Perceptive Travel Back Issues

June 2017

Compassionate Education Versus Dark Tourism at an Oregon Mental Hospital - Teresa Bergen
A writer visiting the Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health, the historic building where One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest was filmed, tries to suppress her morbid curiosity.

Tropical Paradise Under Construction in Borneo - Marco Ferrarese, photos by Kit Yeng Chan
Piggybacking on a development project's research trip, a travel writer discovers that in northern Borneo there's still quite a lot to do to keep paradise from falling out of grace.

It's Not Venice, It's Me - Mara Gorman
On her third visit to Venice over three periods of her life, a traveler starts to see the life and color with her children now taking her original place.

Inside A Refugee Camp in Bulgaria - Judith Fein, photos by Paul Ross
Wanting to get a closer look at the refugees her guide hates so much, a visitor to Bulgaria tours the immigrant neighborhood and camp.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
Accounts of roaming the world alone, a solo backpacking trip around South America, and tales from an older wiser writer who captures beautifully the pleasures of roaming around Britain on foot.

May 2017

Gawking at Glaciers in Wild Alaska - Tim Leffel
It almost feels civilized in the Alaskan capital of Anchorage, but just off the train heading south is a wilderness land where icebergs float on lakes and glaciers are still on the move.

Into a Lost World: El Triunfo, Chiapas - Nick Rider
An itch to fill an unknown space on the map leads via a long mountain trek to a cloud forest fastness of amazing riches in the wildest part of Mexico.

Hiding the Cannoli in Sicily - Kirsten Koza
That time when a well-hung travel companion shared a room on a biking trip in Sicily... during a honeymoon.

She Called me Bindaas - Melissa Adams
When an American writer meets an Indian doctor in a photography workshop, the focus shifts from the annual Pushkar Camel Festival to love and marriage through an Indian lens.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
Three thoroughly researched and well-written wandering books on tidal patterns, obscure historical travelers, and diverse U.S. national parks.

April 2017

A Short Trek in Bhutan's Wild East - Michael Buckley
Where the yaks and the yetis roam—and where Brokpa nomads weave their legends

A Hermit's Prayer on Salvation Mountain - James Michael Dorsey
The Result of a solitary man's quest to build a holy mountain in the California desert lives on as a pilgrimage site in the blinding sun.

Recapturing My Religious Satirical Soul in Lutherland, Germany - Becky Garrison
A religious skeptic who can't resist Christian satire visits Germany during celebrations of the anniversary of Martin Luther's reformation movement.

Into the Depths of the Sahara in Algeria - J. Jaye Gold
Venturing into the vast Sahara Desert where it's sand in every direction, takes quiet unplugging to the extreme.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
A very funny Englishman (called Moore) and a very serious American (called Moor) both achieve epic challenges. The first cycling from northern Finland to the Black Sea, the second hiking the Appalachian Trail and beyond. Plus a witty yet serious essayist who ponders the in-built disappointments of travel.

March 2017

A Place to Not Think in Central Serbia - Jonathan Arlan
When a long Balkan trip hits a lull, a chance conversation sends the author to a monastery deeper in the hills of Serbia.

Sanguine on the Water in Saguenay - Tim Leffel
Exploring the Lac Saint Jean area of Canada by human-powered watercraft leads to feelings of child-less bliss for the adventurous.

The Eyeless Blessing of Sangha Tenzin - Marco Ferrarese
In the Indian Himalayas, a chance encounter with a devout Buddhist unveils an elaborated 500-year-old death ritual.

The Guilt Cafe in Vietnam - Kirsten Koza
A traveler tries to reconcile the lingering effects of the past war in Vietnam with the locals' knack to make a buck from the suffering.

Travel Book Reviews - Tim Leffel
Good advice on slow travel with meaning, maps that tell you what the locals really think of their city, and a living abroad memoir in a French region of magic and memorable food.

February 2017

Finding My German Roots in Fredericksburg, Texas - Teresa Bergen
A presumed Irish writer with late-found German heritage looks at the struggles of early immigrants who came to Texas in the 1800s.

Schooled as a Mahout on the Mekong - James Michael Dorsey
As the Asian elephants transition from captivity to a more leisurely life, a traveler wishing to bond with the big beasts checks in at a trainer school in Laos.

From Making the Best to Making a Home in Costa da Caparica - Kerry Hudson
A couple escapes expensive post-Brexit London and finds a newfound sense of bliss on the wrong side of the river in Lisbon..

World Music Reviews - Tim Leffel
An intricate mash-up from the Rio Grande to all points south, a solid collection of jazz from Brazil, and a uniquely American band mixing vaudeville, rock, and marching bands.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
An unlikely solo survival in the snake-infested jungles of Bolivia contrasts with the hushed and hallowed halls of museums around the world, plus a supremely inconsequential tale by a comic invention who inaccurately calls himself a nomad.

January 2017

Following the Faded Signs in Baja California - Lydia Carey
Traversing the whole Baja Peninsula on its single Route 1 highway, a couple doubting the "wild frontier" stories gets led astray by dubious signs pointing to sketchy roads of sand.

On a Blowout Budget in Boracay - Tim Leffel
A writer who was less than impressed with the Philippines in his backpacker youth visits Boracay as a tourist and finds a whole other dimension.

Our Most Popular Stories From Perceptive Travel
Our most popular stories in Perceptive Travel from the past decade (that don't have sex in the title).

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
An intricate weave of world music from a one-time classical singer, klezmer music for all seasons, and beguilingly strange pop music from a master of orchestral music and soundtracks.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
A novelist's observations on a whirlwind tour of Latin America, Travelers' Tales annual "best of" anthology, and a guide to free activities and entertainment around the world.

December 2016

The Medicine Man in Benin - James Michael Dorsey
A seeker goes in search of a famed voodoo practitioner in Benin, where the spirit worlds and physical worlds are closely intertwined.

On Beauty and Foie Gras in Southwestern France - Beebe Bahrami
How a first-time experience in waxing leads to deeper lessons in French beauty, goose liver, and gray as a world of color instead of shade.

Looting Memory in Corinthian Greece - David Lee Drotar
A trip through the ancient lands of the Corinthian Gulf of Greece means uncovering layers of history and thousands of years of looting, of antiquities and memories.

World Music Reviews - Laurence Mitchell
Lively songs of praise from West Africa, Turkish tradition and lyrics blended with Western melodies, a West-African spin on Reggae classics, and touching tunes from Sarajevo.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
An intriguing illustrated encyclopaedia of undiscovered places to revive a sense of wonder, a fearless chase around the world for precious minerals and another less than inspiring backpacking narrative.

November 2016

For Whom the Gongs Toll in Nepal - Marco Ferrarese
In the mountain villages of Nepal, losing the hiking trail can be a good way to experience cultural differences... and get a bit tipsy, too.

Karaoke at Sea on a Cargo Ship - Rebecca A. Hall
One woman's experience of life with the guards and sailors while "cruising" on a container ship.

Friend Requests in the Canadian Outback - Chris Epting
Traveling through remote areas of Cree territory in northern Canada, a spotty internet signal is still enough to change how communities communicate and raise their tourism profile.

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
Whimsical songs from the Netherlands ride the rails; the past and present woven together in a pan-Arabic tapestry; the breadth of British folk well represented across two discs; but the Pacific is insulted by slapdash cultural tourism.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
Tales of hiking the Appalachian Trail and backpacking around Romania with Dracula's legend as the guide, plus a traveler's tool for getting what you need without sharing a language.

October 2016

Sweden in the Summer by the Seashore on the Kattegattleden - Tim Leffel
Expecting nasty weather, sky-high prices, and pickled fish, a cyclist on the Halland region beaches of Sweden finds a civilized land almost too pleasant to believe.

Following My Fixer into the Underground in Laos - James Michael Dorsey
When an adventurous traveler leaves the itinerary up to his newfound local guide in Laos, he gets more than he bargained for as a betting match between gangsters goes bad.

Ingrid, Me, and Stromboli - Susan Van Allen
The Italian island of Stromboli is not the bleak and impoverished place it was when Ingrid Bergman's character struggled in a post-WWII movie, but the volcano still puts on a dramatic show.

World Music Reviews - Laurence Mitchell
A look back at Ghanian afrobeat, female desert blues, new Latin rock, plus a fusion of Greek Orthodox and Kundalini yoga (with a pinch of Americana).

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
This month two male writers approaching middle age use travel to explore what life is all about, one on foot in Britain, the other in a campervan in Europe with his family. Plus one female writer [sic] who doesn't trouble herself with such weighty concerns.

September 2016

Unreached Realities in Guatemalan Mangroves - Luke Maguire Armstrong
While appearing in a side role in a reality nature TV show that's far from natural, a singing travel writer reflects on what we leave out of our stories.

The Mountain Men Who Don't Exist in Kyrgyzstan - Kirsten Koza
Visiting a mountain lake that doesn't appear on their map of Kyrgyzstan, a group of campers encounters a group of threatening men with mysterious origins.

Don't Attempt to Cuddle a Cassowary - Michael Buckley
The fine art of spotting this charismatic bird—without provoking its more fearsome side...

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
A meltdown of world music and jazz out of London, a different view of a Cuban music by a close cousin in America, reggae and dub out of South Florida, and a collection of really, really nice songs from all over the place.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
A fresh travelogue of an expat family on the move, a recreation of a former journey in a different time, and a collection of insightful stories from the Americas.

August 2016

Crossing the Mole Barrier in Oaxaca - Darrin DuFord
Under an Iron Chef competitor's tutelage, our author aims to separate truth from tall tale in the story of Oaxacan mole.

A Flow with No Beginning in Switzerland - Gillian Kendall
A 50-something traveler returns to the place where she thinks she found God three decades ago to see if the Swiss Alps still have the same effect.

Uzupis: In Search of a State - Tom Coote
Surrounded by Lithuania's capital city, Vilnius, the Independent Republic Of Uzupis remains a sanctuary for arty libertarian intellectuals and their Jewish heritage.

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
Argentina by New York, a foreign take on Brazil, Louisiana blues, and South India by two siblings raised in the USA.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
Autobiography in combination with travel is the theme this month, from the true story of a young teacher in Argentina who rescued a dying penguin, to personal journeys of healing. One is in the chilly sub-arctic climes of the 60th parallel and the other following British rivers to their sources.

July 2016

Yellowstone by Air in the Freezing Winter - Garrett Fisher
Flying over a closed Yellowstone Park in the dead of winter, the pilot of a 1940s plane with no heat balances a high level of danger with the joy of seeing nature's untouched splendor.

The Naked Truth in Marrakech - Zora O'Neill
An overawed traveler gets to the heart of a culture by taking off her clothes.

Seeing the Great Barrier Reef Before It Dies - Michael Buckley
The world's largest and most famous barrier reef is under threat from multiple angles, nearly all of them man-made. A diving writer checks out the damage from different vantage points from below and above.

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
A Spanish artist unites women of the world, the Congo and Portugal find common ground, America goes to Havana, and two types of West are bridged.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
A comprehensive U.S. national parks rundown, the joys of travel anticipation and exploration, and a novel with a detailed window into India.

June 2016

Nomadic Voices in the Kingdom of Jordan - David Lee Drotar
Touring the greatest hits of Jordan has gotten more complicated as the bedouins evolve and refugees stream in from Syria.

Breaking Bread in Kanas - James Michael Dorsey
In far Northwestern China, where a shark fin outline on a map punches Russia in the belly and divides Kazakhstan from Mongolia, invisible spirits and deities prowl the land.

Diving Into Art in the Land of NASCAR - Tim Leffel
In the region where stock car racing went pro and you can still drive autos on the beach, a vibrant community of artists balances out the aesthetic scales.

World Music Reviews - Laurence Mitchell
Retro African guitar rock Caribbean roots music, Cuban Country, and an atmospheric analog journey with Mop Mop.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
Exploring trains as a place where social microcosms can be enjoyed, an invitation not to take flying for granted, and a potentially inspirational journal.

May 2016

Reliving an Abandoned Town on the Patagonian Coast - Madelaine Triebe
At the end of a dirt road far away from any civilization, a couple slowly revives a settlement in Argentina that has been sitting empty for more than half a century.

Celebrating the Food of Portugal - Thomas Swick
Through a major food festival for locals and then a self-guided one in Lisbon, a visitor eats his way through the best of Portuguese food and wine.

Complicated Crime and Punishment in Colombia - Tom Coote
Crime is way down in Colombia since the Pablo Escobar coke cartel days, but there's still an uneasy relationship with the police and an uncomfortable reverence for the slain kingpin.

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
Uplifting and thoughtful music from Haiti by way of Canada, a vibrant history lesson from Mauritius, Russian reflections, and more global village Afrobeat given a late twist of originality.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
An anthology on city squares, another with fiction writers telling true stories, and a Silk Road travelogue.

April 2016

Deep Red Threat in Malaysia - Marco Ferrarese
For some, exploding New Year firecrackers in a remote Chinese-Malaysian village helps evoke the forgotten stories of Communist guerrilla resistance.

Locked Out of Canada - Gillian Kendall
When a newly arrived passenger gets left behind the pack at the Vancouver airport, Canadian hospitality disappears behind a series of cold, locked doors.

A Rumi of Her Own in Sayulita - Anna Elkins
While staying in a Mexican villa named for a love poem, a solo woman traveler rediscovers her voice.

World Music Reviews - Laurence Mitchell
Fela Kuti's first band, 12-piece Ethiopian fusion, a refugee from Saharan purgatory, plus America meets Cameroon.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
Three American writers chronicle their experiences. Two are happily expatriated to Britain and France, the third is traveling the world meditating on the nature of love, friendship and our relationship to the environment.

March 2016

Jumping Into Matrimony in Ethiopia - James Michael Dorsey
A bizarre wedding ceremony in an isolated valley in northern Africa is shocking, but would our rituals and attractions evoke an equivalent response in them?

The Truffle Hunt in Umbria - Susan Van Allen
In the Italian village of Gubbio, a visitor follows a stranger into the dark forest seeking treasure.

Hanging Out with Homer Simpson in Florida - Tim Leffel
A dad who has been watching The Simpsons half his life revels in a celebration of all things Springfield.

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
The spirit of a beleaguered Mali channeled into affecting songs, ancient Armenian music brought into the light, sub-continent music which reaches from the dance-floor to the deities, and Jewish music at the intersection of tradition and Downtown New York.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
Looking back on a pivitol post-Peace-Corps journey, Paul Theroux tours the rural Deep South in depth, and Lonely Planet attempts the ultimate wine travel book.

February 2016

No Country for Honest Men - Marco Ferrarese
In Tajikistan, an unmarried couple learns quickly that a small lie can go a long way in keeping gender balance-and sanity-on the road.

Unlocking Argentina's History - Debi Goodwin
The Recoleta Cemetery is both glorious and sad, where some of the dead are honored and some are forgotten behind long-neglected locks.

On the Old Berlin Wall, a Kiss is not Just a Kiss - James Dorsey
A painting of a man-on-man smooch in Berlin may not be controversial now, but this one went up in 1979 and is between two world leaders.

World Music Reviews - Laurence Mitchell
Voodoo music from Haiti, a Sidestepper return to Colombia, new desert blues with a twist, and some throwback reggae from Bristol.

Travel Book Reviews - Susan Griffith
One author gets to know a tiny Scottish island in intimate detail, while another travels throughout the British Isles in search of literary associations. Then a young woman recovering from mental illness casts caution to the wind and travels to Europe with a man just met on a dating site with next to no (physical) baggage.

January 2016

Common Ground in the Kasbah - James Michael Dorsey
An attempt to buy a funny political souvenir in the medina of Marrakesh results in a heap of cross-cultural animosity.

Beyond the Fear of "Other" in China - Anna Elkins
A woman who has lived in far-flung places around the world faces up to her biggest travel fear: visiting China alone.

Disconnected in a Landscape of Sand and Salt - Tim Leffel
Crossing the great Salar de Uyuni salt flat of Bolivia and traversing the high desert overland, a blogger disconnects from the always-on media stream and submits to the deep quiet.

World Music Reviews - Graham Reid
Simple yet deeply moving music from Turkey, Asian allusions and more from Texas, music from along the Silk Road, and traditional songs from the Caucasus.

Travel Book Reviews - William Caverlee
A comprehensive guide to the Pacific Ocean, a man lost on that ocean for more than a year, and a rough family vacation in graphic novel form.




2015 Archives

2014 Archives

2013 Archives

2012 Archives

2011 Archives

2010 Archives

2009 Archives

2008 Archives

2007 Archives

2006 Archives

Browse Stories by Category



Sign Up