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Zegrahm Expeditions Travel Blog

Welcome to the Zegrahm Expeditions Blog! Here you will find inspiration for your next adventure and information from your last adventure, produced by our field leaders, Seattle office staff, and contributing writers. You may filter this content by geographic region, by typeincluding blog post, field report (a daily recap of a past expedition with images), photo gallery, or video—or by topic. Explore your world, from our perspective.

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Leopard
June 1, 2015
Blog Post

Seeing a cheetah sprinting at full speed is a beautiful thing; and so is knowing that your actions helped make the scene possible.   

Sadly, though, Acinonyx jubatus—our planet’s fastest land animal—currently finds itself in a race for survival. The cheetah (which can accelerate from 0 to 64 mph in a mere three seconds) is now found in less than 25 percent of its historic African range and is considered one of the continent’s most threatened cats. 

Your visit to the...

The Culture of Japan
June 1, 2015
Blog Post

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.”

Aretha Franklin’s soulful anthem to deference offers a valuable tip for first-time visitors to Japan. Following the country’s traditional customs—particularly that of bowing—is a way to show, and garner, respect with locals. It also shows that you truly understand, or are trying to, the culture of Japan.

Bowing in Japan

Ojigi, or bowing, is the way Japanese people greet...

Wax Palms, Cocora Valley, Colombia
June 1, 2015
Blog Post

As you’re taking in the awesome splendor of Colombia’s Cocora Valley, walking in the shadow of the tallest palm trees in the world—the mighty wax palm—take a moment to appreciate the quiet grandeur of these amazing giants. Hernae in the Central Cordillera of the Andes Mountains, in a valley named for a Quimbayan princess, the Quindio wax palm has been named the national tree and symbol of Colombia—in fact, the government has been authorized to offer land within the valley to those who plan...

Cocora Valley, Colombia
June 1, 2015
Blog Post

Next time you stop at your local coffee shop, take a close look at the brew you’re buying. More than likely it originated in Colombia, producer of 12 percent of the world’s coffee, making it the third largest coffee provider in the world (behind Brazil and Vietnam) and the number one producer of Arabica coffee—which is widely considered the highest quality bean for your cup ‘o joe. Colombian coffee beans make their way around the world, to the United States, Germany, France, Japan, and Italy...

Bhutan
June 1, 2015
Blog Post

While visiting Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, the esteemed Indio-Anglian author and journalist Khushwant Singh heard numerous references to what he called “a wandering ascetic who combines preaching religion with sex and liquor.” This “Divine Madman” was, as Singh recounts in his book, The Freethinker’s Prayer Book: And Some Words to Live By, the “most unconventional holy man the world has ever known.”

To be fair, Lama Drukpa Kunley (1455-1529) comes from a long line of historic...

Gassho-Zukuri House, Shirakawa-Go
June 1, 2015
Blog Post

By any standards, winters in the Gifu and Toyama Prefectures of Japan can be severe. Here in the Japanese Alps, snow falls most days between the end of November and early April, more than 20 inches annually, and temperatures often drop into the single digits. Given such harsh conditions, it would seem that 18th-century farmers in the region could only survive on a prayer.

Enter the Gassho-style farmhouse. Unique to this region of Japan, Gassho-Zukuri houses are recognized for their...

Baffin Island
June 1, 2015
Blog Post

Mariner John Cabot was living in Spain at the time Columbus returned from his first voyage, unsuccessful in his quest to find a new route to the Far East. In an effort to one-up his fellow Italian, Cabot proposed a radical idea—instead of a second voyage to what would be the future Americas, he would sail a northerly route to Asia, where the longitudes were closer.

So began the long list of intrepid explorers who would set out in search of the Northwest Passage. It was not Spain,...

Cruising the Northwest Passage
June 1, 2015
Blog Post

At the end of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, the monster drifts away on an ice flow near the North Pole. In the real world, only a few people have the opportunity to visit one of the last frontiers of our planet.

Towering crystalline castles break off from the many glaciers of that “Mother of Ice” Greenland, whose hundreds of children drift south every year into the Atlantic Ocean. Fantastic curtains of shifting bands of color across the night sky, loudly trumpeting...

Hanuman langur
May 29, 2015
Blog Post

Readers young and old have fallen in love with Mowgli, the spirited young boy in Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale, The Jungle Book, and his adopted wolf parents, Raksha and Father, as well as his precocious jungle pals, Bagheera, the black panther, and Baloo, the bear. And as soon as you arrive in Pench—in India’s Seoni and Chhindwara districts in Madhya Pradesh—you’ll be quick to imagine the famous book, and movie, coming to life before you.

Visitors most often enter the park—a...

Taking a Spin with Turkey's Whirling Dervishes
May 29, 2015
Blog Post

A secret turning in us
makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet,
and feet head. Neither cares.
They keep turning.

                   —Rumi, “The Secret Turning”

Anyone who has watched a child gleefully spinning in circles recognizes the bliss that comes in freely moving one’s body. Yet for members of the Whirling Dervishes, this twirling is a very...

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