On a November trip up into the oak woodlands of the Sierra Nevada foothills of Tuolumne County, we found some peace and tranquility and an antidote to the bustle of Los Angeles.
A melding of ecology, culture and travel with an emphasis on eco-tourism at the level of communities.
In 1920, Erich Scheurmann translated into German the speeches of Samoan Chief’ Tuiavii from the village of Tiavea, a work called The Papalagi (The White People) that describes his impressions of European culture formed during a tour as part of a traveling show. Tuiavii’s depictions of the greed and hypocrisy of the civilized Europeans has become a post-hippie inspiration for a counterculture movement to break out of the rigid confines of corporate capitalism.
The Sonoma Valley in Northern California is known for it’s world-class wine, gentle hills, and year-round temperate climate, where novelist-gentleman-farmer Jack London set up his ode to wild sustainability one hundred years before it became a thing. Flying over in a hot air balloon, hiking the protected hillsides to find a precious Pinot Noir at one of the 425 wineries, sailing off the coast, there are many ways to get lost in them hills.
The Cathedral at Monreale, built between 1170 and 1189, in a hilltown above Palermo, Sicily, is a masterpiece of Arab-Norman Byzantine mosaics created by craftspeople from Constantinople.
Pristine beauty, danger, and wild risk make Whitewater River Rafting on the Middle Fork of the American River a must-face-seeming-death for paddlers. Despite a healthy Sierra Nevada snowpack, this free-flowing river stretch brings up questions of water sustainability and the zombie Auburn Dam proposal, among others. Why is dam removal an important movement? And what about the folly of plans to build 3,700 new not-so-clean hydroelectric dams across the world?
Surrounded by volcanoes, coffee plantations, and picturesque villages, the once-ruined former colonial capital, Antigua Guatemala, remains the most charming city in the Republic, a vibrant and somewhat overly commodified mix of Ladino-Spanish, Kaqchikel-Maya, and multinational Gringo cultures coming together.
Morro Bay, the bounty of sea, dune, bay, and estuary ebb and flow against the sacred Nine Volcanic Sisters, the rocky Morros. Small town charm coexists with protected parkland and one of the few remaining functioning wetland estuaries in overpopulated California, a direct counterpoint to its channelized and endlessly pumped and polluted waterways. The landscape invites migrating birds and tourists, fosters endangered plants and animals, and allows fish populations to thrive.