Page 4 of heckmantis Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík June 10th 2013

In April 2012 my friend Jason and I took a trip to Scandinavia (see "The Great Scandinavian Adventure"). Amazingly enough we found a flight to Stockholm for $578 on Iceland Air. We just had to change planes in Reykjavik. Not a big deal for a flight that cheap to Europe. While we were on the flights we watched Borat like three times each. But we also watched some videos about Iceland tourism that the airline had made. And you know what? Those videos worked. Iceland looked frikin' awesome. By the time we were back from Scandinavia we had already decided that we had to go to Iceland. And being so close to the US, we could manage to just go for a weekend and not have to make a huge trip out of it. From DC ... read more
Seltun Springs
Posing with the Geothermal Springs
Chilling in the Blue Lagoon

When I was in graduate school at the University of Texas I made friends from all over the US. But our little group of structural engineers also included Alejandro, who was from Panama. Alejandro spoke perfect English and was a pretty sharp guy. We went on some good adventures back in those days, but after I graduated I moved to Las Vegas and Alejandro stayed around to get his PhD. We kept in touch though and when he told me he was moving back to Panama after he got his PhD I was eager to pay him a visit. Already planning a trip to Peru, I figured the best thing to do was stop in Panama for a few days on my way back to the US. I could get a nonstop flight from Panama City ... read more
Gates of the Canal
Passing Through the Canal
Me at the Canal

It's been about 7 hours since we got back to our hostel in Cuzco from trekking the Inca Trail (see "Inca Trial to Machu Picchu"). It would be glorious to get to sleep in. To rest. But we don't have that luxury. We've booked a 4 day expedition in Manu National Park with Manu Explorers ( We probably should have put aside a day of rest between the two tours, but we have limited vacation days and need to get as much done as possible. It's Sunday November 19th, 2012. This will be our second week in Peru. Richie is not coming with us to Manu though, as he has to fly back home to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Mason, Cory, Sarah, and I are "thankful" for the US having two holidays this week so ... read more
Ninamarka Tombs
Entrance to Manu National Park
Waterfall in the Cloud Forest

North America » Canada » Ontario May 28th 2013

Niagara Falls is one of the places that you just kind of just have to see if you're an American or a Canadian, and still a pretty damn iconic destination if you're not. Having spent the majority of my life in DC, I had never been, even though it's fairly close. And yes, I consider 400 miles "close" since it's drive-able in a weekend. I've also wanted to visit Toronto for ever since I worked for a Toronto based firm in Las Vegas. So I figured Memorial Day weekend 2013 would be as good a time as any to make the drive up to our neighbors to the north. I had originally wanted to go straight up to Toronto, but when I decided to leave on a Friday I figured it would make more sense to ... read more
Mount Washington
Up the Cog Railway
Pittsburgh Skyline

South America » Peru » Cusco » Inca Trail May 23rd 2013

It's February of 2012. Not even 6 months out from our trip to Oktoberfest in Munich, my friend Mason and I are eager to plan our next adventure. Ideas are thrown around and turned down like 19 year old me trying to get a date. Then I mention Machu Picchu. It's near the top of both of our lists of places to see. We could go to Peru and hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It's settled. That's what we're gonna do. After a few weeks of solid research we choose to go to Peru in November, giving us about 8 months to prepare (and wait). We decide we'll make it a two week trip and go over the Thanksgiving holiday to save 2 days of Paid Time Off from work, as we both get ... read more
Peruvian Buffet!
On The Pier with the Cliff Behind Me
Church in Cuzco

North America » United States » Florida » Keys » Key West May 21st 2013

Ever since I heard that Key West was just bars, restaurants, and laid back people enjoying the lack of an open container law, I knew it was a place I had to visit. Having lived in Las Vegas and being a frequent traveler to New Orleans I know how rowdy the streets can get when people are allowed to drink outside. And I love it. 28 years old and I still hadn't been to Key West. It was time to go. I chose President's Day weekend in February of 2013 for a short extended weekend trip. I was off work President's Day Monday and decided to take the following Tuesday off as well. I originally wanted to fly down Friday night, but since I was planning on flying into Miami and driving Highway 1 down 160 ... read more
Southernmost Point
Hemmingway House
End of Highway 1

Europe » United Kingdom May 17th 2013

As a structural engineer, I'm usually either super busy or not busy at all. Working on Federal Government jobs leads to intense periods, followed immediately by waiting periods. After a horrid February and March of 12 hour days working to get the 90% construction documents done for my embassy project, I decided I would definitely need a week off during the down time in April. I guess working on a building in the UK got to me, and I decided it was time to finally go across the pond to the land of our former overlords. Planning the trip was a bit more difficult than usual, due to the fact that I was using my American Airlines reward miles and in order to avoid the hefty taxes that European airlines charge to go overseas I had ... read more
New Construction
View Down the Thames
St. Paul's Cathedral

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