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Month: March 2018

The Boys of Belfast’s Ghettos

The Boys of Belfast’s Ghettos

Sometimes, just when an event you have been looking forward to for a very long time is near, a totally different and very enticing opportunity comes knocking at your door. You can simply ignore it, or offer to radically change your plans. About ten days before I was to fly to Shannon Airport, in the west of Ireland, in early May, 1981, and begin a bicycling trip around the country, I realized that a major political event in Northern Ireland…

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Gorillas in the Mist

Gorillas in the Mist

I’ve had some very interesting wildlife experiences in my lifetime. I’ve seen dozens of giant Nile crocodiles basking on the shores of Kenya’s Lake Turkana; got way too up close and personal with a few poisonous snakes; and had a few nervous encounters with black bears and a young grizzly in Canada’s Jasper National Park. I’ve watched lions stalking game, feeding on a fresh kill and even having sex in front of my young children as I blushed, speechless. I…

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Annapurna Adventure

Annapurna Adventure

I rolled out of bed a little before 4 a.m., feeling kind of woozy after a short night with very little sleep in a Nepali tea house in Thorung Phedi, better known as High Camp, at 4,746 metres (15,572 feet). It was Halloween, Oct. 31, 2008, but I was not thinking about tricks or treats, or wearing a goofy costume. I slapped some cold water on my face, was careful not to wake my temporary roommate, got dressed, hefted my…

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River of My Dreams

River of My Dreams

There are some adventurous moments that intrepid travellers occasionally experience which are seared into their memory forever. Moments so exotic, so far removed from their day-to-day life back home, that even decades later those memories seem to jump off the page as if they were written in italics. Chasing such experiences is like an addictive drug for hard-core backpackers, which I certainly was in my younger and not-so-young-anymore days. The episode I am thinking about occurred in January, 1982, while…

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The Lake of Fire

The Lake of Fire

When I travel in the developing world I pretty much jump at every tantalizing and slightly crazy opportunity that pops up. Cross the Sahara Desert on the back of local trucks in 1972? Hell yes! Ride the broken-down barge up the mighty Congo River in 1982? Absolutely! Climb up to and over the spectacular 5,540 meter (18,176 foot) Kongma La mountain pass in 2014 instead of taking the easier and less interesting route on the way to Everest Base Camp?…

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