All posts by Jamie Lafferty

The World Nomad Games

The World Nomad Games

Ordinarily it would have been golden eagles on the gopher’s mind, but on a sunny afternoon in early September, there was something else to worry about. As it emerged from its burrow in the Kyrchyn Valley in central Kyrgyzstan, the rodent sniffed the dusty air blowing north towards the border..
Life and Death in the Chocolate Box

Life and Death in the Chocolate Box

On a cool, clear evening in Buenos Aires, San Martín de San Juan, a small team from western Argentina, arrives to meet its fate at La Bombonera. Home of Boca Juniors, the largest and most successful team in the country, the stadium is the beating blue-and-gold heart of the colourful,..
Necessity Bears

Necessity Bears

Bears are fierce; bears are cautious. Bears are solitary; bears, the females at least, are dedicated to family. Bears are omnipotent; bears are vulnerable. They are everything we want to be and everything we cannot abide. Those are a lot of human characteristics to project onto another species, especially when..
Fjord Escort

Fjord Escort

It takes remarkably little time for Noah, my 13-year-old cousin, to settle into the particular smugness that comes with being in a Tesla. We may only have the Model X for a few days, and of course Noah doesn’t get to do any of the driving, but we’ve barely left..
Northern Appetites

Northern Appetites

“It’s really crazy work,” says Steve Torgersen. He’s talking about getting fresh water to his restaurant Gruvelageret, on the edge of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, but he could easily be talking generally about the challenges of supplying good food this far north. To look at Longyearbyen on a map (or in person), there’s..
The End of Greece

The End of Greece

At the end of the world, I am reluctant to report, there is excellent 3G coverage. Our understanding of the world is a little better – at least in geographical terms – than it was in the age of the ancient Greeks, but for them the Matapan, the southernmost tip..
No Man’s Land

No Man’s Land

The coldness you feel during an Antarctic polar plunge is elemental. It is not something you can brush off or laugh about. Make all the plans for witticisms you like, the moment you hit that sub-zero water, a panicked mammal part of your being takes over and gets you the..
State of Play

State of Play

Thanks to its ubiquitous sign, ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada’ may be the most famous branding of any city in the world, even if it’s not always telling the truth. Nevada’s largest city is many things to many people – fabulous for some, but it can just as easily..
Behind the Mask

Behind the Mask

It begins with a sickening snap. The Mud Men of Pogla emerge to no music, moving like mechanical marionettes: juddering, shuddering, dancing. Their huge heads, like their skin, have been painted deathly white. Theirs is a dreadful spectacle. While some hold spears, others have wicked-looking bamboo talons which they crack..
Old Testament Lessons

Old Testament Lessons

They say the fat, arthritic olive trees in northern Jordan’s Irbit region were planted by the Romans. That would likely make them older than local lad J. Christ, a theory which hasn’t been scientifically tested, but one that’s quite believable in this biblical land of dusty hills, itinerant goats, and..