Twenty four months.
It’s a long time to be on the road.
I’ll hit that milestone tomorrow, a long way removed in distance and experience from when I flew out of Melbourne to start this journey. Even though I was ready to leave, I had no idea what the future would hold. Where would I go? Who would I meet? How would I make enough money to survive? I really wasn’t sure.
Of course, it all turned out for the best. It invariably does.Continue Reading →
Beaches and animals, beaches and animals… they seem to be a common theme in my Friday photos lately. To be fair, they’re a common theme in my life at the moment as well.
Here in Sayulita iguanas are a common sight, scrambling up (and then falling out of) trees, terrorising the local chicken population or just slinking away into the undergrowth whenever someone approaches a little too close. Having never been anywhere else where they’re such a fixture, I’m totally transfixed every time I see one.
There’s a particular tree on one of the side streets that’s locally famous for its resident iguana population – it – and they – are apparently both protected. At least, I think that’s what the sign says.
I happened to walk past it today, and glanced upwards to see this particularly impressive specimen sitting motionless on a branch. Perhaps it was just getting a good vantage point for the Day of the Dead celebrations that were due to start later in the day…Continue Reading →
Like much of the rest of New Mexico, I knew little about White Sands National Monument before I visited it. I had no idea, for instance, that it’s actually part of a US government missile testing range. I wasn’t aware that it’s a relic from the last ice age when a vast lake covered the entire region, or that back in 2007 local residents actually campaigned to have White Sands removed from a list of tentative World Heritage sites.
I was also completely unaware that it would end up being the most fun – and most beautiful – place I visited on this entire Southwest road trip.Continue Reading →
I know, I know, it’s another Sayulita beach photo… but this one’s a bit different.
Every day this week a local turtle conservation organisation has been releasing endangered baby turtles into the ocean at sunset. It’s all very low key, with a few tourists and locals watching as a small section of beach is cleared and the little creatures set off in a frantic flapping dash towards the breaking waves.
Under natural conditions only one in a thousand babies even make it to the water, so the volunteers do everything they can to improve the odds. Collecting the hatchlings and waiting until sunset means that the ever-present sea birds won’t get a free snack, while a beach free of obstructions and roaming dogs has to help as well.
Despite the low odds, it’s hard not to root for the cute little things as they stumble down the beach. I may even have cheered when this one finally got covered in surf, sucked into the waves as the last rays of light disappeared over the horizon.
I hope she made it.
I really can’t believe it took me this long. I first started this site nearly four years ago while bored to death at my desk, pretending to do a job that I hated. It was November 2009, and at the time I knew nothing about Wordpress, had never used Twitter and had only recently realised that travel blogging was even a thing. I was in a hurry to start writing so I did a quick search for free themes, installed one that seemed ok and started typing.
As it turned out, the theme that I went for was a terrible choice. It wasn’t really designed for Wordpress, and it showed. Pretty much everything needed coding by hand – for the first couple of years, even the home page was static. What does that mean? Well, every time I published a new post, I had to manually modify the page to make sure it showed up. Everything I wanted to show in the sidebar or footer, likewise, required some hand-written PHP code.
On the upside, it meant that I learned a lot about web coding very quickly. On the downside, well, everything else. As time went by and my spaghetti code grew, the site became almost impossible to maintain. It didn’t look great on mobile devices (well, it didn’t look great on anything, but it was even worse on mobile). There was no real branding, colours and fonts were a mess and the whole thing looked and felt like it was held together by chewing gum and chicken wire.
It was time for a change.Continue Reading →
I’ve been posting a few Sayulita beach photos on here lately – although rest assured, it’s much worse on my Facebook page – and there’s a good reason for that.
It’s just that, well, hanging out on this little stretch of coastline is just so damn great.
While there’s never really a bad time of day to get sand between your toes, for me this place is at its best in the evening. The sun starts to dip below the nearby hills, and the temperature rapidly follows. The vendors offering a multitude of useless crap souvenirs have found someone else to bug, and the beach becomes the domain of friends and couples enjoying a walk and a cold beer.
And, of course, the surfers and paddleboarders making the most of those last few precious minutes of daylight. They’ll be there until darkness finally forces them to shore, counting down the hours until they can do it all again.
It’s a rough life.Continue Reading →
For a change we got it right.
It wasn’t by any great stroke of planning genius, of course. It’s just that with our visas rapidly running out, our road trip through America’s southwest had to be finished by the middle of September. We ended up visiting around half a dozen US National Parks and Monuments… and had we left it another couple of weeks, they’d all have been closed.
Every single one of them would have had a barricade at the entrance and a line of disgruntled tourists stretching back almost to the people in DC that are responsible for the whole mess. Whatever the politics of the situation (and god knows I’m not opening that can of worms), the damage that’s being done to the US tourism economy at the moment is really quite remarkable.
Thankfully, however, we snuck in before the bickering politicians finally threw their toys out of the cot. Our first national park of the trip? None other than the Grand Canyon.Continue Reading →
Where do the days go?
I’ve been in Sayulita nearly four weeks now. It doesn’t feel like it at all, as life passes slowly in this little beach town. The first signs of high season’s approach are appearing, though, as cafes and bars start to roll up their shutters after the summer slumber.
Having a friend in town for a few days gave me the perfect excuse to do a little exploring this morning, wandering along dirt paths to an empty surf beach half an hour away. We could hear the ocean before we could see it, roaring and crashing like a caged animal.
There wasn’t much there, just pitted rocks, sea debris and a man walking his dogs along the rugged coastline. It was the perfect place to sit and reflect for a while, moving only when the surf ran up the beach and threatened to envelop us.
It was good to wander. It always is.Continue Reading →