The Next Travel Adventure Awaits

When I created my five-year travel plan (five years ago), Brazil was supposed to be the final trip.

I thought working at the World Cup and living in Rio de Janeiro would be the perfect climax to all my Latin America adventures.

From there, I’d return to the States, start the next business, find a wife and begin making little townies.

What happens however, when your passion becomes your business?

What happens when your last trip only strengthens your desire to continue, to get better, to do more?

You go to Mt. Everest of course!

Mt Everest Base Camp

The Goal: Mt. Everest Base Camp (photo via rei.com)

Next Friday, March 27th, I’ll be flying to Kathmandu, Nepal to begin a three-week trek with Active Adventures to Mt. Everest Base Camp.

Over the past five years, each of my “T2T Missions” has focused on the social aspects of a foreign culture; however, this trip will have the additional twist of being tremendously physically and mentally challenging.

The person I have to thank for this is friend and fellow traveler, Clint Johnston of Triphackr.com.

Clint Johnston aka Triphackr

Mr. @Triphackr Himself

Clint and I met back in 2013 at a traveler’s conference in Toronto and we got together again in Rio during the World Cup.

When I recently returned Stateside from Brazil, we started chatting about upcoming plans and he mentioned this trip with Active Adventures. I was immediately hooked on the idea and did everything I could to get onboard.

**Follow Clint via Instagram, Facebook & Twitter**

Here are some details of the trip and what you can expect to follow along with…

Nepal and Mt. Everest

Mt Everest Base Camp Altitude Chart

We have a few days in Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu before beginning our ascent, where we will load up on supplies and begin acclimatizing to our new environment.

From there it will take nine days to reach Base Camp at 17,589ft. You can see the day-by-day route by location and altitude above.

My biggest concern for the entire travel adventure is my reaction to the altitude. This will be the highest I’ve ever been (including college), and no matter my training, it will be difficult. Luckily, we will have a great team around us who know the mountain and how to deal with the altitude.

Bhutan

Bhutan - Tigers Nest

The “Tiger’s Nest” Monastery in Bhutan  (photo via en.wikipedia.org)

Upon returning to Kathmandu after the trek, we will be crossing over to neighboring Bhutan to explore the country with Yeoong Tours and Travels.

One of the most exciting things about the Bhutan trip that Clint and I are both really looking forward to is visiting the “Tiger’s Nest” monastery located in the cliffside of the upper Paro Valley. This sacred Buddhist site looks absolutely incredible!

We will be spending a week exploring Bhutan before flying back to Kathmandu so Clint can catch a flight home.

Meanwhile, I have one more stop planned…

Tibet

Potala Palace Lhasa Tibet

The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, China (photo via whc.unesco.org)

From Kathmandu, I’ll take a quick flight over to the Tibetan city of Lhasa to explore this region of China for eight days with Budget Tibet Tours.

It will be an overland trip that will include stops in many historic cities and landmarks including Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Tingri, Old Tingri and Zhangmu (I’m not making these up).

We will also get to see another side of Mt Everest Base Camp from the Tibetan side.

One of the things I’m most excited about on this leg of the adventure is The Potala Palace in Lhasa. The palace was home to Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the late 1950s.

South Asia Map

So, this is the plan for the next two months of my life…

It’s a completely new region, new culture, new challenge, and I couldn’t be more excited.

It will be so much different than Brazil, and anything else I have ever done… that’s the point right?

I’m looking forward to teaming up with a fellow traveler to discover a region and culture that I know next to nothing about.

I’m also excited about the opportunity to work with such well-established tour operators who have made this trip possible.

Be sure to follow along on all the travel adventures via YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and stay tuned for a completely redesigned Tourist2Townie.com coming very soon!

And follow Clint as he delivers his take on the entire experience on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as well.

Travel Deeper – Brazil


Five years of traveling deeper in South America, and it all led me to this… One of the most incredibly difficult and absolutely amazing years of my life – Living and traveling in Brazil.

The goal was to live in Rio de Janeiro, travel around the country, participate in Carnaval, and somehow work at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Through many setbacks and roadblocks, I managed to meet a lot of great Brazilian people who helped me travel deeper and live my dreams over the course of a year living in Brazil.

This video is the visual story of how it all happened and how I went from sitting at restaurants in Rio de Janeiro alone, to experiencing things beyond my wildest expectations.

Footage from this video includes my travel to the following Brazilian cities and landmarks (in no particular order):

Amazon Rainforest, Recife, Fortaleza, Beach Park, Natal, Jericoacoara, Bonito, The Pantanal Wetlands, Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Gramado, Ouro Preto, Olinda, Paraty, Buzios, Curitiba, Cuiaba, Salvador, Florianopolis, Belo Horizonte, and of course Rio de Janeiro!

Brazil City Map
You can watch the entire Travel Deeper Brazil series on the T2T YouTube Channel.

 

TravelDeeper-Rio-Brazil

Amazon Rainforest Adventures

There are certain places on this planet that seem almost like fiction. Unreachable destinations that you expect to only see in story books and documentaries.

The Amazon Rainforest in northern Brazil was one of those places for me.

So when I had the opportunity to come to Brazil, I wasn’t going to miss the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Amazon Rainforest - Flying into Manaus Brazil

My experience began in the gateway city of Manaus, where the journey into the jungle proved to be a task unto itself…

I took a taxi from the airport down to the city’s main harbor to catch a ferry across the Amazon River.

We passed giant shipping vessels, floating homes and a really cool point where the Rio Negro converges with the Amazon River, which forms a really cool color and temperature divide in the water.

Once on the other side, the landscape changed from the urban landscape of Manaus, to a very rural waterfront trading post. I passed street vendors selling giant fish and wild fruits, before boarding an old VW wagon.

Amazon River Giant Fish

Past the small towns and giant lilly pads, we drove further away from civilization before making one last transfer into a small motorboat.

As we weaved through the flooded forest, the reality of this experience started to set in!

The Ararinha Jungle Hotel would serve as the launch pad for all my Rainforest adventures. Speaking of, a big thank you to Amazon Gero Tours for hosting me on this epic travel adventure.

Amazon Rainforest Jungle Hotel

And after dropping off my bag and meeting my guide, it was time to go explore the Wild Amazon…

By day we explored the river and trekked through the rainforest.

In the water we looked out for exotic birds, hidden lizards and even the rare pink dolphins. On land it was giant spiders, poison dart frogs and all types of monkeys.

While the rare Anaconda and Jaguar were always in the back of my mind, it was the smaller animals that you really had to be aware of.    

One day while on a trek through the jungle, our guide Kenrick, unknowingly came to close to a wasp nest and was stung on the cheek. This was right after he told us to be aware of these little bastards because they are extremely aggressive and dangerous… He told us they eat poisonous dart frogs for gosh sakes!

The craziest aspect of the trip was that I was never completely comfortable. There was a constant level of tension because of the respect Kenrick and the other guides had for their surroundings.

Amazon Rainforest Tour

The whole thing was an incredible juxtaposition, as we would go catch piranha in the shallow waters and then boat out to the middle of the river nearby to swim.

It was a dangerous and beautiful place, and my senses were heightened the entire time.

Throughout the process, Kenrick and the other guides taught me some important skills and techniques for surviving in the jungle. From making weapons and building shelter to finding the best things to eat if you’re hungry… from nuts and fruits, to one very meaty maggot!

Amazon Rainforest Food

Another side of life in the Amazon Rainforest, is the close-nit community of people who live along the river. I was expecting to see naked tribes and face-painted cannibals, but that wasn’t the case at all.

I had the opportunity to meet and interact with many local residents and despite the remote location, life here seems relatively normal, and it comes with an alluring simplicity and self-sufficiency.

Amazon Rainforest People

One morning we visited one of local farms who were in the middle of cultivating the popular Brazilian staple, Farinha or Farofa. He should us how to transform the poisonous root into an edible side-dish through a pretty intensive process of creating a powder and cooking it down.

Amazon Rainforest People

On another day we were invited to a house party with some of the off-duty guides and surrounding neighbors.

It was great to see what life was like on a Friday night with people my age in the Amazon.

And at night, when the sensible locals would turn in, we’d launch the boat again and head out to explore the darkness.

With 75% of the animals here being nocturnal, the noises and commotion at night were like nothing I’ve ever heard.

The easiest thing to spot were caimans, whose beady red eyes surfaced across the river. And apparently, if you’re fast and quiet enough, you can reach down into the water and grab one…

Amazon River Caiman Hunting

The days passed and I grew more and more addicted to this life.

So, on my final day in the Amazon Rainforest, we decided to take a small crew out to get the full effect of the jungle, and go camp out

Usually we’d return to the lodge after our late night activities, but on this night, we were at the mercy of our surroundings.

We found a flat, dry space not far from the river and worked quickly to setup camp before dark.

Amazon Rainforest Building Camp

We chopped trees for a tarp frame, cautiously gathered firewood and began cooking dinner over the fire.

As darkness and a little paranoia set in, we enjoyed dinner and drinks to the developing sounds around us.

We listened to music, played cards, and of course, peed close by.

We had some more drinks, made hats out of palm branch and shared stories well into the night…

Amazon Rainforest Camp Out

After a delicious camp-made breakfast with fresh fruit, eggs and coffee, it was time for me to pack up and head back to Manaus.

And although I spent a week engulfed in this incredible place… the people, the wildlife, the environment… everything still makes the Amazon seem like fiction.

The Amazon Rainforest is absolutely amazing!

Amazon River at Sunset

 

Recife Living & Porto de Galinhas Beach

Recife is the capital of the Northeastern Brazilian State of Pernambuco.

It has been called the “Venice of South America,” and also dubbed one of the most dangerous cities in Brazil.

The beach in the Boa Viagem neighborhood is said to be the most shark infested water in the world, and Recife’s carnival celebration is ranked among the best anywhere.

They say; don’t go in the water, don’t go out at night, but make sure you stay for carnival!

Recife Brazil - Shark Sign

With all these mixed reviews and emotions, I had to come to Recife and write my own story about this place.

I spent time in Recife’s historical center where I took in all the bright buildings and friendly faces.

I listened to the traditional Brazilian music like Frevo and Forró in the streets and witnessed all the preparations for this year’s carnival.

As I mention in the video, one of the main attractions during Carnival here Recife and neighboring Olinda are the Bonecos Gigantes or Giant Puppets, and I happened to follow a guy into the “Giant Puppet Embassy” to see the incredible (yet creepy) collection of celebrities, athletes and public figures.

Recife Brazil - Bonecos Gigantes Carnaval

The best experience in Recife actually came on a visit to the city’s largest Favela of Brasilia Teimosa, where a local friend invited me to an after-school program that she’s involved with.

The group is called Driblando Crack and it uses sports like soccer to help kids within the community of Brasilia Teimosa avoid drugs and trafficking.

Recife Brazil - Brasilia Teimosa

I loved hanging out with those kids all afternoon, despite the fact that they kicked my butt in futebol.

That evening I went back downtown and caught a sunset cruise tour through the wide canals and rivers around Recife’s historical center.

Recife Brazil - Historical Center Boat Tour

The next morning I was up early to go on a little adventure. I borrowed my friend’s car and set out on a day trip to Porto de Galinhas.

Porto de Galinhas outside Recife, Brazil

I was actually planning to go to Porto de Galinhas and Praia de Carneiros, but after leaving Porto de Galinhas I got lost on my way to Praia de Carneiros and didn’t arrive until well passed sunset.

Stay tuned for the bloopers reel for that full story.

Anyway, despite a slightly overcast day, Porto de Galinhas was beautiful and a great day trip from Recife.

There are so many amazing beaches in Northeastern Brazil that you could spend a year here and still not see them all.

After a great day at the beach, I made the hour and a half journey back to Recife for some good old fashion Karaoke.

Nothing beats a whole-in-the-wall bar on the wrong side of town with the right kind of people to cap off a trip.

Say what you will about Recife, but my story turned out pretty damn good. I like this place.

 

Curitiba Parks & Private Parties

Voted as one of the best places to live in Latin America, Curitiba has developed into a city that has made others green with envy.

Boasting a well-oiled transit system and more parks than 101 Dalmatians could cover, the city is as efficient as it is refreshing.

Five days in Curitiba and it lifted and shifted my perception of Brazilian cities completely.

I explored the beautiful parks, walked around the city and crashed a few local parties that shaped my Curitiba experience in a great way.

Read all about my Curitiba trip on the Visit Brasil blog, Crashing a Culinary Moment in Curitiba and Five Perfect Picnic Parks in Curitiba.

 

Curitiba Brazil Mesa ao Vivo