The Battle to Civilization

People lose many days in northern Laos. River valley bungalows and cheap narcotics, with nothing else to do in towns without electricity, seduce foreign tourists into a deluded paradise. Although the region is beautiful, the best thing to do is to keep moving. We escaped tiny Muang Khoa after the first day in the country. […]

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The Long Road to Laos

I turned over my rented kayak and motorbike and said ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’ to invigorating days on northeastern Vietnam’s Cat Ba Island. My new goal: tracing my newly made Australian friend, Sydney, somewhere in the western wilderness and finding a janky way of stumbling into Laos. I returned to Hanoi and immediately rolled over […]

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This one’s for the kids

This one’s for the kids. For the Vietnamese kids to be more specific; everyone who aided me when I was dumbfounded and lost in northern Vietnam. I rolled out of my mountain days in Pu Luong on the back of a motorbike whizzing through a downpour. Avic, a guide and friend, drove like a soldier, […]

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The Gibbon Experience

Luang Prabang remains dear to me. Listening to an ex-smuggler tell tales of his golden days, watching book shop movies based on Middle-East scientific history, giving alms to the morning monks as they made their rounds, explaining – daily – to a laughing iced coffee vendor that I was not married to any of the […]

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Teacher! Teacher! Teacher!

When in your life have you been able to waltz off the street and into the classroom – to be the teacher? Sapa is known as one of Vietnam’s most beautiful regions in the north. Drive a motorbike around the mountains and every turn greets you with stunning peaks, crystal waterfalls, and green rice terraces […]

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Kidnap seemed likely

I know I’ve met fun people when they encourage me to do something about which my Mom would be horrified to hear. (Sorry Mom). I rolled into Hue, Vietnam after saying sorrowful goodbyes to the lovely Hoi An. Within the first half hour I arranged a company of avid explorers seeking to subvert the world […]

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My Heart’s in Hoi An

I didn’t come to Southeast Asia to drink alcohol. But when the beer is 15 cents a glass, how can you say no? I entered Nha Trang, Vietnam. I waved at its white sand beaches, clear waters, Russian tourists, and luxurious resorts. Two hours later I left and went to Hoi An. Hoi An is […]

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Writing About Backpacking

“The fat Russian lumbered through the door with a scowl.” Is this reinvention of the events biased, or only descriptive? One of my goals for travel, from which I’ve been challenged, is writing so as to propagate the idea of an inclusive global community. By this I mean that I want to highlight our cross […]

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Guilt Trip

Our Vietnamese guide stopped cycling along the rice paddies. He leaned his bike against the fence of a lone shack and beckoned the group inside. The smell of stale liquor, made pungent by the trapped heat, caused instant gagging. “This is how rice wine is made,” an old Vietnamese man explained. “Tear it. Boil it. […]

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