Survival International Denounces Jimmy Nelson’s Before They Pass Away

by Beth Whitman (July 29th, 2014)

Before They Pass AwayWhen I first saw the book, Before They Pass Away by Jimmy Nelson, I was so taken with all the images that I immediately wanted one. Luckily, it’s a very pricey book so I never took the plunge and purchased one.

And that might be a good thing.

I recently saw a post on Survival International denouncing the authenticity of the photos. The book is supposed to be representative of how ancient civilizations have lived for thousands of years but, as Survival International points out, the book is more a fantastical look through a photographer’s lens.

They challenge the idea that the images accurately represent the tribes in the photographs and uses the example of the Waorani tribe wearing fig leaves to cover their private parts (something they have never done).

I think it’s an interesting debate.

On the one hand, I’d like to think the photographer was sincere in his desire to photograph these tribes in order to raise awareness of their existence and perhaps have some hand in saving them.

On the other hand, for an organization like Survival International, whose goal is to support tribal peoples’ rights, to denounce the book, carries a lot of weight. Before They Pass Away, they say, ignores the real atrocities that are occurring against the tribes and romanticizing them in photographs that are not true to life, does them a disservice.

As someone with a strong interest in tribal rights, I have to say I’m leaning toward Survival International’s point of view. But I also recognize that there’s a fine line between what Jimmy Nelson has created and me traveling to Papua New Guinea to visit tribes who are performing in singsings with hundreds of tourists in attendance.

Where do you draw the line between real and fantasy?

I’m not sure.

Travel Well,



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Prepping for the Snowman Trek

by Beth Whitman (July 28th, 2014)

Beth Whitman Google TrekkerHopefully by now you know I’m leaving for Bhutan in September to do the Snowman Trek.

In brief, the Snowman Trek is a 220 mile, 25-day hike in the Himalayas. At times we’ll be at over 18,000 feet and, during the trek, we’ll be going over numerous passes above 16,000 feet.

It’s said that more people make it to the top of Everest every year than make it through the Snowman Trek. We’re confident we’ll be on the list of people who’ve completed it. :-)

A couple of weeks ago, Jon and I went down to Mountainview, California, to get trained on the Google Trekker. This is their 360 degree camera, similar to their streetview camera, but this one is in a backpack.

It’s meant for use in areas that the streetview camera and car can’t get to.

As long as permission comes through from the Bhutan government, we’ll be carrying this little (and by little, I mean 45 pounds) camera with us.

No, I will not be the one carrying it. We’ll be hiring a guide specifically for this purpose.

As for the trek itself, I’ve been training for it for more than a year by working out at least six days a week with P90X. On top of that, Jon and I have been doing some high altitude treks on Hawaii Island (Mauna Kea), Bali (Mt. Batur, which I wrote about on the Expedia Viewfinder blog), Santa Fe (Santa Fe Baldy) and at nearby Mt. Rainier.

I’m pretty certain I’m physically prepared for the trip so at this point we’re working on getting our gear together.

We’re still testing boots, clothes and accessories and are trying to determine what sort and how much supplemental food we’ll take with us (protein bars, protein powder, gel shots for a carb infusion, etc.).

If I had to, I could probably leave next week but I’m glad we do have another six before we depart!

It’s unlikely we will have any sort of cell or WiFi connection during the 25-day trek so I’ll be offline for quite awhile. But, for sure, I’ll be keeping you posted with updates before and after the trek.

Travel Well,


Related links:
P90X for the Traveler
Snowman Trek in Bhutan

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Going to Seattle? Here’s Where to Eat

by Beth Whitman (July 25th, 2014)

Visiting Seattle? Having just had our culinary tour in my wonderful city, I thought I’d share some of the best dining spots in the city so you can live vicariously through our taste buds.

Probably the highlight of our tour this year was brunch at the Whale Wins. This award winning restaurant in the Fremont neighborhood specializes in small bites. This was ideal for our group because we had the chance to order lots of plates and sample many different things including:

Fermin Jamon Serrano Ham & Butter…

Whale Wins Ham

Smashed Avocado on Toast with Greens…

Whale Wins Smashed Avocado

Hama Hama Roasted Clams…

Whale Wins Clams

And scapes…

Whale Wins Scapes

Another excellent spot is the Dahlia Lounge, a Tom Douglas (our local celebrity chef) restaurant.

The presentation is always beautiful, even if it is beef… :-)

Dahlia Lounge Beef

And oysters are a good option as well…

Dahlia Lounge Oysters

Though my photo didn’t turn out, you must try the Coconut Cream Pie, likely the best dessert you’ll find in Seattle.

If you’re near Pike Place Market, check out Matt’s in the Market. You’ll get a great view overlooking the market itself and some dlish food such as these deviled eggs…


Although Elliott’s Oyster House specializes in…oysters, I started my dinner with a huge salad. Not sure I’ve had a salad with so much blue cheese (no complaints!)…

Elliotts Oysters Salad

There are a ton of excellent restaurants throughout Seattle, of course. On a four-day tour, we can only hit so many of them, however, so this is just a sampling.

We’re finalizing details on the Seattle tour now. If you’d like to be notified when it’s live on the WanderTours site (it will sell out), fill out this form.

Or perhaps you’d be interested in our Santa Fe Culinary Tour or New Orleans Culinary Tour?

Travel Well,


Related links:
Where to Eat in Santa Fe
Where to Eat in New Orleans


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