The Spirit of the Sea Turtle

I dipped into a hidden lagoon on the leeward side of Oahu, and right there, one of my dreams came true. Snorkeling in the coral, I felt something graze my leg. I looked over and found a sea turtle the size of Smart Car gliding by and saying “hey.” He had a much smaller friend…

Road to the Grand Canyon (Part 2): Welcome to Arizona

Eastbound on the 62, back on one of those idyllic two-lane highways surrounded by nothing but sweeping desert and distant mountains.  A butterfly flutters by—what is it doing here?  There are no colors to attract them, no wildflowers to suck sweet nectar from, nothing to even pollinate.  It’s just a wanderer.  I could stay on…

Endangered Baby: Pangolin

It looks like a Pokémon. That’s cause it totally inspired one (Sandshrew). The pangolin is like some kind of freakish armadillo-dragon hybrid. But it’s no fearsome, fire-breathing reptile. It doesn’t even have teeth. It’s just a gentle, solitary mammal quietly roving its habitats across Africa and Asia in search of a tasty meal of ants….

Road to the Grand Canyon (Part 1): Gateway Into the Wild West

When I see the windmills, it finally feels like I’m going somewhere. Leaving Los Angeles via the 10 Freeway is a monotonous precursor to the road ahead. Windmills seem like a highlight—a break from the picture of outlet shops and fast-food chains lining an endless interstate. The landscape opens to arid terrain—the first intimation of…

10 Things I Didn’t Know About Being an Omnivore

When I was 18 I started listening to Morrissey and Strike Anywhere—starkly different in their musical styles but similar in their stances on animal welfare—and went vegetarian. I wasn’t really thinking hard about politics or even the environment; I just didn’t want to eat animals because I didn’t support ending their adorable lives in the…

An Ode to Crows—the Ultimate Birdbrains

When George RR Martin nicknamed the men of the Night’s Watch (I’m talking about Game of Thrones—if you don’t know, you better ask somebody!) “crows,” I bet it wasn’t merely because they’re cloaked in black. I like to think it’s because, like the birds themselves, they get a bad rap, but most people don’t know…

Endangered Baby: Northern White Rhino

In Vietnam, if you have a rhino horn, you’re (supposedly) a big deal. They’re worth up to $60,000 per kilo on the black market—more valuable than diamonds or cocaine. Sometimes they’re even ground up and snorted as a party drug. And some proponents of Asian medicine actually believe they can cure hangovers … and cancer….

Phase II: New Look, New Life

You know when you get caught up in someone else’s vision and you forget all about your own? That’s where I’ve been. All it took was a template change and I’m inspired again. (Seriously, this new-look everything is nature is giving me heart palpitations!) I’ve always believed that if you really want to make your unique…

Close Encounter with Coastal Giants

Mountain ranges cloaked in Douglas firs line a long, undulating road—California’s famous 101 Freeway—giving a glimpse at what’s to come. I’m never less than amazed each time I bear witness to the unparalleled natural landscapes here, and this time, on the 200 or so miles driving from San Francisco to the ancient forests of Redwood…

The Insane Solo Patagonia Adventure That Changed My World

My first welcome to Chilean Patagonia is a rainbow over the parking lot of the utilitarian airport at Punta Arenas. The wind whispers a song that’s somehow evocative of the tune that loops on the ice cream truck that passes my home in Los Angeles everyday. I guess flying for about twenty-four hours straight will…

To the End of the World: From Patagonia to Cape Horn

It’s a five-hour ride from Torres del Paine National Park to Punta Arenas, where I will board the Stella Australis cruise ship to Ushuaia, Argentina.  I wander on a street parallel to the Strait of Magellan, looking for the port, and pass a sleeping stray dog; he springs up immediately and starts walking ahead of…

Living La Pura Vida

  BOOM! I wake in the middle of the night to roaring thunder and a vehement downpour through the trees, crashing against the roof of my bungalow. In the pitch-blackest darkness, my eyes never adjust, with minimal city lights permeating the atmosphere in this little coastal town called Tamarindo in the Guanacaste province of Costa…