Derek Ray

Derek Ray

Derek became enraptured with visiting strange, new places during a Eurail adventure shortly after his graduation from UCLA. He has subsequently journeyed throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America and the U.S. As an educator, he believes that travel encourages a better understanding of and appreciation for other cultures. He also believes in packing light. Derek has been contributing his travel stories and photos to the Reader since 2009.

Derek is also the author of the eBook, How to Travel On the Cheap (...and Even For Free!): Turn Your Travel Dreams into Reality, available in the Amazon Kindle store.

You can read more about his travel on his website: derektravels.shutterfly.com.

Latest Articles

Beijing & the Great Wall explored

Derek Ray's bucket-list stops in northeastern China.

Check out Derek's e-book How to Travel On the Cheap (...and Even for Free!): Turn Your Travel Dreams Into Reality, available in the Amazon Kindle store. “We Chinese people eat everything. Everything in the sky ...

Beijing: first impressions

Making sense of old and new in China's imperial capital.

I stood in Tiananmen Square (above) on a windswept, sunny morning, and gazed at the locals and tourists milling about under the watchful visage of Chairman Mao’s portrait. Having just arrived in China the previous ...

Spring break detour: Tulum & Coba

Get a little Maya culture on your next Yucatán beach escape.

If you tire of lounging about on Cancun's white, sandy beaches and yearn for a bit of Maya culture with your tropical escape, consider exploring the nearby sites of Tulum and Coba. They can both ...

Finding peace at Lake Shrine

Escape from L.A. stress in Pacific Palisades.

If you’re in L.A. and seek a respite from the traffic and stress, there's a place that just may restore – at least temporarily – a sense of tranquility to your being. The Self Realization ...

An Amtrak-Airbnb American (and Canadian) adventure

Weary of going through another airport security line? Enchanted by an early morning train whistle hurtling to points unknown? With airline costs continuing to rise, I set out to try a new, more economical cross-country ...

Montréal's past and future

Must-sees in French-speaking Quebec's cultural capital.

Despite being a large city, a worthwhile sampling of Montreal can be explored in one day. A clean and efficient metro system makes the city easy to navigate. Some advanced planning is recommended, however; not ...

Palenque: hidden Maya wonder

Discover this city of temples in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

Palenque was the Maya site I most highly anticipated visiting, and it did not disappoint. The ruins and pyramids, surrounded by a verdant jungle of cedar, mahogany and sapodilla trees, have a mysterious and intoxicating ...

Mystical Uxmal

Although less well known than Chichen Itza, Uxmal is often preferred by travelers to the Yucatan. Located in the center-west of the peninsula, Uxmal is about an hour and 15 minute drive from Merida – ...

Laguna Beach: summer means art fests

Check out Pageant of the Masters, Sawdust Festival and Art-a-Fair through the end of August.

If you want to add some art to your summer, consider heading up to Laguna Beach. A July visit here brought me within walking distance of three major art festivals: the Sawdust Festival, Festival of ...