The plane broke through the clouds on a day that felt—in my New York mind—like the night, circling over wet green fields that edged the near-endless red sea of brick and road and people. We land and I stand, ready to pass out, grumbling too much to appreciate what this really means. But at customs, … More Unlearning London: Can I Do It?
I’ve never been so excited and so scared to return to a place. With the last of the French Notting Hill Carnivallers cramming into the overnight bus from London, their party keeps going until about 1 AM, where we’re shuffled through the border and put on a tank underneath the sea. At that point … More Getting Paris and Losing it: How I got over my favourite city
Monuments and Sundowns It’s 5 AM on the third day and I’m biking through the woods in pitch darkness, but by the time I reach the ruins, dawn is already making a thin red silhouette around the towers across the lake. There’s chatter, here and there, but generally exhaustion keeps people quiet—exhaustion, and a … More Sunrise and Sunset at Angkor: Why I Came Home
I’m stepping onto the metro when three Mexican ladies half my height, making a triangle formation, push around me. It takes about two seconds onto the train, right after I breath, to realize my phone is gone from my left pocket. It’s surreal; the dirty lights of the train are flashing, it shakes as it … More Breaking into Mexico: Get Ready for some Headspinning
In Kratie, my first town in Cambodia, the idyll sidles up against the downtrodden. The muddy Mekong the town follows along is both the last refuge to irrawaddy dolphins and growing dams of garbage. The central town has a number of mansions from the French colonial era; move a few blocks away, most of the other … More Cambodia’s Darkness: Locking Into Phnom Penh
Four countries, five airports, and 60 hours later, I’m almost home. I look out of the Minneapolis airport—creaking by on around 4 hours of sleep for the whole trip, wondering if I’m just writing dribble and will have to scratch all this later—and I feel a growing dread. Across the tarmac, dead poplar and … More Ending Asia: What’s Left of this then Bob?
There’s no place that manages the peace Luang Prabang does. Coming direct from Hanoi, it’s less like stepping into another country, more like drifting into a different dimension. I came from the city, from a 26 hour bus romp through the mountains, and suddenly I was in Lotus Land. I leave my guesthouse in the … More Finding Laos Part 1: Luang Prabang’s Manufactured Peace
Hanoi’s 3 AM feeling. It greets you even in the middle of the night, bringing its best face and putting its best foot forward: The bus from Hue drops us off at 3AM, and after fighting off the near-swarm of Touk Touk “where you going where you going” drivers, we’re wandering the empty streets trying … More 3AM’s On Hanoi’s Carnival: And All This Will End Too, Right?
And we begin where we ended: It’s morning number 3 of my first (of 3) Hanoi benders. My stomach is flipping as I’m flipping out, trying to move my check-out along so I can sort out my escalating bank problems. My wallet’s edging close to zero and a bus is almost here to take me … More Cash Kings and Beach Dreams: What are you Travelling for Son, to Hanoi, to Ha Long?
I woke up Wednesday morning thinking it was gonna be a different kind of day. I’d been counting down the days towards America’s Election like it was Christmas—“just two more sleeps”—because I was sure it would end this nightmare farce of a year. I felt sure that, for all the noise and bluster and pain … More The Mornings After: Why The Election is Devastating To Me