I believe, no matter how long or how far we travel, the ultimate destination is home. (I wrote about it once for Nat Geo even.) And Oklahoma, where I grew up, will always be my favorite place to write about. I didn’t expect this story to fall in my lap – a celebration of the 150th anniversary of a long-gone cow trail that linked Texas with Kansas. The toughest part, I came to learn, was Indian Territory. And followed the ghosts of cows (and cowhand drovers) through this area still requires some creativity.
But it worked out. Even fellow AA Jaggers mate Kim Mott had fun.
When Lonely Planet asked me to write about Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast, I said I would, but “only if I can buy a sky blue 1972 Moskvitch for $300 instead of renting a car.” It was the ultimate ice-breaker. Until it broke down.
John yells out “ants, terrible terrible ants!” and runs away, slapping his legs. When your guide is freaking out – anywhere, and particularly in a jungle trail in Kenya – you follow. Fast. This is my experience of hiking and biking in Kenya’s Rift Valley.
I’m not sure how I feel about “footsteps” articles. Sometimes it feels like an easy sell to editors. But a subject that can wear thin as you go… While following Robert Louis Stevenson in France (with a fake donkey), for example, I finally decided to stop following Robert Louis Stevenson – which is where the trip got really good.
While updating Lonely Planet’s Russia guidebook, I couldn’t help but keep Anton Chekhov in mind. After all, he crossed Russia to be, in effect, the world’s first “gulag tourist.” He wrote about it in a damning book, and the locations today are still pretty grim. Glad I did it.
I begin: “There’s no way to know the precise percentage of Russian men who wore moustaches in the first decade of the 1700s, but if you’re like me you’ve spent some time wondering about it.” And so, while researching the Trans-Siberian Railway for Lonely Planet (and writing this award-winning blog), I counted moustaches. A lot of moustaches.
Oh, one more thing: Never count moustaches.