Jordan’s Bull: An Encounter in Mali

I watched hippos surface with wiggling ears as the boatman poled our dhow past the submerged herd.  We were both tense, expecting a bluff charge, while only feet away white pelicans with long golden beaks floated in the shallows casually scooping minnows in their great fleshy pouches.  On the opposite shore the grass huts of the Fulani glowed like fiery tumbleweeds in the hazy sunrise as bare-breasted women pounded their dirty wash on river rocks. At this bend of Mali’s Niger River, the lethargic water resembles dark roasted coffee as it slowly meanders on towards the fabled city of Timbuktu.  I was in spear-and-loincloth Africa to chase the end of an era with my camera. The Fulani, hereditary nomads of North Africa, had driven over 1,000 head of their cattle onto a small island to graze for a few days and as is their custom, they had surrounded them with their traditional grass huts.  Fulani move about like the wind; they and those like them...

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Cuba News: The Best of Cuba in Six Days

Sunset on the <em>malecón</em> of Havana, Cuba | GeoEx travel

As a country that has been sectioned off, forbidden, my entire life, Cuba always held a magical and mysterious place in my heart. That was the case until last February, when I was able to join one of GeoEx's trips there. Though only 90 miles from my own country, Cuba seemed another world. Even now, after so much time has passed, I can still remember the feeling of walking down Havana’s sea wall, the malecón, and feeling like I was in a movie. That charm, that historic feel, is what draws many people to Cuba—and what has travelers asking me every day:“How is Cuba changing? Is it important to visit the island now?” There is no question that Cuba is evolving as restrictions decrease and tourism increases, but what many people don’t realize until they arrive is that Cuba, as a country and as a people, isn't going anywhere. Its rich culture and tremendous spirit are thriving and don't show any signs of slowing down. There will not be a...

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A Few More Days in Cuba

Rock art in Vinales Valley Cuba with GeoEx

It happens to me every time I travel: I always underestimate how much time I want to spend in a destination. Cuba was no exception. Once I got there, it became clear that to truly understand the beauty and diversity of the country, hidden from Americans for so long, it was going to take more than a long weekend. I was fortunate to spend eight days and seven nights on GeoEx's Connecting with Cuba’s Living History, and I could have stayed longer. Most of the trip was centered around Havana, which I loved! The capital was vibrantly alive with emerging artists, soul-moving music, and of course, classic cars to keep me enchanted for weeks. But it wasn’t until I was standing on a tiny balcony looking out from my hotel room in the Viñales Valley that I realized this was a country full of spellbinding differences and that I was only just discovering them....

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Adventures in Vietnam's Cave Country

Looking from inside dark cave to outside jungle in Vietnam | Cave Adventures with GeoEx

A cave pearl is a small concentration of calcite, found in a limestone cave. It forms over hundreds of years, as water drips down and deposits calcite crystals onto grains of sand. The calcite wraps concentric layers around a nucleus, and the pearl grows marginally larger in the darkened cave as time passes by outside. This is what my guide conveyed to me, in more basic English, training his headlamp on the little gnarled balls that littered the cave floor. He picked one up and held it in his gloved hand. “Can I touch one?” I breathed, reaching toward them. “No,” he said quickly. “Best to leave them alone.” He set the pearl gently back on the ground, and I withdrew my arm, disappointed. I’d been envisioning...

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Enchanted by Chile

Snowcapped volcanoes and rushing rivers grace the Lake District in Chile | Adventure Travel with GeoEx

Somewhere between the iconic peaks of Patagonia and the bohemian streets of Santiago, I fell in love with Chile. Now I go every chance I get. It is a place you never want to stop exploring. I was just there in April, and I am already planning my fourth trip. Here are some of my favorite parts of this wonderfully diverse country. Atacama Desert The Atacama is like another world. It is one of the best places on the planet to see the stars. In fact, famous scientists from across the globe come to this desert to stargaze. You can take a four-by-four out into the desert where there are no roads and just put down a telescope. It's really spectacular. There are hot springs, flamingos, and...

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Don George, Editor

Don George is Editor in Chief of Wanderlust: Literary Journeys for the Discerning Traveler. He has been Travel Editor for Salon.com and the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle, as well as Global Travel Editor for Lonely Planet Publications. Don is the author of "The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George" and of "Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Writing." He has also edited eleven anthologies, including A Moveable Feast, The Kindness of Strangers, and An Innocent Abroad. E-mail him at [email protected].

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