I was in Thailand for most of January with Hilly, my wife, and our son. Hilly was participating in a human rights attorney exchange program. I got to tag along as two Thai lawyers showed us the ins and outs of two important issues in Thailand: migrant labor and stateless people. I wrote a story about statelessness for the Christian Science Monitor, which is online today. More than 15 million people around the world are stateless, meaning they have no citizenship in any country. Without citizenship, they cannot study, work, own land, or sometimes even marry. Thailand has one of the largest stateless populations in the world. I wrote about Wakuloo, a stateless boy we met in a village. He hopes to become a Thai national, but the process is anything but easy.
Marcus Samuelsson in Hamilton Harbor (photo by Cedric Angeles)
Last October I went to Bermuda to write about celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s new restaurant–Marcus’, in the Hamilton Princess Hotel. The self-described Swediopian (he was born in Ethiopia but was adopted and raised in Sweden) has a passion for global soul food. His palate has carried him around the world. His menu in Bermuda was delightful–the food was both comforting and innovative–but it was Samuelsson’s concept of food as a social force that I found most interesting. To him, food is the glue of a community. Happily for me, during my few days on the island, that glue looked like this jerk pork belly with fava baked beans, red cabbage slaw and a jiggly quail egg. The story is in the current (February) issue of Coastal Living and available online here.
As good as it looks (photo by Cedric Angeles)
A story I wrote for Coastal Living just won bronze in this year’s Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition. The story was about a foodie road trip that my wife, Hilly, and I took along California’s Central Coast. We ate some great local, organic food. We stayed in some fancy places. And we got to take our son, Theo, who was just one month old. It was our first family trip, and it was unforgettable. The piece was beautifully photographed by Jessica Sample. You can read the full story online here.
O’Neill climbing at her home in Telluride. (Photo: Jeff Lipsky)
I’ve been interested in a mountain in Myanmar for some time. It’s called Hkakabo Razi, and at 19,295 feet, it’s the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. It’s also one of the most inaccessible mountains in the world. It takes weeks of walking through a snake-infested jungle just to reach the base of the mountain. It’s only been successfully climbed once, in 1996, by Japanese climber Takashi Ozaki, who later died on Everest. Last year I learned that National Geographic and the North Face were mounting an expedition to climb the mountain. The leader was a woman named Hilaree O’Neill. I didn’t know anything about O’Neill, so I started looking around. I was impressed by her toughness and success in the traditionally male-dominated world of mountaineering. I pitched a profile about her to Outside, and the story is in this month’s issue and available online here.
It was a bad season for wildfires in the West, and the situation is still dire in California. Here in Montana we had thick smoke in the air for weeks. Washington had its worst season ever. In Alaska, more than 5 million acres burned. Idaho and Oregon were also in flames. I contributed a small sidebar about the severity of the season to a compelling feature by Tim Dickinson about how climate change is affecting wildfires. My sidebar isn’t in the online version, but it’s in the Sept. 24 print issue, on stands now.
I did some writing about rivers for the Outdoor Industry Association recently. I compiled a list of the top five rivers for recreation in the United States. (The Arkansas, the Ocoee, the Colorado, the Chattooga, and the Deschuttes made the cut, but it was difficult to pick.) I also wrote about the way rivers are protected. (Browns Canyon, on the Arkansas, was recently named a National Monument, and is a good case study in how to preserve part of a special river.) I also wrote about conservation issues on America’s rivers. Water flows, dam management, and dam removal are big topics in that area. Patagonia is a company leading the charge in removing unnecessary dams around the country.
I was in Holland recently, reporting a story about beachcombing. The story won’t be out until next spring, but here’s a glimpse at some of the things I found. The gloves–the literal Dutch translation is “hand shoes”–are from North Sea fishermen. And what’s that in the middle? A message in a bottle, that I found in a pile of kelp! It made my year.