Krabi’s Peaceful Rhythms

The limestone steps were nearly vertical at some points, each varying in length and width, distorting my perception of depth, and causing me to stumble like a lame bird. I peered over the edge and sighed at the lush landscape of verdant highlands almost 800 feet below; a magnificent view of coconut palms, rubber trees and coffee plantations stretched for miles amidst majestic karsts.

I pressed on to the next flight, wiping the sweat from my face so I could clearly read the distance marker that read: 913 — 359 steps were left to climb before reaching the peak. I wondered how over a thousand feet of narrow, winding staircase had been carved into the cliff when I could barely ascend without clenching the metal railing.

Continue reading on The Expeditioner…

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Photo Essay: Sossusvlei, Namibia: The Number One Place on My Bucket List

[Photo by: Like_the_Grand_Canyon/Flickr]

I recently learned of a new magazine called Trunk. The first issue is loaded with ethereal photographs–truly some of the best images I have laid eyes on. It’s no wonder the new glossy is off to a good start–the founder David Cicconi, used to be Travel + Lesisure’s photography director, so he’s done this kind of thing once or twice before.

Here is a glimpse of the imagery (it’s of the Namibian desert–a place I yearn to visit); hoping the publication delivers just as it did this time around with each new issue.

“Life on Mars”

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Photo Essay: African Giraffe

Experienced this glorious sight a few days before my departure from Phinda Game Reserve in South Africa. The photo is stunning, but observing the living image through the naked eye was simply spectacular.

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My Moment of Zen: Two Steppin’ It Around The World

Greg Tresko is traveling the world and dancing his happy heart out in each of the fascinating places he visits. His uplifting, and completely comical videos have become my moment of Zen at the end of each day. Here’s a glimpse into his journey through Cambodia:

For more of Greg’s videos visit:

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The Road To New York City

Over the past several months, I have traveled quite a bit. The journeys often differ in time and in scenery, based on the mode of transportation I choose, but the destination always remains the same. I’ve traveled through snowstorms, rainstorms, and hailstorms– sometimes in the darkness of night, other times, when the sun hangs high in the sky.

By car, the road to my destination is often choked with other vehicles, arguing and pushing their way through wide lanes dotted with shallow potholes. The view–a littered edge of a vast highway flanked with bony trees and the occasional sight of a distant rest stop can become dreadfully monotonous.

By train, the busy towns beyond the tracks whiz by in a blur like the bold, smudged strokes of an abstract painting. The ride is smoother, and I am able to read a book, type the small keys of my Blackberry and daydream about the world afar. Sometimes I can even drape my legs on the seat opposite mine and catch-up on some zzz’s.

To view the full article on The Brooklyn Nomad click here.

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Soon There Will Be Nothing Left To Exploit

[Photo by Happytimeblog/Flickr]

One disheartening aspect of travel is the uncertain fate of many of the places we visit. The growing trend of privatization and destruction of national parks, tribal land, and rainforests is such a sad reality that I can’t help but wonder: “When will we get that this is all we have?” Soon there will be nothing left to exploit.

Most travelers are always on the lookout for the next “undiscovered” spot, that slice of raw earth that may just return our sanity and clarity. Yet how often do we consider being proactive in the preservation of those very places that have brought worth to our lives?

Sometimes I think about standing next to the Naked Cowboy in the middle of Time Square (fully clothed that is — I’ll let him draw the attention) with a sign inscribed with all kinds of crazy political statements about saving the environment. But, luckily, I am struck with clarity, thanks to the recent trip I took, and I realize even the Naked Cowboy can’t solve our problems.

To view the full article on The Expeditioner click here.

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The Tourist Footprint: Are We Ruining Earth’s Natural Wonders?

[Photo by Jo@net/Flickr]

Originally published on The

Much of what we read about travel is packaged into a descriptive personal essay that seeks to sweep the reader to a magical land where cotton candy falls from the sky and unicorns roam undulating, verdant hills leading to an ethereal Eden. And let’s face it, most of us enjoy reading a romantic story about a love affair between the traveler and his quest. We want to turn the pages when he stumbles upon the town flanked with colorful, artisan markets or when he sails, wide-eyed, among fjords — majestic and breathtaking from every angle.

But here at The Expeditioner we do none of that delusional crap — it’s just hard core, report the goods, travel writing. Which is why I bow down to Patrick Smith and his awesome article: “Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands: Beauty and a Bummer.”

To view the full article click here.

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Would You Travel Around the World for Food?

[Photo by: skampy/Flickr]

Would you fly halfway around the world just for a meal? I suppose if you would, no ordinary experience would do. No, this meal would have to be overwhelming, exploding with flavor and seductive in every bite; to put it simply: it would have to be orgasmic.

I often speak with travelers who admit to fantasizing over a specific gastronomic experience in a foreign land, and if given the opportunity, say they would hop the next flight just for a taste of the perfectly delivered dish.

To view the full article click here.

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Maria Russo’s Travel Predictions for 2011 (as seen on The

My buddies over at The Expeditioner asked me to reflect on my travels during the past year, and to also make a few predictions about the upcoming year — being that 2011 is at our doorstep — and knocking. So here they are, a bit sappy, overly hopeful and uncharacteristically optimistic ( I think… I can’t even tell if the critic in my head is disguising itself as an optimist — sneaky bastard!). Anyway, I hope you enjoy the post.

Where’d you head this past year?

Costa Rica, Thailand, Washington DC, and the Catskills, NY. Oh, and I flew into Narita, Japan to and from Thailand for a short layover — does this count? (Editor’s Note: Nope, unless you’re Sarah Palin.)

What possible travels do you see on the 2011 calendar?

Hopefully Guatemala to volunteer at Luke’s nonprofit organization ( and to visit Lake Atitlán. I’m also thinking India and Bali over the summer, which, I swear, was my travel projection long before I saw Eat, Pray, Love.

To read more about my sappy hopes for travel in the new year click here.

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The Spirit of Havana: From Rations to Restaurants

[Photo by nikkiprice/Flickr]

It’s the time of year when New York City, with its formidable brilliance, becomes softer, intimate; enchanting if you will, and I’ve never felt more grateful to have it at my doorstep. The city seems gentler in December — lights strewn from one avenue to the next exude the warm glow of holiday cheer, savory scents flow from restaurants babbling with vibrant company, stores boast whimsical displays in illuminated technicolor, and the sound of cozy laughter coats the air like a thick, plush blanket.

In December, my favorite pastime is to go on a month-long tour of all the restaurants I have been meaning to eat at throughout the year. These jaunts are the perfect way to celebrate the season as the simple pleasure of sitting around a hearty meal with loved ones can’t be topped. It’s a luxury I take for granted. Friends, family, elegant cuisine, and the advantage of being able to enjoy it all whenever it feels right. Yet the joy and glamor that will reign in the city during the next two months makes all the sadness in the world stick out like a bruised lip.

To view the full article click here

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