Stories


There’s no explaining why some places just get under your skin. In 2007, Islands Magazine sent me on assignment to Tasmania — Australia’s wild island state, 120 miles south of Melbourne. Though I visited only a small part of Tassie, I fell madly in love with the island’s flora and fauna   — including, of course, its carnivorous marsupial mascot. Here’s my story as it appeared in Islands, entitled Sympathy for the Devil.   The wonderful photographs are by my great friend and traveling companion Matthieu Paley.

For 1,200 years, the labyrinthine souks of Fes, Morocco have served as the crossroads of Northern Africa’s spiritual and commercial worlds. Today, the World Heritage Site is getting a facelift — from international agencies, passionate locals, and ambitious expats eager renovate and revitalize the market’s ancient buildings. Here’s a story called “Festive Revival,” from the pages of Virtuoso Life. The story took 1st place in the 2008 NATJA Awards.

In October of 2008, at 54, I returned to Nepal’s spectacular Khumbu region for the first time in 25 years. The idea was to reprise my 1983 climb up Kala Patthar, the 18,400′ high “hill” overlooking Mt. Sagarmatha and Everest Base Camp. My enthusiasm for the expedition was tempered by the fact that I share the genetic liabilities of my father, who died of heart disease at the same age. Here’s my account of my journey, as it appeared in the Los Angeles Times, titled A return trek to the Himalayas.

One of the most exciting new travel mags on the Web is Perceptive Travel, launched by the talented wanderer/editor Tim Leffel. Tim has reworked and republished a couple of my recent environmental stories, both written originally for Seacology. Here’s his very clean adaptation of my tale about saving the golden-maned langurs of Vietnam’s Cat Ba Island.

OnEarth is the beautiful, award-winning magazine of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). In the magazine’s Fall 2006 "Living Green" column, I write about a recent "volunteer vacation" in Koh Chang, Thailand — where I discovered that a wet suit can also be a business suit. Check out My Fabulous, Virtuous Vacation.

I celebrated my 50th birthday in Jerusalem; it was my first trip to Israel. Many of my dispatches appeared on the ThingsAsian site, but here’s a story I published in the San Francisco Chronicle’s bi-annual travel magazine. It’s titled  Of Wine and Walls.

In this piece, which originally appeared on Salon Wanderlust, I describe a blood-curdling encounter with a tiger in one of Nepal’s wildlife parks preserves — and a disgraceful display of "contraband-burning" by Nepalese authorities. Read the original article