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Archive for May, 2008


Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Times are a changing in Lebanon. Just days removed from civil war, a major agreement between resistance factions and the government brought sweeping change to the country – and we had a first hand look at the changing events. Take a look at Beirut in today’s photo gallery.

Beirut or bust

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

DAMASCUS, Syria – With no time to waste, and reports on the ground of an end to fighting in Lebanon, we head through the mountains to Beirut. Less than a week after a short civil war engulfed the country, we were hesitant to visit Lebanon but after receiving words from friends in Beirut that fighting had ceased, the decision was made to go. Enter Beirut in today’s photo gallery.

On to Syria

Monday, May 19th, 2008

BAB AL-HAWA, Turkey/Syria – Without Syrian visas we headed to the Turkish-Syrian border crossing called Bab Al-Hawa with hopes of being admitted entry to our next destination. Cross the border in today’s photo gallery.

The city with two names

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

ANTAKYA/HATAY, Turkey – After a week of exploring Istanbul’s bustling streets we jetted on a flight across Turkey to the southeastern city of Adana and then bussed it three hours to Antakya a.k.a. Hatay in preparation for our border crossing into Syria. Take your flight to Asia in today’s photo gallery.

Why travel in 2008?

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Dazed and confused in Sao Paulo, Brazil.HAMBURG, Germany – The question arises from time to time, sometimes when I’m hungry or tired, and sometimes when I’m uncomfortably wedged between too many people on a foreign public transportation system.

Most of the time, the days are too full of new engaging things to see and do, new people to meet, and new maps to decipher. But there are those days when I wake up at four in the morning on another night train, somewhere in Bulgaria, when I can’t help but wonder, even if just for a second, “why am I doing this?”

Inevitably, before I can answer this question I’m interrupted — by a brusque customs official who, with a mere momentary glance, makes me feel like I’ve already overstayed my welcome, or by my large and inebriated Serbian train car neighbor who doesn’t seem to know or care why he’s paying me a visit (but will not leave) — and it is buried away until further notice, perhaps a week down the line, as we are unwittingly shot at by BB gun wielding Turkish boys on the shores of the Bosphorus.

Eventually, the opportunity to reflect on the motivation to travel arises and things become clearer. Not only are the hellish moments not that bad in hindsight (and good fodder for storytelling), but the ups and downs that make up the travel experience give it the incredibly dense learning potential that it has.

It encourages, and sometimes demands, an attentiveness to the here and now that is vastly different to sedentary life, allowing for a different, and valuable, perspective. When ordinary experiences occur in front of new and unfamiliar backdrops, they can stand out, revealing nuances that you never knew existed. (more…)

Up high in Istanbul

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

ISTANBUL, Turkey – We try to make a point to make it up the tallest visitable point in a city. In Istanbul, the Galata Tower is that place, rising above the low slung skyline of the Taksim neighborhood. Take in the view in today’s photo gallery.

Quiet day in Istanbul

Friday, May 16th, 2008

ISTANBUL, Turkey – With a lot of work to catch up on, we took it easy today and only caught a glimpse of the Blue Mosque at night. See the photos from today here.

Saying farewell to Brian

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

ISTANBUL, Turkey – At about four in the morning with no shuteye to our names, Brian and I were sporting some huge grins. Supremely tired, with the sun brightening the horizon and a lone rooster beginning his morning routine, we were still banging away on our keyboards. Six – no, make that seven – days into the trip in Puebla, Mexico, we were about to launch LongJaunt. An idea years in the making was minutes away from coming to fruition with the first round of posts. Publishing the first pieces from the road, we couldn’t help but say it out loud – “This is wicked.”

It’s a memory that will stick for a long time.

Since the beginning of the journey, we didn’t exactly know how long Brian Rogers would be on board. He was definitely in for the Central and South American hauls, bringing his expertise in Latin American culture and fluent Spanish to the table.

Four and a half months since we first jumped on a plane down to Mexico City, the day where we would have to say goodbye to him finally arrived. Straddling the divide between Europe and Asia, realities of the trip came down on the shores of the Bosporus River in Istanbul. (more…)

Visiting the Blue Mosque

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

After passing by it in awe for a few days, we finally got up close to Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque.  The massive 400 year old structure marks the beginning of the transition from heavily Christian Europe to the largely Muslim Middle East.  Check out the pictures here…

On to Asia

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Today we took a ferry across the mighty Bosphorus to the Asia side of Istanbul. The continental shift was more symbolic than anything else, but the Asia side did offer a quiet, tourist-free alternative to the European side of the city. Cross the Bosphorus with us in today’s gallery…

About LongJaunt Equal parts lighthearted jaunt and in-depth journey, this intimately documented trip around the world has one goal: to bring you along for the ride.

Thushan Amarasiriwardena

, former Senior Multimedia Producer at The Boston Globe, has always loved telling a great story. Combining his eye for visual story telling and his technical background in computer science at North Carolina State University, Thushan has reported on business, sports and travel for The Globe. You can find his site here.

Michael Kurtz

, graduated with a degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His thesis research focused on the intersection of race and music in Northeastern Brazil. He worked previously as A&R and Production Coordinator for Putumayo World Music, an international music record label based in New York City. You can find his site here.

Brian Rogers

graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies, and has traveled extensively in Latin America.

Alicia Conway

is LongJaunt's home base chief and a Technical Producer for The Boston Globe. She joined and contributed with the team out in England, Kenya, Tanzania, The Netherlands and Thailand.