Papa, Pipi

The process of un-training the potty-trained brain probably has a lot to do with life on the move, with the uncertainty of it all, and the constantly changing scenery. Lucia is experiencing the same travel shock as the rest of us, only she is manifesting it in the way a two or three year old would.

Impeccable Timing

I asked my daughter Elisa what time meant to her. She’s just five years old, so I wondered how she approaches time, having spent so little of it alive. She said time is minutes, because for a kid, time is immediate and the future is abstract art. As parents, we are always saying “wait a […]

The Element of Travel

I missed out on the humpbacks. It’s whale-watching season along the shores of Ecuador. The humpback whales, creatures in perpetual migration, meet every year near Puerto López to attend to intimate whale affairs like birthing and mating. For the latter, the machos blast into each other like cetaceous rockets, slashing the skin with bristly barnacles […]

Lucía, the Copycat

The flags identified each girl as a sovereign country, two queens who are best friends but constantly bicker. Allies who share a common border but throw up walls during tantrums. Trade is free market (when mami and papi are not looking) otherwise manipulated by the older sister. After all, she calls the shots in the diplomacy of sisterhood. To Queen Elisa goes the seniority, the experience, and knowledge; to Queen Lucia, the leftovers. Now and again, Queen Lucia oversteps her borders, and the two face off, alighting little-fist punches and entangled hair-pulling. Sometimes there is war, but usually just a war of screaming and tears.

Habits of Disgust

We recently visited a Kamsá curandero, or medicine man, in Putumayo (Colombia). Through conversation and a quick revision, Taita Juan made a few general diagnoses for each of us. I have a nerve issue in my right leg causing discomfort; Ignacia has stomach problems fed by stress; Lucía, digestion. Elisa?  “She’s perfect,” I say. As […]

GPS, I lost my mind

It happens again and again. I’m driving down the road, down a highway, up a mountain, and I miss the turn. I get all worked up, blame Ignacia for looking at the phone, and wonder how and why Maps failed me. A quick fit of rage, I pull over to cool down and reassess my […]

Adios Felicidad

When day-to-day life turns into a nomadic adventure with no end in sight, the rules of the game change. In a world where TV and toys no longer exist, there must be other ways of entertaining children.

Want to be Unhappy?

For Pat, the journey became overwhelmingly difficult. He struggled with regret, as many are inclined to do. While he moved forward developing his tremendous talent as a reporter and then editor and marketing genius, he never stopped looking back. Remorse became an obsession and triggered bouts of mental illness, depression, and anxiety. These challenges knocked him into dark places. A nagging of the soul dogged him for years.

Paramo Burning

A few months later, FARC’s arsonist episode no longer mattered. The entire páramo was burning. A 10-meter wall of fire spread across the high mountain wetlands driven by wind and heat. As the fire intensified, so did the heat, evaporating surface water, burning through century-old plants, and catching rabbits and deer in mid-flight, leaving only the ashen outlines of their bodies in its wake.

The Last of the Kokonukos

Kokonukos is a mountain range with few trails and few people have summited its highest peaks. Here, the chronicling of how we follow an aging kokonukos guide into the clouds,across a mossy carpet, to the top of the range’s highest volcano, Pan de Azúcar.

The Mighty, Mighty Páramo

Today, you hear more about Colombia’s páramos. The altitude and exposure to extreme swings in temperature and weather make páramos something like enormous islands, floating among seas of tropical jungles. Survival under extreme conditions have resulted in a population of plants finely tuned to shielding high levels of UV rays, trapping and managing water, resisting wind and freezing temperatures.

Stand and Deliver: the Nasa Struggle for Autonomy

The FARC have since left Jambaló and the country’s recent ceasefire has brought peace, but the conflict has continually held Jambaló back in rural development: only five of its 35 villages (veredas) have access to potable water, there is but one paved road in the entire municipality, and over 1,000 families still lack access to fertile crop-growing land.

An Arhuaco Solution to Man’s Disequilibrium

The bees try really hard to protect their hive and their honey, and maybe that is part of why Osvaldo identifies the activity as theft. For him, it would be the same with cows, sheep, silk worms or oysters. We are the species specialized in taking. Over a lifetime, we take much more than we give, and though we are capable of giving, we rarely do.

A Life Less Restrained

My brother Josh and I wrote down a few key memories meant to highlight the many facets of our late brother Pat’s personality, the way he lived life and is compassion for all living creatures. This is a sample of what we came up with. Enjoy and reach out to your loved ones today. Life is fleeting, you won’t regret it.