Paris, France

by Reid Peryam· July 30, 2017· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
I met my sister, Tracy, and her family in Paris while they were vacationing for four days of wandering and site-seeing. It was my first time to Paris and it was great exploring with her because she studied in Paris for a year in college, knows the city and speaks very good French which took the stress out of ordering croissants. I was surprised to discover that no one I encountered in Paris wanted to speak in English which without my sister made everything incredibly awkward and embarrassing for this tourist who didn’t want to speak French. In this city – the local Parisian hipsters out-hipstered me — English is apparently too mainstream. Living up to the hype of Paris is no easy task. Since the 1940s, American popular culture has oozed idolatry of the romantic café culture, art, historic architecture, food and “Frenchness” of everything: elegance, sophistication, history and glamour. When expectations are so high, living up to the hype is almost an impossible order and I expected to be underwhelmed; but I loved my time in Paris. It helped a great deal that my sister played the role of French-speaking tour guide who explained the significance, history and […]
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After visiting Lisbon I wanted to explore more of Portugal. I flew to Porto for three days which felt like a less-touristy, smaller version of Lisbon. Porto is the progenitor of Port wine. Afterwards I drove through the Douro Valley wine region and continued north to the border of Spain; from there travelling south to the southern coast where sand and sun draw tourists from all over Europe. During the summer many of the locals are also down south vacationing and things slowly transition from vacant and peaceful to busy and energetic as you near the southern coast. Portugal is a great vacation destination owing to its small size that allows for transversal of its multiple regions in a relatively short amount of time. The landscapes vary between vineyards and olive orchards and cork trees (Portugal is the largest international supplier of cork); everything I saw was mostly dry, sunny and hot in the south, with more temperate climates towards the north. The people in the central north of Portugal have a reputation for being very friendly and hospitable, even among the Portuguese which my experience as well. Beyond polite formalities people seemed genuine when they greeted me with a […]
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Almost twenty years ago I was enamored with a game on my computer : Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. In it, Indy travels the world in search of the legendary lost city of Atlantis. One of the places the game takes you in search of the lost civilization is the Azores islands off of the coast of Portugal, alone in the north Atlantic ocean, citing a grammatical mistake by Plato that placed the location within the Mediterranean instead of beyond it. I had never heard of the Azores before but the peculiarity of its location (there is really nothing else around it) along with the fun I had imagining it was the location of the fabled lost city, added to my intrigue. Before I ever departed for my first solo adventure (to South America) I had already added the Azores to my “must visit” list; it took a while, but I finally got there. The Azores are nine volcanic islands 850 miles west of the coast of Portugal and give the local culture a distinct personality apart from mainland Portugal. So much so that many Azoreans choose to live on the East Coast of the United States and […]
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Lisbon, Portugal

by Reid Peryam· July 09, 2017· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
I flew from Bogotá to Lisbon in order to spend a weekend pitching a startup company I had been developing in Bogotá. The goal was to determine if the opportunity has merit and is worth pursuing, using impartial judges to test against my own bias. I had about two days to explore the city, the remainder of the time I was in an office with our rag-tag band of misfits (previously strangers) and together we built a presentation to pitch in front of a panel of judges, using the business plan I had previously developed as a guide. We finished third place out of twelve other teams, a disappointing result as I felt we deserved to win, but the rest of the team was pleased. I continue to develop the idea and formulate the business. I had never been to Lisbon or Portugal before and exploring a new city and country are two of my favorite things to do. My network of travel friends has raved about Lisbon on account of great food, wine and lower costs compared to the rest of Western Europe. The city surprised with its ideal weather, friendly people, English-accessibility and scenic architecture and urban landscapes. […]
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My favorite city in the world is Bogotá, Colombia and I have a hard time explaining to people why; it’s big, it’s dirty, the traffic and infrastructure are abysmal – how can I think that Bogotá is so great? This city feels authentic in a way that others just don’t. No strip malls or vegan cafes (or even vegetables really) people are polite and respectful and when I stay out of the touristy sections I feel anonymous walking among the crowds of Colombians living their normal lives. And when you are living a normal life around here you get a little sentimental to the dirt, grime, the familiar old man selling stuff on your street corner each day, the occasional unkempt gentleman urinating across the street from your building entrance. You develop a sense of community and togetherness with the anonymous people you walk by each morning on the way to start your day and then again in the afternoon when returning home. Part of this camaraderie comes about from walking so much. I walk most places unless I am meeting a friend who lives in a different district of town in which case I take an Uber to where […]
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As a travel hipster, Medellin is a place I’ve never been interested in visiting. It’s probably the most popular white person and ex-pat destination in Colombia owing to convenience, temperate climate, great infrastructure, lush flora and legendary, beautiful women. Without a doubt Medellín is the prettier, daintier little sister to the hulking, dirty mass of my-favorite-Colombian-city, Bogotá. So while I have been able to avoid it for sometime it was too easy to spend two days there on my way back from Santa Marta en route to Bogotá. In preparation, had so many reasons to be unimpressed. The best way I can describe Medellin is “Colombian Disneyland”. If you walk into a café in Poblando, aka Gringo Central, it’s not unlikely to find everyone there is an American. The city has been the beneficiary of a lot of post-Escobar foreign and local investment (Bogotá is a little sore that the money set aside to build its subway went instead to Medellin’s metro and Bogotá got stuck with the much-detested TransMilenio instead) and from where I have been in Colombia thus far it’s the most cush. Back when I was in Barth-a-lona I lamented the city’s infatuation with its own Antoni […]
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Bogotá has been a blessing but also a quagmire of comfort — I’ve done a poor job of exploring the rest of Colombia as I have been happy (too happy?) living a normal life in the capital city; that’s a lazy way to live in a country so geographically diverse and beautiful as Colombia. So while Bogotá is my favorite city in the world (Seoul wants another shot at the title), I needed more research diligence before I can claim Colombia as my favorite country. I was afforded the perfect opportunity when I was forced to depart my AirBnb on account of a five day pre-existing reservation. I took the opportunity to vacation up to the Caribbean coast to Santa Marta for four days to check out Tayrona National Park and the surrounding beaches. Santa Marta is the birth place of my favorite Colombian musician, Carlos Vives — and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit part of the reason I decided on Santa Marta was because of his music video, La Tierra del Olvido (click to watch) which features lots of scenes from Tayrona and the beaches surrounding Santa Marta. The video does a great job of showcasing the cultural […]
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One year ago, while I was in Lima Peru, I ventured to a shaman in the Peruvian Amazon to drink ayahuasca. I gave a talk in Bogota, Colombia two weeks ago on my experience — what happened. I thought it was important to articulate the details and I recorded my story. If you are interested in hearing it you can listen to that story here.
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My friend Travis works for Remote Year – the company that first facilitated my escape from office life two years ago; he invited me to a weekend retreat in Quito, Ecuador with the purpose of getting “One Layer Deeper” with other creative, curious and inspired people currently travelling with Remote Year. The theme of the weekend was to gather people together and go beyond standard operating norms to cut through that top level boundary which we all usually put up around strangers. Each of us hosted knowledge sessions where we shared experiences, expertise and perspectives to this end. Topics included “Is there free will?”, separate one-on-one, hard-ball interrogations of one another, yoga, goal and action calibrations, a series of improvisational social games  and a high-intensity breathing exercise course (which was way more challenging than I thought it would be). While I spent a couple of weeks in Quito last year, this time around it was a completely different experience centered around creating social connections, knowledge and experience sharing. We stayed in a giant mansion built by a former professional Ecuadorian basketball player (also our Airbnb host) replete with a basketball court, a fire pit to host late-night theoretical discussions and a giant parilla […]
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I rendezvoused with my father, sister and youngest nephew in Dublin for a week of road-tripping through the Irish countryside. We rented a car (a beast of a van — I was lugging extra luggage from Switzerland) and ventured west along the The Wild Atlantic Way, Ring of Kerry and the towns of Galway, Killarney, Cork and Kilkenny. Emerald, scenic pastures were the norm and picturesque, rustic landscapes perpetual as we drove back roads instead highways whenever possible. We differentiated the regions we passed through by their relative surplus of sheep, stone walls or tour buses and supplemented our scant Irish history with information brochures procured from drive-through tourist information kiosks, guided tours and taxi-driver interrogation. I had never been to Ireland before so exploring the sites and diffusing the culture was (as always) a fun challenge. The people we encountered were universally garrulous, forthcoming and helpful and surprisingly to me willing to volunteer aid in the form of directions or recommendations. I would even describe the Irish people that I met and interacted with as warm — an adjective I have never before bestowed upon a European. Having spent three months in Switzerland, the homey feel of the Irish […]
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