or you can relax into the immersive impossible beauty and occassionaly shoot from the hip, embracing the novelty of an experience which cannot fully be captured or conveyed. And so instead you simply are present.

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Malawi to Maine

I’m in western Maine looking out over a smooth slate blue lake reflecting the burnt autumn foliage of the mountains under stormy New England skies, even as in my mind I gaze back over the past few months. Exactly a month ago I sat high on a steep hill looking out over the vast cerulean blue of Lake Malawi, imagining Tanzania and Mozambique somewhere out of sight, trying to understand my weeks in country as I swatted the persistent stream of micro ants off my dress.

Malawi caught me off guard, I will admit. I have a tendency to tip myself into adventures by dealing with the logistics but ignoring certain glaring challenges until it’s too late, so I don’t miss out on a worthwhile adventure by overthinking it just because it’s hard. (My time living in India and Micronesia were textbook cases of this, cue mini panic the night before the flight.)

Malawi caught me off guard in some ways, I will admit. 

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The freedom of the "Most Disgusting Version of Yourself"

When I arrived in Livingstone, Zambia to join African Spokes, Jen Gurecki gleefully warned that I should be prepared to be “the most disgusting version of myself.” An organizer and veteran of the 70 day trip, riding from Nairobi to Cape Town, she was on to something.

Each morning of Leg 4 started like every other day in camp; shuffling into cycling cloths in the dark, we broke down heavy canvas tent by headlamp, packing up camp while stuffing in calories and water to be ready for first light. When the sun started over the horizon we were off, covering 90km on a short day and up to 214km one special day, aiming to cover as much ground in the early post dawn desert cool as possible to avoid the intense heat to come. And the relentless lack of shade. Leg 4 which crossed a bit of Zambia, all of Botswana and northeastern Namibia had particularly nice tarmac, for Africa.

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Namibia, Hohewarte Guest Farm

After the African Spokes crew departed to the south of Windhoek to traverse Namibia's gravel roads on their way to South Africa I headed to Hohewarte Guest Farm for a few days, to slow down from the perpetual motion and reflect before I headed stateside.

I did not realize that this former Colonial Police Station and Post Office located on thousands of hectares of land at 1400meters above sea level would in itself be such a special experience.

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Camp, Home Sweet moving Home

One of the greatest joys of cycling across southern Africa was camping. Camping out under the African nights, which gold colder the further south we went towards winter, in start contrast to the desert’s hot days. We wild camped some nights and other nights found ourselves in deluxe campgrounds with showers and cold beers.

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Cycling, the Long and the Short of it

Days were measured in kilometers traveled, and wildlife spotted, and the butt pain meter. But most exciting was this day, and the 14 elephant day, including many babies, almost white from the salt pans.  When we passed most they raised their trunks in unison, trying to figure out what we were, bicycles not being very familiar.  For this reason we rode in packs when in elephant territory.

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Chobe National Park, Botswana

Chobe National Park in Botswana is famed for its abundant wildlife, best seen from a water safari, and is an amazing region where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe all come together along the mighty Zambezi River - the only intersection of four countries in the world.  This is one of many areas I hope to return to, and travel west across the Caprivi region of Namibia.

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Portillo : The warmest kind of winter

My father and I arrived at Portillo Hotel on a Saturday in July amid full blown arrivals and departures chaos in the chalet style hotel lobby which felt more reminiscent of summer camp than anything we had ever seen at a ski resort.  Although my father had been following the snow forecasts closely for weeks in anticipation of our trip (it was one of the worst seasons on record) we knew little about the resort culturally, other than the obvious.  Portillo has long Chilean heritage, as it was build in the 1940’s and sits at 9,450feet in the Andes roughly two hours from Santiago Chile, making it one of the prime southern hemisphere ski destinations in July – August, which usually is peak snow season.

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