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 US. 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.

View Derek Ray's site-user page to see Derek's photos, site comments, and more.

Latest Articles

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 ...

Campeche: not Cancún

For those seeking an off-the-beaten-path alternative to Cancún and Mérida, Campeche is a captivating, underrated baroque colonial town on the west coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Capital of the state with the same name, it's ...

Kafka's Prague: surreal moments in Old Europe

Prague is a strikingly beautiful baroque city and the prime gateway for Americans into Eastern Europe. The city has intrigued me ever since I became enamored with Franz Kafka’s books as a teenager. An Old ...

Visit to El Faro orphanage, Tijuana

When I returned to San Diego from India, I felt a bit out of sorts. I had been profoundly moved by my experiences there – particularly seeing the numerous street kids and visiting the Salaam ...

Discover San Diego's native heritage

The Pala and Kumeyaay: a pre-Spanish history.

Few people know that San Diego County has more American Indian reservations than any other county in the nation. Native American tribes have lived in the area for over 12,000 years. Today, a majority of ...

A taste of Southern Italy: Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast

Sorrento is well positioned as the gateway to several locations of interest in southern Italy, including Pompeii, Capri, and the spectacular, meandering Amalfi Coast. But the town of 17,000 is also worth exploring in its ...

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