Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
— Mark Twain
Vietnam & Hong Kong
The limestone cliffs of Vietnam's Ha Long Bay offer more than just magical scenery — they are dotted with tranquil beaches and spooky caves. It's quite a contrast to the hustle and bustle and neon of Hong Kong, home of the iconic Bank of China Tower.
Banff National Park, Canada
Carved from the mountains of the Canadian Rockies, "rock flour" is the magical ingredient that gives the lakes of Banff National Park their spectacular turquoise color.
Caye Caulker, Belize
With a culture and language having roots to the Caribbean islands, Belize markedly stands out from its Central American neighbors. Everything about Belize is lively and colorful — the people, the food, the diving, and even the buildings.
A little detour into the jungles of Guatemala enabled me to visit some amazing Mayan ruins.
Before visiting Isla de Ometepe in the Largo de Nicaragua, I spent a day in Rivas just observing life. On this trip I also completed my SCUBA certification in Costa Rica and had the incredible luck of swiming with a whale shark, the largest member of the shark family. After my dive instructor grabbed onto one fin of the shark, I grabbed onto the other fin, and we enjoyed an exhilarating ride through the ocean.
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Whitsunday Islands National Park is home to some of the most picturesque islands in the world. The jungle is full of interesting creatures, like the green ants, while the water has stunning schools of stingrays and giant bubble fish.
Moab, Utah USA
Moab, Utah is home to two very impressive National Parks, Canyonlands and Arches. Landscape Arch, in Arches NP, is the world's longest free standing arch.
Pico de Orizaba, Mexico
About half way between Mexico City and the Gulf of Mexico is the highest of the Mexican volcanos, Mt. Orizaba, also known as Citlaltépetl. It tops out at 5,746 meters (18,851 ft) above sea level. Mike, Ron, and I decided it would be fun to spend the holiday season trying to find oxygen up there.
From the summit of Orizaba, you can peer into the gigantic crater left by past volcanic eruptions.
Chiang Mai and Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
This remote Karen village in the Golden Triangle region north of Chiang Mai offers a good view of Mt. Doi Mae Ya, the high point of Thailand at 2,065 meters (6,753 ft). The Karen people build their homes out of bamboo and other materials found in the jungle; they use no metal components.
It is hard to imagine a more beautiful tropical island than Thailand's Ko Phi Phi. When you have seen enough of the scenery above water, take your mask and snorkel into the warm and clear aquatic world for a dazzling view of brightly colored fish and stunning coral structures.
My travels on this trip also took me through Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Mt. Whitney, California USA
The highest point of the lower United States is Mt. Whitney at 4,418 meters (14,494 feet). Three friends and I hiked to the top and back from the trailhead in one day. I got altitude sickness but was able to muster up just enough energy to smile for a picture at the summit.
The busy, hectic shops in Merrakech are filled with a colorful variety of goods, like the spices and dyes pictured here. The real pleasure of visiting this African country, however, lies in getting away from the tourist cities so you can meet the people and enjoy the delicious food.
Mount Olympus, Greece
We hiked for two days to reach the summit of Mount Olympus (Μύτικας Mýtikas), the home of Zeus. Upon reaching the summit at 2,918 metres (9,573 ft), I made the mistake of flying a small portable kite. The Gods got angry... they made it rain so hard the trail disappeared under a torrent river of muddy water.
We also journeyed to Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Vatican City, Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.
A sunset over Paris creates a colorful backdrop for a few of the cities numerous statues. If only I could have a freshly baked croissant or baguette in my hands right now.
Towards the end of my European trip, I decide to take the train north just past the Arctic Circle in Norway. I spent six out of seven nights sleeping on the train, but I did manage to get a nice view of some mist while traveling through the Netherlands.
Three friends and I were trying to hike around Mt. Huascaran, a 6,728 meter (22,200 ft) peak in the Peruvian Andes, when bad weather forced us to take shelter in a small town called Colcabamba. You can only get there by mule or by foot.
The town of Huaraz, located high in the Peruvian Andes, is surrounded by impressive peaks like Churup Peak at 5,493 metres (18,022 feet). We hiked up the north ridge to a spot just above 5,000 meters (16,400 ft) near the skyline on the left edge of the photo.
During our four months in South America we also visited Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, and Columbia.