Travel Adventures and Stories

Calvin and Sharon share a passion for adventure & travel, and this page will contain some of the stories and experiences we have had during our travels together. All photos are © Calvin Hass.



In February 2007, we explored Cambodia. As always, we traveled with a focus on the local culture and people. To help with this in mind, I spent time llearning Khmer before I left.

See Cambodia Photos

Africa Adventure

In late June 2005, we spent six weeks in the south-western regions of Africa. We were venturing through Namibia and Botswana on our own, attempting to explore the unbeaten path. Without a tour or definitive plan, we had no idea where our adventure would take us!

Read Africa Journal

Peru - Amazon, Machu Picchu,
Lake Titicaca, Lima

In September of 2002, we spent nearly a month traveling Peru (Calvin, Sharon and Calvin's brother Darren). The time spent in Peru was to be a life-changing event, and opened up our eyes to many new experiences. This was a trip that instilled a strong desire in both of us to continue traveling, but off the beaten path. At no point were we interested in joining a tour or a package trip -- it is much more fun to do it ourselves.


Cusco, Peru

With the intention of doing the 4-day Inca Trail hike (El Camino Del Inca) in the next few days, it was important to spend a day or two in Cusco to acclimatize to the altitude. Machu Picchu is a moderately challenging hike that can bring on altitude sickness for some (on pass is at 14,200 ft), and so taking a couple days at 11,000 ft helps the body adjust. Arriving at the airport, the thin air quickly hit us with slight headaches (named soreche in Spanish) as we claimed our bags to the sounds of a local band playing the catchy tune, El Condor Pasa, on traditional panpipes.

Machu Picchu, Peru

One of the most amazing hikes ever, Machu Picchu is an incredible journey. For four intensive days, we set out to hike from Km 82 over the high passes (one as high as 14,200 feet), through jungle, ruins and alpine meadows to the world-famous hidden ruins.

Photos from Machu Picchu

Lake Titicaca, Peru

Arriving in the city of Puno, located on the edge of Lake Titicaca (the highest navigable lake in the world), we stumbled out of the cramped bus into the terminal just as the sun was rising. Not sure where we were headed next, I started searching for some way that we might find a homestay. We soon found ourselves traveling to Isla Amantani (Amantani Island) where we had an amazing experience sharing a home with a local family.

Read about Amantani Island

See photos of Amantani Island

Amazon Jungle, Peru

Seeking out an opportunity to explore areas of the Amazon Jungle far away from any city or tourism, we hopped on a plane to the jungle city of Iquitos with nothing organized. I had hoped to find someone to take us deep into the jungle, and did we ever luck out. This experience was the most incredible and unique experience of my life.

Read about Amazon Jungle

See photos of Amazon Jungle

Parade of the Lost Souls

Every year, a local community in Vancouver holds a ceremony honoring the dead on Halloween.

Read More

See Photos

Recent Comments

2016-01-03A week in the Amazon Jungle, Peru
I will try to reside in Amazon. Who has interest in participating with me?
2015-11-22Africa Adventure Travel Journal
I think we like the Himba culture buecase it reminds us who we used to be. before the ...
2015-11-22Africa Adventure Travel Journal
I think we like the Himba culture buecase it reminds us who we used to be. before the ...
2015-08-02Homestay on Isla Amantani, Peru
Just returned from Uros floating island. I regret not buying more hanging reed mobiles ...
2013-08-26Homestay on Isla Amantani, Peru
Is it possible to get vegan food during the homestay? I would love to experience the ...
2012-10-10Africa Adventure Travel Journal
i read this blog i live your blog details and i decided i want to go
2012-05-15Homestay on Isla Amantani, Peru
Hi - I'll be staying on Amantani in July, as the second week in a group trip. Is it ...
2010-08-29Homestay on Isla Amantani, Peru
I stayed in Amantani and I got to interact with the community a lot. They need help, but ...


Reader's Comments:

Please leave your comments or suggestions below!
 for school im researching travel and adventure photography as a job. i was wondering what the qualities of being a good travel and adventure photographer are, how you support your self starting out til now, what gear is needed, and essential tips. thanks
 That's a great question, Roxy! For many, making travel / adventure photography a career would be a dream. The reality is that very few can probably become successful enough to make it their primary job -- most probably do this to supplement a job that they already have.

Nonetheless, if one was keen on getting into travel photography, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
  • A willingness to "rough it", and become immersed and comfortable in a variety of cultures. Depending on where you go, this may mean becoming comfortable working in very impoverished regions.
  • Lots of patience for those times when you want to capture a perfect location shot when the lighting is just right.
  • It is very hard to make your photography pay for itself when you are starting out, so this is best done as a part-time hobby until you get a feel for "what sells".
  • Enroll in a series of travel writing courses so that you can provide text and stories that accompany your photography. Photo journalism may be a good way to start out.
  • To start covering your costs, you can contact various travel publications / newspapers prior to leaving on a trip and indicate the focus of your next travel. If you can make it unique enough, you may get lucky enough to get it accepted in advance, which can then be used to your advantage on your trip (I'm covering a story on ..., I was wondering if you could provide me with...).
  • As for gear, it's probably best to get started with a basic entry-level digital SLR (e.g. Canon Digital Rebel XT, Nikon D40, etc.). This way you don't have to worry about having expensive gear taken / damaged while you are traveling. Furthermore, you'll want to have some fairly lightweight and versatile zoom lenses so that you don't have to continually change lenses or worry about lugging your equipment.
  • Get your gear insured! Many times household insurance can be extended to cover photography gear for less than $2 for each $100 of gear, annually. This piece of mind can allow you to focus on the people around you and the moment, rather than becoming paranoid about being robbed.
  • Bring a notepad or even a voice recorder. Being able to record details of your surroundings and the people you meet is an excellent way to retain materials that will later help develop your writing that accompanies your photos. Or, you may simply want to record the names of people you meet.
  • Become familiar with the concepts of model releases and what you can and cannot sell in terms of photography. There is nothing worse than taking an incredible shot only to find that no-one will purchase the photo because you didn't arrange for a proper release. Case in point: the National Geographic cover photo of the girl from Afghanistan.
All that aside, travel photography can be one of the most exciting and personally-rewarding careers out there, but making it a full-time profession will take a lot of determination and time. Hope that helps!
 I found your website today and look forward to taking it all in. We returned from Cambodia and Laos on Jan. 29. It was more wonderful than I anticipated. Hopefully you will be visiting Luang Prabang in Laos. Look forward to reading about your adventure!
 Thank you Kathie! We had an incredible time too.. The people were extremely friendly. As we were having such a great time in Cambodia (and my Khmer seemed to open up many other doors to us), we eventually decided to spend the entire time in Cambodia rather than venturing into southern Laos (which would have been too rushed).

We have always heard many positive comments about Laos and the people, so it will have to wait for another time!

I intend to post some of the travel stories and photos in the next week or two. First, I have the daunting task of sorting through 5,000 photos... time to re-examine which photo organizing software I should be using
2007-02-01H dawg
 I hope you have a good time in CAMBODIA... i heard it is beautiful there... peace...
 Thanks! We're very excited.
2007-01-25Michael Leger
 I have never been ouside the U.S. and would love to go overseas. I'm forty-one and in college, so time and money are definite factors. Do you have any suggestions for economic travel overseas?
 That's a tough question! There are so many factors that you have to consider when choosing a travel destination and approach. You need to ask yourself what you want to get out of your trip -- is it relaxation, adventure, photography, cultural/local interaction? With that in mind, you then need to decide where your comfort level is.

My interest is heavily biased towards exploring lesser-developed destinations. So. this often means I choose to endure countless hassles, unpleasant situations, nothing working to plan, exposure to disease and poor sanitation, language barriers and some element of risk or danger. From my perspective this type of travel is extremely rewarding, and I can easily accept many of these complications. Others would never appreciate these learning experiences, let alone consider it a vacation!

If you haven't travelled before, it may take some time before you begin to understand what appeals to you, and what you are prepared to endure for the sake of a unique experience. If the remote off-the-beaten-path experience sounds inviting, then I would strongly suggest starting off slowly, and building confidence / independence as you gain comfort.

Find a travel destination that offers you a mix of the comfort of a resort, but with the surroundings of a unique environment or culture. For example, the Dominican Republic has several very comfortable resorts (that shelter you from the hassles of the outside), yet you can choose to venture outside of the gated resort compounds whenever you like. You can test the waters with a 1 or 2-day tour organized by the hotel into the surrounding country, or you may brave the local transportation and find your way around on your own. A one-week trip will be enough to give you a taste of what interests you, and what type of trip to take next.

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of the rugged travel approach (avoiding nice hotels, tours, etc.) is that you can do it far cheaper. Depending on your choice in country, it isn't too hard to keep to a budget of $5-20 a day, once you've put aside your requirement of comfort. Check out the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum to get ideas from others, or search the web for travel blogs to get some ideas.

With your first trip, you will undoubtedly find that you didn't bring an ideal selection of travel gear or planning. This takes a few times to straighten out. If you are serious about photography, then there are a huge number of other factors to consider.

Without knowing what sort of travel experience interests you, I can't say much more, but one thing you will discover is that once you start travelling, it is very likely that you may find the experience so addicting and rewarding that it draws you back forever after!
2006-03-28LLuvia Salazar
 Do you Guys take perfect pictures your pictures help me on my project


Leave a comment or suggestion for this page:

(Never Shown - Optional)