Animus and Excellence

Written by Breaking Trail in Culture

Colorful, Curious Rebels French music played in my head, it always does when I sip espresso outside of some European Café. I hear Champs Eleysee or Le Vie En Rose thrumming away. Sometimes I think my life is a musical, and I’m the only one that hears the music. Other times I think I’m crazy. Leaning to the side I lightly grab the arm of the waitress, “Kann Ich bitte ein mal espresso haben?” “You can speak English,” She says, “ Your German not very good.” I suppress the urge to tell her the same. “You always were so smooth Animus.” Turning I see my sister standing with her hands on her hips. She smirks. …

No Thanksgiving

Written by Payton Lee in Culture

Have you ever wondered how other countries celebrate Thanksgiving?

Do they roast Duck or Goose or turkey? Do they eat until their buttons pop? Do they have 10 different pies for 8 people? Do they take an afternoon snooze while watching football?

View Post

The Snow Queen: Literature

Written by Payton Lee in Culture

The places we picked for this issue are beautiful in their icy coldness. They grasp your attention, holding your gaze with their wintery beauty, just like a snow queen. The winter beauty that struck us for this particular issue is the snow queen of Hans Christian Anderson’s short story. Simply titled, The Snow Queen, it is not only a fable but also a mythological tale of romance, sadness, love at first sight, explaining the unexplainable or untouchable, and the presence of rare beauty.

View Post

Everyone’s Irish Somewhere

Written by Payton Lee in Culture

How many Irish Pubs are there in the world?

The answer seems nearly impossible to find. This is probably because of a few reasons. One, who is defining exactly what an “Irish Pub” is; the true Irish would probably judge based on the tap Guinness. Two, Irish pubs open and close every day whether that’s because the owner was a drunk and couldn’t handle his money, or because the local beers just don’t cut it and the town needs a real bar. Three, anyone who tries to count all the Irish pubs in this world would

View Post

Speak Like a Wino

Written by Payton Lee in Culture

WINO, often suggesting a stuck up wine drinker who swirls his fancy glass, sticks his nose down into the bowl and lets out a sensual hmmm whenever he sips. We agree, those people are a little neurotic and fun to mock. However, we would like to clear a few things up about the term wino. A wino is simply a person who really enjoys wine and is educated about the different types because they have a passion for it. That is why Breaking Trail dedicated a whole issue (“Through the Grapevine”) to wine. We want to share our passion for it, and part of that is learning different terminology that is associated with wine. For help we took to the …

See All Culture Posts
View Post

Scandinavia’s Frozen Archipelago

Written by Payton Lee in E. Europe

The northern region of Scandinavia is a place of mystery, unfamiliarity, and beauty. It’s a region many have heard about, but few dare explore. Many trade the cold climate of this area for islands in the Caribbean or warmth along the equator, and let’s face the facts, if you want an island suntan it won’t be found here. But, if you want beauty that shimmers, romantic streets, sunsets and lighted skies that cameras can’t fully capture, and a culture that leaves you smiling, than reconsider your bathing suit trip for an experience in Scandinavia. 

Museum of Terror- The Horrors of Humanity

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe

In the northern part of downtown Budapest, apart from the hospital in a rock and the spas stands a museum designed as both a horror house and monument to the people imprisoned, tortured and murdered within. The black building framed by a granite sidewalk stands out against the other buildings on the street.

Here you will find a tragic story of a country controlled by powers much stronger than itself. These powers, both Fascist Germany and the USSR, ruled through fear, destruction, rape and murder for over fifty years. Visiting the Museum of Terror is a chance to experience the evil that humanity is capable of when left unchecked by morality.

View Post

The Power of Setting in We The Living

Written by Payton Lee in E. Europe

Have you ever been to a place and thought to yourself, this is just as such and such described it. Take Ayn Rand’s short novel, We The Living, for example. While Rand often garners the title of expert in the art of characterization, her skill in creating a setting in also noteworthy. When I first visited Russia I felt like I already knew the city because I had read her book.

View Post

Must visit places in St. Petersburg, Russia: A Photo Story

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe

Russia, the land of vodka, cold weather, and lots of cranky people. But it is an excellent foray into a style of government, for good or bad, that is very different from our Western Democracy. Stepping off of the ferry that had bobbed me from Tallinn, Estonia to St. Petersburg I found myself in a crowded room that smelled like urine and body odor. People pushed past, jostling for position at the front of the line, fighting to get through customs and into the mother land.

View Post

Shoot Guns In Estonia

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe

If you are looking for a unique, outside of your comfort zone travel experience, then firing off a few rounds may be for you.

See All E. Europe Posts
View Post

Staying fit when Traveling- Tel Aviv Fitness

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East

My body ached from the sort of tiredness that only 24 hours without sleep can bring. Before me the Mediterranean Sea swooshed into the sand and then receded. It was early morning and, even though the sun hadn’t risen yet, it was light out. The heat of day had yet to burn off the quiet of night, turn bodies out of bed and give them the energy of motion to transport themselves to the water’s edge or on to the work out equipment next to me. Locals come to these metal machines and push or pull their bodies against themselves. Resistance shapes them, designs their bodies according to their accord. When you get right down …

View Post

Israel: A lesson in Religion

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East

The bus rumbles down the black topped freeway; skimming by in flashes of green fields, almond trees and compact cities the landscape constantly materializes and vanishes in a blur. “We have been called the 51st star on your flag” says the bus driver in ray bans and long white Nike socks beneath blue trousers. His hair, a gray prickly stub, is shaved short in an attempt to hide balding brought on by middle age. His forearms and hands are muscular, evidence of a life of hard-work. Keeping his eyes on the miles of freeway he says, “We want to be more like the west and less like the east.” The thought of creating a cultural …

See All Middle East Posts
View Post

The Birth of a Mountain Ultra Runner

Written by Hank Martin in N. America

This is a guest post by Micah Morgan. While Micah loves outdoor adventures that push the limitations of human fitness, he also is a family man with a wife and 2 year old son. He loves learning new things and has a Masters of Science in Systems Engineering and works in a network engineering job to fund his adventures. You can follow his adventures on his blog at mountainmicah.blogspot.com On November 12, 2012 the greatest gift in my life, my son Eli, was born. I was happy to be a father, but had realized that I was the fattest of my life at 6’0” and 220 pounds. In the endurance world, that officially qualified me as …

View Post

What is the Dirtbag lifestyle?

Written by Breaking Trail in N. America

BT sat down with Ben Johnson to talk about everything from travel to money to being a dirtbag. Ben is a phenomenal athlete as well as person. He has competed in the Grand Traverse six times, climbed and hiked all over the world and is just a fountain of information about living life well. We are especially excited to be working with Ben this summer in conjunction with our release party. Check out some of his responses, a full interview will appear in the next BT Quarterly, then come meet and climb with Ben this July. What is a dirtbag? It’s about figuring out the cheapest way to live honestly so he or she can …

View Post

Climbing the Peaks

Written by Payton Lee in N. America

“The steps seemed to get bigger as we ascended. You would think just walking uphill would be easy, but it’s not. The incline of the trail pushes back on my calves and knees. My breathing quickens, and I try calming it with a slow inhale, exhale rhythm. The backpack I’m carrying with water, a few snacks, and first aide stuff feels like  50 pounds on my shoulder muscles. I drag my feet just a little too long and nearly stumble over a rock. The top looks so close. I can see it. I can see people scanning the horizon. I wish I could hop, skip and whaala…be there, but that’s not the point of hiking …

View Post

Showdown at Doubtful Canyon

Written by Payton Lee in N. America

His father, he said, was a brute, a big, raw-boned man who worked his son like a slave and treated him worse. Once his mother died, the boy was taken from school where he had spent just one year, and put to work. When the Apaches raided their homestead, his father fought like a tiger, but was killed. When a warrior was about to kill the boy, another Apache stopped him. “I take,” he said. “You fight like him, you my son.” Peterson, as he now called himself, had never looked back. From that time on he was an Apache and wished to be nothing else. His life as a white boy had been hard …

View Post

Riding in the Silver Throne

Written by Payton Lee in N. America

Sometimes the best memories come with the highest price. I don’t mean dollars; in this case, I mean discomfort. And, this discomfort would become the sickness I bore just to bring you, my readers, entertainment and education. You are welcome, but I will not be doing it again, no matter how much laughter and enjoyment this story may bring you. Like most great stories there is a character (me), a setting (the silver throne), an exciting event (just wait and see), and most importantly a lesson to be learned. 5:00AM came extremely early after a long two week stretch of working through the holidays. But, came it did, and off we went to “the” Gunnison …

See All N. America Posts
View Post

Cabo Beach Bod Challenge: Using Social Competition

Written by Payton Lee in Personal Development

Let’s face it. Everyone has something about their physical appearance they want to improve on. Did you resolve to get a 6 pack ? Are your arms getting a little flabbier than you care to admit? Have you lost that 20 pounds you promised yourself you’d lose by summer? Keeping in good physical shape is a constant battle, especially if your life does not march to a routine beat. We travel a lot, and that means our work schedule and daily routine is constantly disrupted. It’s hard to maintain a regular workout schedule when driving 10 hours, flying through airports, and going to meetings and gatherings break into that normally allotted time frame. The hustle …

View Post

Sometimes You Get Lost in the Desert

Written by Payton Lee in N. America, Personal Development

I don’t know if I can pedal or walk another inch. We may be stranded here for the night. Of course we would probably freeze to death. Naturally when we left the car it was 70 degrees, so I shed all warm layers, leaving them behind. Real smart move there. Maybe I could wrap myself in first aid bandages or start a fire with the lighter. Would that keep the predators away? Are there snakes out here? We literally can see no road, no sign of human life, and have hardly any cell signal out here. Move legs, move! These were my unspoken thoughts during our latest biking adventure. We had set out for a …

View Post

Maximizing Match Potential

Written by Hank Martin in Personal Development

Are you looking for love? Do you worry that you will never find that special someone? Or maybe you aren’t looking for that much commitment. You’d just be happy meeting someone worthwhile from the opposite sex. Well, did you know that only 38% of females snowboard compared to almost 62% of men? What does this have to do with finding a match, you ask? Everything. Absolutely everything. If you are a single male snowboarder looking for a potential match you’re riding in a saturated market, literally. There are almost twice as many men as women that snowboard. That’s not good odds for finding a prospect, not good odds at all. So am I suggesting you …

View Post

A Tip of the Hat…to Hats

Written by Payton Lee in Personal Development

Hats come in thousands and thousands of shapes, sizes, and colors. Anything can be a “hat,” as it is the generic term used for anything that covers your head. But I’m not interested in just any old bucket that you can place on your head. I’m interested in the hats that make a name for themselves. Hats that make us instantly recognize a culture or tradition. Hats that signify places and people. These are the hats that really matter, and the ones that have been given names other than just “hat.” I love hats. Some girls have closets full of shoes, I have a closet full of hats. Hats are unique, distinguishable, and show character. …

See All Personal Development Posts
View Post

What Coffee are you?

Written by Payton Lee in S. America

We fell in love with Colombian coffee and we think you will too. Because of that we have designed a coffee quiz to determine the best beans for you. Not all coffee tastes the same…unless you only drink the stuff that comes out of big red cans. In that case I’m sorry we will be spoiling your coffee drinking habits. This quiz is designed by what we have learned about the different coffee beans that come out of Colombia. There is some room for personal interpretation, but it will give you a general idea of what type you will enjoy the most. So without further adieu…     Full descriptions: Café de Cauca- médium body, …

View Post

The Difficulties of Life in Bogota

Written by Hank Martin in S. America

Bogota is a sprawling, diverse city that grew faster than its own skin. The transversal streets and other diagonal roads cutting through the grid are the stretch marks. Colombia has the greatest number of internal displaced citizens out of any country. The narcos, their violence and destructive behavior forced people out of the country and into Bogota.

View Post

Travel Doldrums: Beating Travel Boredom

Written by Payton Lee in S. America

Have you ever been on a trip where your cash-flow seems to be going faster than planned or expected? Have you ever found yourself bored because you want a day off from spending your hard earned money, and all of a sudden you don’t know what to do with yourself without paid entertainment? When Breaking Trail went on our Colombian adventure we found ourselves in this situation. Six weeks of travel is a long time and money starts to add up even if you are in a poor country. You have to buy food every day, you have to buy water or drinks because it’s hot, and you want to buy gifts and souvenirs for …

View Post

Visit Santa Marta in Spring

Written by Payton Lee in S. America

Think of Santa Marta as an in between place. From here you can most definitely get there. We need those types of places too, or we would never get where we wanted to go. Confused? Think of it like this. Every person has a role in life, a place in the world, just as every city does. The key is finding out what your role is.

See All S. America Posts
View Post

How many people travel every year

Written by Hank Martin in The Backpack

Breaking Trail has a reputation for standing out, choosing our own path and making our own decisions. It’s why we formed Breaking Trail. We experiment, traveling with dietary restrictions to give you tips to do the same, figure out ways to stay hydrated on an adventure when beer is cheaper than water, and learn to bargain in Morocco so we can give you the deets on how it’s done. So we wanted to finally get to the bottom of the rumor that more people are traveling. The truth is, while more people are talking about the glory of travel less people are actually traveling. Since 39% of the US population has a passport I wanted to know how that equated …

View Post

They Built it for us to See!

Written by Payton Lee in The Backpack

Recently we asked our subscribers to send in their favorite architecture photos from around the world. Here are the two winners selected to be put into our Issue 7 Breaking Trail Magazine: -Tokyo, Japan: An impressive city scape with neon lights sparkling into the night.      – A new brain research facility in Las Vegas, NV. It puts my brain in a twist just looking at it.       Architecture is an amazing feat that gives the landscape of places a distinct flare and personality. Like the men and women who design them, the building or structures have character. Where is your favorite place of character??  

View Post

The Snowman

Written by Payton Lee in The Backpack

  One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;And have been cold a long time To behold the junipers shagged with ice, The spruces rough in the distant glitter Of the January sun; and not to think Of any misery in the sound of the wind, In the sound of a few leaves, Which is the sound of the land Full of the same wind That is blowing in the same bare place For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.   The peacefulness of the backcountry can be …

View Post

Summer LOVE

Written by Payton Lee in The Backpack

One of my favorite things about summer is the HOT cars! Taken in Baden-Baden, Germany this picture captured it all. The weather was beautiful, the classic cars were out for a cruise,…

View Post

Photo Story of Capri: Hardships

Written by Hank Martin in The Backpack, W. Europe

Have you ever thought about how difficult it is to get daily necessities on an island? Forget a trip to the mall, or a short ride across town to get that tool you desperately need to fix your kitchen sink.

See All The Backpack Posts
View Post

How to Navigate a European Cafe

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe, Travel Tips, W. Europe

Ahhh…the European cafe, a focal point of any great Europe adventure. With nice weather you can sit outside on the patio and watch people walk through the town square while sipping a foofy latte of some sort. Or, you can proceed inside and stumble your way through the tables scattered like land mines in front of the entrance. I am convinced this is done to see who is a tourist and who is a local. Tourists trip, blunder and crash through the entrance while locals already know the best route through this cafe land-mine. European cafes embody everything that is notable about European culture: simple pleasures, portion controlled coffee, the company of others that you …

View Post

Wheels to the City

Written by Payton Lee in Travel Tips

What do you do when you’re in a city with a population of 8 million people, and you don’t have time to visit all the attractions by foot? Obviously, you find some wheels! Bike tours have taken over every major city as a modern way to see the attractions. Horse and carriage, buses, taxis, rental cars or even mopeds are modes of the past. They may be faster than a two wheeled bike, but you can’t get up close and personal on a double decker. A leg powered bicycle, on the other hand, puts you right in the middle of the action. So why has this modern mode become so popular? 1.) Travelers want more …

View Post

30+ Essential Travel Books

Written by Hank Martin in Personal Development, Travel Tips

There is nothing I enjoy more then escaping from the world and into a good book. When you bury your nose into the pages of something special you find yourself transported to a different world. Some books inspire. Some books take you around the world. Some books even help you put life in perspective. When I moved home from Italy I filled one of my suitcases not with Tuscan Wine, Limoncello, or Disaronno, but books. For a college student this was a bizarre thing. But, I have always loved books. A good book can change your life. Here is a list of books that have changed mine. They make excellent travel companions, and were compiled …

View Post

Traveling as a Vegetarian

Written by Hank Martin in Travel Tips

I tear open the package to find that it smells good, like sugar cookies. But, I’m still leery. Can this freeze-dried meal really serve as an adequate substitute, or will it give me stomach pains for the rest of the day? But my hunger outweighs my fear of spending the next eight hours in the car with unbearable stomach cramps. It’s noon and I have subsisted on only a doughnut, which I ate four hours ago. This experiment was simple. Drive 860 miles over the course of 2 days and maintain a strict vegetarian diet. My aim was to test how difficult it is to travel and avoid eating meat, as well as form some …

See All Travel Tips Posts
View Post

Taste of the Earth

Written by Hank Martin in W. Europe

Have you ever wondered what dirt tastes like? I have. So I did what any rational person would do and tried it. I set out to wine regions throughout Europe with this question in mind. I visited Tuscany in Italy, Porto in Portugal the Greek Isles and the Baden region in Germany. I wanted to taste the Earth in a good glass of wine. Porto, Portugal The Duoro river swivels through this valley, while lines of grapes trace cornrows through terraced vineyards above. In summer these grapes broil in the hot sun, grow bloated with sugar and dream of cooling themselves in the river below. This Mediterranean climate makes the wine taste like a day …

View Post

The Imagination of a Traveler

Written by Hank Martin in Travel Tips, W. Europe

I think about why I travel all the time. I am so obsessed with the psychology of travel that I asked professional travel writers, photographers and journalists. I then wrote about using travel as a way to combat depression and the downs of life, and the idea of running as a virtue. When you choose one thing over another, especially something that has a huge impact on your life it is only natural to question, did I make the right decision? After all, your life, my life, would be very different if we had never caught the travel bug. I can’t help but question if this wondering, this attempt to reconcile the decisions of my …

View Post

Lipizzaner Adventure

Written by Payton Lee in W. Europe

This small little city, Lipica, in what is now the country of Slovenia has a long, hard history. Through an unsettling history of war, dictatorships, and even earthquakes this little place hides a diamond underneath it all. That diamond in the rough is a rare breed of horses named Lipizzaner.

I love golfing, but golfing at St. Andrew’s course in Scotland was out of this world. It was an adventure I dreamed about, amazed over, and now one that I get to brag about!

There are many great adventures out there to fit your favorite activities, and there are lots of new ones waiting for you to try. The great part of travel is that there are endless possibilities, and sometimes adventure finds you.

View Post

How to Make a Brotzeit Platter

Written by Hank Martin in W. Europe

The first time I had a brotzeit platter was in a tent at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. But, as soon as the first delicious morsels of food passed into my gullet I was hooked.

The French call this delicious snack a chacuterie plate, which just doesn’t fit a platter of meats, cheeses, bratwurst and even sometimes a whole chicken placed on a large wooden cutting board.

But, regardless of what you call it this hearty dish is sure to fill you up as either a main course or an excellent in between meal snack.

View Post

How to Navigate a European Cafe

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe, Travel Tips, W. Europe

Ahhh…the European cafe, a focal point of any great Europe adventure. With nice weather you can sit outside on the patio and watch people walk through the town square while sipping a foofy latte of some sort. Or, you can proceed inside and stumble your way through the tables scattered like land mines in front of the entrance. I am convinced this is done to see who is a tourist and who is a local. Tourists trip, blunder and crash through the entrance while locals already know the best route through this cafe land-mine. European cafes embody everything that is notable about European culture: simple pleasures, portion controlled coffee, the company of others that you …

See All W. Europe Posts