Wide Open Spaces: Road Trip Across the American Southwest

Wide Open Spaces: Road Trip Across the American Southwest

The American Southwest, best known from the old Western films, often has a reputation of being the wild west or for its very, very barren landscape.  

 

lost mine trail big bend national park texas
Lost Mine trail at Big Bend National Park, Texas.
 

And it is true - the landscape of the American Southwest is very empty.  But its vast emptiness lends to an amazing beauty not witnessed in most place in the world.  This seemingly limitless scenery of dry barren plains and wide open blue skies, dotted here and there by flat plateaus and rugged mountains, contributes to a landscape that is unimaginably beautiful.

How to Travel Safely During the COVID-19 Outbreak

how to travel safely during the covid-19 outbreak


In 2020, travel spending declined an average of 46% overall, with international spending taking the biggest hit at about 76%. The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined travel and has most people rethinking where to go, how to get there, and what precautions to take along the way. While globetrotting might not be feasible, there are still plenty of ways to get away while protecting yourself from COVID-19. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe while traveling during COVID-19 outbreak.


Some Travel Restrictions Are Being Lifted. But Should You Travel?

madagascar ile aux nattes signs


Restrictions on travel are slowly being eased, allowing tourism to start back up in a growing number of countries. But is it safe to do so and should you travel at all?


After months of staying home, many Americans are yearning for a vacation. And although there is still a rapid growth in coronavirus cases in the United States (there have been over 15 million cases and over 289,000 deaths), some countries around the world are slowly beginning to reopen to American tourists.

Where Can U.S. Tourists Travel?

Where Can U.S. Tourists Travel?


For Americans eager to continue their traveling outside of the States, there are a few countries beginning to open their borders to U.S. citizens.


With the United States being hit the hardest by the corona virus and the uptick in cases ever growing, many countries are flat out saying 'No' to American tourists.  Many of those that have opened their borders have done so with restrictions and requirements. 


Additionally, the State Department categorizes most nations as Level 3, or "reconsider travel.""


Whether travel to "open" destinations is responsible or advisable is up to individuals to decide. 
For those who do choose to travel, it is strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 before departure - as things are continually changing. 

Nam Et - Phou Louey National Protected Area: An Innovative Eco-Tourism Model



              Deep in northeastern Laos lies Nam Et - Phou Louey National Protected Area; the largest national park in in Laos and one of the most remote primary jungles in all of Southeast Asia.  Due to the near inaccessibility of the park, wildlife is left relatively undisturbed, leading to growing populations of many endangered species like the sambar deer, gaur, white-cheeked gibbon, and even tigers.




Plain of Jars: Secrets of Death

plain of jars secrets of death laos


              The Plain of Jars is a mysterious ancient site that has hidden its secrets with time, but also bears the scars of a more recent ‘secret.’  Shrouded in mystery and myth, this bizarre collection of ancient megalithic stone jars is scattered in the hundreds across a war-scarred countryside in northern Laos's Xieng Khuang province.


many jars site 1 plain of jars laos
One of the groups of stone jars and grave markers at Site 1.


              Little is known about the civilization that created these giant jars, but archeologist estimate that they date from the Southeast Asian iron age (500 BC – 200 AD).  It’s believed the jar sites lie on what may have been an ancient trade route that linked the iron ore in the area to the salt supplies in the northeast.

Elephant Conservation Center: Rush to Save a National Icon


Elephant Conservation Center: Rush to Save a National Icon


A visit to the Elephant Conservation Center could be the highlight of your trip to Laos!


              Centuries ago, Laos was known as the ‘Land of a Million Elephants,’ and although the Asiatic elephant has endured as a national icon, their numbers are in severe decline.  It is estimated that there are only about 800 elephants left in the country; 400 in the wild and 400 in captivity. 

4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14