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Culture

10 days, Culture, Experiences, Itineraries, Oceania, Papua New Guinea, Trekking, Wildlife

The tribespeople of Papua New Guinea

It’s the first morning of our expedition in Papua New Guinea. We trek through a dense jungle punctuated with waterfalls and scored by deep gorges, which in turn are crisscrossed by thickly knotted vine bridges. In the distance, the music of rare species of birds, and that feeling of life being as close to perfect as it could ever possibly be. We hike up alongside dozens of types of wildflowers until Thomas, our local fixer in the Highlands, Max – a photographer -and I reach the first tribal village. “This is a fortune-teller tribe,” says Thomas, “The men here use their ancestor’s skulls as instruments to foretell the future.” I look around and find a bunch of red and yellow-painted skulls lined up in a hut. There is nothing more bizarre.

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10 days, Beach, Culture, Destinations, Europe, Experiences, Italy, Itineraries, Uncategorized

Amusing Aeolian Islands

I’m hooked as I lay my eyes on the beautiful Aeolian archipelago rising out of the cobalt-blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea on the north of Sicily and west of mainland Italy. Locals call them the “shape-shifting” or “floating” islands as they have been continuously sculpted by volcanic activity over millions of years. As a result, its exotic black-sand beaches, craters, and splintered, rocky coastlines are something utterly unique in the Mediterranean. No wonder it was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2000. 

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14-18 days, Beach, Culture, Destinations, Diving, Experiences, Itineraries, Oceania, Papua New Guinea

The coral reefs of Papua New Guinea

My search for the world’s most exotic tribes in one of the most undocumented landscapes left on the planet ends in dramatic encounters. In Papua New Guinea, not only do I come across extraordinary indigenous peoples who adorn themselves with wondrous ornamentation and keep alive ancient rituals, but I also discover the most pristine offshore reefs that remain.

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3-5 days, Asia, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, Japan

Off piste in Japan

The snow has been falling since we arrived in Nozawa Onsen, a traditional Japanese town that sits at the center of a skiing area in mountainous Nagano province. It’s a chilly late afternoon in February. With the ski lifts already closed, I stroll across charming, wood-paneled streets lined with buildings that have stood since the Edo period (1603-1868). Each of the narrow streets is fringed with steaming water as if the entire town was built around a network of mountain streams. The water running from the volcanic springs is channeled away to heat private houses and the almost 30 public Onsens, from which the town gets its name. Nosawa gained a good deal of popularity thanks to these hot spring baths many years before snowsports became a thing in the country.

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5 days, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, Oceania, Papua New Guinea, Trekking, Wildlife

Land before time – Into the Highlands of Papua New Guinea

From a fenced-window car, I see barbed wires. Everywhere. I also watch kids on the streets carrying machetes bigger than themselves. I have just landed in the deep mountainous interior of Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands – a place that has long set in the very edge of my imagination. On Thomas’car – our local guide – we head from Tari town to Tari’s countryside, in the center of the Huli country in the Hela Province. I’m pretty aware of PNG’s reputation for being especially dangerous, overrun with gangs of hoodlums and terrorized by violence. But I’m also mindful that Papua New Guinea is without a doubt among the most culturally intriguing frontiers left on the planet. I am traveling in a place that both frightens and excites utterly –  because it feels like the real thing. 

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6-8 days, Asia, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, Indonesia, Itineraries, Motorcycle, On the road, Trekking

Fresh eyes on Bali

It’s almost harvest season in Munduk Mountain Valley. The sun is about to set, and birds approach the rice fields, despite chased away by farmers, who remain on constant alert. Here, in this pocket of North Bali, there is a sublime emptiness. The climate is surprisingly refreshing and the vibe, bucolic. I’m in Sanak, a small family-run retreat, where I find myself amidst tropical landscapes with scenic mountains. It has the essence of an older Indonesia and feels like the Bali of another time.

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10 days, Australia, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, Oceania, On the road

The sacred sites of Australia’s Northern Territory

We rise up in a Cessna over the Wetlands of Australia’s largest National Park. My stomach lurches as I look down on an incredible variety of landscapes – coastal swamps, floodplains, lowland hills, escarpment, monsoon rain forest, and ancient plateau. Beneath me, crocodiles scuttle into the East Alligator River, and a fabulously diverse range of birds navigate over the plains. I look in every direction and see nothing on the horizon. From the sky, I have a glimpse of the immensity of Kakadu’s wilderness: it’s half the size of Switzerland – the whole Park is a protected area of nearly 20.000 Km2.

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