Trip Report: The Jungles of Guatemala

After Antigua, my sister and I headed off towards Finca Ixobel, a ranch in northern Guatemala that my friend Monica had recommended. There is only one paved road between the Guatemalan highlands, where Antigua and Guatemala City are located, and the northern part of the country, and Finca Ixobed is located near the town of Poptun along this road. I booked last minute bus tickets to Rio Dulce, also along the route and a couple of hours short of Poptun. From there I figured I would find another bus or shared taxi (collectivo) for the last two hours to Poptun.

Guatemalan Jungle

The Guatemalan jungle – our next destination!

However, as it happened, things did not go as planned…

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New Low-Cost Flights from Seattle and Denver to Europe!

Norwegian Air will begin to offer low-cost flights from Seattle and Denver to London beginning in mid-September. Beginning today, tickets are available for purchase on its website, The fares start at $199 for tickets from Seattle or Denver to London, and $279 for the return segment, for a total of $478 roundtrip. However, with a little bit of insider knowledge, you can actually cut down the fare a little bit more! I’ll let you know how.

Big Ben At Night

If you’ve ever wanted to see Big Ben, now is the perfect time to book a ticket!

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Trip Report: Antigua, Guatemala

For the first part of my current trip to Central America, I traveled through Guatemala and Belize with my sister Laura. We both flew into Guatemala City and out of Belize City. Since we were traveling through remote areas, the internet was spotty at times, and I’m finally getting around to recapping our adventures.


Guatemala’s currency is named after the Quetzal, its national bird.

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Wandering Simplified: How to Travel Around the World on a Limited Budget

(This article is edited by Sara Bruestle and was originally published in the New Years edition of the Everett Herald)

Josh Smith on the Great Wall of China

Visiting China to see the Great Wall in 2014.

I was awash in wonder as I climbed close to 1,000 steps to the top of the Great Wall of China. When I reached the top of the wall at Badaling — a tourist hotspot because it is the most magnificent section of the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty — I realized I was alone. No other tourists were hiking the wall as far as I could see in either direction. It was eerily quiet.

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New Zealand

Silver Fern Frond

The silver fern is prevalent in New Zealand and can grow to heights of 30 feet. Its unfurling frond, shown here, is one of the national symbols of the country.

New Zealand is a nation in the southwest Pacific comprised of two main islands, known as the North and South Islands. It is a member of the British Commonwealth.

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Trip Report – Driving Adelaide to Alice Springs, Australia

On a recent trip to Australia, I had the opportunity to relocate a rental car from Adelaide in the south to Alice Springs, which is in the remote center of the country, otherwise known as “The Outback.” According to the terms of the relocation, I had five days to travel between the cities, which was enough time to stop off at quite a few places along the way, since driving nonstop only takes 16 hours or so.

Australia Road Trip Map

My route through Australia

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Sunset in Istanbul

Enjoying sunset in Istanbul with Turkish tea

Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, spans both Europe and Asia and is a meeting point for Eastern and Western cultures.

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