BehindThe CurtainsAbout & the Creator


Unfortunately the spammers have used the email more than the readers and so the email toys have to be taken away for the time being.

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If you’d like to learn about, or escape into, some magical place somewhere in the world, then perhaps you have found something to hold your attention for a minute or two. If you don’t like dreaming about distant lands, or reading about such places, you best punch a ticket outbound and save your time, because time is the most valuable thing going.

Refrigerators are a space where people collect magnets. TripHash used to be a space where Tak collected information. This information was usually not purchased in gift shops, but arose while researching places to visit or in random conversations with creative models from Siberia or hard-working chefs from Morocco or by wandering around on foot during a time of year when everyone told Tak not to go.

He used to keep all this information crumpled up in random slips of paper, luggage pockets, magazine piles, old wooden drawers, scattered files across various computers and so forth. Thus, most of it would disappear when cleaning up or when the fickle memory cells were reprogrammed with something more pressing. However, some years back, this has changed a bit because he started logging it on this site whatever he would read or learn something interesting. Thus, TripHash was Tak’s personal notebook in the public domain. It was designed to help him while traveling and perhaps it might assist (or entertain) you.

However, a shift was undertaken to focus more on when to go to a specific place, and less of the random information. This was done for two reasons. First, it is not good to feed bad tourists, good information. Secondly, Tak just doesn’t have the time to log everything here, and Google doesn’t like it if things aren’t in nice sentences. Maybe that concept will return, but phase 1 has gone to figuring out a good time to go somewhere.

In any case, TripHash is a two headed monster comprised of travel tips and notes and the travel stories, which most might call a blog.

TripHash travel guides were high-level curated banks of travel information on places to help Tak select where to focus/travel. Due to the sheer amounts of data, the primary focus right now is figuring out when the best time to travel to each country is. The blog is a sloppy bank robbery gone right—a story based on truth told from your point of view. What that has to do with a sloppy bank robbery we have no idea…

I am constantly researching places to go – and many of those places I don’t go because there just isn’t enough time to do everything on earth. In any case, while I come across information, I will do my best to populate TripHash. Furthermore, I have enabled comments on these posts. If you have a question or suggestion or comment—shoot it along.

Do note, the site can’t be all things to all people. In utopia, TripHash would be, but, in reality, figuring out things for every circumstance (e.g. what visa a Saudi Arabian needs to visit Mozambique, et. al.) would clutter the site (although, for something like this, if you ask in the comments I do my best to find it). That said, I do my best to point to resources that you can use to research your case but understand that the site’s point of view isn’t born out of ignorance but rather, time constraints and thoughtful design choices. Afterall, it is just my public travel notepad (which therefore means if I become a Saudi Arabian citizen someday and need entry to Mozambique then you might be in luck).

About the Resident Dictator

I like to use ampersands & em-dashes (—), although I wonder why keyboards don’t have them (if you use a Mac, you are more in luck. If you use Windows, you need to apply a simple hack for the best efficiency). And while on the topic of the ampersand, you can check out a wonderfully reviewed and very underground music album by the Mendocrats entitled Ampersand.

The least likely places to find me: large tour groups, posing for photos in front of monuments, casting shadows on a guidebook or eating in restaurants located at the intersections of the two most-popular highest-rent tourist streets in any given place.

This is not a “backpacker’s” blog. You don’t come here to learn about some trip centered around $9 Ryanair tickets, 12-person dorm rooms and getting loaded on cheap grog in the town square. This is also not a corporate shill blog. You won’t get paralyzed by a bunch of secret-ninja-ads being peddled by a friendly face or nefarious “travel credit cards” that pay off the schleppers at your expense.

If I find something that I think is cool or interesting or a good value and find it worthwhile to post, I will. If I find something that is terrible, boring or not a good value and find it worthwhile to post, I will. Hostels have their purpose, and I have slept in them (and will continue if the need arises). Hotels have their purpose, and I have slept in them (and will continue if the need arises). Apartments, couches, airplane seats and park benches have their purpose, and I have slept in them (and will continue if the need arises). If an airplane sucks, I will tell you. If a hotel is great, I will tell you. If I am receiving something for free in a review, I will tell you. I am not for sale. If I were, I’d be busy climbing corporate ladders with fluff talk and not taking less lucrative, less comfortable roads. Anyways…

The best part of traveling is finding the amazing differences around the world. I want to be able to buy or eat or experience something in a foreign place and not be able to get it in New York. I want to be able to learn something different, experience something new and expand my world view. But at the end of it all, what makes life great is the unique interactions with people and their passions, and that, is motivation enough.

And with all that said, if you can use this site to travel smarter; or can’t travel, but can use this site to feel like you are; or can just share something that helps someone else—then every second of work is worthwhile. I am glad you can be along for the trip.

I am no longer a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to It is much better if you purchase from a small company or a company that cares. If you find a link somewhere on this site that links to Amazon, try not to click it.

Anyways, thanks for reading & visiting!

See something, not everything.

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New York, NY
Internationally-published photographer with a passion for creative food, fine products, unique cultures and underground music. Twitter / Instagram / takw at triphash dot com


  • Anders says:

    Finally! A travel blog with content, not just another travel blog. I find the stuff you post to be simple, high value, and yet, so hard to find elsewhere. To add to that – your posts are smart, well written and fun to read. I cannot thank you enough for the tips you have shared, which has saved me much time (and also some money). I look forward to read about your upcoming travels and trip experiences. Thanks for sharing!

  • Don Barese says:

    Hi TAK,
    Thinking of Costa Rica

    Could you share your thoughts and ideas?

  • susan pendleton says:

    Hi, I just came across your blog and I agree that it is very well written and seemingly honest. I wonder if you would consider giving me some recommendations for a big (solo, I am thinking) trip next year to celebrate my 70th – albeit I look and act and feel 59. :)
    I have been to Cuba, Dubai, China, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Malawi, South Africa, Botswana, Scandinavia (my favourite), Portugal, Spain, Western Europe, Argentina. Not sure I am interested in the Middle East. Have thought about Galapagos; but your blog makes me re-think it a bit. Cross of Cinque Terre because of cruise ships and tourists (darn it! I always wanted to go there). Have not done Iceland or Central America. (Will not go near Texas or Florida or Oklahoma……). Also thought of a cross Europe overnight train trip (Venice to Turkey to Romania?). I do enjoy snorkelling, and can do hikes (but not the Spanish Camino Santiago). Suggestions? Thanks so much! Susan P.

    • Tak says:

      Hi Susan,

      Not sure where you are located, how much time you have, when you can go or if you rent cars, but here are some thoughts.

      1) New Zealand: This would probably be my top suggestion depending on your location and timing and if you can rent a car. Fly to the South Island, rent a car, and hop around. If you like beautiful road trips, nature and hikes, it’s really quite nice. This would be good if you want a relaxing pace. The hikes you do are up to you, and the scenery just driving between places is great.

      2) Japan: If you want something that mixes more culture into things, then I’d suggest Japan. Depending on when you go, you can head up north for nice nature. YOu can buy a rail pass or flights to get around, depending on the places that interest you. Like with New Zealand, this is a more structure, orderly place to visit. I don’t know if you are looking for something a little more off the beaten path. If so, maybe…

      3) Guatemala: Touching on another spot you mention having never been, if you don’t want to rent a car, you can look into Guatemala. You could visit Antigua (which is the least Guatemalan experience but a good halfway step) and then get a shared van or bus up to Atitlan (stay in one of the villages rather than Panajachel) and if you want to explore the culture and nature more (and see less visitors), continue north and west from there. This trip would be a little more for the “adventure-minded” and if you want to do something a little different. I have been several times. You can get from Guatemala to southern Mexico (San Cristobal & further on, Oaxaca) if you want to combine the two and don’t mind long rides.

      4) Iceland: You say you haven’t been, you like Scandinavia, you are able to hike and seem to like nature. If you go in the summer moreorless you won’t have much issues driving. This is relatively easy to get to from most places and the landscapes and scenery can be very inspiring.

      For a more solitary, nature-connected experience, I’d say Iceland or New Zealand. If you want culture, Japan or Guatemala/MX. And I could go on and on. For instance, given your mention of Cinque Terre, even though there you have tourist hotspots, Italy is very nice (avoid summer), and it’s not very difficult to get away from the tourists. You’d be surprised even in a place like Venice, which can be flooded with tourists, that just going a couple blocks away you have the streets to yourself. But beyond that, head to Puglia or Sicily and it’s easy to find a nice balance.

      You could also do Italy to Slovenia (Slovenia is very nice). Or a trip I made – was Austria-Slovenia-Italy via train. I would not be keen to do Venice to Turkey via train as much as I like trains. I’d probably opt Venice towards Budapest or Prague hitting spots along the way. The Eastern European train insfrastructure can be a bit limiting.

      Hope some of that helps!

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