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The Friday Photo #189 – Making new friends

November 22, 2013 | Mexico, The Friday Photo | 0 Comments

I recently spent a few days in the small town of Yelapa, leaving my laptop behind for some quality hammock and beach time. It’s a beautiful spot, accessible only by boat or, apparently, a length hack through the jungle – strangely enough, we opted for the water taxi!

The hotel we were staying was brilliant, albeit overpriced for Mexico – open air and overlooking the river, it was the perfect place to relax. Well, until sunrise that is, when the local rooster population decided to celebrate another day of being alive.

They weren’t the only animals that we made the acquaintance of, however. There were a couple of cats, several dogs, a few mosquitoes and – after heavy rain one night – this friendly toad who decided he’d much rather hang out behind our bed than weather the storm outside. It’s hard to blame him, really.

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Toilet alien
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Roswell, You’re A Really Freaking Weird Little Town

November 21, 2013 | USA | 9 Comments

We hadn’t planned to go to Roswell on our US road trip, but when we realised it would only add a couple of hours to our drive from White Sands, Lauren pestered the hell out of me until I gave in… I mean, I happily agreed to make the detour. I mean, it’s not every day you get to visit the site of an alleged UFO crash landing, right?

No, no it isn’t.

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Day of the Dead candles
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The Friday Photo #188 – Flickering candles for the Day of the Dead

November 15, 2013 | Mexico, The Friday Photo | 3 Comments

The official Day of the Dead festivities here in Sayulita were a fairly raucous affair, with well-known bands, giant dancers (no, really) a party that ran until the small hours.

As darkness fell the day before, though, a more subdued celebration took place in the main plaza. Memorials to those who had died throughout the year had been erected throughout the day, and friends and relatives of the deceased lit candles in their memory.

They were simple yet poignant reminders that none of us will be here forever.

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Sunset on Lonely Beach

42 Of My Favourite Things From Two Years Of Travel

November 13, 2013 | Article | 12 Comments

Last week I celebrated two years on the road. It wasn’t a big celebration – I’d had that with friends a few nights earlier – but as Lauren and I ate smoked fish and polished off a bottle of wine, we unsurprisingly got to talking about the most memorable aspects of our travels.

“What are your three favourite cities?” one of us would ask, and then we’d both have to come up with an answer. “How about your favourite meals? Guesthouses? Sunsets?”

I was as surprised by the differences between our choices as the similarities, and we ended up playing that game for hours. I’m sure that had nothing to do with the wine, of course.

Since I figured that perhaps Lauren might not be the only person interested in those answers, I decided to write down as many as I could remember here as well.

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Cemetary, Sayulita
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The Friday Photo #187 – Death With A View

November 8, 2013 | Mexico, The Friday Photo | 3 Comments

There aren’t many cemeteries around the world that I’d willingly spend much time in, but the one here in Sayulita is an exception. It’s a bright, colourful mass of gravestones and mausoleums, strewn up and down a rocky hill that overlooks the beach and town below.
Rather than a place for sadness, it seems like somewhere to celebrate the life of those who have departed. Surfboards dot the landscape, along with other mementos of the deceased. There’s even a little beach at the end of the path (Playa de Los Muertos, literally ‘Beach of the Dead’), and all in all it doesn’t look or feel like any other cemetery I’ve visited.

I was there the afternoon before the Day of the Dead celebrations here in Mexico, and families were out tidying up the graves of their loved ones in preparation, chatting away as they weeded and polished.

If I was going to be buried anywhere when I do, I can think of far worse places than this.

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Sunset in the Delta

Reflections On My Second Year Of Travel

November 6, 2013 | Article | 23 Comments

Two years.

Twenty four months.

731 days.

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.

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Iguana in tree
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The Friday Photo #186 – Wonder why it’s called the Iguana Tree?

November 1, 2013 | Mexico, The Friday Photo | 0 Comments

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…

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White Sands - dune
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Sleds And Sunsets At White Sands (And Why You Really Need to Go There)

October 30, 2013 | USA | 0 Comments

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.

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