I spent almost a month in New Zealand and realized, gosh, I hadn’t written much at all about this wonderful, magical place. Well, now that I’m back on dry land in Colombia, I have some time to finally catch up my blogging.

After a three day crossing from Melbourne on the Bahia Negro, I landed on Feb 23 in the pretty harbor town of Port Chalmers, which is right next to Dunedin, the “Austin of New Zealand” as I was told by a friendly barista at a local coffee shop. (There are dozens of them, and they’re all pretty good. Dunedinistas like their caffeine.) Read More

AUCKLAND—In a short while I’ll be casting off aboard the Bahia Blanca cargo ship en route to Manzanillo in Colon, Panama. I rather late in the game realized I hadn’t written anything publicly about New Zealand. This magical and marvelous country wore me out over the last month, and I feel a bit like a kid after a long day at the amusement park: happily exhausted and rather ready for bed.

You’d think the 16-day trip across the Pacific should give me time to do that. Instead, I’ll be busy working on the book proposal for Truly, Nomadly, Deeply (title suggestions?) and cramming as much Spanish into my already overstuffed brain as possible. Read More

Ten years ago today, the United States began perhaps its costliest and most destructive foreign policy blunder. And as for many young journalists, it also allowed me to jump-start my career as a foreign correspondent. There’s a direct line between the decision to invade Iraq and me being in New Zealand as a burgeoning travel writer.

But I’d like to just highlight some of the early days of blogging that I did about and from Iraq at my old blog, back-to-Iraq.com. Things were moving pretty fast in those early hours, so there’s probably a lot in here that has been proven to not be entirely accurate. But that’s the case when you conduct a blitzkrieg on a country these days. Read More

Hi, all. I gave a talk yesterday at the University of Otago on journalism and the war on terror. The Otago Daily Times was kind enough to send a reporter to the seminar. Too bad the photo makes me look a little weird.

Also, I’ll be on Radio New Zealand chatting with Jim Mora today at 2:10 p.m. Auckland time (+13 GMT), discussing journalism, conflict and travel. Not sure if it will be made available online, but I assume it will at some point.

Update Here’s the program:

farewell australiaPart I
There’s an old adage that one should write drunk and edit sober. This is my attempt at slightly tipsy. Why? Because I’m saying farewell to Australia, and there’s no good way to depart such a big (and big-hearted) country without a bit of tipple to send me on my way.

Where to begin? When last we left off, I was speaking on Australia’s forgotten Aborigines and I was halfway to Adelaide. Since then, we — me and a couple of CouchSurfing friends from Germany —  completed the crossing of the  southern continent from Perth to Sydney, a distance of at least 5,100 km based on the southern route we took. It’s an accomplishment that, frankly, many Australians still don’t manage to do. But what a journey. I honestly haven’t even begun to fully process the whole trip, but the landscape and the people who I’ve met on the way have been indelibly stamped on my soul. Read More