Brad Wetzler

About Brad Wetzler

Brad Wetzler is a freelance writer and journalist based. He has published articles and essays in The New York Times Magazine, NY Times Book Review, Newsweek, GQ, National Geographic, Wired, Men's Journal, and Outside. His work has been anthologized in Best American Travel Writing and Outside 25: The Best of Outside Magazine's First 25 Years. His book, Real Mosquitoes Don't Eat Meat, was published by W.W. Norton. He is writing a travel memoir about the Middle East.

DRIVING; Taking It Low and Slow On Española's Streets

''We're trying to recapture our culture and heritage,'' said Desiree Duda, the director of this year's Española Car Show, held earlier this month as part of the annual Fiesta de Española, a weeklong celebration of the town's founding by the Spanish in 1598. ''Lowriding is part of who we are as Latinos and Latinas. It's our history.'' The fiesta was more a cultural event than a mere car show. The resplendent cars were the centerpiece, but the gathering was also a celebration of Hispanic life, fo

My Palestinian Vacation

A cool August evening, the final weekend of Ramadan, and I was planted on a comfortable sofa on the rooftop patio of a three-story stone house in an olive grove near the Palestinian village of Sawahre. The surrounding Judaean Mountains, known to Palestinians as Jabal al-Khalil, appeared as huge, dark, breaching whales against the stars, and, to the west, the sky was glowing yellow from the obscured lights of Jerusalem. There were others with me: the three grown children of the Halaseh family, wi

Jocko's Rocket

Outside magazine, August 1999 Jocko's Rocket Will the car of the future come screaming out of the Mojave desert? Ninety miles east of Los Angeles, the San Bernardino Mountains give way to the flat, dusty moonscape of the Mojave Desert. Out here, the only things that stand up to the wind are gnarled Joshua trees and row after row of wildly spinning wind turbines. Continue driving east toward the town of Joshua Tree and you begin to see makeshift homesteads of shaggy-haired drifters living

JOURNEYS; Where Waterfalls Are the Way Out

He offers one-day and three-day basic canyoneering courses ($149 and $495), which introduce students to all the necessary gear and cover rappelling, route-finding and preparing for unexpected challenges like flash floods. At the end of the course, he will tell you if you are ready to tackle the canyons without a guide -- a judgment call that some critics suggest can be a little too lenient, given the dangers of the sport -- and will rent the necessary equipment. As for the critics, Mr. Zambella

Drop-Dead Gorges

"I saw the old jalopy," said a bony stranger sitting across the table from me in a coffee shop in our ancient Southwestern city. He was sporting an armadillo-shaped bolo tie and a cowboy hat, and he squinted like a B-movie gunslinger about to draw his Colt .45. "I placed my fingers in the bullet holes." Between tugs on a grande latte, the old compadre described a black 1922 Dodge convertible with four on the floor and wood spokes. The owner had been none other than Francisco "Pancho" Villa,

Hiking Through Biblical Backcountry

I had always pictured this territory as arid, but the land was lush and green after the winter rains. Soon we were walking through a valley filled with wildflowers, headed toward Capernaum, the village that marks the end of the trail and the place where Jesus is believed to have done much of his teaching. As I walked, stories from Sunday school flooded my mind. Healing the sick, raising the dead, turning water into wine. This definitely wasn’t going to be an ordinary hike. Which was exactly wha

Reinhold Don't Care What You Think

"FIFTEEN MINUTES," growls Reinhold Messner, the king of all climbers. We're standing outside his castle in the mountains of South Tirol, a region in extreme northern Italy that was once part of Austria. "I'll give you 15 minutes. And then you must go." After traveling halfway across the world to see His Greatness, I resign myself to the strict time limit. It's actually 15 minutes more than Ruth, his German-speaking secretary and merciless gatekeeper, promised earlier on the phone. "Mr.


__ India's tech superpower is acting more like Silicon Valley every day. __ It's a steamy, dung-scented evening, I'm riding around Bangalore, India, in a beat-up blue van, but right now we're not going anywhere: There's a citywide power outage, and we're stopped dead in the middle of a clogged intersection, wishing the traffic lights would blink back on. Behind the wheel is a hot-tempered Sikh named Balbir Singh. Fiftyish and bearded, with Coke-bottle glasses, he's furiously tapping his horn to

Crazy for Adventure

This trip, dubbed the Grand Ophir Sea Expedition, is Savoy's most ambitious venture. At a cost of more than $2 million, it is also his most expensive. The plan is straightforward: sail around the world in this little catamaran, demonstrating how easy it would have been for the Egyptians, the Argonauts, even the pre-Incan inhabitants of Peru to exchange goods and ideas. It's understandable, then, that he wants to come across to the news media like a man bound for the history books. Nevertheless,

Is Just Like Amerika!

TRAMP. VAGABOND. Vag. Bum. Stew Bum. Profesh. Bindle Stiff. Alki Stiff. Roadie-Kid. Hobo. The wandering soul has countless names, many of them suggestive of sloth and indolence. The hobo (the term possibly a bastardization of a 19th-century vagrant's greeting, "Ho, beau!") is, one might say, prone to go long stretches without showering and unapologetic about his heavy smoking and drinking. He rides from city to city, from job to job—and sometimes he just rides for the peripatetic hell of it, gat

A Middle-Aged Man Grows Up to Teach Yoga

Last February, a few weeks after my 51st birthday and on the twisting road to becoming a middle-aged yoga instructor, I skulked through the orange-themed lobby at a Boulder, Colorado, CorePower Yoga studio. Past the racks of Lululemon yoga pants and T-shirts that read “Spiritual Gangster,” I finally came to a halt in Room 1: a wood-floored space with wall-to-wall mirrors. The other students were mostly about half my age. Their reflected images accentuated my feeling: I’m surrounded by youth. I

On Journal Twenty Twenty

Once, on a reporting trip to India for WIRED magazine, a cab driver offered me this advice: “If you want to be a human, you must go to the burning ghats, and watch the bodies burn.” The cabbie’s words haunted me. I finished my reporting and flew north to the ancient city of Varanasi, took a cab to the city center, and descended a staircase drowning with humanity. At river’s edge, I hired the first boatman I saw, a thin teenager named Aryan. “Take me, please, to see the bodies burn,” I said. Thirty minutes later, squinting through thick smoke, I stepped onto an ash-covered shore, impossibly close to the hot fire—a remote corner of Hell, I thought. Two men carried an ornately decorated litter over and set it on a metal rack. As flames ripped through its white sheet, I was shocked by what I saw: a thick mane of long black hair and the gentle curves of a woman’s face. Too young to die, I thought. We stared. That was my job: to witness. Hours later, all that remained was a charred section of sacrum and a single vertebra. Both bones were removed from the ashes, set next to a flower and a flickering candle on a tiny boat, and let go into the Mother Ganges, an offering from the dead. I said a prayer to nobody and climbed back into Aryan’s boat. Three days later, back in the States, I knew I’d been changed, though exactly how I hadn’t a clue. Transformation. Many stories in this issue of JOURNAL TWENTY TWENTY explore this—not the type in Hollywood movies, but the hard-won variety, burning away the past. Talicia Montoya give us a healthy dose of truth in her poignant piece, “NO, NOT LIKE THAT.” Her writing is both gritty and soft, as she walks us through her realization that she is asexual, arrived at like scratching an itch till it bleeds. But the story is also beautiful. By the end, we experience what she experienced: new hope that she’s not alone. Indeed, maybe there’s a tribe of her. Nozomi Kido’s “EPIDURAL HEMATOMA” tells the story of both painful injury and growth, a transformation by transcendence, permanently inked on her body, “Mom, I’m not scared.” “TO GUATEMALA AND BACK” by Makena Lambert plays with arrival and transcendence as well, born not of pain or physical trauma but of a very particular type of love: the temporary love experienced during a study abroad in a foreign country. Her story, both graceful and bittersweet, depicts the arrival at a new, more honest place. Love is temporary. We are all temporary. Stories are eternal. BRAD WETZLER