One Man, Over Land, No Man’s Land

The Fitz Roy Mountain Range, near El Chalten, Argentina (See all the pics…)

Somewhere after the second kilometer and third mangled desert hare I began to wonder if my minimally researched, impromptu hike into Chile was a good idea. I was in the No Man’s Land between the Argentine and Chilean border checkpoints, however this wasn’t the first No Man’s Land that I’ve had to trek across. In truth, it’s not even close to being the most intense either. Hands down, that prize goes to the five mile wasteland between the Kashgar and Kyrgyzstan checkpoints, traveled only by truckers and thoughtfully sandwiched on each side by border urchins waiting to con you in a myriad of deceptive ways. And I was in a tuxedo at the time.

Continue reading “One Man, Over Land, No Man’s Land”

El Calafate and The Perito Moreno Glacier

Yes, that’s a boat… This place is ridiculously spectacular. (See all the pics here…)

The bus hurtled down the Patagonian road, barely slowing for an errant flock of llamas that had escaped their confines. Surprised by the rare vehicle, they took running jumps back over the fence, appearing guilty for having been caught outside their pens. Further along a few ostriches looked up as we passed, and then went back to pecking, unimpressed by our presence. The only other wild life observed was occasional foreign bicyclists, who’s ongoing battle against the wind was etched in every grimace of their grit-blasted faces. The landscape shared an aesthetic similarity with the southwestern United States; much of Patagonia can get very cold but it’s also arid land, sporadicly pockmarked with rocky outcrops, and dotted with small dusty shrubs. Increasingly, we’d pass a lake or river, usually flowing the opposite way and thus indicating that we were approaching the Southern mountains of the Andes range. As we neared the lake-side town of El Calafate (named after the berry, that once eaten, ensures your return to Patagonia), I looked at the two small mountains behind it and tried to scope out routes to climb them. Why do humans incessantly desire to ‘conquer’ things that are way bigger than ourselves?

Continue reading “El Calafate and The Perito Moreno Glacier”

The Serendipitous Universe: A Boat on the Tigre River

Will et al on the Tigre River (See all the Buenos Aires pics here…)

Before I recount this story, please allow me to cut myself a thick slice of retrospect pie. I have a serious, kneel-down-and-lower-your-head kind of respect for the serendipity of life. Every time I start tracing back the probability of the present moment I start to drive myself into a frenzy of logistical wonderment. Of course any one of us can look back at life’s crazy twists and turns of circumstance, experience and relations that have created our reality. In fact if you’re resourceful and imaginative enough, you could dig so deep that you’ll probably find yourself trying to answers the same Big Bang questions that CERN’s Large Hadron Collider was built to help explore. Amid the mind numbing improbability of it all, there are certain moments and individuals that especially stand out; I refer to them as ‘vector shifts’, poignant encounters which profoundly affect everything that comes after them. One such experience in my life was volunteering at the TED conference in 2005. After completing Rhode Island School of Design in 2002, I had been on a tour of all the big US conferences (always attending for free in return for stuffing goodie bags or working the reception) and after the five days TED conference, I left the charming California town of Monterey with my mind completely blown. I was 25 and realized at that moment that I was experiencing my first conscious vector shift – in fact that’s the very moment that I coined the term.

Continue reading “The Serendipitous Universe: A Boat on the Tigre River”