Tag Archives: backpacking

“Tourism is a Factory Without Smoke,” And Other Lessons Learned From Our Cambodian Cooking Class

FOR ANY NUMBER OF REASONS, Ch’ngainh! Ch’ngainh! is the least popular cooking class in Battambang, Cambodia. One probable reason is that the name is basically unpronounceable. Another might be that it’s only two-years-old, and competing with local restaurants Smoking Pot and Nari’s Kitchen, which have years’ more reputation behind them. That they have much catching […]

Is This Modern Travel?

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 […]

Cambodians Make Travel So Easy it’s Creepy

IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMON SENSE, and any money at all, Cambodia is a remarkably easy country to travel through. This is not because the roads are smooth (they’re not) or the touts polite (they’re obnoxious). It is, as it often is, the people who are making our lives easier, albeit for a price, further […]

Stories Left Behind in Borneo

FROM BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN TO KUCHING, crossing all of Sarawak and most of Brunei, was more an experiment in bus patience than intense jungle adventure. V and I are not wild rainforest trekkers (can I use “jungle” and “rainforest” interchangeably like that?), though we did venture out into the bush once in Miri, which was […]

The Food of Kuching, Malaysia

TRAVELLING MALAYSIA is travelling to eat. Doesn’t matter if you’re into greasy Chinese, buttery Indian, carby Western or spicy indigenous stuff, one of the reasons to visit Malaysia is the beautiful flavourfulness of it all. George Town, Penang— which will perhaps always rank highly in my Top Cities Of The World list—was my first and best introduction to the […]

Folks on the Water

“I KNOW, I TALK,” our boat driver tells us as we step aboard. “I don’t know, I don’t talk.” What he means, I think, is that he’ll tell us what he knows, but he doesn’t know everything. He knows, for instance, that his name is Lokman, that he is 46-years-old, that he became a boat […]

Stories Left Behind in Indonesia

THERE ARE LITTLE THINGS that slip between cracks when trying to keep up a blog. V and I have met a lot of genuine people, some for even just a few moments, who made an impression on us but whose stories got left behind after we moved on; they felt too short to justify full-length […]

What I’m Packing For Four Months of 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 […]

Everyone in Korea Must Visit Ulleung-do (Before it’s Too Late)

THE ANCIENT VOLCANIC SEDIMENT that rises up alongside Jeodeong’s coastal walkway is a reminder of how tiny and insignificant we are on, my God, this island alone, not to mention the world or its history. The bilingual leaflet that describes the island’s jagged edges is too overwhelmingly scientific to be educational to anyone without a […]

Finding the Bang in Bangkok

THE FIRST THING WE SAW WERE DILDOS. Racks of them. Dozens, even. Black and pink, dangerously large, hilariously small, all dangling in streetside tents. One vendor was spoke casually on his cell phone as he hung up his thick rubber cocks, getting an early 8 p.m. start for what he presumed would be a normal, […]