Rajasthan Camel Safari

Everybody does it here – it has become somewhat of a touristic cliche. It can range from a luxury tented eco-experience to an off-the-beaten-track adventure. You might find yourself in a sea of tourists waiting to pose for a portrait on a dune, or perhaps like us, you’ll end up sitting out a sandstorm in a herder’s desert wigwam. It is the Rajasthani camel safari, and it is whatever you make it.

Eager to make ours an adventure, we did our homework first. There are endless options in Rajasthan, but we wanted to get Continue…

Adventures on Instagram

Join us on Instagram

Hey Instagram junkies, we just wanted to let you know that our adventures are available on your favorite social media platform as well. If you like hiking, adventure sports, wildlife, street art and the world’s coolest travel destinations, connect with us on Instagram.

Exploring Antarctica

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“Good morning everybody…”

We awoke on day three to expedition leader Cheryl’s silky voice announcing over the loud speaker that we were about to enter the famous Lemaire Channel, a spectacularly narrow passage lined with towering peaks, walls of ice, and jagged glaciers. I pulled back the blackout curtains to discover the waters dotted with icebergs; minke whales surfaced just off our window. We and our fellow passengers took to the decks staring in all directions, oohing and awing at the epic awesomeness of it all. Penguins leapt through the water alongside the ship, others sat on chunks of ice drifting through the channel. This was the Antarctic dream.

Our first excursion took us to the surreal iceberg graveyard off Pleneau Island. Our zodiac driver Derek, who leads walking (!!!) tours to view polar bears in Churchill, Canada when he’s not exploring the poles, slowly Continue…

Setting Sail across the Drake Passage

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Setting sail for Antarctica was easily one of the most exciting moments of our lives. Boarding the Akademik Sergey Vavilov felt like we were boarding a ship to an alien world. There was a palpable sense of epicness, of venturing into the unknown, that is quite rare in the 21st century. I’m sure my fellow shipmates felt much the same. One by one, we walked up the ramp into the converted Russian research vessel to be greeted by our One Ocean Expeditions crew. From the first handshake, it was clear that the trip was going to be “awesome”.

Thomas and I slowly made our way up to the fifth deck taking in the details along the way. Signs and labels were all in Russian with English subtitles where necessary. Raised door portals and steep functional staircases distinguished the Vavilov from typical cruise ships. This baby was designed for real Continue…

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is spectacular… so spectacular that we needed to visit the super-monument twice. The first time was in July during a visit by friends Lisa and Garrett, who pop up on this blog once or twice a year. The second time was the last day of our incredible Salkantay Lodge Trek with Mountain Lodges of Peru.

In some ways, it almost feels ridiculous writing about one of the most photographed and documented places on the planet. Volumes have been written about how beautiful and mysterious the site is. Article after article invokes images of “the lost city of the Incas,”  which was never really all that lost. (Locals living in the area knew it was here.) So what is there to write? Can Thomas and I really add anything that hasn’t been said a thousand times? Perhaps.

One thing we can Continue…

Live on Instagram

Instagram
ContemporaryNomad.com is now live on Instagram. Ever since we arrived in Peru, we have been uploading shots of our daily adventures to our new account. It’s a great way to follow our daily activities, and it allows us to document some of our adventures live. Pretty cool. It’s also a great way for friends and fellow nomads to check out our current location should anyone want to get together for a beer or, perhaps, jaguar tracking in the Amazon.

You don’t have to sign up to view the pics, but if you do have an account, don’t forget to follow us, like our photos, and leave tons of comments. We love to hear from everybody.

La Mercè

La Mercè in Barcelona

Today marks the end of La Mercè, Barcelona’s most famous festival. The celebrations honor the Mare de Déu de la Mercè, the Virgin of Grace, who is said to have delivered the city from a plague of locusts in 1687. Festivities include parades of papier maché “giants,” booming gun salutes (not for those who overly value their ear drums), acrobatic human tower building, fireworks, and more. It’s tons of fun as well as a photographic delight. And there wasn’t a locust in sight, so the Virgin of Grace still seems to be keeping up her end of the bargain. 🙂

La Mercè in Barcelona

20 Years of TnT

This week not only marks the 6th year of ContemporaryNomad.com, it also marks the 20th anniversary of TnT. That’s right, good old Tony and Thomas have been exploring the globe together for a whopping 20 years!

Continue…

Istanbul in Full Bloom

Tony in the Topkapı Palace gardens

For years, we have had the same conversation over and over, which ended with a rather disheartening question.

TRAVELER: “What’s your favorite city in the world? Oh, actually that’s probably an impossible question, isn’t it?”

TONY: “No, that’s actually a very easy question for me. Istanbul is my favorite city. I LOVE Istanbul more than any city in the world!”

THOMAS: “Tony, you always say Istanbul when people ask that question, but you haven’t been back to Istanbul in years. You have no idea how the city has changed. Do you think it would still be your favorite city?” Continue…

Malta and Gozo Pictorial

Malta and Gozo Pictorial

As we mentioned in Spring Hiking in Gozo, Malta is one of the Mediterranean’s most interesting, underestimated and misrepresented destinations.

Despite the fact that Malta often markets itself as a cheap beach destination for package tourists, we’re huge fans of the tiny nation because it boasts a rich cultural and natural heritage including multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites.

For romantics, Malta is home to the exceptional walled cities of Valletta and Mdina, both of which receive my official stamp of approval as a walled city freak. For archaeology buffs, the megalithic temples of Hagar Qim, Ggantija, and the mysterious Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni are among the oldest surviving structures in the world, predating even the Egyptian pyramids. For naturalists, the arid landscape of Gozo offers a selection of beautiful cliff-side hikes as well as gorgeous sapphire waters.

In fact, the two islands offer so much, we decided to put together a pictorial to show off its treasures. I should mention that, somewhat ironically, the people most likely to be disappointed by Malta are beach enthusiasts. Hmmm.

Note: These scenes were photographed in 2005 when Hagar Qim was still uncovered. Since then, a rather unsightly shelter has been built over the site to protect it from the elements. Good for posterity, bad for visitors with cameras.