Banaue & Imbayah Festival

Wendy and I have been on a wave of traveler’s luck. First, we overheard a woman in our hotel trying to figure out how to take the bus up to Banaue. We were planning to go to the bus station later to buy our tickets so just offered to go then and share a cab with her. We ended up getting the last 3 seats on the bus, and a new friend. Dilek is from Istanbul and writes for a popular Turkey travel blog, along with being a generous, fun-loving lady.

The bus ride turned out …

Philippines – El Nido

I made it to the Philippines! I took my civil engineering license exam last week and promptly got on a plane to the Philippines. I’m still applying for jobs in California but until I get any interviews I plan to bum around Asia (my return ticket can be changed for free). It’s actually cheaper to fly out here than to rent and live in San Francisco . Go figure.
I’m with my friend Wendy on this trip, a woman I met in Bali and who used to live in San Francisco until she just quit her …

Mojave Desert NP

Mojave. I’ve been wanting to go here for a few years now, and I didn’t know exactly why. Most people I’ve mentioned that to say “WHY? Theres nothing there, it’s barren and depressing.” I can see why people think that, since the view from either of the major highways that border it is… barren and depressing. But I now think that’s by divine design, to keep this spectacular place special for the few people who decide to venture in.
Since the drive from either direction is mostly a monotonous covering of creosote bushes, I couldn’t stop looking at the hills. The way …

Joshua Tree

From Tucson I made a bit of a last-minute decision to head to Joshua Tree National Park. I looked on their online map and saw that it might have some backcountry biking opportunities, and my cousin Ellen keeps telling me I would love it there, so I went! I tried to visit the Sonora Monument on the way but it seems to not have any infrastructure whatsoever. No visitor center, no printed maps, nothing but a road running through it and a few trailhead parking areas. I did park and walk down a path for …

Arizona: Chiricahua & Saguaro

I wanted to stay longer in Guadalupe but forced myself away, with promises to return when I can hike up into the lush mountain canyons. I left that morning not knowing where I would end up at night-it was the kind of wonderful day that I had a general direction to travel but let myself stop anywhere that seemed interesting.
Sometimes going to places I’ve never heard of is a total bust, and I think “well, that’s why I’ve never heard of it.” But then sometimes I get  such a pleasant surprise that it makes up …