Best of A Little Adrift

Welcome friend! If you’re new here to A Little Adrift, you’re starting at just the right spot. This page holds a collection of all the best stories and writing, segmented out by theme: cultural history, favorite experiences, foodie delights, nature, festivals & temples, volunteering, and photoeassys. I have a whole other resource page for RTW travel planning and sussing out the best tips, advice, and the very best trip prep resources on the interwebs—made just for those readers knee-deep planning their own trip!

And so, I hope you scroll through these posts, find one that stirs your curiosity or imagination, and enjoy—these stories are best served with a cozy chair and a mug of tea!

Musings as I Seek Out a Country’s Cultural History

Cultural and religious travel photos from around the world

A Journey to Find What Sustainable Coffee Really Means: The journey an Akha community in rural Northern Thailand is taking toward creating a sustainable business and social enterprise—full of beautiful photographs from their community.

Dispatch From Africa: Perspectives on Poverty: With poverty tourism on the rise all over the world, I tackle the issues and challenges in this form of travel.

What Does Grassroots Tourism Look Like in Panama: A visit to a cacao farm in Panama and a deep look at how rural tourism projects build and support local communities.

The Intersection of Spirit, Beauty, and Religion During Loy Krathong: One of the most beautiful and humbling festivals I have been a part of, a lantern release and water krathong release in Northern Thailand.

Humanizing the Travel Experience: An ecolodge set into the desert sets the stage for meeting and learning about the local Bedouin culture as they teach me to make Bedouin bread, coffee, and cheese.

Consider Echos of Cuba’s History: A storm settling over Old Havana sets the mood for exploring the city and Cuba’s historic El Malecon waterfront that looks toward the Florida Keys.

Cuba Gets an “ish” from Me: I delve into controversy with this piece as I cover why traveling to Cuba only rated as mediocre in my book and discuss why I don’t plan to travel back there any time soon.

Frangipani, Incense, and Balinese Beliefs: The Balinese are incredibly superstitious and the island’s rituals and offerings are a beautiful and daily part of the island’s culture and religion.

My Favorite Personal Stories, Experiences, and Writing

A few of my favorite captures and moments from around the world.

A Little Letter … To All the Young Dreamers: Travel Young, Travel Far: A letter to those teens, tweens, and young adults yearning to travel the world.

20 Lessons from Five Years on the Road: The most important things I learned since that first day I sat at the LA airport debating the wisdom of my decision to travel solo around the world.

On Death, Addiction, and Shared Humanity: A personal post about my brother’s death, shared humanity, and how we portray addiction in the media.

How Four Years of Traveling the World Has Changed Me: Perspectives on the shifts that happen after traveling long-term and the emotional and personal changes that took place over the years.

Thanks for the Lessons We Learned from the People We Met: The lessons that traveling with my 11-year old niece through Southeast Asia in 2011 taught me and that she and I both learned together.

Finding the Travel Spark in Yangon: After years on the road it’s a single moment in Burma that pinpoints for me why I travel and reignites the wanderlust.

A Love Letter on Travel and Leave-Takings: My love letter to travel as I muse on solo travel, the difficulties of coming back home while finding a travel relationship that works for me as I continue wandering.

A Pastel Sunrise Over Wadi Rum: A dawn camel ride as the sun is rising over Jordan’s desert is etched in my memory as the pinks and blues tinted the sand and rocks.

A Child’s Journey Through Chinese New Year: Go on the journey of Chinese New Year festivities in Thailand’s Chinatown told through the eyes of a young child.

A Secret Spot in Ireland’s Heart: Ireland is an island of mystery as I tap into the cadence and rhythm of the locals speech, lore, and attitudes while hiking through sheep pastures and along coastlines.

The Best Advice My Dad Ever Gave Me: My dad’s a wise man, and advice he gave me as a super-angsty 16 year old still resonates today and shapes my perspective when things get dicey on the road.

Peat Fireplaces, Rugged Ireland, & Something Special: Ireland holds such a special place in my heart, the smells of fireplaces mixed with yeasty beer and flowing conversation ebb and flow throughout the island.

Ten Days in a Vipassana Meditation Course: One of the hardest, most self-disciplined things I’ve ever done was complete a strict, silent ten day meditation course set on a gorgeous lake in Nepal.

The Tastiest Foodie Delights from Around the World

Delicious foodie dishes from my world travels.

A Vegetarian Photo Guide to Burma (Myanmar): A full-color photo and food guide to all the flavors and dishes you should try on a visit to Burma. Though all the foods are vegetarian, this is a great starting point for any travelers and includes links to the best meat dishes you might want to try.

A Vegetarian Survival Guide, Jordan-Style: A photo and food guide to eating vegetarian in the Middle East, and Jordan in particular along with recommendations on my favorite of the dishes.

Jordan Spices & Our Global Palate: Fun and unique flavors I found traveling for the first time in the Middle East—spices and food combinations I had never previously sampled.

A Working Coffee Plantation Tour in Guatemala: Learning about how coffee goes from red cherries on the plant to sorting and roasting the beans before eventually making it into the cup!

Favorite Indian Foodie-Finds: As a vegetarian, eating in India provides incredible diversity in terms of flavors, dishes, scents, and colors—several of my favorite dishes in the world come from India.

Highlighting Nature and Mother Earth’s Beauty

Mother earth's is showing off for use if we're paying attention.

Spotting Lions and Giraffes on Safari in Tanzania: A longread and photoessay of a five day safari through the most beautiful national parks in Africa, the Serengeti, Ngorongoro National Park, and Tarangire.

Floating Gardens, Fishing, and Farming on Inle Lake: A look at the beautiful and unique floating crop eco-system on Inle Lake in Burma (Myanmar) with stories and photographs.

The Most Picturesque Drive in Ireland: Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula couples Ireland’s hundreds of shades of green with sloping hillsides, steep cliffs and tumultuous waters.

The Rare Rains Fall on my Visit to Uluru: Australia’s “Big Red Rock,” Uluru, is one of the most iconic Aussie sites—expect when I arrive the rains are falling hard and rarely seen waterfalls pool down the rock’s tall edges.

Unexpected Sweet Life on the Rio Dulce: Relaxing on the river and finally slowing down my travels fast enought o find some peaceful days in the south of Guatemala, kayaking and swimming on the river.

Red Hot Lava and an Active Volcano: A hike up the Pacaya volcano in Guatemala has me a bit nervous in preparation as rock chucks spew from the mouth and during the hike the soles of our shoes begin to melt!

A Moody Hike to the Old Man of Storr: A wet hike to the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye in Scotland is rapidly obscured once I get to the top and and clouds roll in low to cover the jutting Storr with eerie shadows.

The Smells of the Tuscan Countryside: Take in Tuscany’s gentle bumps and hills as the wine fields and sun-kissed olive trees dot the countryside on an afternoon bike ride through the rural countryside.

A Sparkling Mediterranean Coast: The Five Lands connected on the west coast of Italy are far from “hidden gems,” but Cinque Terre are popular for good reason as the pretty little towns create an oil painting of color against the Sea.

Diving with the Fishies!: A life-long dream was fulfilled diving Australia’s oceans for a taste of the Great Barrier Reef of the coast of Cairns. I photographed fish and marveled at the spots of light seeping through the deep blue waters.

The Giant Staircase in Katoomba: Early on in my RTW travels I set out to hike the stunning pretty Blue Mountains near Sydney. One of my first global forays into nature and the memories still stand out among the best.

Temples and Festivals from Around the World

Temples, ruins, and festivals all over the world.

The Ancient, Ohre Temples of Bagan, Burma: A beautiful photoessay with more than 20 detailed mini-stories and photos from the people and temples in the Bagan region of Burma (Myanmar).

The Myth and Mystery of Petra: A look at the history, myths, and the beautiful ancient city of Petra in Jordan.

Tikal Wildlife and Ruins: One of the largest and most important Mayan sites in Central America, Tikal is still mostly over-grown so it’s mind-blowing to look out over the tree-tops at acres of un-excavated Mayan temples.

Katmandu’s Ancient  Stupas: Nepal is home to many of the holiest temples known to Buddhist religion, so take a tour of the gently waving prayer flags and pilgrims visiting these holy sites.

Ogling  the Taj Mahal in Sunshine: The Taj Mahal’s white marble walls, all in perfect symmetry, stand as a monument to love and one of the most popular spots in the country for Indian newlyweds on their honeymoon!

Holi Festival of Colors!: Wild and wacky, Holi stands out as the most fun I’ve had in a single day. Locals smear color all over your face, “cleanse” you with water, and joyously welcome in the spring.

Say Wat? Cambodia’s Angkor Wat: The vast grounds of Angkor Wat are so much more extensive than just the iconic tiered main temple and visiting the lesser known sites mean quiet time with the ancient carvings.

The Intricate Sawdust Carpets of Semana Santa: Amazing hand-crafted and ephemeral carpets line the streets of Antigua, Guatemala in preparation for the city’s Holy Week activities.

Volunteering Stories from RTW

The children I've taught and volunteer projects I've helped with around the world.

A Journey to Find What Sustainable Coffee Really Means: A look at sustainable tourism and supporting social enterprises through the story of a fair-trade coffee shop in Chiang Mai, Thailand run by a collective of Akha hill-tribes.

Grassroots Tourism in the Heart of East Africa: Stories of social enterprises and wonderful projects working for change within their own communities in Kenya.

What Does Grassroots Tourism Look Like in Panama: A visit to a cacao farm in Panama and a deep look at how rural tourism projects build and support local communities.

Volunteering Teaching English to Monks in Nepal: My favorite volunteer experience to-date, I spent a month in the outskirts of Kathmandu teaching English to young monks living at a monastery.

Valentines Day at a Cambodian Orphanage: FLOW is a happy community of children outside of Phnom Penh, they are welcoming and warm and celebrating a holiday with these Cambodian children was magical.

Building Stoves in Rural Guatemala: The rural stove-building project in Xela wasn’t particularly glamorous, but as the families stood by watching their new stoves constructed I could feel the immediate effects of my volunteer time.

The Best Photoessays and Travel Photos

Colorful, Colonial Mexico: The gorgeous towns in Central Mexico filled with history and culture and great food.

Stories, Streets and History of Luang Prabang, Laos: As a UNESCO World Heritage town, this city is filled with a beautiful culture and history.

Life on the Mighty, Mighty Mekong River: Laos and Southeast Asia as seen through the lens of the Mekong River and all that this epi-center of life for many locals brings

Water Runs Through Every Place I’ve Visited: A photoessay celebrating water all over the world—rivers, lakes, and taps—in honor of World Water Day.

15 Favorites from Rural China: Some of the best captures and stories from my trip to China.