World travel videos, photos, and blog.

The Sun'll Come Out

After three days of steady rain on Magnetic Island, the sun seems to have some out... just in time for us to leave to Airlie Beach. Fingers crossed that the sun will stay out through New Year's Eve as I'll be hopping on a sail boat through the Whitsunday Islands tomorrow afternoon through Wednesday. If another storm blows through, it could mean rough seas and green faces. Blech.

I found one more activity for a rainy day at the hostel:

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Magnetic Island

Spent Christmas catching Enchanted at the movies and then cooking steaks and potatoes at the beach in Cairns. Pretty weird.

Been out of internet reach for the last couple of days. I've made my way on Oz Experience tours to Magentic island. Unfortunately, the weather's been horrible and there's not much to do here. When you're caught on an island in the rain at a backpacker's hostel, there seems to be the following options- eat, sleep, read, talk, drink, pool, or sit in the rain.

Next stop Airlie Beach, then some sailing through the Whitsundays before a Fraser Island safari.


Cairns You Feel the Heat?

It's been pretty warm in Cairns this week. I've been taking it easy, bumming around the hostel or wandering around the small town. I've decided that diving up here is a bit over the budget so I'm hoping to find an opportunity to see another part of the reef down the coast. I'm booked on an Oz Experience bus that'll take me through places like Airlie Beach, the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, and on back to Sydney.

We get free dinners each evening (Chili con carne, spaghetti bolognese, or veggie pasta) which has been helpful as Australia is eating my money like a koala eats eucalyptus leaves. Unfortunately my dollars don't grow on trees. So I really appreciate the Christmas wishes that have shown up in my FeedTony account. Thank you Carol, John, Binh, and Tristan! Wish you were here. Humidity aside, it's a lovely area.

I took a Sunday drive up to Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation. Passing through lush rain forest and sugar cane fields, I felt a bit like I was in Hawaii. A local told me that a bunch of films shoot up there (Spielberg and Hanks are reported to have used it for the upcoming Pacific mini-series). The beach was nice with the ocean beckoning you to come in but there's no swimming there... if the crocodiles don't get you, there's a pretty good chance the jellyfish will. Ah so many things can hurt you in Oz, including the sun. Thankfully, I've been pretty good at laying on the sun block.

I've been running the air-conditioning in my room for hours everyday. It's December, right? Tomorrow is Christmas. You excited?

:couple new photos in the gallery:

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Wha!? March?

I will now be staying in Australia until JANUARY 23, exploring the east coast and spending New Year's on the beach somewhere. I'll head to New Zealand until FEBRUARY 26, landing in Honolulu February 25. Then it's back home to California on MARCH 1. (Maybe)



Brokedown Bus

The last day of the tour was pretty mellow. In the morning, we checked out some goofy sights like Larry the Giant Lobster and took walks over beautiful coastal sand dunes. The afternoon brought us to an aboriginal reserve where a guide took us on a bush walk to discuss aboriginal history and to show us medicinal and edible plant life along the coast. On the home stretch to Adelaide, the bus broke down and left us stranded near a place called Doctor's Creek. Initially everyone seemed a bit excited by this unexpected 'adventure' but as the hours passed, we were less amused and growing more irritated. We made it though, three and a half hours later than expected. Tomorrow morning I catch an early flight out to Cairns which is on the north east coast of Australia along the Great Barrier Reef. It's supposed to be miserably hot out there. Yay. I don't know if I've ever sweat on Christmas.



With the hot weather in Australia, you get billions of bush flies. These things have been the worst part of visiting sights outside of the cities. From the Blue Mountains near Sydney to stops all along the Great Ocean Road in the south, these flies love tourists. If you stand still, hundreds gather on your back. They fly in your face, eyes, ears, whatever is exposed. On my tour, at least three people have accidentally eaten flies while we've taken in sights like the 12 Apostles. I realized that the flies are such a nuisance that no one sticks around the lookout points for very long. In a sense, they've become a bit of a crowd control tool. People run in, snap their photos, and run back to the tour buses. Anyway, I could keep ranting but I'll just show you some video.

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Thank You Ker & Yajayra!

Hi guys, I hope you're doing very well in Manhattan. Gotta love that city. Thanks for sending some funds my way. I've been on this tour of the Great Ocean Road along the southern end of Australia for the past few days. Think of it as a really beautiful scenic road like PCH in California. Except there are these unique landscapes unlike anything I've seen before. Yesterday, I had an opportunity to take a helicopter flight over the famous 12 Apostles rock formations along the coast. I'd never been up in a helicopter before and the tour group had a special price that I couldn't pass up. I was thinking of you guys up there above the water. It was beautiful. Check it out:

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Echidna and Koala Spotting

I'm just about to start the second day of my Great Ocean Road tour with the Wayward Bus. Seventeen people on this tour, an odd number of them speak French and German. I'm going to have to brush up on the Francais if I want to figure out what's going on. We spotted an echidna on the road yesterday, one of only two monotremes (egg-laying mammals) in the world. The other is the duck-billed platypus. Another highlight was spotting wild koalas in the trees on the way to Apollo Bay where we hosteled for the evening. We pulled the trailer right under it and had a closer look as it munched on eucalyptus leaves. These guys just eat and sleep all day. Nice.

I had toast in front of this 5 foot square window overlooking the ocean. It was a very Hopperesque scene. This trip is finally shaping up. I think I needed a rest from big waterfront cities. Gotta hit the road!


A Vampire in Melbourne

I slipped into Melbourne this afternoon and was greeted by a busy city and hot weather. I checked into my first hostel since maybe Beijing and got put into my own room because of some overbooking (tomorrow I have to share with five other people). I had a lot on my mind so I decided to nap... for four hours. Late at night I walked through the Prahran area to have a look around. The scene was similar to Sydney and Brisbane, people in their 20s-30s, wooping it up in bars and clubs. Smartly dressed and soon to be stumbling home. This only made me wonder more about the kind of existence I want for myself. I returned to my room with snacks and jumped online (free wifi!) to catch up on web garbage. I've still got a lot on my mind but I picked up some notepads from the supermarket. I'm going to make a bigger effort to get my thoughts down on paper. [the "creepy notepad" returns]

Hey look, I've almost made my way round the whole planet. I'm like two or three more lines from home.



A couple months back, I was trying to figure out how to thank all of you who have been so generous in contributing to I decided that I would pass along this spirit of giving by donating to some charities this holiday season.

One of the ideas that I've picked up over and over again through books, talks, films, and just observations in 20+ countries is that happiness can be found in giving to others. This act of giving back is what provides humans with purpose. Whether you're helping your family, friends, neighbors, or complete strangers across the planet, it is this act that empowers us to make a difference.

On behalf of the 75+ of you who've been so kind to me, I've decided to donate to Oxfam and Conservation International:

Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 organizations working together with over 3,000 partners in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. With many of the causes of poverty global in nature, the 13 affiliate members of Oxfam International believe they can achieve greater impact through their collective efforts. Oxfam International seeks increased worldwide public understanding that economic and social justice are crucial to sustainable development. We strive to be a global campaigning force promoting the awareness and motivation that comes with global citizenship while seeking to shift public opinion in order to make equity the same priority as economic growth. -

We are innovative problem-solvers. Our work is based on cutting-edge science, comprehensive partnerships, and concern for human well-being. With these three principles guiding us, we safeguard valuable species, preserve the most important landscapes and seascapes, and support communities that care for and rely on Earth's natural resources. To reach these goals, we focus on three strategies: dedicating ourselves to innovation, raising awareness about conservation, and maintaining business-like effectiveness. With this strategy, funded by the Future for Life Campaign, we achieve great things. (*Make your own donation by Dec. 31 and it will be doubled)

Oxfam, Conservation International, and I thank... Adam, Alex, Amy, Andee, Angela, Angelica, Ankush, Anna, Anthonette, Anton, my Australian family, Azad, Bao, Ben, Bill, Binh, Caroline, Charley, Cheryl, CJ, Corrie, Dan E., Dan L., Dan S., Donovan, Eliseo, Erica, Faisal, Gia, Greg, Harai, Holly, Jen, Jessica, Jim, John, Julie, Kate, Katrina, Kelly, Ker, Kirk, Kori, Kvit, Laura, Madeli, Manash, Melissa B., Melissa C., Mom, My N., My L., Myleen, Oscar, Pat, Paul, Phil, Pin, Pranee, Raiker Family, Rich, Rob, Scott, Seema, Shari, Shilpa, Tristan, Uyen, Valentina, my Vietnamese family, Walt, Willy, Yadira, Yasmin, and Yajayra



I met up with Jordan and Jeihan for an afternoon Cricket match between Queensland and New South Wales. Carlien had given me a crash course in the rules and play of the game back in Thailand but sitting at the game for four and a half hours really allowed me to finally figure it out. (Though I spent the first half hour shooting questions into Jordan's ear) The rains came in the evening and the rest of the game was canceled so I headed home. I was one train stop away from where I needed to get off when an announcement explained that we'd be routed to a different station due to a bomb scare. What luck! First a derailment and now a bomb scare? So what should have been a five minute ride to one stop turned into 45 minutes through nine stops. I'm going to stay off the trains today and just take a nice leisurely walk around the city.



I never quite made it to the zoo the other day as a freight train holding toxic chemicals derailed on the same line I was on. We were dumped off at some random station, put on a bus to another random station, and the next thing I know, I'm sitting in some place called Caboolture eating a meat and potato pie on the platform. Then the rain came down. Heavy, non-stop rain. I decided something was trying to tell me that the zoo was a bad idea. I exchanged my train ticket and headed back for the city. Back in town, I found an internet cafe and sorted out my lodgings and finances for the next three cities on this mad little Australia tour.

In the evening, I caught a Sean Penn movie called Into the Wild. It's the true story of a 20-something year old who graduates from college, gives away his money, destroys his identity, and tramps his way from West Virginia to Alaska. It was an amazing two year journey that brought him through the wilderness of society and the land we call America. Needless to say, it sent my mind racing with thoughts as I sat in some theater in Brisbane, far away from home, at the tail end of my own long journey. "Alex Supertramp" says in the film, "The core of mans' spirit comes from new experiences". I was reminded that everyday is an opportunity to learn and try something new. We've all got a hunger for it and sometimes we become a little lazy and would rather stick with what's easy rather than go hunt for something new to feed that hunger. For me, this trip has meant everyday is a new experience in a new place. In a sense, it's become too easy for me to feed and maybe I've reached a different level of lazy. Who's still following me out there? Anyone? I'm finding myself a bit worn down these days. I think I need a break from being a tourist. I've become concerned that these experiences aren't soaking in. I'm not taking enough time to absorb everything or to record my thoughts on them. Sometimes I may have bitten off more than I could chew (this being especially difficult now that I have a bum front tooth). I suppose in the end, I could never expect to process everything fully all at once.

At the end of the film, Alex realizes: Happiness is only real when shared. Let's go out and find new experiences and share them with others. Hopefully I'll be able to come home in a few months and tell you about some of mine.



Having a nice time in Brisbane. I met up with our tour guide, Jordan, from my China trip and had a fun night on the south bank. I've been crashing at another China tour buddy, Jeihan for the week. She's helped me organize my transport between Melbourne and Adelaide this weekend.

Maybe Surfer's Paradise or the Australian zoo tomorrow (Steve Irwin's old haunt... or current haunt even oooweeeooo). Might also try to catch a cricket match on Wednesday. Similar to American baseball but more boozing apparently. Eesh.


Bridge Climbing

My cousins and I climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge yesterday. Walking over a mile and up and down 1,300 steps, we wandered around the huge steel and granite bridge taking in some amazing views. I was completely exhausted after a massive lunch at Peter Doyle's. I spent the rest of the evening and night knocked out cold.

I'm hopping on a plane to Brisbane right now. I'll see some friends there before going down to Melbourne on Friday. From there I'll try to do the Ocean drive along the coast to Adelaide and fly from there to Cairns in the North East for Christmas. I'll be back in Sydney for the New Year's festivities.

Gotta go go go!


Sick Days in Sydney

I've had a miserable cold the last few days in Sydney. I've tried taking it easy but I had to get out and about. Wednesday I jumped on the CityRail and met my friend Jamie for a nice glass of Apple/Orange juice. We decided to take a walk down to the famous Bondi Beach. It was a cloudy day but the weather was still pretty warm and clear of actual rain. We continued along the coast over to Bronte Beach where she's living. We had a delicious home-cooked dinner with her flatmate and her friend Sue. I sat by and listened to them discuss the relevance of different contemporary art pieces that they'd seen. Rather than chime in with "that sounds neato", I munched on chocolate cupcakes and sipped Penfold's Cabernet. It was nice to get out and breath some fresh air but I did a whole lot of walking (from Central Station to Bronte Beach and back to Bondi Junction... apparently, if you're from around here, that's pretty nutty). I got into some train mishaps here and there. Make sure you don't jump on trains that are about to terminate, security doesn't like it. Also, never trust security's directions (or any railworker it seems), they have no idea what train will get you home.

I was completely exhausted but I'd signed up for a tour on Thursday morning. So after four hours of sleep I jammed back to Central station to catch the Wonderbus to the Blue Mountains. It was a pretty misty day that clouded any nice views of the Jameson Valley but the hike through the Jurassic rainforest was pretty nice. Some of the flora and fauna have been around for millions of years. We zoomed over to a lookout point to see a famous rock formation called the Three Sisters that's been very sacred to the Aboriginal people. It was too cloudy for a proper picture but as the mist rolled through these sistas peeked out to say hello. The flies around these mountains are mad. They're all over the place and they stick to you like flies on... well you know. If you stand still, you'll easily find your back covered with about 40 flies. It becomes pretty comedic to watch tourists waving their arms around non-stop as they try to snap photos of rocks in the fog.

Afterwards, we shot over to Featherdale Wildlife Park. This is where I got my first glimpse of really goofy looking Australian animals. They're so different from the wildlife we're used to back in North America. They're mutants that move around really funny and they're all terribly cute and fascinating. I had the requisite photo with a koala and monkeyed around with kangaroos, emus, and wallabies. One of my favorites was the Tasmanian Devil which ran laps around its little enclosure non-stop. Someone let that little fella out... and domesticate him back in the States, I want one.

We made a brief stop at a boutique winery in Hunter Valley to sample some wines and cheese before riding over to the Olympic stadium and catching a ferry back to Sydney Harbor. It was a pretty full day and I'm still a bit tired from it all. Have a look at the photo gallery for a few snapshots. I'm running out of Picasa web space which is pretty annoying. I'll have to figure out a solution for that later (yes, I should have chosen Flickr or something).

Today, I checked out some Vietnamese markets around town and in an hour or two, I'll head to Sydney to meet some travel buddies from my Spain and China trips. Phew.

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I like to think that I wasn't big on buying a lot of things that I didn't really need back in the States. I like to believe that this discipline was what helped me stash enough cash away to take this trip (though when I did buy things, they weren't cheap... Ikea furniture, computers, etc.) I hope traveling has made me less of a consumer than I was before. But man, 'stuff' is pretty cool to look at and desire. I'm an American afterall.

Apparently, the holidays are here. Last night I spent way too much time on the internet, courtesy of my cousin's laptop and broadband connection and I noticed some newish (I'm like 8 months behind on technology, art, entertainment, etc.) items popping up.

A long time ago, I mentioned wishing I had an electronic book that allowed me to carry loads of books while I traveled without actually carrying pounds of books. Amazon has introduced it's new reading device, the Kindle. It's almost exactly what I wanted and more. From a quick perusal of reviews, it seems like the first generation model has some things to desire. Fortunately, I can't afford to be a 'first-adopter' of new gadgets these days, like Donovan or my brother. Besides, it's on backorder!

I saw this SanDisk 2Gb Plus memory card in Singapore airport the other night. I wish I had seen this before I left. It's an SD memory card which fits my Canon SD1000 Elph digital camera but also converts into a USB key. That means I can pop it out of my camera and into any USB port without a separate reader. Ingenious! I'm glad I didn't buy it at the airport because it's way cheaper on Amazon.

While looking at video cameras for some soon to be parents friends, I noticed this hot selling Flip Video Ultra digtal camcorder. I looked into it and it seems to be an ultra cheap video camera with a flip out usb arm so you can quickly upload your video to YouTube, MySpace, or wherever you're trying to waste people's time. If I was rich, everyone I know would be getting one of these as a stocking stuffer. The $150 model holds 60-minutes of video. I probably would be using one of these on my trip if I had known about it. I read on their site that there's an underwater case coming. Wicked.

I had mentioned to my brother that one of the items I wished I knew about before I started the trip is a GPS logger. This is a global positioning device that logs your location at certain intervals. You can then download the data to something like GoogleEarth and share your whole travel path on a website like GPS Visualizer. Geeky but interesting. My friend at Daily Dose of Imagery uses one to tag all of the amazing photos he posts on his photo blog. He uses the GlobalSat DG-100 if you want to look into it.

At the end of the day, all I really want is what I ask for every year... world peace. Since that's not very realistic, I'm cherishing the piece of the world I get to explore right now. I hope you're doing the same.

Speaking of... stop by Life Goes on in Tehran - now also at - for Azad's latest images from within Iran. And if you're in India, you've gotta pick up my friend Ankush's new book, Jet City Woman. If you're not in India, he's keeping an interesting blog about his experience with his first published novel.


Asia Thanks!

Note: I was feeling a bit under the weather and apologize for the shoddiness of the video and my mispronunciation of every single language.

India, Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia. Four months. That's all I was able to take to hit Asia. And it was nowhere near enough time to do even one of those countries properly. But I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to sample sometimes just a couple of days of each land and culture. There were some very beautiful and perfect days during the Asia trip as well as many rough and completely miserable moments.

The amazing: Gazing at the Taj Mahal, zooming through the night amongst the karsts of Guilin, walking through the neon blazed streets of Shanghai, reaching the summit of Mt. Fuji, sliding through the rice terraces of Sapa, gliding along with a whale shark in Ko Tao, waking up to the sight of Angkor Wat at sunrise, racing around the backroads of Pai...

The not so good: Broken nose and teeth in the Muay Thai ring, misery on the beach in Ko Phangan, food poisoning at Cat Ba, saying goodbye...

The trip wouldn't have been as fruitful and pleasant as it was without the support from friends and family around the world. You helped me through those rough days and made the great ones even greater. Special thanks to all of you who've contributed through or have helped me out while I've been in your towns and homes:

Mom, Charley, Walt, Binh, Caroline, Ankush, Natasha, Eric, Harai, Madeli, the Raikers, Phil, Rich, Pin, Azad, Ana & Bao, Scott, Shilpa, Seema, Greg, Laura, Ben, Erica & Anton, Kvit, My L., Myleen, Holly, My N., Amy & Dan, Valentina, Melissa, Tristan, Linh, Sonia & Martin, Carlien, Steph, Mai, Giao, Be and the family in Vietnam.

I know I've fallen behind on personal thank you's, please forgive me but this traveling thing keeps you pretty busy sometimes :) I've received a few more generous contributions from Kat, Ker, and Yajara. I'll be using these very quickly in Australia and New Zealand. Can you believe it? I'm heading to Australia and New Zealand now! Talk to you in a couple of days.


P.S.- How you goin'? I'm posting this from Sydney, Australia!

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Location: United States A 29 yr old filmmaker from California traveled through Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia/NZ over ten months from April 2007 to March 2008.

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    April 6:
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