Hiking the Swiss Alps 2008



Farm animals roam freely in Switzerland (unlike the US, Swiss animal welfare laws extend also to farm animals) so it is common to find cows, sheep, and goats remarkably high on the mountain! The sound of cowbells FILLS the air. it always sounds like you are surrounded by beautiful windchimes!



South Africa - April 2010

Hiking up Table Mountain in Capetown


The "Table Cloth" - Every morning a cloud forms over Table Mountain, from water that evaporates from within in the hot African sun and every night it disappears.


Sunset at the top of Lion's Head Mountain


The view of the coastline was breathtaking from Lion's Head!


Tanzania - Dec 2010

In Tanzania we stayed in a treehouse cabin on the mountainside.


The view of Mount Meru from our treehouse, and on a clear day we could also see Kilimanjaro.


There was absolutely no indication that Christmas was approaching... no shopping, no decorations. Finally on Christmas day, people from all over the city began walking toward a park near the center of the city wearing their best clothes for a Christmas celebration! Traditionally people will take time off work until New Years Day to spend time with family.


Rwanda - Dec 2010


Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda


The 500 lb Silverback Gorilla is vegan.
Yup. All that size and muscles... the protein comes from plants!


Our guide has known these gorillas for nearly 30 years. He actually worked with Diane Fossey!


Malaysia - 2013



Made a lot of new friends from the East and the West traveling with Veg Voyages.

Visited a madrasa (a muslim parochial school). Malaysia is a primarily Muslim country. Women are not required to, but prefer to wear a hijab in public as a matter of modesty.


Did a lot of hiking, snorkeling and EATING!
And learned that pineapples grow on the ground. I didn't know that.



Southern India - Jan 2015




Hiking the granite hills in Kanadukathan


Cruising the quiet backwaters of Kerala



Hiking the rolling tea plantations in the Western Ghats


observing local customs such as eating on meals on the floor served on banana leaves
...and eating with your hands.


Receiving blessings from a local priest.


Laos - November 2015



Traveling by traditional Lao river boat


Hiking through the mysterious Plain of Jars


Receiving and giving blessings in the traditional Baci welcome ceremony


Learning to cook Lao cuisine


Learning about America's Secret War which was no secret in Laos.
The US dropped more bombs on the the Lao people than have ever been dropped in all of human history. 30% of the bombs did not explode on contact and still remain in the ground, killing over 20,000 Lao since the bombing stopped in 1975.


Learning proper Lao drinking etiquette.


Learning traditional Lao dance


Philippines - January 2016


A dream vacation on an exclusive island in El Nido, Philippines.


Gorgeous beaches where the sand was like confectionary sugar.




Snorkeling and more snorkeling! I love the corals and infinite sea life!


I could spend a thousand nights and never tire of the view.



Indonesia; Bali & Java - July 2016



Seven veteran Veg Voyage travelers reunited and made 12 new friends in Indonesia for adventure and delicious vegan food!


Sitting in a 20,000 year old crater of the Batur volcano that simultaneously destroyed and built parts of modern-day Bali. The new active volcano can be seen rising from the center. It last erupted in 1926.


We made offerings at Pura Melanting, a temple for prosperity. The temple itself was absolutely beautiful and the mountains surrounding created a stunning setting.


Traditional Balinese Dance


Somehow I also get myself wrangled into dancing.


We visited a local high school. Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim nation and the world's 3rd largest democracy. The students had never met westerners before and were excited to ask us questions.


At the top of the Ijen Volcano on the Island of Java.


A very brave barefoot fire dancer!


Cuba - New Year's Eve 2017

In Revolution Plaza, below Cuban Revolutionary and martyr Che Guevara reads "Hasta la Victoria Siempre" (Until the Everlasting Victory)


Staying in the iconic Hotel Nacional was a historic treat. Built in 1930 to meet the demand of the American Elite, it hosted the likes of such as Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Mickey Mantle, Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando and Ernest Hemingway.

In 1933 it was the site of a bloody siege instrumental in Batista's overthrow of Machado.

In 1946 the hotel hosted the "Havana Conference," the infamous mob summit depicted in The Godfather II. Every mob boss in the Americas was present, minus Al Capone who is said to have stayed home sick.

In 1925 just outside of the Hotel Nacional, the United States erected this tribute to the lives lost in the sinking of the USS Maine, the event that provoked US involvement in the Spanish American War and led to Cuba's independence from Spanish colonial rule.

An American Eagle was placed on top to "watch over Cuba."

However, in the decades that followed it became evident that Cubans had swapped Spanish Colonialism for American Imperialism. The eagle "watching over Cuba" was removed in 1961 and the inscription changed:

"To the victims of the Maine who were sacrificed by the imperialist voracity and their desire to gain control of the island of Cuba. February 1898 – February 1961"

The most interesting thing in this picture is not the beautiful Cathedral of the Virgin Mary, completed in 1777. It is that Old Havana is completely paved in cobblestones from Boston!

During the lucrative molasses trade of the same period, ships bringing molasses to Boston harbor were returned with cobblestones from Massachusetts for ballast. When you walk around Old Havana, your feet are literally on American soil!

The dense mineral composition of the Viñales valley is ideal for tobacco farming, but it also produces the most INCREDIBLE vegetables I've ever tasted! This was the best food I had on the trip, and actually the vegetables were the most flavorful I've ever had. Even better than anything I've grown in my garden!

There is no modern machinery so everything must be done by hand. For this reason, much of Cuba's farmland is unused. The workload and lifestyle is just too much for the average person.

However, if a person wants own a farm, the government will GIVE the land to the farmer. In leiu of payment, the farmer promises to grow one of three government-owned cash crops each year: tobacco, sugarcane and coffee.

Anything else grown on the land for the rest of the year is for the farmer to keep or sell as s/he sees fit.


Inside the tobacco drying house, our guide explains the cigar making process. The government-owned brand-name Cuban cigars are fermented only in water. But local farmers have family recipes that are handed down thru the generations. Cinnamon, honey, lemon, etc. The finished product smelled delicious!

And of course, we lit them up. I LOVE the smell of a sweet cigar!

American cars have their heyday in the 50s when American investment (mostly the mob) was at its peak. But suddenly all contact with the United States ceases with the embargo in 1962.

The next biggest trading partner was the Soviet Bloc and you will find cars from the 70s and 80s all over Cuba. But suddenly all contact with the Soviet Union ended in 1989 with the soviet collapse.

Now the biggest trading partners are China and Korea. You will find late model Asian cars about, mostly owned by government businesses.

The "Coco Cab?" I don't know where those death traps are from or when. You won't catch a local in one for sure!

Four major architectural styles permeate Havana. Each influence began and ended as Cuba gained and lost trading partners.

Early Spanish Colonial, Early American Luxury, Mid-Century mob-built American Minimalist, and Soviet Brutalism.

90% of Cubans own their homes. In Havana these are 200-300 sq ft tenement homes carved out of once grand homes or once hotels!

A night of terrific trovador music at a cool rooftop bar. Renowned singer and songwriter Frank Delgado led a musical discussion on the history of music in Cuba. His younger counterpart has a degree in classical guitar after studying for 14 years. Watching his fingers fly across the strings was intoxicating! (as were the mojitos)

Julio, a "cuentapropista" (self-employed entrepreneur) started his business in 2010 with a single 1955 Chevy Bel Air that had been in his family for decades. He refurbishes old American cars and rents them as private cars at a premium price. (These cars are the most pristine in Cuba!) One by one, he has refurbished and added another car to his elite fleet. Today he has 11 cars in his own fleet and contracts with 11 more private car owners to drive within his company.

Being the business junky that I am, my calculator was running a profit and loss in my head during the whole visit. Based on the math, Julio is pulling down over $300,000 USD annually! The "American Dream" is alive in Cuba!

Among the photos of his many high-profile customers, my two favorites were Michelle Obama and Jay Leno.

At midnight New Years Eve, the boom of cannons (instead of fireworks) echoing throughout Havana, and a toast to the best new friends and a hopeful 2017!

And then like real Habaneros, taking the party to the Malecón. (the 5 mile seawall that stretches the Havana coast and serves as the city's favorite meeting place)


My last day in Cuba was spent recovering from NYE festivities. First to the beach, which was exactly as it should be: sun, 90 degrees, sand, bright blue water, and a sand bar to play in the waves. It was all tourists: Americans, Europeans, Koreans and lots and LOTS of Russians!

The second half of the day I spent on the Malecón, the 5 mile seawall that stretches Havana's coast and serves as a long, narrow park and the city's favorite meeting place.

Local people came alone, with their families, and some were clearly on dates. (Habaneros are not shy about PDA!) I got the impression that they didn't know each other, but it didn't matter... everyone was friends in the moment.

They brought take-out and made a picnic, a guitar which prompted joyous singing and dancing, and a bottle of rum that everyone was passing around!

The soothing sound of the waves crashing against the seawall and the fresh salty mist in the air. Fish darting in the low tidal pools left as the waves receded. And the pelicans float overhead like a kite on the air currents, suddenly diving like a kamikaze into the ocean. Usually they came back up empty, but when they caught a fish the people would clap and cheer!

I think this was my favorite day in Cuba.