A Letter From the Editor

Editor-in-Chief "Sam"

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Curtain Call

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ANTM Travel Awards: Personality Disorders

They say that travel changes how you see the world and think about life. What they don’t say is that living out of a giant bag, in tiny rooms for seven months, can leave you permanently, irreversibly deranged. Want proof? Read on . . . Continue reading

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ANTM Travel Awards: Economics

When you come to the end of a long-term trip like this one, a question people always ask you is, “Did you stick to your budget?” The scary truth is Mark and I didn’t have a budget. I mean, of course we set aside a certain amount of money for the trip before we left. We generally didn’t go hog-wild on spending sprees and were careful about what we dished out for food, lodging, laundry, treats, and so on. But did we keep track of what we bought, make daily spreadsheets, or set aside a certain limit to what we could spend each day? Hell, no! And, guess what? The amazing thing is we were exactly on target. We might even have a little dough left over (that is, if I don’t buy a book at the airport). So, where did the money go? To our Economic Awards! Continue reading

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ANTM Travel Awards: Geography

My “Oh” my, the places we’ve seen.  As we hand out the Geography Awards, we encourage one and all to use Google Maps to locate the whereabouts of our favorite cities and towns. As for me, I have a feeling our frequent map-checking will add to my abilities in the Geography section of Trivial Pursuit. The truth is, Geography is the only part of that game I am good at . . . that is, if you discount the odd question regarding  home run hitters in Japanese baseball. There’s a hidden pun here, can you find it? Continue reading

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ANTM Travel Awards: La Naturaleza

Having lived in New York for more than 11 years, Mark and I were in need of a break from buildings, bustling streets, noise, pollution. One of our goals for this trip was to discover far-flung natural places unlike any we’d witnessed before and, once we found them, to spend as much time exploring within their boundaries as possible. I’m happy to say, we accomplished our goal, and then some. Never before have I had the distinct pleasure of discovering so many different types of natural environments in one uninterrupted stretch of time. From the majestic mountains, mighty fjords, and towering glaciers of Patagonia and the desert-like, wine-soaked landscape of northern Argentina to the snow-like salt flats and pungent jungles of Bolivia and fertile farmland of Ecuador and Colombia to the volcanoes of Nicaragua, we have seen all that these wondrous continents have to offer . . . or, at least as much as we possibly could. If I may run the risk of sounding extraordinarily corny, I’d venture to say that this decision to take off and discover all that lands south of home have to offer was one of the best I’ve made in life thus far. So, without further ado . . . La Naturaleza! Continue reading

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ANTM Travel Awards: Transportation

With a few small exceptions, the ANTM journey has been completed entirely over land, from the south of Chile up to the border between Honduras and Nicaragua, in Central America. When you’ve got this kind of distance to cover, transit becomes a focal point of the endeavor. We have spent many, many hours on all different types of buses, combis, collectivos—you name it. From the comparatively posh digs of Cruz Del Sur to the ancient school buses of Nicaragua, we’ve seen it all. We’ve met new friends on the bus. We’ve been offered everything from impotence pills to fried fava beans by the legions of roving highway vendors. And yes, there have been chickens. We have shared our ride with chickens, ducks, stray dogs, and anything else you can carry on, shove underneath, or tie on top of a bus. The most shocking and brutal thing we’ve endured? Vin. Freakin. Diesel. Dear gawd, we’ve seen more Vin Diesel films than Momma Diesel herself. Continue reading

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ANTM Travel Awards: Culinary

Here it is folks, the ANTM Food & Drink awards. For those of you who don’t already know, we are vegetarians who also eat fish occasionally. So, it needs to be said that our dietary choice excludes at least 80% of traditional foods and typical dishes throughout the regions we traveled. There were plenty of small mountain towns where this number was closer to 100%. As a result, we’ve eaten more pizza in the last seven months than in the last seven years combined. We came up with many inventive solutions along the way, ultimately purchasing our own camping stove to travel more freely. Plus, as travelers on a budget, we couldn’t afford to buy all of our meals on the out even when there were ample selections to be had. Having said all that, we have tried many different foods over the course of our journey. Without further delay, here is a sampling of the best, worst, and most unexpected culinary offerings we’ve encountered. Provecho!

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Andes Not The Mint Travel Awards: Lodging

I know, I know. Awards shows are exciting. The energy in the air. The anticipation about who or what is going to take home an award. The fancy attire (I, for one, am wearing my best ratty-tank-top-and-hole-ridden-yoga-pants-outfit). It’s really exhilarating to be able to host these awards while sitting in a hammock on our cabin’s porch in the Isla de Ometepe, in Nicaragua. But, enough about me . . . Let’s get the show on the road! Without further ado, we will now presenting our first ANTM Travel Awards category: Lodging. Continue reading

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A Book for Your Extra . . .

In the weeks before I left to travel for the better part of a year, many people asked me if I was going to get a Kindle. Gasp. How could they ask such a question?! A technological device instead of a book? Never! While I don’t regret my decision nor do I plan to buy a Kindle—or other e-book device—anytime soon, I will admit that it did get a bit frustrating trying to find a book to read (in English) among all the tattered John Grisham paperbacks and pawed copies of the Millennium trilogy. But there were a few particularly stellar book exchanges that we stumbled across and one or two well-stocked English-language bookstores that enabled me to find enough books to read throughout the trip. They weren’t all gems (Mark and I both tried to read Howard Jacobson’s Booker Prize-winning The Finkler Question, but couldn’t get through it. Too whiney!), but they did the trick. Continue reading

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