Landfill in the middle of Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

Sip cheap beer and watch cinematic sunsets. Eat sweet corn and do beach yoga. But don’t go for a run.

Livingstone Airport, Zambia.

I’ve been in Africa for four months now, but impressions from my first 24 hours in the region have been the most telling.


On the road — from Lesotho, to the Drakensburgs in South Africa, by way of cherry farm pitstops and lasagna ambitions.

Veggie pizza

Today, I’m back in Cleveland. But one month ago, Bali was home. I was briefly retired; scuba diving, surfing and yoga’ing my way around the island and its waters. Three months ago, I was convincing travelers their lives were safe in my hands and leading tours across Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. It’s […]

Tandoori Chicken Combination Set from Restoran Kumar in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia.

I’m going to India. Now, I’m known for saying things like that. I’m traveling the perimeter of Ireland this year. I’m changing the face (pun not intended) of limestone karst conservation in Vietnam. I’m becoming a motorbike taxi driver in Thailand; a scorpion wrangler in Malaysia. I really am going to India, though. In April. […]

Deep Water Soloing in Vietnam's Cat Ba Island with Asia Outdoors

The first time I saw the Andaman Sea’s waters, it gave me chills — all of those blues. I sat in the sand and tried to categorize the shades of blues and greens and aquas in front of me. I settled on turquoise, but that’s too generic and being unable to classify the shades is still […]

Nothing gets between me and my Calin Keluns.

Because I’ve been chuckling to myself and I need to share. 1. Skyping with family. I’ve been tracking developments back home. Dad’s rediscovered an accordion in the basement. My gorgeous sister Jeannette has cut her hair extremely short. It keeps me up at night. All I can do is groan about it. Meanwhile, her best friends […]


I just needed to get the shoulder strap on my backpack sewed back on. This is a task I thought would take awhile. But just around the block from our hotel near Khao San Road (the famous hedonistic and now commercialized backpacker street in Bangkok), there’s a little elderly Thai lady with a sewing machine […]

Cambodian Children

“Hey lady, tuk-tuk?” I hear from behind me, as I power walk my way down Street 134 in Phnom Penh. It comes from a pudgy, smiling Cambodian (Khmer) man, lounging in the backseat of his tuk-tuk. I turn around with a wide smile. Smiling is instinctual for me in Cambodia – a country with the most […]

Wat Suan Mokh and ten days of silent meditation. Almost there.

Silence was easy. It was the sitting that was difficult. Like painfully difficult. I had a two week vacation from work. The initial idea to go to Bali, Indonesia, and learn to surf wasn’t practical (flights were too expensive) and the Ireland trip was ill-timed (I’d need at least three weeks and the ability to commit […]

Strong, Vietnamese black(ish) coffee. Or liquor, or both. Who knows.

I am not going to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, I think to myself. I don’t feel like going to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. But, I have to go to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum is something I always suggest to my tour groups when visiting Hanoi. It’s what you do in Hanoi. Along […]

Sarah and scorpions. A love affair.

“You are crazy!” says an Aussie girl on my tour, looking at me with my arms outstretched. “Crazy in love,” I mumble to myself. Then I look at Appu. “Appu, I need, like, five more.” “We will see,” Appu, the Linebacker Scorpion King, replies. “They are very active right now.” “Active” can mean a lot […]

Shit, What O'Connor the Six String Acoustic

I believe in fate.  Fate has planned my next big adventure. It all started one weekend in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a Labyrinth. Yes, Labyrinth with a capital L, because it’s exactly like that trippy sci-fi George Lucas movie from the 80’s. In the film, a girl named Sarah (!) played by Jennifer […]

Take It Easy by the Eagles Tattoo

The advertisement read: “Koh Phi Phi Island Tour: Visit Maya Bay (“The Beach”), Snorkel with Bioluminescent Phytoplankton, Cliff-Jump…” Cliff-jumping?! All that time spent entertaining the idea that one day I’d play Sylvester Stallone’s counterpart in the next installment of Rambo, cliff-jumping in Acapulco… well, this could be my opportunity. I paid 800 baht and signed […]


Know who to trust. Stereotypes can fool you. I learned this walking out of Home Depot. I had gone there with the presumption that this was the mecca of male knowledge. Home Depot, where answers to every carpentry question I ever had existed. Where the nuances of primer and sealant make sense. Where my concerns […]


“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it.”