Category Archives: Travel

Trick or Treat

By Vladimir Brezina

No tricks, only treats, with this one.

Trick or Treat 1

Not so sure about this one, though…

Trick or Treat 2

A contribution to this week’s Photo Challenge, Treat.

Doi Nomazi

By Vladimir Brezina

Doi NomaziIt was late December 2013, on the first day of one of our shakedown paddles through the Florida Everglades in preparation for the 2014 Everglades Challenge. We had just landed on the muddy beach behind the Everglades City ranger station to get our permits for camping in the Everglades.

As Johna tells it, “as we headed inland I caught sight of a couple of figures—a man and a woman—dressed identically in Army-green T-shirts and black pants. The woman was wheeling a loaded barrow, and I took them for park rangers.

But Vlad stopped and said to the man, ‘I know you! We’re friends on Facebook!'”

The couple were Doi Nomazi (“Two Nomads”), Adrian and Mihaela, a Romanian husband-and-wife adventure team. Even though they too are based in New York, we’d never met before, and this was the only time we have crossed paths so far.

Like us, they were on a kayak expedition in the Everglades over the holidays—but they were sailing, rather than merely paddling, their black U-boat, a double Long Haul folding kayak.

Later, back in New York, I looked to see how their trip had gone, and found that they had produced an enchanting 86-minute “video diary” of their adventure, entitled “Echoes of the Eskampaba—2013”.

“Echoes of the Eskampaba” remains my favorite among their videos, perhaps because it features many of the places in the Everglades that we, too, visited on our trip (such as the lovely but mosquito-plagued Highland Beach, where Doi Nomazi camped a few days after us).

But that’s just one of their videos. There are now 28 of them. Once or twice a year, on their vacation, Doi Nomazi visit some fascinating, remote corner of the world. The resulting video is as well-produced as any commercial movie, and more watchable that most. (It’s perhaps not surprising to find that Adrian has a rich resumé as a journalist, cameraman, and film producer and director.) In addition to the Everglades, Doi Nomazi have paddled in the Black Sea, in the Gwaii Haanas of British Columbia, in Greenland, in Alaska’s Glacier Bay… And it’s not all paddling, either: they have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, driven through the back country of Africa and Australia

Here is their latest video, from Glacier Bay:

Doi Nomazi say that “we have no special training, we are not athletes and we are not seeking any records.” Perhaps not, but their thirst for nature and adventure, and their willingness to endure the inevitable discomforts and hardships, are extraordinary. An inspiration to us all!


By Vladimir Brezina

We are floating offshore in the Coral Sea, about twenty miles out from Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia.

What lies below the surface?

Below 1

The Great Barrier Reef!

Below 2Below 3Below 4Below 5Below 6(more photos still to come…)

A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Below.


By Vladimir Brezina

How do you handle a crocodile? Very CAREFULLY.

Careful(… even a little one, with its mouth taped shut)

A contribution to this week’s Photo Challenge, Careful.


By Vladimir Brezina

He may be smiling sweetly

Intense 1

but he’s still sizing you up as prey

Intense 2 Intense 3(still working on those Australia photos!)

A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Intense.

We’re Back!

By Vladimir Brezina

We’re back from a trip to tropical Queensland, Australia—and, of course, processing a couple of thousand photos. Here’s a brief preview:

Saltwater crocodileJohna snorkeling on the Great Barrier ReefReef lifeIn the rain forestRain forest inhabitantLunch?CassowarySleepy koalaTame macropodsCrocodile feeding frenzy

Much more to come!

It’s All About the Ideas

By Johna Till Johnson

Haitian fishermen (photo Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)

“Ya gotta have ideas,” the cab driver said, followed by an uproarious belly-laugh. “Money’s not worth nothing unless you have ideas.”

I laughed along with him. It was impossible not to: the man had the most contagious laughter I’d ever heard. And he had ideas. Boy, did he have ideas.

He wasn’t what I expected when I got into the cab on that overcast, dreary December day a few days before Christmas. All I could see of him was a dark face, beard streaked with a bit of gray. He was eating a late lunch when I got in, and didn’t return my greeting.

So I figured I wasn’t going to hear much from him—and that was fine. I had errands to get done, and worries on my mind. After I told him the destination, I figured that was the last exchange we’d have. Wrong!

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