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countries

glimpses of elsewhere intertwined with narratives & notions

(words & photos)

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countries

   

 

   Strap into your chair for a journey to elsewhere. These pieces will take you places, but keep in mind that a place is only ever as good or bad as your experience there. Well, my experience, in this case. The little coincidences and the people I met along the way ultimately wrote these narratives and memories. That’s why I can’t claim to paint any accurate, exhaustive or conclusive portraits here. Just my subjective, impressionist bits and pieces that explore places and people, traverse narratives and notions, and travel trains of thought to shout and whisper all sorts of messages with the many voices of one strolling mind. Come on, come along.

The country pages are a mix of finished pieces and teasers as MilesAstray unfolds in unchronological retrospect; I started this project four years into the journey, so my writing has to catch up with my living these stories.

 

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latest places / stories

countries | North America | USA

New York / Dream Arrival: Jamming Untamed Imagination into Tight Realities

a story of a dream coming truer and a city that was smaller the second time around

 

...there was certainly something endearing in that city coming down to earth from its pedestal... explore

countries | South(east) Asia | Nepal

Himalayas / Hiking Alone, Astray & Everestless

when you set out to see Everest, but Everest doesn’t care

 

And after a while, seeing or not seeing Everest became a mere matter of perspective. explore

countries | Europe | Greece

Athens / The Rise and Fall of Empires

Who’s next?

 

Former empires might have traded their swords for pencils, yet the battlefields remain and the war for growth and power goes on. explore

countries | Central & West Asia | Kazakhstan

Nur-Sultan (Astana) / The Surreal Deal

arbitrary travel moments you never could have imagined

 

In a way, I’m sleeping the dreamy sleep of extraordinary travel routine. But every now and then, I wake to the almost absurd reality of a situation I never could have imagined and the vastly arbitrary nature of these instances bestows a surreal feel upon me. explore

countries | Europe | Albania

Tirana / How Little Can You Learn About a Country in One Day?

passing through Albania in 24h

 

...this is pretty much where the flying visit reaches its maximum altitude of inflight insights, falling short of the point where travel gets truly interesting in my opinion: when it fosters a better understanding of a foreign culture and the people who live it through their habits, everyday rituals and mannerisms. explore

countries | Central America | Cuba

Havana / On the Cusp between Eras

sung patriotism & whispered criticism: torn in a changing nation

 

Transformation is a blurry wave, unlike the crisp ripple of a sudden revolutionary fist. explore

countries | Africa | Rwanda

Kibuye / Living with Explosive Likelihoods

the gamble with odds that aren’t all that disastrous – living near dangerous potentials

 

They are accustomed to the normality of any given day that isn’t the one when calamity strikes. explore

countries | North America | Canada

Port Rexton / Only Passing Through: Unsung Towns of Unknown Dreams

the delusive beauty of scratching a place's surface instead of digging deep

 

...the unknown leaves space for imagination and in the foreigner's head any town can tell any story... explore

countries | South(east) Asia | Indonesia

Jakarta / Beautifully Ugly

inner beauty & authentic travel - less pretty cities well worth the visit 

 

Why pretend that you are easy on the eyes of strangers who are just checking you out, soon off to generic liaisons on Bali? You aren’t Kuta, you don’t wear makeup. You look run down. Your old town has seen much better days. And you don’t smell so nice either. But you have character. And soul. And true Javanese street scenes. explore

countries | South America | Colombia

Cartagena / Police Negotiations

haggling over fines for non-existent crimes & how to break the corruption cycle

 

But one needed to keep in mind that these were still cops, no matter how corrupt. It felt like our bargaining power matched theirs, but at the end of the day they were in charge and would decide over our fate that night: jail or no jail. explore

countries | Europe | Spain

Barcelona / Revolution in the Air, But Where?

people carry on ordinarily while the political stage is in flames

 

...yet, between these societal lines, where the quintessence of our life as human beings dwells, our situation remains largely the same, despite political turmoil... explore

countries | Africa | South Africa

Kamhlushwa / Humans Living Passions – Community Enrichment from Within

meet the extraordinary Imagine Scholars

 

As founder Corey Johnson puts it: “I’m incredibly proud of all the huge successes, but the real goal is to create good people. I’d be more proud if they become good mothers, fathers or coworkers, just good people; because that’s what the world needs.” explore

countries | Northeast Asia | Japan

Tokyo / Lingering Alone

the difference between seeing a place and being in a place

 

...everybody is keen on seeing these picture-perfect places, but nobody seems interested in actually being there, in staying in these moments. Peek, cross off the list, move on to the next aisle... explore

countries | South America | Brazil

Ilha Grande / Distracting Convenience

outrunning comfort to create memorable moments

 

Alas, convenience wanted me back in its enclosing walls for the same reasons it always does – for all the wrong reasons, distracting us from the bigger picture... explore

countries | Middle East | UAE

Dubai / Dark Reality of a Playground for the Affluent – Drawing a Line

diverging gustoes or objective concern?

 

...the former fishing village wears but future on its amber desert-skin. But ever taller comes at a price beyond dollar bills...  explore

countries | Central America | Belize

Caye Caulker / Inflate-Burst-Flux of a Clichéd Island Bubble

the bond of a moment’s fun

 

...not much of you or anybody else can stay there, too little the ripple, too constant the stream. A moment’s fun is the bond and doesn’t ask for any more or less... explore

countries | South America | Chile

Valparaíso / TV, Tsunami, Neruda & the Quintessence of Hills & Timing

a matter of perspective and timing

 

...still, there was no denying that this little TV set now beamed some baffling information at us: an 8.2 earthquake off the Chilean Pacific coast was sending a Tsunami right our way and suddenly we appreciated every meter our journey had led us up the raven hill... explore

countries | South America | Chile

Santiago de Chile / Outside the Fence with a Whisky Flask

the morals of sneaking in and getting what you pay for

 

...naturally, Kant's principals are noble, intact, and upright, while mine dangled lazily between mischievous and preposterous. But, from a pragmatic point of view no harm was done and this factual utilitarian reality was more convenient for me that day... explore

countries | South America | Brazil

Rio de Janeiro / No Hard Feelings

distinguishing between place and experience

 

...my harshest criticism towards many travelers and especially the ones armed with blogs – that they don’t distinguish between a place and their experience there... explore

countries | South America | Chile

Patagonia / Hitchhiking Chronicles & Idle Waiting

why waiting doesn’t feel like leisure

 

Just why do moments of waiting feel so dull and wasted? Why do we have to “kill” that time? Usually we can’t wait to get a break from our duties, but once leisure time imposes disguised as idleness it becomes an annoyance. explore

 

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regions

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South(east) Asia
North(east) Asia
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