Deep travel

Cadiz waterfront. Photo: Blair MASTBAUM

Everyone who’s everyone has lived here on this extremely narrow spit of land jutting off of Southern Spain into the Atlantic Ocean, from the Phoenicians to the Tartessians, to the Romans. Nearly every ancient civilization has, at one time, called it home. Cadiz is so tightly packed, it’s often referred…

Moving boxes. Photo by CHUTTERSNAP/Unsplash

You can’t fix everything by packing up and moving. But it certainly can work wonders in the short term. I’ve lived in Ohio — where I grew up — Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, New York City, Berlin, Porto, Portugal, and Conil de la Frontera, Spain, where I’m still kicking around…

Deep travel

Korubo group which established contact in 2014. Photo: CGIIRC/FUNAI.

There are no roads in the 8.5 million hectares of land on the far western frontier of Brazil’s Amazonia state known as the Terra Indigena, or indigenous lands. This densely forested rainforest backwater that borders western Peru can only be accessed by waterway or by air. From an airplane, there…

David Wojnarowicz, self portrait. Photo courtesy of DW foundation.

*If you haven’t read part 1 of this story, it’s here:

The source of most contemporary images of hustlers is from one man. Mac Friedman writes, “The publication of John Rechy’s City of Night brilliantly illuminated the shadowy world of male sex work” before any other American work. In the…

Osbourne bull. Photo by Blair Mastbaum

1. Spanish hours are infamously hard to deal with for those not in the Spanish rhythm, which is waking up fairly early, getting some errands done, having a long lunch from about 2pm to 4pm and then doing nothing when everything shuts down around 3 or 4pm and doesn’t open…

Still from My Own Private Idaho. Courtesy of New Line Pictures.

Young male sex workers — known colloquially as hustlers — support a heavily romantic narrative in our art and literature. It’s a romance they partially deserve. Most young men who enter this ancient profession have lived through traumatic experiences and survived heroically. Usually homeless, often emotionally and physically abused by…


A woman depicted gathering saffron in a Minoan fresco on the Greek island of Santorini. Image: Public domain.

Everyone thinks they know what a paella is, but few really do. For one, it’s the pan that was first called the paella — not the dish — in the Valencian regional dialect. Second, it’s pronounced “pie-eh-yah,” not “pie-ella.” …

Deep travel

9,300 year-old handprint cave art. Image by Wugapodes, licensed via CC-BY-SA-3.0

It seems we’ve always been fascinated by ourselves. Before the ubiquitous selfie, there were self-portraits, with real cameras with film, and then farther back, with paints, pencils, markers, and charcoals.

Before that there was nothing — no self made recordings that declare: “I exist!” Or was there? Beneath the soaring…

Blair Mastbaum

Writer/enthusiast/misanthrope currently stationed in Andalusia, focusing on culture, language, travel, food&drink, and change.

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