A Journey Through Cambodia: Past and Present

A Journey Through Cambodia: Past and Present

When I first visited Cambodia back in 2009, it was my first taste of traveling in a third world country. But a lot has happened in Cambodia–for the better–in the past seven years. To understand the Cambodia of today, it’s important to know the Cambodia of the past. It’s a small country by Asian standards, with a population of 15 million. It’s bordered by Thailand to the west, Laos to the north, and Vietnam to the east. Due to its…

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Day Trip to Petra: Jordan’s Epic “Lost City”

Day Trip to Petra: Jordan’s Epic “Lost City”

January 12th. 1 pm. Petra, Jordan. It flourished as an ancient civilization for over 500 years. Then, forgotten by the outside world, it faded into obscurity and disappeared off the map for centuries. It’s best known for Indiana Jones’ famous ride through its canyon walls on his quest for the long-lost Holy Grail. Where is this ancient city? It’s Petra, the lost (and rediscovered) “Rose City” in Jordan. Our journey to Petra began at the very early hour of 3 am….

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Dahab: Fun in the Sun on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula

Dahab: Fun in the Sun on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula

January 13th. 12 pm. Dahab, Egypt. My gray Arabian horse, Oscar, starts prancing beneath me. I feel his powerful muscles coil in anticipation as we turn off the paved road and approach a mile-long stretch of hard-packed sand. “Are you ready?” my guide asks. “Ready,” I reply, and release my hold on the reins. Seconds later we’re thundering down the straightaway, galloping through the sand as Arabian horses have for millennia. These animals are bred for the desert; every drop…

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Into the Wilderness of Egypt: Climbing Mount Sinai

Into the Wilderness of Egypt: Climbing Mount Sinai

January 10. 3 pm. The summit of Mount Sinai, Egypt. I’m sitting at the top of a mountain I’ve only ever read about…and certainly never thought I’d climb. From this vantage point, I can see a huge portion of the Sinai Peninsula. I can also see the wide open plain where Moses, Aaron, and the ancient Israelites camped at the base of the mountain over 3,000 years ago. In every direction, nothing but desert spreads out before me. The landscape…

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The Temple of Karnak and Luxor: Where Time Stands Still

The Temple of Karnak and Luxor: Where Time Stands Still

January 8. 4 pm. Luxor. I’m sitting on the deck of an old-fashioned felucca, the same sailing boats Egyptians have used for thousands of years. Our captain, Saleh, works with his first mate to unfurl the sails and push the tiny boat into the Nile’s mighty current. There’s no motor on this boat, which means it’ll be slow going today. But that’s okay. There’s nothing we want to do for the next hour except lay back, drink some karkade (hibiscus…

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Hoofprints Through History: Horse Riding in Luxor

Hoofprints Through History: Horse Riding in Luxor

January 7. 7 am. Luxor. We awoke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in our hotel room in Luxor, eager to begin our day. For me, this ride was going to be a highlight of my visit to Egypt – right up there with riding past the Pyramids in Giza. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that horse riding is a top priority anywhere I visit. But riding in EGYPT? Native home of Arabian horses, my all-time…

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Aswan & Abu Simbel: Jewels of Upper Egypt

Aswan & Abu Simbel: Jewels of Upper Egypt

January 6. 3 pm. Aswan. I’m sitting on the east bank of the river Nile, enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun. In a few moments we’ll be heading to the train station and onward to Luxor, but for now I’m reflecting on two days spent in Upper Egypt (which is actually the southernmost part, because the Nile flows from south to north). Anyway. After a surprisingly pleasant 14-hour overnight train ride from Cairo, we arrived in Aswan yesterday at 10…

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