Kirsten inherited her sense of wanderlust from her parents; her mother was in President Kennedy’s first class of Peace Corps volunteers (stationed in Lesotho) and then traveled throughout the African continent as a single woman. Having traveled to over thirty countries in less than three decades, Kirsten is particularly passionate about...

Kirsten inherited her sense of wanderlust from her parents; her mother was in President Kennedy’s first class of Peace Corps volunteers (stationed in Lesotho) and then traveled throughout the African continent as a single woman. Having traveled to over thirty countries in less than three decades, Kirsten is particularly passionate about Southeast Asia and South America, areas that share the appeal of vibrant cultures and history, genuine hospitality, savory cuisine and boundless opportunities for active adventures off the beaten path. A former program director at Wildland Adventures, Kirsten is now a professional guide.

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Travel to Turkey - End of the World

  As portrayed in the movie and book ‘Up in the Air’ I am one of those frequent flyers who hoards miles to obtain elite status with the airlines, ensuring all sorts of perks and special treatment. My airline of choice is United and at the start and end of each year, my partner and I like to go on ‘mileage run’ trips. The destination isn’t the most important factor other than it generally needs to be somewhere new to both of us, the base fare is inexpensive and we can upgrade to first class on the international legs. It’s a lot of fun to spin the globe, search for fares and just consider the possibilities. Sometimes we land on a destination that neither of us considered before, like Brussels, which we visited in January 2011 and had such a blast just exploring the city on foot, tasting authentic lambic and...
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Beyond the Inca Trail: Optional Hikes at Machu Picchu

So you want to hike along Inca trails to Machu Picchu, but even the 1-day Inca Trail Trek seems a little too daunting or time consuming? Consider one of two optional hikes that you can do right at Machu Picchu; either Cerro Machu Picchu (Machu Picchu Mountain) or Wayna Picchu (also spelled Huayna Picchu). Cerro Machu Picchu is great for families with younger children and both hikes are perfect for travelers who don't want to devote a full day to hiking; these Machu Picchu hikes still give you the thrill of an Andes trekking adventure to Incan ruins but can be done in less than half a day. Permits are required in advance for both of these options, so you can’t just wait till the day-of to decide. I've done both hikes and as Wildland's Peru Program Director, I'm happy to discuss the greater and lesser pros (we don’t believe in...
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The Puzzle of Patagonia Part II: Donde Ir?

Back in August I set out with the best intentions to compile a series of blog posts to share my first-hand knowledge of the vast region known simply as Patagonia and help educate you, dear readers, on where and when to spend your time in this most fabled swath of South America. Between planning custom trips, developing new programs in Brazil and Colombia (coming soon!), embarking on a few jaunts myself and readying for winter relocation to Breckenridge, CO, I got a tad sidetracked. Without further ado, here is part II of our Patagonia Puzzle series, which delves into the highlights of three of the most popular destinations in the region; Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and El Calafate & El Chalten in Argentina, located at opposite ends of Los Glacieres National Park. Two questions that I hear from potential travelers time and again are "What is the difference...
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Culinary Colombia

Culinary Colombia
  Sorting coffee at San Alberta My first encounter with the flavors of Colombia occurred in Buenos Aires last April while wandering the streets surrounding the San Telmo market. Guiding trips is hard work and after close to three weeks on the road leading a group of Wildland travelers on our Hikers Patagonia Anniversary Adventure, I was famished and on a personal mission to eat every empanada I could get my hands on. Fortunately they were in no short supply that Sunday with countless people selling the steaming, savory pockets of beef, chicken and potato mixtures from grocery carts on the street. Out of the fifteen or so I consumed, the one that stood out was the ‘ Colombian style ’ empanada which had a fried cornmeal crust and came with a little cup of spicy sauce that I came to know as aji picante. I stood there in the market...
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Welcome to Colombia! First Impressions from Bogota

Dome-First-Cathedral-Bogota-Colombia-Proexport-1
It’s a sunny Sunday morning and I set out from my hotel early, armed with camera and coffee to enjoy a little independent wandering before scheduled meetings take over in the afternoon.  Within a few minutes I hit a major city thruway, but instead of vehicle traffic I encounter cyclists of all shapes and ages and scores of determined joggers, all making their way down Carrera Siete.  The aroma of grilled arepas, the occasional shout of a street vendor and strains of salsa or vallenato music float through the air. Remove the distinctly Latin character of the surrounding sounds and smells and this scene could be a typical Sunday in any modern metropolitan anywhere in the world, from Melbourne to Chicago.  Only, perhaps surprisingly, this is Bogota, where major roads are closed each Sunday to create several miles of pedestrian and biker thruways from one end of the city to the other,...
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