Seoraksan, Korea: Frozen Tears, Crystal Snot

THERE IS A MOMENT on Seorak Mountain, over two hours in and 1,000 meters above sea level, that is dauntingly unfair to novice hikers. You have to squint real hard and crane your neck so far back that your head hits your backpack just to glimpse the three-kilometer signpost, tauntingly perched atop this sleet-covered, 70-degree-steep, God-knows-how-tall hill. It is a profoundly ridiculous slope. We witnessed a … Continue reading Seoraksan, Korea: Frozen Tears, Crystal Snot

Guinsa, South Korea: Accidentally the Only White Guy Among 8,000 Koreans in an Extremely Holy Temple in the Middle of Nowhere

A VERY PARTICULAR DARKNESS envelops Guinsa at night. Arriving after sunset, I was met by the few dozen parked cars surrounded by something smaller than a village—a smattering of homes and restaurants, maybe 30 in all, mostly closed up by 8 p.m. The temple complex itself lies one kilometer uphill, wedged within a valley surrounded by mountains on the eastern border of North Chungcheong, the … Continue reading Guinsa, South Korea: Accidentally the Only White Guy Among 8,000 Koreans in an Extremely Holy Temple in the Middle of Nowhere

Taiwan: Gearing Up for the Chinese New Year (Photo Essay)

IN JANUARY 2012, weeks after my 23rd birthday, I took my first solo vacation to Taiwan, moving from Taipei down south through Hualien, Ruisui and Taitung, one week before the Chinese New Year. Taipei has remained in my memory as one of my favourite cities—like, in the world—though the trip was not without its share of problems. This photo essay is meant to show how Taiwanese culture … Continue reading Taiwan: Gearing Up for the Chinese New Year (Photo Essay)