Camaná & Mollendo: A Tale of Two Eerie Peruvian Beaches

THERE ARE TWO beach towns within a three-hour drive from Arequipa: Mollendo and Camaná. Each costs between 10 and 15 soles to reach, and there are loads of minibuses and regular buses that leave every hour. Neither is better advertised from Arequipa’s bus terminals, and neither is a popular foreign tourist destinations, which might lead a sun-starved off-the-beaten-track backpacker to ask: Which is better? Camaná is known as a young … Continue reading Camaná & Mollendo: A Tale of Two Eerie Peruvian Beaches

lauca national park

In Photos: Reasons to Love Northern Chile

IF YOU’RE BACKPACKING through South America, you’ll likely pass through Northern Chile—after all, the northernmost city, Arica, marks the only route to Peru. But it would be a mistake to truck through without spending at least a few days—the region’s colourful architecture, perpetually cool beaches and proximity to little-seen desert parks makes it a totally unique experience, combining the luxury of Chilean South American with the rusticity of … Continue reading In Photos: Reasons to Love Northern Chile

Cañon de Colca

An Independent Traveller’s Anecdotal Guide to Trekking Colca Canyon, in 11 Aphorisms

1. Appreciate silence.  Near the end of our six-hour bus ride from Arequipa to Cabanaconde, three awful, young French people boarded the bus, standing near our seats. The loudest wore a backwards cap and blue tinted shades, and I could see the flowing tattoo of an angel wearing armour on his arm beneath his too-tight white T-shirt. He could not stop talking, joking, tapping his hiking stick on the … Continue reading An Independent Traveller’s Anecdotal Guide to Trekking Colca Canyon, in 11 Aphorisms

Taj Mahal Travel

A Long Way Back: Stories of Travelling Home is Now a Real (e-)Book

A LONG WHILE BACK, I said I was going to publish a book based on a four-month trip I took in late 2013. I finally did. You can buy it for Kindle here. The book is a simple one, roughly two dozen chapters of two millennials’ travels from South Korea to North America. It’s a collection of travel stories for people who genuinely like those sorts of things—misadventures, characters abroad, a … Continue reading A Long Way Back: Stories of Travelling Home is Now a Real (e-)Book

The Many Cons and Mighty Pros of Iceland in December

THE FIRST THING TO GIVE UP in Iceland’s December is the sun, and with it the loss of humanity’s very conception of time itself. Darkness shrouds the jagged island for 20 hours a day; the sun peeks out only briefly between 11 and 3 o’clock, which forces locals to reconfigure “morning” as a painfully taunting three-hour sunrise. Rising at daybreak—that very primal notion that dictates … Continue reading The Many Cons and Mighty Pros of Iceland in December

The People Around the Taj Mahal

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN THE TAJ MAHAL AND AGRA FORT there is a quiet little town—quiet by Indian standards—and somewhere therein live quiet people, normal people, people not out to get your money or impress you with Mughal legends but rather who are interested in speaking to you. These are friendly people, too polite to be easily found, and to meet them requires you spend time in … Continue reading The People Around the Taj Mahal

How We Spent Ten Dollars On Scarves in Varanasi and Why We’re Okay With It

EVERYONE AND HIS BROTHER owns a silk shop in Varanasi. Walk down the street and you will be personally invited to one every few paces, told “No pressure” and “Just take a look” when you hesitate, persuaded when they explain the secret to proving real silk from polyester knockoffs (the threads burn into ashes) and allowed to see the weaving factory because somewhere down the … Continue reading How We Spent Ten Dollars On Scarves in Varanasi and Why We’re Okay With It

Stories Left in Southeast Asia

WE DEPARTED THE MAINLAND of Southeast Asia with some regret, having not met as many locals as we’d normally like. I also didn’t get as many good photos of the ones we did talk to, which you might notice below. This is because the conversations happened spontaneously, when I wasnt preared for them, which, in some ways, made each a little more engaging, and I … Continue reading Stories Left in Southeast Asia

Chiang Mai’s “Old City” is Anything But

WE ARRIVED IN CHIANG MAI to get away from Bangkok—its hefty costs, its slimy touts, its unnavigable streets and invasive mall culture. Chiang Mai, we were led to believe, would be different, calmer, more authentic and inviting. If it weren’t for the all the expats and tourists who’ve inherited the centre of it, forcing any sensible tourists to migrate farther and farther out into the … Continue reading Chiang Mai’s “Old City” is Anything But

The Best Bread in Bangkok, And, Perhaps, The World

THERE ARE TWO REASONS we decided to return to Bangkok. One is that flying out of Siem Reap is unavoidably expensive; the other was bread. But not just “bread” in the generic; rather, a very particular bread, a paragon role model—really, the Platonic form of bread—baked at a mystery bakery just off the Wang Lang Pier, across the main river from the infamously filthy tourist … Continue reading The Best Bread in Bangkok, And, Perhaps, The World