RoadReads: “Death of the American Hobo”

“Stay down and don’t let anybody see you.” image via

We managed to jump over a couple strings of cars and get out of the yard and were wandering past suburban houses when two cop cars rolled out of nowhere. A bald, angry-looking officer swaggered over to us. “Cat-and-mouse game, huh? Looks like we win,” he scoffed. The other, a soft-spoken “good cop,” asked us a lot of questions about ourselves, and we managed to build up a friendly rapport. The bald one narrowed his eyes and glared at Jackson: “You’ve got a wedding ring on and a nice-ass camera around your neck. So what are you doing out here?”

What, indeed. Aaron Lake Smith rides the rails for Vice, from Walden Pond to Reno, NV to the Hobo Convention. (Read it in full here.)

RoadReads: “Everest, the Grandaddy of Walking Adventures”

His granddad wore tweed, Sam wears spandex. image via

It’s not just anyone who can come, but everyone too – and they do. In the previous month, 10,000 tourists had entered Sagarmatha National Park. The trail north from the scary little airstrip at Lukla is chocker with trekkers – at times it’s more like a queue than a walk. Antipodeans trade matey banter; purposeful Germans with trekking poles overtake on the straights; the French, beautifully turned out, shrug indifferently; fat tattooed Brits huff and puff on the inclines. Above us, the air is alive with helicopters ferrying Japanese tourists who have neither the time nor the inclination to walk up the valley. They will spend a night in the Hotel Everest View, gasping into oxygen cylinders. In the morning they will take photos on the terrace, then fly away. Tomorrow they’ll probably be in Bangkok, or the Philippines.”

Even on Everest, time marches on, and Sam Wollaston’s trudging in its Gore-Tex’d footsteps for the Guardian. (Read it in full here.)

RoadReads: “Tourist Snapshots”

The blue dome of Santorini, reverse view. image via

…..I rearrange the fragments. What was I thinking when I cropped them? Why did I cut the sky-blimp out of my picture of the Chicago World Cup parade? Why did I cut Graceland Mansion out of my picture of Graceland? …Removed from the official photographic memory, the fragments demand an exercise of actual memory, an act of reclamation. They are like phantom limbs: You have to dream the body back into being.

Lucky for Design Observer, Rolf Potts delves deeply into travel vs. photography and what we’re actually doing when we click that digital shutter. (Read it in full here.)