I CAUGHT MY REFLECTION a few days ago on the “balcony” of our budget hotel near central Kuala Lumpur (it was a concrete box in a series of larger concrete boxes, but it was, technically, outdoors), and the image I saw was of a young man in his t-shirt and boxers, pacing in desperate search of a few more Internet bars on the top left … Continue reading Is This Modern Travel?
YOU NEVER REALLY KNOW what you’re going to need for four months of nomadicness. I still don’t. But I found it helpful, when prepping for this trip, to search for what others brought, so I figured I’d add to the continent of information out there and toss up my own belongings. Three quick-dry t-shirts One button-down collar shirt One underarmour shirt One half-t-shirt, half-long-sleeve roll-up … Continue reading What I’m Packing For Four Months of Travel
IN MY SCHOOL, the nearest boys’ bathroom offers two styles of toilet: one is a Western, “regular” style; the other, squat-style, common in Korea and across Asia. These two roads diverged in a white porcelain mark, for me at least, a significant leap in cultural immersion, and for weeks I wilfully ignored the issue altogether. I can’t remember the exact moment I lost my squatting-virginity—it … Continue reading Shit Ain’t Right: A Polemic in Defense of Squatty-Potties
LAST WEEKEND WAS THE Busan International Rock Festival. I checked it out, as did several old Korean men who seemed surprised to have their usual Friday afternoon bike ride interrupted by heavy ska mosh pits and headbanging punk fans. In the spirit of true culture clashing, I present the following photo essay, “Old Korean Men on Bicycles Staring Confusedly at Rock Music”. Continue reading Photo Essay: Old Korean Men on Bicycles Staring Confusedly at Rock Music
I DON’T WANT TO COUNT the number of hours I’ve spent riding trains. More than I care to admit, though enough to brag about distances — 475 kilometers in Vietnam, over 600 in Thailand, not to mention that idiotically naive ride from Halifax to Toronto, nearly 1,000 in a single haul. I’m not sure why travellers love trains. They’re polarizing transport: whereas buses are almost … Continue reading Ways to Pass Time on a Train
I shut my eyes and pray that Orbitz drops dead; I lift my lids and find that it remains. (I think I made it up inside my head.) Three thousand bucks? No cheaper fare instead? Like arbitrary numbers gallop in: I shut my eyes and pray that Orbitz drops dead. What happened to two grand — that’s what you said! “That price no longer exists” — … Continue reading Mad Man’s Travel Poem (With Courtesy to Sylvia Plath)
IN MAY 2011, I was sitting across from four editors in the startlingly modern private boardroom of the Chronicle Herald newspaper in west end Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’d prepared for this job interview all week. The Herald isn’t an especially well-regarded publication (it’s locally nicknamed “The Chronically Horrid”), but holds the distinction of being one of Canada’s oldest daily papers, and the largest of the … Continue reading A Postgrad’s Travel Tale: The Aimless Twenty-Something Life
FUCK THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS. I have never, and will never, desire a from-California-to-California road trip while flowing my hand in that silly sea-wave gesture out a car window to the tune of “Road Trippin’”. If this sounds harsh, I apologize. I just meant to weed out anyone who might be offended at the fact that the proceeding list happily omits the RHCP, not to … Continue reading My Travel Playlist: Top 10 Songs for Journeys, Ranked in Descending Order of Obscurity
IN AUGUST 2007, I rode a bus for 17 hours from Toronto to Chicago to cover the Lollapalooza music festival. I was 18 and had just graduated high school, and that I was able to somehow convince my editor, not to mention my parents, that I was capable of independently making this cross-national trip to cover one of the world’s largest music festivals without a … Continue reading Chicago, IL: Reflections on My First Solo Travel, Wherein I Feign Maturity and Venture to Lollapalooza Alone
RIDING THE SLEEPER TRAIN is a meditative experience. You’re stuck in one place for perhaps a very long time, and come to realize that to simply sleep or read it all away is a waste of good travel. So you look out the window. What’s there? Green leaves, rice paddies, farmers in straw hats, decrepit brick homes, brown rivers, other trains, pink and yellow. It’s … Continue reading Notes From a Vietnam Train: Is Authentic Travel Possible When Gazing Out a Train Window for 16 Straight Hours?