Happy Earth Day!


Today is Earth Day, a day when people around the world take time to recognize and appreciate the earth’s natural beauty and environment and take some proactive steps to protect it. Some people plant trees, others pick up trash. The first Earth Day took place in 1970 and now is recognized in 175 counties around the world. As popular as it is, Earth Day still remains a somewhat controversial event for some, but regardless of whether or not you think Earth Day is some Pagan holiday celebrated by freakish hippies, I think most people can agree the environment is something that should be respected and protected. You don’t have to believe in global warming to feel uneasy about the buildup of trash along your local highway, and you don’t have to worship Mother Earth to appreciate the beauty of a nature preserve. So in honor of Earth Day 2012, whatever that means to you, here are some pictures from a pretty unique place in Chile, Reserva Biologica Huilo Huilo. I think everyone can agree its a place worth enjoying now and saving for the future.

The Luxury of Silence

People often ask me why my idea of fun consists of going up into the mountains and running for several hours at a time. In part, I enjoy the physical challenge and the sense of accomplishment, but another significant motivational factor is that when I escape into the depths of the forest, it’s quiet. Technological advances have made it easier and faster for us to access information, but a barrage of information is now projected in our direction in a bandwidth that’s deafening. In these modern times, it seems as though quiet has become a luxury.
I recently came across an interesting article by author Pico Iyer in the New York Times entitled The Joy of Quiet. Iyer has noticed a similar trend, citing internet rescue camps in South Korea and China for kids addicted to the web, and how he finds refuge in a Benedictine hermitage where he periodically retreats to drown out the excessive noise of the information age. In his own words, “nothing makes me feel better – calmer, clearer and happier – than being in one place, absorbed in a book, a conversation, a piece of music.”

Beautiful Bulgaria

Bulgaria. Whenever I mention I’ve been to Bulgaria, I’m surprised by a common response: “Wow, I’ve always wanted to go to South America, it must be nice.” Bulgaria, not to be confused with Bolivia, is tucked away in the southeast corner of Europe and easily makes up for what it may lack in name recognition with a deep and fascinating history, diverse landscapes and a culture rich in tradition and hospitality.
My first exposure to Bulgaria came in 2007. On The World by Road, Bulgaria represented the gateway to Europe. The newly inducted member of the European Union offered a change of pace, culturally, from months spent driving through the Muslim oriented countries of Central Asia. It wasn’t until I saw a Christmas tree in Bulgaria that I realized what time of year it was. Unfortunately, our stay in Bulgaria was short, but my curiosity had been sparked and I vowed to return one day to explore more of this intriguing country. Three years later, I fulfilled that vow and Bulgaria didn’t disappoint.

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