Browsing Category

Asia

Luang Prabang

Laos: A Bite-sized Beauty

A breeze even for the solo backpacker, Laos should be Southeast Asia’s welcoming station. While it lacks the highs of the greater region — Thailand’s cuisine, Cambodia’s temples, Vietnam’s coast and Myanmar’s authenticity — Laos has its own understated, accessible beauty and culture. Explore by…

yoga teacher training

Weird & Wonderful: A One-Month Yoga Training in India

I stared up at the ceiling as the howling laughter intensified around me — demonic cackles, warm chuckles and everything in between. Should I run? This was nuts. The girl next to me shook uncontrollably and tears rolled down her…

Kyrgyzstan-Bishkek

The Misfits of Crossroad Inn

In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 45-minutes from the Kazakh border, lies a compound run by a Japanese family whose gates only open to those at a crossroads. Travelers who find themselves within its walls are not swinging by for a night…

Railay Beach

Railay Beach: A Climber’s Escape

As the cliffs grew closer, we saw the outline of large, lithe creatures scurrying beneath the overhanging rock, their skin shiny and firm. I gasped as one fell, caught just feet above the sand by an attached rope, a…

Angkor ruins

Cambodia: Ancient & Easy

Think morning motorcycle rides and seafood on the beach. Though often overlooked, aside from the famed Angkor temples, Cambodia’s slow tempo, open spaces, solid infrastructure and friendliness, will win you over. Island hopping, ruin wandering and river floating are all on the itinerary,…

The Taj Mahal

Three “Must-sees” Worthy of the Hype

I have never laid eyes on the Mona Lisa, despite having visited Paris numerous times. My childhood home is 40 minutes from San Francisco, yet I have never stepped foot on the Golden Gate. In New York City, “Top…

Ladakh Feature

Ladakh: The Slower Side of India

Tibetan flags, weathered faces and muted colors greet you upon arrival. After a few weeks of moseying around Ladakh’s dusty mountains life takes on an addictive simplicity that steadies the pace, deepens the breath and slows the heart. The trip…

Manali-highway-feature

The Manali–Leh High(way)

Google Manali–Leh Highway and the first couple of hits you’ll find include dangerousroads.org and thrillophilia.com, the sort of websites whose hyperboles I tend to take with a grain of salt. As I noted the rusted underbellies of the vehicles…

Horse-drawn carriages in Bagan, Myanmar

Myanmar: The Good, The Bad & The Paradoxical

“How was Myanmar?” Pause. Awkward pause. Four years on and I’m still not sure how to answer that question. The country? Beautiful. The locals? Welcoming. But the trip itself… Sometimes the stars align and you take a vacation where…

Varanasifeature2

Varanasi in the Flesh

When I think of Varanasi I think of bodies. They’re everywhere, some living, some not. The shores of the river are where they gather. If the city had a heartbeat, the Ganges would be its source. The banks are alive. Corpses burn…

Istanbul

Istanbul: The End of the Road

Istanbul is the end of the road – the Silk Road namely – the point on the map where the East and West come to a head: symbolically, geographically and, in many ways, ideologically. It’s situated on the Bosphorus strait, which stretches…

Empty Jeeps waiting to enter China and fill up on goods

Helping Hands: Crossing the Mongolian Border

What I noticed first were the hands. Heavy, no-nonsense, working hands. Hands that lift and carry and squeeze. Okay, I might be exaggerating a little and even flirting with political incorrectness, but it’s what I remember. As we moved…

The Lost Travelers of Vang Vieng

From afar Vang Vieng looked like any number of small towns in Laos. Dramatic limestone cliffs framed the sunset as we dropped into the karst canyon from the north. We took a mini bus into town from the main…

India feature 2

Dust & Spices: Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh & Delhi

We entered Punjab via Amritsar near the Pakistani border, heading south from mountainous Himachal Pradesh. We’d just spent almost a month exploring areas near Ladakh in the Jammu and Kashmir state and ten days meditating in a vipassana. By now we thought we had…

China: The Enigma in Pictures

Some would say that entering China is like stepping back in time. Others would say it’s like stepping into the future. Whatever it is, it’s captivating, confusing, incredible and sometimes overwhelming. It’s a place of superlatives. You love it…