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Chichen Itza

Mexico’s Mayan Ruins (feat: Rocks, Iguanas and a Seriously Cute Frog)

6:42 am | Mexico | 9 Comments

For someone with a history degree, I really didn’t know much about the Mayans before I arrived in Mexico. I mean, it’s not like they’d exactly had a huge impact on my home country of New Zealand – but you could say the same about the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, and god knows I spent enough time studying the minutiae of what they got up to.

I was vaguely aware of a few stereotypes – ball games, fondness for animal and human sacrifice, a well-known calendar – but knew little detail. The few pictures I’d seen of Mayan pyramids didn’t seem that impressive compared to those that housed the pharaohs, and all in all, I just didn’t expect to be particularly wowed by the historical sites on the Yucatan peninsula.

And then, well, I went to them.

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Sayulia beach time

Falling in Love With Mexico (And Why the Media is Full of Crap)

Mexico gets a bad rap, especially from the news media. As I discovered during six months in the country, however, it’s almost entirely undeserved.

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Man in hammock

Hammocks and Hard Drives is FREE this week!

12:39 pm | Travel | 2 Comments

So, remember how I published a book in February? Well, if you’ve been putting off picking up a copy, procrastinate no longer – because it’s FREE this week!

Until Saturday 12th April, you’ll be able to download a copy of Hammocks and Hard Drives: The Tech Guide for Digital Nomads for Kindle from any Amazon store. If you don’t have a Kindle, it’s no problem – just read the book using the Kindle app or in your web browser instead.

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Saigon streets

Why You Shouldn’t Overstay Your Vietnamese Visa

“Please come this way.”

The young immigration officer ushered me towards an open door, his immaculately-polished shoes squeaking slightly on the waxed airport floor.

“Is there a problem?” I asked, as innocently as possible.

“Maybe. Maybe not.” The officer’s face gave nothing away, but I already suspected that my afternoon was about to get a whole lot worse.

A few minutes later, it did.

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Man in hammock

And Then He Wrote a Book…

12:50 pm | Advice | 21 Comments

As you may have noticed, things have been a bit quiet around here lately.

I mean, it’s not like I hold myself to a rigorous posting schedule these days, but even for me, two posts and a couple of photos in a month is pretty lax. The good thing, I guess, is that I have an excuse… and for a change, it’s a pretty decent one.

You see, even though I’ve been living a few hundred metres from the Caribbean Sea for the last month and dining on delicious street food every day (tacos de arrachera and tortas de cochinita pibil have changed my life), I’ve been spending all day, every day in my apartment or hunched over my laptop in a local coffee shop.

Why, you may rightly ask? Why on earth would I inflict such punishment on myself?

Well, you see, it’s because I’ve been writing a book.

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Tiny frog at Coba

The Friday Photo #195 – Tiny Frog at Coba

Last weekend a few of us rented a car here in Playa del Carmen and headed down the highway to the ruined Mayan city of Coba, about 90 minutes away. Only a few sections have been cleared from the jungle, but it’s estimated that the city limits stretched as much as eighty or ninety square kilometres.

While there are what seems like thousands of cycles available to rent (and dozens of persistent tour guides and cycle taxi drivers), we opted to walk around the ruins instead. The key, as always, was getting there just after opening time when the crowds were fewer, the temperatures cooler and the entire experience far more enjoyable than later in the day.

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Human Trafficking Story

Human Trafficking: One Person Can Change the World

As you may be aware, I rarely post guest posts on this site. When I was approached by a mutual friend to help publicise some of the work being done to expose human trafficking in South East Asia and around the world, however, it struck a chord. Please take a minute to read and share the post, watch the video and donate a little to the cause if you can.

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Tulum beach

The Friday Photo #194 – On the Beach in Tulum

Crumbling ruins, lazy iguanas and pristine Caribbean beaches. Now that’s what I look for in my historic sites.

Tulum, on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, is one of the premier attractions in the area, and it’s not hard to see why. I’d never been to an archaeological site where you can wander around admiring historic attractions for a while and then walk down to a perfect white beach to swim in a crystal clear ocean.

Of course, being a major attraction only a couple of hours from the resorts of Cancun, it’s highly advisable to get there early. We took a colectivo (shared van) from Playa del Carmen that arrived shortly after the 8:00am opening time, and had the place almost entirely to ourselves.

By late morning, the tour buses had descended and the quiet contemplation and deserted beaches had turned into a heaving mass of humanity.

Before the crowds arrive, though? It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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