Category: Chile

My 7 Links – a retrospective of words and images

What is My 7 Links all about, anyway?

The goal of the project, as outlined by Tripbase, is:

To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

Thanks to photographer Kirsten Alana, I have been nominated to participate by sharing my own 7 links. My blog has been around since March, 2006, but my readership hasn’t. So I’m pleased to present to you now…

My 7 Links

Most Beautiful Post. Namibia – by Dune, Full Moon, and Hot Air Balloon

Most Popular Post. Landslides & Leeches: a Trekking Journal, Nepal
Transcribed from hand-written journal pages, this is my personal experience of a trek where the forces of nature took over and lives were lost. Additionally, this post is popular with Google and any search term involving leeches.

Most Controversial Post. Probably this one. Published in the Rough Guide to India!
None of my posts thus far have resulted in any sort of commentary debate or backlash. I’ve regretted the instances where I’ve participated in some controversial comment strings on other blogs. I really don’t feel good about insulting or offending anyone; when I have, it sits on my conscience like a thorn. Sometimes I’ve hit “send” in the heat of the moment, and have thrown words like daggers. I’m truly sorry to those who were ever at the receiving end of some of my sharper words.
That said, the choice for my most controversial post is purely subjective. It was an issue which wreaked havoc in my mind; so I felt I should try to make right of it in a blog post. Here are the facts:
a) I photographed someone, without their knowledge, in a very personal moment of practicing their faith.
b) 10 years later, I scanned and uploaded the image into an online portfolio at the now defunct Digital Railroad (DRR), ticking the licensing box making it available strictly for editorial use, which means, among other things, that I had no model release (permission).
c) Digital Railroad quite suddenly fell apart and left thousands of photographers high and dry without receiving commissions earned from images licensed through their website, or even knowing which images of theirs had been purchased or downloaded.
d) a former DRR employee and mentor/friend with a good heart helped me out by providing a list of what he knew of my DRR downloads and sales, finalized or not, paid for or not.
e) a record showed this particular image had been licensed, and the payment status was “pending”.
f) I contacted the publisher who eventually replied that they had already paid DRR for the image license, but failed to send me any record for proof. Because they were a big name and reputable, I took them on their word, thanked them, and asked if they would send me a tear sheet or copy of the book. They did neither.
g) So, when the Rough Guide to India was published, I rushed to the bookstore and thumbed through it. I quickly found my image occupying a full color page. My first sigh of relief came upon seeing that the image use was not in any way derogatory; in fact, I couldn’t have asked for more appropriate context for putting this image in a guidebook. I bought the book, brought it home and confirmed that I was properly credited for the image. Indeed I was, a second sigh of relief.
h) Because the image and context touched on the delicate subject of religion and faith, and the person in my image was expressing his own, I felt it only right for me to expose something of my own faith. I did just that in my post (don’t be fooled by the SEO-driven title): Published in the Rough Guide to India! The photo:

Most Helpful Post. Samantha Brown and Rick Steves – the Best in the Field
This post provides helpful insight for anyone in the business, or desiring to be in the business, of travel writing, publishing, and presenting (that includes you, my fellow travel bloggers!). It is especially helpful to anyone aspiring to host their own travel show someday. Apparently, I’m not alone in having that ambition.

A Post Whose Success Surprised Me. Stand Up Paddle Surf Safari…in China?

I penned this humorous little piece because I was fed up with the Hawaiians getting credit for anything and everything to do with surfing. The ocean spans the entire globe, you know, not just the Hawaiian islands! Many forms of surfing have taken place in many different parts of the world throughout history. I really didn’t think people would take this too seriously, but based on traffic and search terms, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find SUP board rentals set up along the banks of the Li River some day.

A Post I Feel Didn’t Get the Attention it Deserved. Chile: Spirit Dreams

If you read only one link from this post, please make it this one. This was my debut blog post back in March, 2006. I didn’t know where to start, but I knew that every picture has a story, right? So I picked a random photo taken on my travels and then opened up my journal from that trip. Turns out I have some pretty cool travel stories tucked away in these journals, and it was time to bring them out. This is one of my favorites, which I think only my web-designer-mentor/friend has ever read.

The Post I am Most Proud of. Listening With the Lens – Filming a Documentary

It’s not so much the post itself, it’s finally being able see my work come to fruition (thanks to incredible editors) in my first foray into documentary film-making, so that I could share this inspiring story with others. For me, this was a profound experience, a chance to use my talent to give something back. It is a beautiful story of inspiration, which I am both proud and humbled to share with you.

Thank you for visiting, and if you were even moved to follow some of the links, I am especially grateful. Please comment so I know you’ve visited!

Now here’s the tricky part – nominating 5 more bloggers. My first choices had been previously nominated, so I had to reach beyond the obvious….in fact, why not reach for the stars!

Here are my 5 nominations for the next participants in the My 7 Links project. They are all great sources of inspiration, and whether or not they have or take the time to participate, they are definitely worth your time to check out:

Robert Reid
Andrew Evans
Pauline Frommer

Art Wolfe
Gavin Gough

Enjoy the journey!

Clams & Cockles of Chile – Puerto Montt

There’s more to picturesque Puerto Montt than brightly colored boats decorating quiet little harbors. A closer look reveals people living and working on and around those boats, so I decided to follow along with my lens and see what life was all about for these people.

Clams. That’s right. Clams. And Cockles too. Mussels, scallops, urchins, and a few other crustaceans were evident, as were freshly caught Congrio and Salmon. But mostly, for the purpose of this post anyway, it’s all about the clams. And cockles.

Basically they’ll come off the boat carrying a big load on their back, then they take it right into the market where it is put out for sale. It really doesn’t get any fresher than that, does it?

At some point along the way, some lucky clams and mussels get picked to be dried and smoked for later consumption. As I wandered the market stalls, I nearly tripped over this lonely little hot smoking pot next to a stand – whether or not it actually has anything to do with the smoking process or if it just stood as a foot warmer, I really don’t know – but if you do, please share in a comment!

Ultimately, the dried molluscs are strung and hung like garlands throughout the market street. Although I didn’t have a taste, I certainly thought they made worthy eye-candy for the lens!


Chile Gallery

Visit Puerto Montt with Travcoa

Hope your eyes enjoyed a taste of southern Chile! This post has joined the gang of food-related posts over at Wanderfood Wednesday, check them out! And if you missed that, it’s also posted over at Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday!

Chile: Spirit Dreams

The road stretched out endlessly before us, and the windswept Patagonian plains pushed out in all directions. Behind us, the pointy crags of Torres del Paine were tucked into clouds and blanketed in dusk. Darkness crept slowly across the landscape.

I was nodding off to sleep on the bus after having had one too many days of hiking and camping, with thoughts of re-naming the range officially to “Toes of Pain”. My feet ached, my toes were cold, and I was grateful to be seated up front near the warm engine box.

For reasons unknown, the bus came to a halt and the driver opened the door to the vast, dark emptiness. The winds howled and whistled right through the bus, causing most passengers to shift position and reach for another layer. The driver sat for a moment with his head down, then checked his mirror, closed the door, and began driving again. Civilization and the coast were still 4 hours away.

I was stirred awake by a loud belly laugh and a jab in my side. A spirit sat on the engine box facing me. He was thin and wore a black hat, and held a brown bottle of beer in his gesturing right hand. He was laughing and entertaining as if to a large audience, and I turned around to see that the entire bus was filled with spirits, occupying seats empty and full, and dangling from the overhead luggage racks. I braved a glance at the driver. He too was a spirit, with a soft round head and an eye that kept dropping from his face. The bus itself resembled a spirit in the form of a fat farmer in skinny overalls as it rolled along bumping over rocks and pits. Everyone was jovial, and there was singing while someone in the back was played a tingy sounding instrument. Many of the spirits were drinking or drunk. These were festive spirits.

But what were they doing on the bus?

Most spirits sweep across this land in a dance with the winds. The wind carries spirits from all over the earth, and they converge here, at the tip of South America, for their favorite activity…leaping off the continent to tumble across the seas. It seems that the very winds which blow across Patagonia are accountable to the passing of spirits as they race toward the continent’s end and leap off into the sky.

I sat back and contemplated the spirits, gleaning in my new wisdom of the winds. I looked at the spirit on the engine box. He paused his celebratory antics and saw that I was ready for a story. He shut his eyes and began “it was a night just like this…..” and softly spoke me back to sleep.

When I awoke, the bus was still bumping it’s way through the black darkness, now with only one headlight. It sounded as if the other had rattled loose and was dragging along under the bus – reminding me of the one-eyed bus driver spirit of my dream.

Everyone else on the bus was asleep, except for the driver. I looked at him and smiled in relief that both of his eyes were still intact. Noticing I was awake and wanting to keep himself in such a state, he engaged me in conversation. After a while, I asked him why he had stopped earlier in the middle of nowhere. He paused a moment, and then spoke:

“My uncle was a bus driver. A few years ago on this road, he lost control and overturned his bus, killing everyone. Whenever I pass through the night on this road, I stop at the site of the crash and pick up the stranded spirits so they can complete their journey.”

A small light flickered in the distance ahead. Then another. Then, light by light, the town of Puerto Natales took form, as the dawn began to spread through the darkness. We reached our destination.

The driver opened the door, and a few moments passed before anyone stood to exit the bus. I was first to do so. As I stepped down off the bus, I was teased by small gusts of wind. Each gust would embrace and surround me, then be gone as quickly as it came. I smiled, knowing the spirits were also arriving at their destination, and each gently bid me farewell before turning to leap off the continent.

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