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A Japanese Walking Pilgrimage, a Pet Camel, and a 25-cent Border Crossing

Plus there’s also that story about a time a guy visited a cave in Africa and found out while there that it might have had something to do with the Ebola outbreak…

trekking in Japan temple route

Yes, it’s time for another issue of Perceptive Travel, the online magazine putting out strange and in-depth stories from wandering book authors since 2006. We’ve got four travelers’ tales for you again, plus reviews of three new and interesting travel-related books to check out. None of them are mine this time, but I’m the editor, so I’m going to keep spreading the word here and hoping a few of you would rather read some good narratives than another “Top-10 Things to Do in ____” listicle.

Our Latest Traveling Tales

Heidi Siefkas returns with a story about hiking in a picturesque part of Japan, on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route between shrines and big entrance gates. See Living in the Moment Along the Kumano Kodo of Japan.

Julia Hubbel signs up for a homestay with a hardscrabble farming family on her tour of Mongolia and deals with freezing night temperatures, an eagle with big talons guarding the outhouse, and the family’s pet camel.

Sherry Shahan visits a ranch in Sasabe, Arizona, a fixture that’s been there since 1720. It’s a short horse ride from a giant metal wall—but with places where you can just walk around it. Then she heads to El Paso, where the border crossing on a footbridge for 25 cents going, 35 coming back. See her story on the borders of Sasabe and El Paso.

street art in El Paso Texas near a cheap border crossing

Mark Aspelin, a graduate of my travel writing success course, makes his Perceptive Travel debut with a look back at when he was a young man working on development projects in Africa. He tags along on a visit to a cave near the Kenya/Uganda border and finds out it played a part in the book and miniseries The Hot Zone. See his Kitum Cave story here.

Susan Griffith checks out three new travel books worth adding to your holiday wish list, including the latest from occasional contributor Rory MacLean, who will have an excerpt from Pravda Ha Ha in our next issue. See the reviews here.

Could You Use Some Tough New Traveling Shoes?

We give away something cool for travelers each month to one PT subscriber or Facebook follower who enters. Congrats to Robert R. from California, who scored a set of dominoes and the Backpack 5-in-1 Game Set from Outside Inside Games in November.

Hoka One One trail running shoes for travelThis month, could you use some new travel shoes? Long-term travelers often gravitate to trail runners as their everyday shoes because they’re tough enough for city streets but you can do hikes in them as well. Plus if they’re waterproof, even better. This month a reader will be all set with a pair from Hoka One One:  these Challenger ATR Gore-tex shoes that come in men’s and women’s versions. With the thick cushioning that company is known for, these will keep your feet feeling good during your travels.

How do you score these and get a shot at future prizes? Simple: just agree to receive one more e-mail per month on this page. Watch for the entry instructions near the beginning of each month. You can also follow Perceptive Travel on Facebook and pull up the feed for instructions. This is not the lottery—the odds are so good that some subscribers have gotten gear twice.

Looking for a travel story I mentioned in a previous post? Dive into the Perceptive Travel story archives, where you can search by keyword or by region (in the sidebar). In between new online magazine issues, check out the award-winning Perceptive Travel Blog for shorter takes on the weird and wonderful. I post there too sometimes, when it’s a subject that doesn’t really fit the cheapest destinations theme. Like whitewater rafting next to Glacier National Park or the Prohibition Museum in Savannah.


Saturday 21st of December 2019

I liked the story about hiking in Japan. I was born in Okinawa, Japan when my Dad was in the U.S. Air Force We have an Asian market here in my town in Florida and the Clerk at the market is taking three months to travel to Japan. We asked him how he was able to do it inexpensively and he said he stays at monasteries for small donations during his stay. This might be worth exploring in the future article.


Sunday 8th of December 2019

I tried to subscribe to your newsletter for your Cheapest Destination Blog.

I tried to fill out the form on the above mentioned site.

I always receive an error message, even though I tried a couple of email addresses.

Tim Leffel

Sunday 8th of December 2019

Sanjo, thanks for bringing this to my attention. There was some kind of glitch in the code it seems, so I uploaded a new form. I'll e-mail you in case you don't see this.