Author Archives: Dan Perry

About Dan Perry

Dan created this blog to document his South America trip, which covered every country on the continent and lasted over two years. He currently lives in Madison, WI.

AtW #80: Alison Price

Picture of Katie, Alison Price and Dan.

Katie and me with Alison Price.

Katie and I met Alison Price many years ago at the Twin Ports invasion, dubbed “The World's Coldest Couchsurfing Invasion”, a claim that I do no dispute. Alison is an amazing artist based in Minneapolis.

And now, here's our podcast:

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  • I talk about Couchsurfing often on this podcast, and this episode is no different. Couchsurfing is one of my favorite ways to connect with locals while I'm traveling, and it's also fun to host people in my home.
  • Katie and I talked about cycle touring in Japan on two separate podcasts, #64 and #66.
  • Emmy Lou the shar pei has her own Instagram account, EmmyLouPei.
  • There were mammoths in North America at the time the pyramids were built in Egypt. This article verifies this claim, and much more. Though #3 is no longer true.
  • Along the same lines, the blog Wait But Why did a great take on “horizontal history.”
  • Humans have spent several decades thinking about how to label nuclear waste so future civilizations will know to avoid it. The labels will have to stand the test of time: plutonium-239 will remain dangerous for around 240,000 years. For comparison, homo sapiens began to evolve around 200,000 years ago (according to the article).
  • NASA has a handy guide on how to read the Golden Record, aboard Voyager.
  • Here's how to find NEMAA.

During the podcast, I mentioned that I had checked out an abandoned school in New Orleans. It was frozen in time after hurricane Katrina struck. Here are some photos from that memorable experience:

Picture of abandoned school in New Orleans. Picture of peace sign in abandoned school. Picture of lockers. Picture of newspaper in abandoned school in New Orleans.

We found this newspaper in the principal's office, predicting that Katrina would hit the Florida panhandle instead of New Orleans.

Cycle Touring and Digital Nomadism with Ryan Sinn

Cycle touring: Picture of Ryan Sinn and his bicycle.

Ryan is ready to go cycle touring.

My guest today is Ryan Sinn. He's a digital nomad who's into travel and cycle touring, and he has a unique and interesting worldview. I had a great time chatting with him, and I hope you'll enjoy our conversation.

Information about Ryan's cycle touring can be found at ShareThisRoad.com.

Ryan also maintains RyanSinn.com, which contains a blog with technical information.

And now for today's podcast:

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Show Notes:

  • Ryan and I discussed the hospitality websites Warm Showers and Couch Surfing. I've never used the former, but the latter is a big part of my life.
  • Another website Ryan mentioned was Physical Address, which allows you to manage your mail from anywhere in the world.
  • You can bring your bicycle onto an Amtrak train. The company has an article with more details. The cost depends on the train and the type of bike you'd like to take aboard.
  • Due to the requirement for extensive human labor, grass lawns were originally the playgrounds of the wealthy, as you can read about here.
  • Ryan mentioned the book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs.
  • A few years back, our mutual friend Joe Waltz built an intentional community called Dreamland in south Minneapolis, but he was forced to disband the community by the local government because more than three unrelated adults were living together. This is an older article, but it still begs the question: Is it really the government's job to tell you who you're allowed to live with? How can you possibly claim to live in the “Land of the Free” when laws like this still exist in municipalities throughout the country?
  • The Laurentian Divide is where the direction of water flow from eastern and southern Canada is divided with that of the northern Midwestern United States.
  • We talked briefly about the bizarre technical glitch that resulted in the unleashing of angry mobs upon a poor farmer's house in Nebraska. Here's the full story.
  • Speaking of special geographical markers, one of the planet's four exact center points of latitude and longitude lies in Poniatowski, Wisconsin. There is a marker in the ground, and in nearby Wausau you can even get a coin to commemorate your visit.

Kashmir On My Mind

Kashmir: Picture of Pradeepika and Dan.

Talking Kashmir over a wonderful dinner.

A few months ago, Katie and I met Pradeepika Saraswat while traveling in Hampi, southern India. We hit it off and she later invited us to visit her in Delhi, where we recorded this podcast. Pradeepika is a journalist who has spent much time living in Kashmir, a region over which India and Pakistan have fought multiple wars. I also visited Kashmir a few years back and became very interested in the region, so naturally, this was the main focus of our discussion.

You can listen to the audio here:

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Show Notes:

  • Pradeepika referenced Article 377, but she meant to reference Article 370.
  • Though Pradeepika currently writes for a Hindi publication, you can still find her older English-language stories on The Quint.
  • The dowry is a transfer of wealth from the bride's family to the groom's. It has a long history in India, as well as many other countries, and it was a topic of much fascination for us during our time in South Asia.
  • Violence broke out two years ago in Kashmir, after the death of activist Burhan Wani. Like most stories from this part of the world, it's hard to find unbiased information about Mr. Wani and his violent demise.
  • Cashmere wool comes from the cashmere goat, native to the Kashmir region of modern-day Pakistan and India. Here are a bunch more interesting facts about cashmere wool.
  • Pradeepika mentioned the book Dragon On Our Doorstep by Pravin Sawhney and Ghazala Wahab.
  • Pradeepika also mentioned the book Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer.
  • A few months after my first trip to India, the government suddenly (and without warning) decided to demonetize all 500- and 1000- rupee notes, causing widespread panic and shortages of cash throughout the country. Except, that is, for Kashmir.
  • China is currently trying to curb the building of strange buildings.

And here are a few of my photos from Kashmir:

Picture of Kashmir fruit vendors.

Fruit vendors in Srinagar.

Picture of Muslim men shopping.

Muslim men going shopping.

Picture of auto rickshaw.

Auto rickshaws are everywhere in India, including Srinagar.

Picture of man hanging out of a bus in Kashmir.

It's fun to hang out of moving buses.

Picture of road tar in India.

Tarring the road.

Picture of an old building in Srinagar.

An old building.

Picture of woodworker in Kashmir.

The woodworker.

Picture of Dal Lake.

Dal Lake in Srinagar.

You can find more of my photos from India here.

AtW #77: India Roundup

Picture of Katie hiking in India.

India has some excellent hiking.

With only a few days left in our ten-month trip, Katie and I recapped our time in India and discussed how travel has changed us. Lots of good philosophical advice in this one.

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Show Notes:

Here's a video I shot while walking around Varanasi. This doesn't begin to capture the true chaos of the moment. So much is missing: the sweltering heat, the festering cow dung, the pestering touts, and more. The only way to truly experience a place like this (absent lifelike VR) is to go there.

And here are a few photos from some of the places we discussed:

Picture of border crossing between India and Nepal.

Land border crossings can be quite interesting. You might need all day to get across, but I still highly recommend going over land when possible. You'll get a much better feel for the place from the moment you set foot into the new country. This is the border between India and Nepal, taken from the Indian side.

Picture of men with guns.

Your gun must be at least this long to take a photo with me.

Picture of Katie sweating in India.

The torrid heat was almost too much for us at times. On this day the mercury touched 46 Celsius (115 Fahrenheit). I know this is hard to believe, but some of the locals still looked comfortable wearing jeans and long sleeve shirts in the midday heat.

Picture of door frames in Lucknow, India.

A major siege occurred in Lucknow, India 150 years ago. You can still see the bullet holes today. Or maybe the cement is simply crumbling.

Picture of man pushing heavy load on his bike in India.

These guys work unbelievably hard, pushing heavy loads around the city.

Picture of market in Lucknow, India.

Lucknow was the most chaotic city we visited in India. Or maybe that was just our perception because we were staying in the heart of the main bazaar. This photo was taken from our hotel balcony.

Picture of bicycle rickshaw driver.

Bicycle rickshaws are very common in most Indian cities. This guy is relaxing while waiting for a fare.

Picture of Katie sneaking around a cow.

Skills you'll pick up if you travel long enough in India: how to sneak around a cow in a narrow alley.

Picture of bathing people in the Ganges River.

The locals come down to the holy Ganges at dawn to bathe.

Trekking the Annapurna Circuit

Annapurna: Picture of Martijn and Manon.

Annapurna romance: Martijn and Manon, the Dutchies.

Katie and I had an amazing month of trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. Along with the gorgeous scenery and the extreme physical challenge of hiking to the 5416-meter Thorung Pass, the people were the highlight of our trek. Those who lived along the trail were extremely friendly, as were the other trekkers we met. And among them were today's guests, Martijn and Manon. We made some time a few days after finishing our trek to record a podcast and reminisce our month in the mountains.

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Show Notes:

  • We talked about Jitterbug Perfume at the beginning of the show. Still no word about where the Bandaloop caves are, but I have a feeling they're somewhere in central Nepal.
  • Upon coming to Nepal in the middle of April, I was surprised to learn that it was New Year's Eve, and we were entering the year 2075. This is because Nepal uses the Bikram Sambat calendar, which starts counting from when Indian emperor Vikramaditya won a decisive military victory over the Sakas.
  • Although theories abound about the origin of the Easter Bunny, Time Magazine makes a case that the rabbit is an ancient pagan symbol for fertility.

And here are some photos from our trek:

Picture of subtropical landscape on the Annapurna circuit.

For the first few days the landscape was dry and subtropical.

Picture of waterfall.

There were many waterfalls along the way.

Picture of suspension bridge across the Marsyangdi River.

As we walked along the bottom of the canyon, we had to cross the mighty Marsyangdi River many times. Luckily, there were plenty of suspension bridges to aid us.

Picture of guesthouse kitchen on the Annapurna Circuit.

The guesthouses we stayed in were able to produce a huge variety of dishes, considering their humble kitchens.

Picture of Chame and mountains.

Soon we reached Chame, where we got our first look at the snowy mountains of the Annapurna range.

Picture of Ghyaru.

Ghyaru is a tiny village located just below the snowline. The locals were busy plowing their potato fields using oxen.

Picture of Ice Lake.

The journey to Ice Lake (4600 meters) was our first true test. Annapurna III is in the background.

Picture of group walking from Tilicho Lake.

A side trip to Tilicho lake, one of the world's highest at 4910 meters, was also quite the challenge.

Group photo from Thorung La.

Made it to the Thorung Pass (5416 meters, 17,769 feet)! Pictured here are Manon, Katie, Kasper, Martin, me, and Martijn.

Picture of Muktinath Temple.

We still had to walk all the way back down. One of the first places we visited was the famous Muktinath Temple.

Picture of Katie and Dan.

After three weeks of walking, Katie and I made it to Poon Hill, where the mountains gave us their final curtain call.

For more of my photos from the Annapurna Circuit, click here.

Tattoo Witness: What Do You Ink?

Picture of Dan and Ruwan and Ruwan's tattoo.

Tattoo me a river.

Ruwan Perera hosted Katie and me at his home near Colombo, Sri Lanka. While we were there, Ruwan was also hosting a couple of tattoo artists from Ukraine. They asked Ruwan if he would like a tattoo in exchange for hosting them, and he said yes. In our podcast, Ruwan discusses getting his first tattoo, as well as some of the history of his country, and the importance of Couchsurfing and similar networks in this age of modern travel.

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Show Notes:

Pictures from Ruwan's new tattoo:

Picture of tattoo ink.

The design.

Picture of Ana draws the tattoo.

Concentration.

Picture of Ruwan in pain.

A little painful.

Picture of tattoo in progress.

Almost finished.

Picture of tattoo.

Complete!

Picture of new CS friends.

New CS friends: Katie, Ruwan, Ana, Max and Dan.

AI and Sunburn with Ondrej and Nina

Sunburn: Picture of Ondrej Nina and Dan.

Ondrej, Nina and I are trying to avoid sunburn.

I met Ondrej and Nina at a guesthouse near the southernmost point of Sri Lanka. They both have become obsessed with surfing, so that factored into a large part of our discussion. And, I must admit, the beach we were staying on was perfect for beginner surfers. If only we could avoid the sunburn, we might still be there.

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Show Notes:

  • The earthquake that caused the 2004 tsunami happened at 6:30 AM in Sri Lanka, and the actual tsunami hit two hours later. It killed upwards of 280,000 people, including 35,000 in Sri Lanka. Aldo, the Italian man I met on the Amazon, told me that he had gotten up early that morning to go for a walk. He survived by clinging to a tree. Several people in his hotel were still sleeping and were killed when the tsunami struck.
  • Ondrej mentioned a book called Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari. You can find a copy by following the link.
  • Since we talked about sunburns, I thought I would include a link to some of the most painful sunburns ever.

AtW #72: Chris Hunter

Picture of Chris and Dan.

Chris and Dan, hanging out in Kandy.

I met Chris Hunter in a hostel dorm room in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Chris has lived in Berlin for most of his life, though he also spent five years in India and several years in San Francisco during his youth. Needless to say, he's an experienced traveler, full of knowledge. We discussed some of the places he knows well, and some of the ways in which travel has changed during his life.

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* * *

Show Notes:

Think you're taking unique travel photos on the road? Think again!

And finally, I bring you a dog with dyed red fur:

Picture of dog with dyed red fur.

Philippines in Review

Picture of horse in Vigan, Philippines.

From Vigan, in the Philippines.

In this episode, Katie and I talk about our six weeks (or so) in the Philippines, with a bonus of traveling to Bangkok for a job fair.

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Here are a few of my photos from the Philippines:

Picture of tarsier.

A Philippine tarsier, from Bohol island.

Picture of Jagna sunset.

Sunset from Jagna, Bohol.

Picture of Vigan at night.

Vigan's central square at night.

Picture of hanging coffins.

The hanging coffins at Sagada.

Picture of man at Sinulog.

A man dancing at the Sinulog festival.

Picture of queen of Sinulog.

The queen of Sinulog.

Picture of man at Sinulog.

This guy really wanted his picture taken.

Picture of Lepaks and Perry.

A family shot at Puerto Princesa.

Picture of Sunset at Corong Corong.

Sunset at Corong Corong.