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The stained glass window above the entrance to Livingstonia church

Livingstonia: a glimpse of Malawi’s colonial past

Perched high on an escarpment overlooking Lake Malawi, Livingstonia was established by missionaries from the Free Church of Scotland back in 1894. The story goes that they tried several times to establish missions down on the shore of the lake, but kept losing missionaries to malaria until they moved up the escarpment to higher, less…

our elephant, in Nyika National Park in Malawi (photo courtesy of Anne Hellersmith)

Malawi’s Nyika National Park

Nyika Plateau, a little-known park in the north of Malawi, is one of my favorite places in the world—and I’ve seen a lot of the world. In terms of landscape, Nyika is often compared with Scotland: gently rolling hills covered with grasses—green in the rainy season, brown in the dry season—as far as the eye…

Carpe diem … with a disclaimer

Seize the day. Live in the moment. Live each day as if it’s your last. This is the kind of advice you see all over the internet, and especially among travel tweeters, bloggers, etc. Don’t put off whatever it is you most want to do; do it while you can. Quit your job, take that…

Gentle rejections

Some of you may know that in the last year I wrote a book. Or, rather, a potential book: a manuscript, in other words, in search of a publisher. Here’s a description (skip ahead if you know this already): This book tells the story of my trip to Malawi and Tanzania last summer, my first…

Burundi’s canvas

I’ve been trolling youtube lately, watching videos of Burundi (like this one), in preparation for my trip there in July. In the videos – if you look past the incredibly skillful Burundi drummers – you will see a landscape and people that look just like what I remember from back in the mid-80’s, when I…