Writers’ Expeditions Magazine

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Easter Island’s monolithic statues (Moai). Photo by Kirsten Koza.

In Deep Doo-Doo: but just how deep is that doo-doo? It can be 164 feet deep at the ecological paradise of Islas Ballestas off the coast of Peru. The Inca didn’t just mine gold; there was guano to mine and lots of it for fertilizing their thousands of varieties of potatoes and corn.

When the Inca were conquered by the Spaniards, it wasn’t just Inca gold that the Spanish valued, there was an abundance of explosive producing poo for profit (actually bat scat has more bang for your buck). The Spanish navy fought for control of the Chincha Islands off Peru in the mid 1860’s. And slave traders (“traders” is (read more…)

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Travellers Beware—tea that makes your pee test positive for cocaine: Coca leaves aren’t cocaine. You don’t get high from coca but it helps you deal with being high in elevation. I get more kick from coffee than coca tea and coffee tastes better. Coca whether chewed or brewed tastes like what I’d imagine a horse turd tastes like. I’ve consumed large quantities of coca leaves in Peru to help prevent altitude sickness and felt nothing and wasn’t sure it even did anything. Then at high elevation in Kyrgyzstan my face swelled, sticky fluid seeped through my skin and my lungs gurgled. It was the first time I’d been over 13,000 ft. in elevation without coca and I suffered dangerously from edema. (read more…)

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Heads-up Travellers: double dipping in Kyrgyzstan is the norm whether you are dining with a family in their yurt or in a restaurant. Many locals shove the spoon that was in their mouths into the communal serving dishes of food, and also into the shared condiment bowls that stay on the tables. (read more…)

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The team at Leap Local spent 17-hour days/nights for weeks developing Leap’s new website, and What on Earth?, our new travel magazine. This magazine isn’t a glossy brochure for fantasy and unrealistic dream trips, but revels in the hilarious, gritty, heart wrenching, stupid, maddening, culture clashing, wonderful adventures, and misadventures of travel. The launch issue contains the winning local guides & services and the winning travel stories from our competitions. And it has my own story, “Thou Shalt Not Snore”, about a diabolical night in Jordan, in the WTF (weird travel files) section of the magazine.

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