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Top 10 Travel Experiences of 2016

Wadi Rum sunset in Jordan

I’m sure nobody wants to hear this, but 2016 wasn’t all bad for me. At times it would be easy to sink into the growing collective despair. Then again, I find it perfectly healthy to reflect and take stock of the good things that happened over the past year. Truth be told, 2016 was not a bad year in terms of the things I care most about, those being travel and hearing and telling stories. Over the course of these 12 months, I covered distances as far as Alaska to Jordan. I learned about indigenous tourism and finally set foot in a corner of the globe that continues to be thoroughly misunderstood by people from my North American background. I personally feel better educated to share the stories I’ve heard to continually do my part, as little as it may be, to make people less terrified of one another.

Below are 10 of my top travel experiences of 2016 complete with a snippet from the article referencing said experience. Yes, it’s a bit like when a TV sitcom assembles a clip show as a cop-out for an episode, but I hope it’s clear that my intentions are noble.

I also hope it’s clear that I’m not sharing these to brag or incite envy. Rather, I’m sharing them in hopes you might feel compelled to either follow in my footsteps to some of these destinations or to simply recount the positive aspects of your year. Continue reading

Alaska / North America / podcast / travel / United States

Alexis C. Bunten On Indigenous Tourism and How to Help Standing Rock

Alexis Celeste Bunten wrote So, How Long Have You Been Native? on her experience working in indigenous tourism with Tribal Tours in Sitka, Alaska. She’s now putting the finishing touches on a new book that looks at the indigenous tourism industry around the world from the United States to Australia and Botswana. On that note, Alexis also offers her thoughts regarding the ongoing protests at the Standing Rock reservation against the Dakota Access Pipeline and how you can help.

Subscribe to Without A Path. Continue reading

Alaska / North America / travel / United States

Dog Sledding and a Day on the Alaska Railroad

Read part one from Anchorage here.

Train travel is without question the most comfortable and sexiest form of long distance travel.

Yes, sexiest.

Luckily for my travel preferences, this year just so happened to be the centennial celebration of the Alaska Railroad, launched in 1916 in time to fuel the gold rush. Today, it’s still a beauty of a rail line that travels between Fairbanks and Seward, a distance of 470 miles, with Denali National Park in between. Continue reading

Alaska / North America / travel / United States

Traveling Around Anchorage, Alaska in the Winter

Everyone wants to go to Alaska. It’s certainly on the top of any North American’s travel wish list and is incredibly popular with Asian travelers, particularly from Japan, China and South Korea.

However, the 49th state is generally portrayed as a barren wasteland during the winter months when daylight is minimal to non-existent. Of course this perception is based on little more than assumptions. It’s north, ipso facto, it’s cold. But as I’ve found in my travels, assumptions are almost always a steaming pile of, to stick with the Alaskan theme, moose crap.

So, I purposely traveled to Alaska for a Matador Network story this past January to see what exactly one does in an Alaskan winter.  Continue reading

Alaska / North America / travel / United States

Traveling Alaska in the Heart of Winter

Anchorage, Alaska skyline

Originally published at Matador Network.

1. Get toasty at the Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival in Anchorage

Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival

Oppressively cold negative 40 temperatures aren’t unheard of in winter here, so finding a way to keep toasty is essential. One way that works is to simply get toasted drunk at the Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival.

Approximately half of the event space is dedicated to Alaskan breweries with the other half welcoming guest breweries, primarily from the Pacific Northwest and a handful of the most established craft breweries in the country, like New Belgium and Sierra Nevada. But you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s an Alaska-only affair with crowds piling into the Alaskan side of the festival, as if it were Black Friday for beer. HooDoo, Alaskan Brewing, Silver Gulch, and the list goes on to more than anyone can reasonably handle for one evening.

Simply put, Alaskans love Alaskan beer. Continue reading