ENTRIES FROM THE GLOBAL TRIP BLOG CHRONICLES

The Ups and Downs of Air Travel

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 20, 2003

DAY 1: After a crazed morning of last-minute packing, a run to the Home Depot for luggage locks and some Dunkin’ Donuts bagel sticks, I had a final lunch at Chili’s with my parents and brother, who all took the day off to send me off.  (You can all say “Aww…” in unison now, like the live studio audience used to do on Happy Days.)  I short drive down the New Jersey Turnpike, and we arrived at Continental Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport.

“Where is your returning ticket out of Ecuador?” the Continental Airlines attendant asked.

“Oh, I’m just gonna take a bus into Peru,” I answered.

“Where is the bus ticket then?”

“I was gonna get it there.”

“Immigration won’t let you into Ecuador without proof that you are leaving.”

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The Ecuadorean-Looking Gringo

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 21, 2003

DAY 2: I actually slept for a good nine hours, three times more than my usual back home.  Outside I could hear the pitter-patter of rain and cars and trucks whizzing by.  I just laid there for a while until I leaned over and noticed I had a roommate in the lower bunk across the way.  “Hello,” he said.

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Back to School

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 22, 2003

DAY 3: Yigal managed to leave for his 3am flight in the middle of the night without waking me or Judy.  The only thing that woke us up was the sun blaring through our window around 8am.

Judy and I had breakfast at the Magic Bean Cafe downstairs.  It didn’t occur to me until then that “Magic Bean” was a reference to the fact that it’s a coffeehouse as well, and I mean that in the coffee way, not the Amsterdam way, so there was no waking and baking.  I introduced Judy to Josh and Gordana, who were at the next table.  We all ate our free jugos, cafe con leches y “toasted bagels.”

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Old School

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 23, 2003

DAY 4:  I woke up an hour before class and was off to take a shower, when I ran into Anna, this girl from Nebraska that I met in the TV lounge the night before.  “Wanna get some breakfast?” she asked.  I saved the shower for later and went out with her.

We went wandering for a really cheap breakfast place.  “Most of the places in the gringo district are pretty expensive,” she said.  “I’ve been going to places about four blocks away where it’s a lot cheaper.”  We found a small sit down restaurant where a full breakfast — including bread, eggs, coffee and juice — was only a buck sixty.  “It’s funny when you think a whole two dollars is too much for a breakfast,” she said.

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Class Trip, Road Trip

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 24, 2003

DAY 5: I checked out of the hostel room around 8, managing not to wake up Lars, who was pretty much out cold anyway since he drank half a bottle of rum the night before in front of the TV.  I left my bag with Carlos in the office and went off to class.

Every Friday at the school, the second half of the morning classes go on a field trip somewhere in town.  A las once, four of us students, plus all of our teachers headed off to a museum of Ecuador’s history, in the Old City.  One of the students was a tall, lanky Dutch guy named Hugo, who towered about 6’5”.  He was one of those goofball gringos that didn’t care how embarrassed he’d get talking to locals, knowing that they’d just brush him off as a gringo.  Using his broken Spanish, he managed to buy candy off a blind man on the bus.

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Shopping Spree

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 25, 2003

DAY 6:  A rooster crowed around 5am and wouldn’t stop until we had no choice but to get up.  Navid sat in his bed all groggy-eyed.  “I hope that rooster ends up in a cock fight today.”

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Money Matters

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 26, 2003

DAY 7:  I learned a new expression in Spanish today:  “Su banco es esta fuera de linea.”  Translation:  “Your bank is off-line.”  I have decided this is my least favorite Spanish expression so far.

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Shit Happens

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 27, 2003

DAY 8:  I checked out of the Crossroads Hostel while everyone was still asleep and brought all my gear to class.  Class was more of the same — more verbs and vocabulary, and conversations with Rosa that went off in tangents.  During the break, I met a new student, an English girl on her first day of class, who — unlike everyone else I met so far — actually thought I was Asian and not Latino.  (She had just flown in to South America after six or so months wandering Southeast Asia.)

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When You’re Sliding Into First and You Feel Something Burst, Diarrhea…Diarrhea…

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 28, 2003

DAY 9: “El domingo pasado, miro una pelicula divertido sobre una abuela que tener una casa, pero ella le va a perder a menos que gana $250,000.  Entonces, su nieto juga golf — pero dice muchas malas palabras en el television!  Hubo un beep y beep y beeep…”

Translation:  “Last Sunday, I saw a funny movie about a grandmother who has a house, but she is going to lose it unless she earns $250,000.  So, her grandson plays golf — but says many bad words on the television!  There was a beep and beep and beeep….”

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My Big Fake Gay Wedding

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 29, 2003

DAY 10:  In South America, I’ve noticed that most of the hot showers are electric.  A pipe runs to a shower head which is connected to two electric wires, which run a power switch.  As water enters the shower head, it heats it before it comes down.

The problem I’ve found with this is, when a fuse blows in the house, like it did in the morning, the water immediately gets freezing cold right when you have shampoo all in your hair.  I blamed my iBook in the bedroom, which had been plugged in and rendering a video file for a New York client for the past two days.

If it’s not one thing with clients, it’s another.

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The Secret of My Success

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 30, 2003

DAY 11:  I think that I’m learning Spanish a lot quicker than the other students in school.  I don’t know if it’s because I took French in high school and the language is very similar, or because I come from Filipino heritage and Tagalog borrows many words from Spanish.  All I do know is that most students I’ve spoken to are doing way more written exercises in class (and for homework), while I’ve moved on to more conversational work.

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Virgin by Day, Witches by Night

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 01, 2003

DAY 12: Spanish class with my tutor Rosa was going pretty normal — we reviewed some more helpful verbs — until she mentioned a card game called Cuarenta, which is Ecuador’s national card game — so much that every year there are championships for money.  For the whole second half of my morning class, I asked her to teach me, and we just sat at the table playing cards.  We got weird looks from the other students and professors who were still trying to figure out the difference between the two verbs for “to be.”  It was a perfect way for me to “learn my numbers.”

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Erik Vs. The Volcano

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 01, 2003

DAY 13:  “Did you go out partying for Halloween last night?” a Danish blonde asked me in the back of a truck at 8:03 in the morning.  She saw that I looked pretty exhausted.

“Yup,” I answered all groggy-eyed, waiting for my coffee to kick in.  “And you?”

“No.”

“Ah, you’re smart.”

And so began my trip to Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world, just 90 minutes south of Quito by car.

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Pee On The Trees

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 02, 2003

DAY 14:  After breakfast, I updated The Blog at the German computer nerd’s internet cafe around the corner.  Outside, all the stores were closed for Sunday and even in GringoLand it looked like a ghost town.  Arne said it reminded him of the movie 28 Days Later.

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Mallrats

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 03, 2003

DAY 15:  My morning started as always: getting out of bed to take a piss.  However, this day it was different.  In the center of the bathroom, atop a small drain gate, were three turds.

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La Gripe

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 04, 2003

DAY 16: I woke up at about 3 a.m. feeling a little feverish.  I popped a couple of ibuprofen and went back to sleep.  I woke up around 7 with the sun feeling better, but still a little feverish, but managed to finish my homework.  I had to write a story in Spanish using as many of the new verbs that I had learned.  I wrote one about the final battle between a secret agent and an evil scientist — in the end, the secret agent defeats the him, but not after saying “Hasta la vista, PUTA!”

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Everything That Has A Beginning Has An End

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 05, 2003

DAY 17:  For the past week and a half, I had fallen into a routine in which I’d wake up, shower and have breakfast with Arne and Blanca.  Things were different this morning.  It was Arne’s last day in the house, since he was planning to move to his friend’s place a couple of days before he starting work in a hospital the following week.

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Ecuadorean Jedi

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 06, 2003

DAY 18: Back in the days when I had a 9-5 American corporate job, I was only allotted the miniscule vacation time of two weeks.  Two weeks, compared to other countries, is an embarrassingly short period of time and I would always use these two weeks to rush through a destination, doing one thing after the other after the other to pack it all in.  I slept very little in attempts to make two weeks seem like three.

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Movin’ Right Along

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 07, 2003

DAY 19:  I had my last breakfast with Blanca in the morning, which was a good and bad thing.  A good thing in that I was getting fresh food and a lot of it served to me on a ceramic platter with no effort on my behalf.  A bad thing because — just as every morning I’d been living there — it was way too much food for me so early in the morning and I almost had to force myself to eat the whole thing.  My stomach simply can’t handle a huge plate of fruit three inches tall plus an egg and bread and juice and a cafe con leche.  I think for once I would have actually preferred just having some McGriddles.

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Hot Bath

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 08, 2003

DAY 20: Baños is a town in a valley surrounded by lush green mountains, one of which gets really excited and ejaculates liquid hot magma every so often.  In 1999, the Volcán Tungurahua erupted, causing a major evacuation of the town, and since then the town has been on guard.  In Baños, after you look up the weather forecast, you look up the volcano forecast.

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The Gorge

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 09, 2003

DAY 21:  When I ran into Dutchman Hugo on my first night in Baños, he told me about his adventures since he left Quito, one about the time he and his friend Alberto were threatened to be beat up by a group of villagers unless they respectfully ate cuy (fried guinea pig) with them.  (They snuck out the back door and ran away.)

“Quito is weird because you go there and even though you are traveling, you aren’t traveling because it is just like any big city,” he said.  “Only when you leave Quito and start seeing the smaller Indian villages does the real traveling begin.”

By the time you finish reading this blog entry, you’ll see what he means.

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Liquid Hot Magma

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 10, 2003

DAY 22:  Navid had moved to my hostel since his other was too noisy, so it was easy to find him for breakfast.  We played a quick game of generic Jenga before looking for the other thermal baths of Baños on the outskirts of town.

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Crossroads of Ecuador

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 11, 2003

DAY 23: Whenever I’d walk around with Navid on the streets of Baños, newly arrived backpackers would always stand out with their big packs strapped to their backs and their smaller daypacks strapped in front.  This is like trying to simulate being both pregnant and a camel at the same time.

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A Trainful of Tourists

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 12, 2003

DAY 24: Once upon a time in Ecuador, the railway system was the fast way to go north or southbound through the Andean countryside.  Over the years, this railway system was replaced by the faster and cheaper bus network.  But there is one train that still runs, so that tourists can ride on the roof and take pictures of the countryside faster than the locomotive.

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For The Better of Humanity

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 13, 2003

DAY 25:  Being in Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city, is like being in Old Spain.  With its well-preserved Spanish colonial houses and cobblestone streets, it’s no wonder it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999.  The red-roofed houses, the plazas and cathedrals make it one beautiful city with — I later discovered — beautiful women.

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A Day “On” in Cuenca

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 14, 2003

DAY 26:  In modern life, the “norm” is to work most of the time, with a day or two off to “smell the roses.”  Well, as I’ve been “smelling the Ecuadorean roses” all this time (as well as the bus fumes), I needed a day to just do some work.  So I took a day “on” in Cuenca.

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Defending Guayaquil

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 15, 2003

DAY 27: “You know what I heard?” Anita said at breakfast.

“What’s that?” I answered.

“That the train derails, for the tourists, so they can take pictures.”

I had met Anita in Spanish school in Quito, and we had both finished and headed south at about the same time.  She and her friend — I forget her name — were having breakfast at the cafe in my hostel in Cuenca and were planning to head to the Peruvian border afterwards.

“I’ll probably see you somewhere south,” I said.

“Most likely.”

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Line of Hope

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 16, 2003

DAY 28:  In Spanish, the verb esperar translates into two things in English: “to hope” and “to wait.”  This is especially noteworthy when you are waiting on the “Linéa de Espera” for a standby seat to open up for the Galapagos Islands at Guayaquil airport.  You wait on line and hope to get a flight.

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God Vs. Darwin

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 18, 2003

DAY 29:  Andre and I were lounging out on the hotel terrace, watching the sun rise over the bay as the sounds of ocean waves crashing into rocks filled the salty sea air.  Nearby, three seals were lazily sitting in someone’s boat.

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Alone in the Dark without Jesus

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 18, 2003

DAY 30: Andre was up by six to get the 7:15 shuttle bus & ferry back to Isla Baltra (where the airport is), to hop on his boat from there.  I assumed he got on the same bus as Chris as I stayed in bed for another hour.

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Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood?

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 19, 2003

DAY 31: When Andre moved out of our hotel room with a view of Pelican Bay, I was switched to a single which cost me $15/night.  However, this newer, more expensive room wasn’t worth its view of a brick wall, so I switched to the hostel Chris had lived in for only $6/night with windows that looked out to some palm trees.

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A Day at the Beach

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 20, 2003

DAY 32: Three kilometers west of Puerto Ayora lies Bahia Tortuga (Turtle Bay), with a white sand beach open to the public.  During the high season, I can imagine it being crowded with beachgoers and surfers, but it being the lowest of the low season, I had it all to myself.

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Idiot on Wheels

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 21, 2003

DAY 33:  Rosa, the old woman that ran the Los Amigos hostel, let me use the big sink in the yard to do my laundry.  We chatted for a bit while I scrubbed my underwear, about this and that in Puerto Ayora.  She seemed happy to talk to one of the travelers; most of them just kept to themselves and lived in a bubble, never interacting with their hosts unless they needed something.

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Ships Ahoy, But Not The Beer

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 29, 2003

DAY 34: To kill time before my 8:00 pm boat tour departure, I went back to Turtle Bay to chill out and read.  On my way down the winding path, I ran into Chris who was on his way back to town.  I chatted with the 63-year-old South African from Toronto until that uncomfortable silent lull you inevitably get when you bump into an acquaintance on the street and there is no good gossip to talk about.  Your options usually are to A) Talk about the nice or shitty weather; B) Scratch your ass; C) A followed by B; or what I did, D) Say, “Well, I’ll be seeing you.” 

He left for his flight back to the mainland later that day and I never saw him again.

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See Crabs and Sea Lions

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 29, 2003

DAY 35: The Galapagos Islands attracts many kinds of visitors, from retired American couples and their funny-looking beach hats and Bermuda shorts, to scuba divers and their funny-looking everything if they ever walked out on the streets with all their gear on.  I put all this gear on for my first dive at 5:45 in the morning off the coast of Isla Rabida.

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The War With Portugal

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 29, 2003

DAY 36: I was up on deck at sunrise before the others.  Manuel was there doing morning chores and I rapped with him for a bit.  We exchanged English and Spanish words until he saw something off the starboard side.

“Mira, hay tortugas que haciendo sexo.”  (“Look, there are turtles having sex.”)

And thus began my second day on a boat trip of the Galapagos.  (Others started by jumping off the side of the boat for a morning swim.)

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The Dating Game

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 29, 2003

DAY 37: There was a knock on the door at 5:45 in the morning.  It was Mauricio waking everyone up for an early sunrise pre-breakfast land excursion on North Seymour Island, land of frigate birds and blue-footed boobies, birds whose mere name makes little kids — and this author — snicker immaturely.

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The Land of Land Iguanas

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 29, 2003

DAY 38: Manuel was tidying up the lounge area in the morning while I was waiting for the first diving group to return.  He poured himself a drink and told me it was his wife’s birthday back at home.  “Salud,” he said as he raised his glass.

“Salud!” I reciprocated.  Funny, I had no idea he was married all that time.

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The Bird Slut

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 29, 2003

DAY 39: Each island of the Galapagos archipelago has its share of endemic species — species that are not found anywhere else.  Sometimes we’d be treated to a new animal, sometimes it was the same old marine iguana, sally lightfoot crab or the ever-popular sea lion (which never got tired.)  This was the case when we landed on the shores of Gardner Bay on Isla Española, the southern most island of all the Galapagos and walked along its white sand beach.  However, as Darwin discovered, Life finds a way to make things interesting.

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Postcards From A Weirdo

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 29, 2003

DAY 40: For my fourth and final scuba dive, I went underwater around Enderby Rock, a popular dive site off the coast of Isla Floreana.  It was a very good ending to my series of dives; I saw two Galapagos sharks, a huge school of baracudas, puffers, and sea turtles — all swimming around a beautiful coral reef grown over lava rocks.

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I Love Boobies

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 30, 2003

DAY 41:  Birgit and I were so used to the early morning wake-ups on the ship that we were both lying in bed awake at 6:30.  Birgit had developed a fever, so I lent her some of my medicine.  La Gripe was back.

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Escape from Paradise

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 30, 2003

DAY 42: I had a 9:30 airport shuttle to catch back in Puerto Ayora in the morning, which would have been an easy thing if I was there.  I woke up with the sun as always around 6:30 wondering how the hell I was going to get out of the Middle of Nowhere.  I laid in bed next to the girl I had only known for a couple of hours, figuring I’d wait til at least 7:00 to make any moves.

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Adventures in Border Crossing

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted December 02, 2003

DAY 43: Navid and I were out of the hostel in the Guayaquil suburbs before eight and caught a city bus to the main bus terminal.  A fake Christmas tree stood in the center of the main hall and for the first time, it was beginning to look a little like Christmas.

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ABOUT ERIK R. TRINIDAD

When he’s not making a living as an interactive/motion designer or playing with fast food, Erik R. Trinidad is a travel writer, blogger, video host and producer focusing on adventure and culinary content. His work has been featured on National Geographic Intelligent Travel, Adventure.com, Discovery.com, Saveur, Condé Nast Traveler, and Hyenas Laughed at Me and Now I Know Why, which also includes the work of Tim Cahill, Doug Lansky, Jennifer Leo and Rolf Potts. He has also referenced his travel experiences in his solo book, Fancy Fast Food: Ironic Recipes with No Bun Intended.

For over ten years, Erik has traveled to the seven continents of the world — from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo — with a curiosity for exotic foods and a thirst for adventure (and writing material).  In his travels, he has been mugged at knifepoint in Cape Town, extorted by corrupt Russian police on the Trans-Siberian Railway, stranded in tornadic storms in the American midwest, and air-lifted off the Everest Trail by a helicopter that was thankfully paid for by his travel insurance.  But it hasn’t been all fun; he has also donned a tuxedo amidst the penguins of Antarctica, paraded with Carnival-winning samba school Beija Flor in Rio, run for his life at Pamplona’s “Running of the Bulls,” cage-dived with great white sharks, gotten shot point-blank in the stomach in Colombia (while wearing a bulletproof jacket), and above all, encountered many people around the world, including some Peruvian musicians in Cuzco who learned and played “Y.M.C.A.” at his request. He loves the irony that, after everywhere he’s been, he has never been to Mexico.

Erik writes stories and news articles when he’s at his base camp in New York City, and continues his blog when he is on the road — provided he’s not occupied tracking down lost luggage.

Additional news/article clippings at ErikTrinidad.com.



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Read about Erik in this feature article from Filipinas magazine by National Geographic Traveler Associate Editor Amy Alipio.



The views and opinions written on The Global Trip blog are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official views and opinions of the any affiliated publications.
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