long term travel | Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel

UPDATED AS OF JUNE, 2012 This handbook is designed to help anyone who wants to visit the place on this planet that has most captured my heart, Pokhara, Nepal. Having spent three months in Nepal in late 2010, much of the time in Pokhara, and returning for long-term stays over the following two years, I came to know the town quite well and wanted to share with other Nepal-bound travelers my tips for everything from the best hotels and restaurants, to the not-to-be missed sights, and even the…

As I waited to fill my plate during the International Human Rights Day celebration at Tashiling Tibetan refugee settlement in Pokhara, kids darted back and forth through the dinner line, playing tag. When one of them unexpectedly scooted in front of me, I reflexively took a step back and bumped into Tseten Chomphel. He laughed, diffusing my embarrassment, and introduced himself. By the time we made it to the head of the buffet line we were chatting like old friends. For the next hour I sat cross-legged on…

Jampa Chodok is 83 years old but he remembers his days as freedom fighter in Tibet as if they happened last week. He joined our small tour group just as we were finishing lunch at the Jampaling Tibetan refugee settlement, located about 12 miles east of Pokhara, Nepal. He sat in the sun, as old men often do to warm their bones, and, squinting in the bright light, began telling us about a life sacrificed to years of war. Hostilities began in 1949, when Mao Zedong proclaimed the…

I went to see the new movie Eat, Pray, Love a couple of weeks ago. The movie wasn’t fabulous, it wasn’t even as good as the book, but it threw me into reminiscing. Nearly four years ago, like the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, I too made the decision to abandon my existing life and job to travel around the world for six months in pursuit of my true passions of travel, photography, and writing. The book had just been released at that time and I read it from cover…

When I set off on this four-month backpacking trip at the end of February, my cultural travel itinerary included Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Peru and Ecuador. I envisioned ten weeks in Mexico, followed by whirlwind tours of the other four countries, including hiking the Machu Picchu Trail in Peru and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. Some of you are looking at the calendar right now and noting that it is now nearly four months later and my blog posts are still all about Mexico. Yes, I am still in…

Some people have itchy fingers. I have itchy travel feet. Since returning from my six-month round-the-world (RTW) trip in 2007 I’ve continued to travel in the U.S., staying on the road more than 50% of the time. I’ve been longing to strap on my backpack and head back out for another round of international travel but the timing just didn’t seem right. Last year was especially difficult; I finally had to tell the bank to take back a property I still owned in North Carolina, because I could…