This past year, VICE contributors traveled the world and told us their tales. Our travel features don't chronicle the best hotels or bars or local attractions, but they do provide a closer look at some aspect of a culture, celebration, or tradition in far-flung places that many will never experience, if only for a lack of vacation days.
So here's a round up of the destinations that VICE magazine contributors visited in 2016, and the weird stuff they did there.
Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Guatemala—Day of the Drunk by River Donaghey
Every year, in this small town in Guatemala, the Mayan residents throw a rager, drinking for days on end and then drunkenly racing horses until it's time to party more. (The town's dry the rest of the year.) They celebrate to honor their deceased relatives, who were murdered by the Spanish conquistadores in the 1500s. VICE's own River Donaghey took a quick horseback-riding lesson in New York and then headed down for this annual festival, known as Skach Koyl.
Alleghany Springs, Virginia—Rare by Edna Ishayik
The British government evacuated Ancient White Park cows from Europe so that they wouldn't be bombed out of existence during World War II. Read this article to find out why these cows were so valuable, and also what it's like to hang out with them... and then eat them. Spoiler: They're delicious. In this piece, we spoke to Alec Bradford, who raises this rare breed in Virginia, and is experimenting with a farm-to-table business model that he hopes will rejuvenate mid-size cattle ranches across the country.
Berlin, Germany—Where Women Rule by Sarah Souli
Contributor Sarah Souli spent some time with the spandex-and-leather-clad wrestlers of Germany's first (and only) female fight club. There, she found athleticism, female-on-male domination, gender politics, and snacks! Souli got pinned and explored some of Germany's lesser-known and unexpected sports history.
The Austrian-Italian Border—Melting Borders by Livia Albeck-Ripka
Traveling by helicopter with a team of geologists, geophysicists, and designers, Livia Albeck-Ripka explored the glacier on which the border of Austria and Italy exists in flux. Climate change is causing this border to shift, and scientists and interested parties have installed sensors to track its movement.
Talo Chipla, Nepal—Hunting for Hallucinogenic Honey by David Caprara
VICE contributor David Caprara traveled for two days high into the mountains of Nepal to accompany members of the Gurung ethnic group on their twice-annual honey hunt. The trek is dangerous, but the fruit is worth their labor: The honey that they gather by knocking hives off the cliffs has hallucinogenic properties thanks to the rhododendron flowers that the local bees gather their pollen from. And luckily, a VICE video crew accompanied him, so you can see the action for yourself.
Shirleysburg, Pennsylvania—Like the Christian Woodstock by Eric Sundermann
For our Music Issue, Noisey's editor-in-chief, Eric Sundermann, checked out America's largest Christian-music festival, which is held every year in rural Pennsylvania. But this piece (and the documentary that accompanies it) is about more than just the Creation Music Festival: It's a thoughtful exploration of the author's own crisis of faith and what religion does or doesn't mean to him.
Tlaxcala, Mexico—In the Ring by Shona Sanzgiri
Karla de los Angeles is one of a handful of female matadors fighting in Mexico, and as one might expect, she's been through a lot. She's been taunted, abused, and gored by a bull, but her story is intertwined with that of the small town of Tlaxcala and the Jorge "El Ranchero" Aguilar arena. Shona Sanzgiri met her here there to discuss the art of bullfighting and Mexico's colonial history.