No Matter Where I Go, There I Am

Home Is Where You Are
Home Is Where You Are
There are certain things you realize after wandering the Earth for over half a decade. Things which you never even knew were things until you get the perspective of being away for long period of time.

One of the things which has changed is my concept of home.

Like most people, prior to traveling I’ve lived in some sort of dwelling my whole life. I always had a place where I had my stuff and I could go to bed. Whenever I would travel, even when I was traveling around the US attending debate tournaments in college, I knew I would eventually be heading back to the place where I had all my stuff.

This is something which is ingrained so deeply in most people that they don’t even recognize it. They’ve never been without a home, so they’ve never had the feeling of being without it. Continue reading “No Matter Where I Go, There I Am”

Photo Essay : Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

This summer I had the pleasure of visiting Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. Previously known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida Gwaii is an archapelego of islands off the northern coast of British Columbia and south of the Alaskan Panhandle. Haida Gwaii means “islands of the people” in the native Haida language.

The premier attraction in Haida Gwaii is Gwaii Haanas National Park. It is a very remote and difficult to access are with few overland options for entering the park available. I explored the park on a 4-day zodiac trip with local tour operator, Morseby Explorers.

Haida Gwaii is one of the most wonderful, yet least known places in North America. If you are ever exploring Northern British Columbia, you should be a part of your itinerary.

Continue reading “Photo Essay : Haida Gwaii, British Columbia”

October 2012 Questions and Answers

It is time once again to dip into the proverbial inbox and answer the burning questions that internet has been dying to ask.

Happy To Be Homeless asks: Do you ever worry about your carbon footprint on the world? I’m not a huge environmentalist by any means, but it seems that you take numerous long duration flights for “not-so-long” stays at your travel destinations…

Continue reading “October 2012 Questions and Answers”

Jeff Greenwald – The World’s First Travel Blogger

In August of 2012 I attended the Book Passage Travel Writing Conference and had the pleasure to meet Jeff Greenwald. He was introduced to me as being the world’s first travel blogger. Needless to say I was intrigued by this claim.

As it turns out, he does indeed have a pretty solid claim on being the first travel writer to post a story on the world wide web back in January 1994. While some academic from CERN or the Univesity of Illinois might have updated his website overseas, I’m pretty certain that Jeff was probably the first travel writer to actually submit a travel story via the world wide web as his first post was less than a year after the first release of the Mosaic browser. I thought Jeff’s story was fascinating and a great insight to how the world of travel blogging came about.

Here is Jeff…

Jeff Greenwald back in 1993
Jeff Greenwald on the completion of his voyage in 1994
In early 1993, I decided to try an experiment that seemed utterly insane.

For the past 14 years—since 1979—I’d been working as a photojournalist. My assignments had taken me around the globe, but in spite of all the miles I’d flown I didn’t feel like much of a real traveler. In truth, I felt like I was somehow … cheating.

It isn’t hard to say why. It was a result of flying itself. Airports are the great, bland equalizers of civilization; arriving in every new country, from Turkey to Thailand, felt exactly the same. Travel itself, which had seemed so thrilling and exotic when I’d started out, had become tame and predictable. The whole world, in fact, was feeling freakishly small. Continue reading “Jeff Greenwald – The World’s First Travel Blogger”

What I’ve Learned From 6 Years Of Travel Blogging

On October 14, 2006 I made my first blog post to I had actually been “blogging” since 1997, but we didn’t call it blogging back then. It was just my personal website. (which still exists by the way).
Having no background as a journalist, writer or photographer, I have come a long way in 6 years. Today, I’m a Lowell Thomas Award winner with a personal audience of over 100,000 people. I’ve gone from nothing to having one of the largest travel blogs on the planet. As a photographer I should note that I literally didn’t know the settings on my camera when I started.

In the last half decade, I’ve explored a huge chunk of the world, I’ve met amazing people and have been able to make a living out of traveling.
Continue reading “What I’ve Learned From 6 Years Of Travel Blogging”

UNESCO World Heritage Site #187: Medina of Tetouan

UNESCO World Heritage Site #187: Medina of Tétouan
UNESCO World Heritage Site #187: Medina of Tétouan

From the World Heritage inscription:

Tétouan was of particular importance in the Islamic period, from the 8th century onwards, since it served as the main point of contact between Morocco and Andalusia. After the Reconquest, the town was rebuilt by Andalusian refugees who had been expelled by the Spanish. This is well illustrated by its art and architecture, which reveal clear Andalusian influence. Although one of the smallest of the Moroccan medinas, Tétouan is unquestionably the most complete and it has been largely untouched by subsequent outside influences.

I made a brief trip into Morocco from the Spanish city of Ceuta to visit Tétouan. Located in the norther part of Morocco, it can be thought of as the African counterpart to the cities in Spain with Moorish influences.

The medina was a bewildering maze of shops and homes. If I didn’t have a guide with me, I probably never would have found my way out.

Getting to Tetouan isn’t hard. It was only a 30 minute drive by taxi from Ceuta and there are plenty of taxi drivers who will take you there. Payment in Euros is accepted.

Visiting Tetouan has whetted my appetite for exploring more of Morocco.


Medina of Tetouan

The Medina of Tetouan is a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Morocco. It was inscribed in 1997 and belongs to the province of Tetouan. This medina is located in a city in the northern part of Morocco. It is one of two Mediterranean Sea ports. Hence, it also plays a huge part in the economic growth in the region.

Tetouan was the capital for the Spanish protectorate in Morocco in 1913. It retained that status until 1956 when Morocco regained its independence. This also explains why Spanish and French are highly spoken in this city due to its colonial ties and history. Even though Islam is the primary religion in the city, there is also a large Jewish and Christian community.

About Medina of Tetouan

The Medina of Tetouan is an important cultural site in Morocco. This part of the city was rebuilt following the reclamation of this city from the Reconquista. It was the refugees who helped to re-build this city in the 15th century. This part of Morocco was once ruled by the Spaniards. Hence, it was once known for its privacy and seclusion at some point in history. In fact, the Spaniards built walls and enclosures with houses during their colonial rule.

Medina of Tetouan

Another cultural importance of the Medina of Tetouan is from the 8th century onwards, which was also known as the Islamic period. This was the main point of contact between Morocco and Andalusia in Spain. This is due to the strategic location of Tetouan, which is opposite the Straits of Gibraltar. Hence, it was possible for two civilizations to remain in contact with each other despite being located on two different continents.

The refugees that helped rebuild this city were expelled by the Spanish authorities from Andalusia. This explains why the art and architecture at the Medina of Tetouan have a strong Andalusian influence. Even though this is the smallest out of all medinas in Morocco, this is the most complete of them all. In fact, experts believe that the medina is pretty much how it looked by the time it was rebuilt by the Andalusian refugees.

In terms of the authenticity of the UNESCO site, the Medina of Tetouan and its urban layout has remained intact. The surrounding walls, gates and fortifications have been preserved from the 18th century until today. Hence, the original configuration and the materials used were still present at the medina. One testament to its town planning that had Andalusian influence was depicted by the hierarchy of streets and how the various sectors of the town were divided amongst each other (for example, the residential, commercial and artisan areas were separated clearly). Meanwhile, many of the monuments in the Medina of Tetouan that were built during the time of the reclamation were left intact such as the fountains, historic silos, hammams, ovens, and zawayas. The same goes with the houses; most of them are still standing until today.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

UNESCO World Heritage Site #186: Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville
Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville: My 186th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville:

Together the Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias as a series, form a remarkable monumental complex in the heart of Seville. They perfectly epitomize the Spanish “Golden Age”, incorporating vestiges of Islamic culture, centuries of ecclesiastical power, royal sovereignty, and the trading power that Spain acquired through its colonies in the New World.

Founded in 1403 on the site of a former mosque, the Cathedral, built in Gothic and Renaissance style, covers seven centuries of history. With its five naves, it is the largest Gothic building in Europe. Its bell tower, the Giralda, was the former minaret of the mosque, a masterpiece of Almohad architecture and now is an important example of the cultural syncretism thanks to the top section of the tower, designed in the Renaissance period by Hernán Ruiz. Its “chapter house” is the first known example of the use of the elliptical floor plan in the western world. Ever since its creation, the Cathedral has continued to be used for religious purposes.

The cathedral in Seville is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the third largest church overall. It took over the title of the largest church in the world from the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul which held the title for over 700 years. It is also the burial site for Christopher Columbus who’s body was interred there in the early 20th Century. The bell tower was built to resemble the Koutoubia Mosque in Morocco.

Seville should be a high priority for any trip to Spain. The high-speed train makes it very accessible from Madrid.


The Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Spain. It is a cultural UNESCO site that was inscribed in 1987. Prior to that, it has already been named as a Spanish Property of Cultural Interest since 1928. Hence, this is an important monument that is also known for its global significance.

The Seville Cathedral is the main component of this UNESCO site. It is a Roman Catholic cathedral that was built in early 16th century. It features a Gothic architectural style and is the largest of its kind in the world. Meanwhile, it is the third largest church in the world. In fact, it superseded Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world.

About Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

The Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville is a collection of 3 sites in 3 different locations. These sites are as follows: Archivo de Indias, Catedral de Sevilla, and Reales Alcazares . All of these sites are located in the Andalusia province of Spain.

According to UNESCO, these three sites form a remarkable monumental complex that represents the culture and history of Seville. Both the Alcazar and the Cathedral date back to the 13th century to the 16th century, wherein there is a deep Moorish influence to the culture and shown tremendous development for the civilization.

If you are planning to visit any of these 3 sites, it is important to know what to expect before you go:

Archivo de Indias: This 16th century building is a haven for the cultural buff as it houses maps, documents, and other related artifacts that refer to the voyages of the New World. These documents cover a span of three centuries so there are plenty of them! It is truly an extraordinary research resource for the culture and history folks!

Catedral de Sevilla: This is the most significant landmark that is part of this monumental complex that forms Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville. The groundbreaking for this cathedral took place in 1401 but it was completed in 1528. It features Gothic architectural style and is still active until today. This is an important and historically significant cathedral as this is the site of the baptism of Infante Juan of Aragon in the late 15th century. Meanwhile, the royal chapel of Seville Cathedral is where the remains of conqueror Ferdinand III of Castile is stored in. Meanwhile, Christopher Columbus and his son are also buried in the cathedral.

Reales Alcazares: This is the final site that makes up Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville. This particular site is composed of a wide range of architectural styles that were influenced throughout various periods in history. It is also composed of different types of structures including courtyards, lush garden, pools, baths, and more. There are concerts and various exhibitions held on the site throughout summer.

View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Sep 18, 2017 @ 6:27 am