On Christmas Eve in 2008, I watched the sunset at Boudhanath in Kathmandu, Nepal, while hundreds of red-cloaked Buddhist monks chanted evening prayers and others circumambulated the stupa in silent meditation. In a cafe overlooking the scene, my partner and I sipped hot coffee and chatted with a group of monks-in-training, five British guys and one woman, who had come down to the city from a monastery in the Himalayas to indulge in earthly pleasures: beer, rum, coffee, and cigarettes.
When I first read about Bab al-Mandeb — the “Gate of Tears,” where the Red Sea narrows and powerful ocean currents have sunk countless ships over the ages — I knew I wanted to go there. I wanted to be where it all began: where the human race left Africa, spreading out into the world until they filled every corner of it.
[From Nowhere magazine]
ITF speaks with Andrew Blackwell about his new book, Visit Sunny Chernobyl, a travel guide to the most polluted places on the planet. Even sites ravaged by radiation and industrial waste, he argues, can still be places of “nature, wildness, and beauty.”
Hitchhiking has become an anachronism in many parts of the world, along with the trust of strangers that makes it possible, but in The Road Less Traveled
, Lita Wong hitches her way through rural Cuba and finds herself relying in unexpected ways on the kindness and decency of the people she meets on the road. Also check out Havel: An Authentic Life
, Jan Vihan's essay on the plays of Vaclav Havel, the Czech statesman, revolutionary, and writer who died at the end of last year.
Best of In The Fray 2012.
With a pack, a duffel bag, and a handful of Spanish words, I had hitched my way up the road to Cuba’s northern coast. But now it was getting dark, no more cars were stopping, and I needed to find a place to sleep.