December 31, 2015 by Eric Hanson General, Photography, Travel 8

2015 Year in Review

2015 is a year I will cherish. It was chock full of adventure, growth, challenges, and rewards. Personally, it was my most daring year, full of the most unknowns and risks. And in many ways, the year turned out better than I could have hoped for.

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September 8, 2015 by Eric Hanson General, Photography, Travel 0

Reflections on a Journey

In a cafe in northern Patagonia, overlooking a lake on a moody, stormy day, I think about the end of my journey. I have been traveling South America for seven months. I began in Ecuador and have descended the Andean mountain chain to the bottom of the continent. This was not my first big adventure as I have also traveled around the world for eleven months and backpacked Europe for six months. But this time, I was almost entirely solo. This was an opportunity for me to travel alone, to go where I wanted and do what I wanted at my own pace. Traveling solo has a lot of advantages, and a few obvious challenges. I am a fairly social individual, and I have never spent this amount of time just hanging out with myself. Sometimes this was very difficult, as there were moments of extreme loneliness. But I am really happy that I pushed myself into and through that challenge. This allowed for some real introspection, to recognize things about myself, how I think and operate, what I believe, to inspect my faults and areas I want to grow.

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Searching For the Rainbow in the Mountain

Peru has simply been amazing. I love Peru. So it was not a surprise that I ended up spending two months in this country and having some truly memorable experiences. Not least of which was the remarkable area surrounding Ausungate, the largest peak in the Cusco region. I ended up doing two treks in the area, one traditional circuit around Ausungate, and one very non-traditional search for Vinicunca.

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April 24, 2015 by Eric Hanson General, Photography, Travel 1

Trekking Alpamayo: Searching for the World’s Most Beautiful Mountain

Turns out, it’s not easy to get to the world’s most beautiful mountain. Alpamayo, located in the heart of the Cordillera Blancas in Peru, has long attracted climbers and trekkers for its stunning beauty. In the 60’s, a German magazine conducted a survey of climbers and photographers, polling them on what mountain was the most beautiful in all the world. 19,500 foot Alpamayo came out on top, and Peru has been touting that claim to fame ever since. Having been to the Cordillera Blancas twice before without witnessing the mountain’s beauty with my own eyes, trekking back to it during my travels this time around was a priority. For those interested in trekking here themselves, perhaps this could be useful. Here’s my “travel notes” style description of the 8 day trek (I recommend doing it in 9 days). Victor wrangles the donkeys Day One: It took about 5 hours to get to the trailhead via collectivo, a rickety van that seats 12 people, but fits upward of 26 people if the driver so desires. Four hours of this drive and you are on the craziest, most zig-zag-winding, steep, beautiful road I’ve ever been on. In the town of Vaqueria we met […]

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March 10, 2015 by Eric Hanson General, Photography, Travel 5

Tourist vs. Traveler

Here’s a riddle for you. It was midday, the 16th of August, when the bus dropped me off. Five days later, I left on March 9th. The main difference between being a tourist and a traveler is that a tourist is looking for a safe, easily consumable experiences that offers the perception of something genuine. A traveler is looking to delve into more grimy realities, often the experiences are borderline uncomfortable, and usually require a bit more nuance and interpretation. Honestly sometimes I’m still a tourist who is searching for those easily consumable experiences. My recent foray into the Ecuadorean Amazon challenged me to not be a tourist, and to embrace being a traveler in a fairly uncomfortable situation. I left Baños, Ecuador in search of Tawasap, a community of Shuar people in the Amazon. A friend of mine had been there a year prior and recommended that I go. Without being entirely sure of what to expect, I headed into the Amazon. I had directions, and little else. The bus dropped me off at a town called the 16 de Agosto (see riddle above), from here I needed to walk down a dirt road through the jungle until I hopefully arrived […]

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