Travel Stories And Guides For Independent Travelers

Mountain lake in Colorado

Ready to Wander?


“Not all those who wander are lost.” (J.R.R.Tolkien)

And those who are lost might enjoy it.
They may get a thrill from being lost and from the challenge of finding their own way.
This process allows them to learn about the places they wander through. It allows them to understand their history and people, their flora and fauna.

The writer of the site, I am such a wanderer. I am often lost in a new place; Sometimes on purpose. While finding my way to my destination, I learn about the places I visit or stumble upon.

I suppose I write primarily for wanderers like myself, who like to find their own way, who travel in search of more than typical sightseeing.
I write for independent travelers who don’t need a tour for sightseeing. My ideal readers see places to visit as more than tourist destinations and want to learn about their natural, archaeological, historical, and cultural background.

All my articles are based on my personal experiences of getting lost and finding new ways through places. They are also based on over thirty years of planned travels, of wandering through places I knew well and others I only heard about.

Some of my favorite places to wander through – and sometimes get lost in…

Often during our travels, we have a general itinerary. We may have a few planned destinations, but others are incidental.
We may stumble upon a place that intrigues us and add it as a stop. Or, we revisit old sites when we notice something new about them.
The articles below result from incidental stops along longer routes during our family travels.

Hormiguero Structure II in South Group

There is nothing like driving down a narrow dirt road with no signs and no other vehicles in sight to feel like you are lost in the jungle… and then you find the place you were looking for, and it exceeds your expectations…

Izamal, the Yellow City. Street view.

We also like to stop in a new city we’ve never been to, park the car, and start walking… that was the case when we visited Izamal for the first time… we wandered through the city, enjoying the feeling of “being lost” in a new place…

Trail on the Oregon coast

Sometimes, we might find a trail in a new area we are visiting, and even though we never heard of it before, we just star walking on it to see where it takes us…

Salt river wild horses

We also take short drives close to home, and get on trails we find in a new area. That’s how we stumbled upon the trail along the Salt River where we saw the wild horses I heard about before.


While sharing travel stories, I also offer an insight into the places I learn about…

Rio Bec building

On a quest to find the ruins of Rio Bec we read about, we met a local Maya who took us on ATVs through the jungle to the ruins… besides exploring the ancient site, we also met his family and people of his village.

Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly. View from the Rim

Once upon a time, when we first moved to Arizona, we went on to explore the state. During our visit to Canyon de Chelly, we met a local Diné, who took us hiking into the canyon to Spider Rock, and told us stories of the land…

Xcacel restaurant in 1995

“Only in Mexico” is a phrase we use often when we visit one of our favorite countries. However, it doesn’t always translate to easy travels. But with the right attitude, almost any situation can turn into a fun adventure.

Cabana des Jaguares

We usually travel without booking hotels in advance, and hope for the best. While at our destination, we usually find something, even if locals tell us “there is no hotel in the area. But I know of a place”… Cabanas de Jaguares was one of them

Every place has stories to tell

It’s not all about our travel stories. The places we visit have their own stories to tell, through their geology, history, myths and legends involving their creation. While traveling, either to a new place, or to well-known destinations we revisit, I try to unearth these stories, and share them in my articles.

Learn about the history, myths, legends, and geology of the places I visited

Uxmal. Pyramid of he Magician. photo credit: Leanne Fromm

Read about the history and learn the legend of how the famous Pyramid of the Magician Uxmal was built in Uxmal, besides an overview of the site and tips on how to visit it.

In the Upper Citadel of Rupea

Though I grew up in the vicinity of this citadel, I didn’t visit it until years later. When I finally did, I felt I needed to share not only its history, but a legend of it I knew about from my childhood.

Yosemite Valley

Did you know what the name Yosemite means? Learning about the park’s name gave me an opportunity to learn about the myths and legends of the creation of its most prominent features. I also added the science-backed stories for comparison.

Hesdát Creek, the river that carved Turda Gorge

With its steep walls filled with caverns and a rushing stream on the bottom, Turda Gorge is one of the most dramatic landscapes in Romania. I grew up nearby, and visited often, so wanted to share its history and geology, and even a legend of its creation.

The team behind the site…

I am Emese, publisher and writer of Wanderer Writes, a US-based travel writer with bylines in publications likeLonely Planet,TravelAwaits,Roadtrippers Magazine,Matador Network, andGoNOMAD, among others.

My travel companion and trip planner, my husband of over 30 years, Jeff, is the person behind the wheel and often behind the camera during our travels. Many of the trips you read about are the result of his ideas.

Emese, writer and traveler, at Caracol. photo by Jeff.


It may seem to go against Wanderer Writes ideas to publish travel guides. However, independent travelers could sometime use travel guides, though not in the traditional sense. Our guides offer all the information about a place, often including its stories, sometimes even tips on how to get there and where to stay once there. However, they are just general guidelines, leaving the independent traveler plenty of choices to find their own way, to enjoy the feeling of discovery.

Maya Archaeological Sites

Many of our travel guides feature Maya Archaeological Sites, since they are some of our favorite destinations we visit – and revisit – often.

Palenque Pyramid of the Sun view from Palace

This is a guide to all the Maya sites we visited over the years, besides a brief history of the Ancient Maya civilization, and stories of encounters with modern Maya people.

Stela in the Macanxoc Group in Coba

This is a guide to several of the best Maya ruins in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Calakmul. The pyramid taller than it looks.

A guide to one of the largest and most important ancient Maya city from the Pre- Classic and Classic era, a city that played an important role in the history of this civilization for over twelve centuries.

Yaxchilan structure 33

A guide to Yaxchilan, once a powerful center during the Classic period of the ancient Maya civilization, with impressive stone lintels, ornamental facades, and roof-combs that awed archaeologists for years.

National Parks in the US – and Beyond

One of humankind’s the best ideas in recent times, in our opinion, was establishing National Parks and Preserves. During our frequent visits to the National Parks, both in the US and abroad, we appreciate the preservation and protection of both stunning nature sites and ancient structures.

Grand Canyon view from South Rim

The fist time I saw the Grand Canyon, I was in awe. I could not have imagined something so immense. Living in the Grand Canyon state for over three decades now, I revisited often; this guide is the result of all those visits.

Mesa Verde National Park

Living within driving distance from Mesa Verde, we visit the National Park often, so naturally, we learned a lot about the first National park designated to preserve “the works of men”. Here, I share some of what we learned.

Petrified log on the desert surface

Petrified Forest National Park is one of my favorites in Arizona. Desolate, in the middle of nowhere, it preserves the geological vestiges of a distant past, when this desert was a lush rainforest. We visited it several times, this is what I learned about it…

Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park

One of our favorites, the North Cascades National Park protects one of the largest wilderness areas in the US. It represents everything I think a National Park should be: enormous pieces of untouched wilderness, with no roads through for motorized vehicles. We might not be able to see too much of it, but it’s a great feeling knowing that it’s there, pristine, without development of any kind.

Arizona and the Desert Southwest

When we first visited Arizona in 1992, we fell in love with the state. A few months later, we moved here, and haven’t left yet. We love to explore our home state, which results in many articles, travel stories, and travel guides featuring it in some way – usually its natural beauty. Here are a few favorites…

Grand Canyon National Park

Our guide to Arizona, featuring fun facts about the state, and all our articles, travel stories, and guides about different places in the state.

Montezuma Castle - photo by Győző Egyed

We love exploring ancient ruins and Arizona has plenty of them, from spectacular cliff dwellings to small remains of some ancient walls. Here is a guide to a large number of them.

Octobasse in the Musical instrument Museum of Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona is not just desert and outdoors; Phoenix is also home to some world-class museums. I visited and revisited them often, with out-of-town guests, my kids, or alone. This guide reflects all I learned about them.

Grand Canyon National Park

Here is a guide to the National Parks and Monuments in the state, reflecting years of exploring them in all seasons. Known as the Grand Canyon State, Arizona is home to 24 National Park units; this guide include most of them.

Everything published on this site is based on the writer’s personal experiences. I do not publish any AI generated content, or anything written about a place the author did not visit personally. You will also find the date of each piece published, (either the original published date, or a new one, if I felt the need to update), so you always know if the information is up-to-date. However, many of the pieces published here are travel stories, and include history, myths, and legends of the places visited, which means their publish dates are irrelevant.

Welcome to Wanderer Writes! Hope you find something of interest here.

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