12 months. $25,000. One journey.
Under a 3 minute read, these brief anecdotes land in your inbox every evening for the duration of the 365 day adventure, allowing you to accompany one expedition from beginning to end – right from your armchair. The subject matter is drawn from events transpiring earlier in the day, providing you with real-time updates from the road.
Think unscripted travel-themed reality show. Just, you know, minus the whole TV-screen thing and with one or two fewer love triangles.
You can get the full lowdown here.
Day 25 & 26: Dispatched With a View to Let You Draw Your Own First Impressions of Palomino
I spent the past 32 hours exploring this small village in Northern Colombia my new friends talked me into coming to and well, let’s just say I saw some things.
Things I spent the better part of an hour trying to write to you about.
But then an idea came to me…READ MORE
Day 24: Dispatched While Letting New Friends Introduce Me to New Places
You would think after 6 days spent in too-close-for-any-kind-of-comfort quarters on a small sailboat that me and my fellow seaman would want nothing to do with each other any time soon (especially after learning as much about each other’s bowel movements as we did).
Yet 5 days after reaching dry land, we continue gravitating toward one another.
It started in Cartagena, Colombia when half our group stayed in the same hostel. There were the 3 Australian party boys, the 2 Swiss friends, the German female solo traveler, the German male solo traveler, and the token American (me)…READ MORE
Day 23: Dispatched From Beyond the Wall
Cartagena, to be entirely cliche, is charming. Beautiful. Stunning. Colorful. Lovely.
And to be entirely un-cliche, I’m not referring to this Colombian city’s historic Old Town. The one set within 16th century-built walls and filled with a maze of cobbled streets, sprawling squares, and colonial architecture that attracts mostly honeymooners and wealthy Colombians.
But like I said – I’m not talking about the Old Town. I’m talking about the Cartagena beyond the wall. The one with fewer tourists, lower prices, and (in my opinion) the best food in town. It’s not hard to find yet most tourists miss out. I promise there’s no need to wander far or seek out dodgy streets to find it…READ MORE
Day 22: Dispatched After a 6 Day Sail from Panama to Colombia
I’m not a pirate and rum disagrees with me.
Yet I found myself on the aft deck of a sailboat in the middle of the Caribbean pretending none of that was true. I, along with 12 other mateys and a cat I wish I could say had a peg leg, were on an adventure. One taking us from Panama to Colombia via the high seas.
The seas were f*ckin high.
I wanted to puke and the rum had nothing to do with it. Storm systems circled overhead, churning the waters beneath our hull. The boat shook this way…READ MORE
Day 16 – 21: Dispatched With an Out of Office Message
I mean realllllly out of office.
I’m currently sailing from Panama through the Caribbean en route to Colombia (playing the drunken pirate of course) and am wifi-less for the next 5 days. Regularly scheduled dispatches will resume upon my disembarkation back onto solid ground.
Sea you on the other side.
Day 15: Dispatched From the Path Between the Seas
An old boyfriend once asked what I liked most about myself.
It was a question that, as far as I could recall, no one had asked me before. Yet the answer came easy – the thing I liked most about myself was that I could eat as many Crunchwrap Supremes from Taco Bell as I wanted without my derrière losing its rounded shape and firmness.
While my boyfriend conceded that my behind indeed did not reflect my poor eating habit, he also pointedly let me know my deflection technique wasn’t going to work. His patience could outlast my jokes…READ MORE
Day 13 & 14: Dispatched After Letting Myself Get Ripped Off
“No, ocho. Pay ocho.”
“No. I have 5. Tengo cinco.”
“I take you for 8 only.”
“How about seis? Will 6 work?
“No. Ocho. Eight. Eight. Eight.” Sighing, I opened the door of the cab at Albrook Station and threw my bags…READ MORE
Day 12: Dispatched After a Very Immature Poop Joke
Based on the subject line of this email you probably thought this was going to be a lighthearted travel tale involving a mishap in some foreign bathroom.
Either that or you clicked delete immediately because any discussion involving bowel movements makes you uncomfortable. To that I say, “meh, fair enough.”
But what you probably didn’t expect was an introspective post on my feelings about transient relationships. A topic inspired by a container of coffee dregs that looked like a bowl of sh*t. I watched my new friend scoop it up with a spoon and pretend to eat it, all the while laughing like the 17 year old I’m definitely not anymore…READ MORE
Day 11: Dispatched From a Mud-filled Pool
I needed a spa.
What after my harrowing biking experience yesterday and all the hiking I’ve been doing in the surrounding jungle of El Valle de Anton, Panama this past week. The only problem is I’m no longer in New York City and I’ve committed to traveling for a full 12 months on a $25,000 budget. I can’t stray from it because I made the mistake of telling the internet about it. You know, in the name of accountability and all that.
Then I realized I’m literally staying in the crater of an extinct volcano and volcanoes = hot springs. A.K.A natural spas for the poor. Thinking this revelation was as good an excuse as any to talk to the good-looking receptionist at my hostel, I asked him where I could soak my sore and morbidly out-of-shape body…READ MORE
Day 10: Dispatched From a Bike to Nowhere
I don’t cycle.
Hike up a mountain? Yes. Rappel down a bluff? Sure. Run down the street? Maybe.
But ride a bike? No.
And yes, I’m talking about a bike bike. Not a motorbike, not a motorcycle, but like, you know – a bicycle. Historically bikes and I don’t mix. Gravity and I barely get along when my two feet are on the ground, much less when precariously balanced on undersized pedals straddling two wheels…READ MORE
Day 9: Dispatched Late
Anything can happen while on the road (think no wifi, travel mishaps, and my inability to sometimes juggle my work load while on the road). Day 8 was one of those days and because of it I missed my weekly recap email and had to play catchup today.
So without further ado, here’s my Week 1 recap…READ MORE
Day 8: Dispatched With Full Transparency
Yesterday was supposed to be my first weekly round-up dispatch.
Home to my weekly practical post letting you guys in on the who, what, where, when, and how of the journey, Wednesday’s were going to house short informational guides for those interested in planning their own trip to the destinations I’ve been dispatching about throughout the previous week – i.e. how to book the same tour, what gear to bring, where to stay, how to obtain a visa, and more.
But this week I seriously struggled with my new work/life balance. I’ve only been living on the road for 8 days and am still trying to find my groove. It’s not as easy getting back as Stella makes it look…READ MORE
Day 7: Dispatched From Atop a Sleeping Indian
Ok so not the human kind. La India Dormida in El Valle de Anton, Panama is more like one gigantic Chia pet.
Taking the trail up over her head and traversing across the rest of her body before descending back down to town is a rewarding loop hike that lasts approximately 3 hours. En route to the summit you’ll encounter cascading waterfalls, dip pools, butterflies, and even pre-Columbian petroglyphs…READ MORE
Day 6: Dispatched Alongside a Change of Plans
The one thing I excel at in life is procrastination.
Whereas most people look down on this character trait, I look at it as an asset.
It’s not difficult to see why when looking at where I am now – lounging on an outdoor hammock surrounded by a lush green jungle I never knew existed until a few hours ago.
My failure to reserve a sailboat to Colombia after procrastination hit me with a bad case of the I’ll book passage tomorrows is what brought me here. I put it off for four days only to get my act together in time to find all crossings for the week were fully booked. The earliest available slot wasn’t until Nov 30th. Needless to say this put a wrench in my plans…READ MORE
Day 5: Dispatched From the Old Town Where I’m Glad I Didn’t Stay
According to everyone I know who has visited Panama City, Casco Viejo (or the Old Town) is THE place to stay.
And of course by everyone I know I really mean guidebooks because I don’t have any friends who have been to Panama City. Not that I can recall anyway.
Far from the Miamiesque Marbella District where I’m currently staying, the Old Town is home to restored Spanish colonial architecture housing the city’s best restaurants, boutique hotels, and chic bars. Here, decrepit and derelict are replaced with buzz word descriptors like vintage and time-honored when characterizing Casco Viejo’s crumbling buildings and aged ambience…READ MORE
Day 4: Dispatched From the Mercado de Mariscos
By George it actually worked.
Me calling out the rain yesterday must have earned me its respect because – despite the dismal forecast – the entire day went by without a drop of rain. It was glorious.
The sun shined. The birds chirped. The skyline sparkled.
I left the hostel like I left my last boyfriend – quick and with euphoric bliss. Walking for 45 minutes along the Cinta Costera, a scenic waterfront pathway…READ MORE
Day 3: Dispatched While Pandering to the Rain
After three long days it continues to taunt me.
Or hell maybe it’s me doing the taunting. Honestly it’s been going on so long I can’t keep track of who has the next move – me or the torrential rain.
To see what I’ve been dealing with since arriving in Panama just check the weather app on your phone for Panama City. It looks something like this…READ MORE
Day 2: Dispatched Over “Un Juego de Pool”
A Panamanian, an American, a Venezuelan, and a Kiwi walk into a bar…READ MORE
Day 1: Dispatched From the Wrong Panamanian Bus Stop
Panama City was supposed to be easy.
What with its large American expat community, a cosmopolitan atmosphere not unlike Miami, its many English-speaking citizens, and a no-visa-needed policy for US residents. Hell, even its currency is low maintenance (hey there US Dollar, lookin’ fly).
For a seasoned traveler this was going to be cake.
Despite leaving my toiletry bag on the plane and having two machines reject my passport at border control, I waltzed up to the local bus stop at the end of the hidden outdoor corridor looking every bit the poster child for self confidence…READ MORE