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 […]

Getting lost by Wat Arun, Bangkok, Thailand

The internet is a great place to get lost in. Oftentimes you’ll find yourself in a warm pile of smelly bullshit. But if you manage to get around it, there’s some really thought-provoking, entertaining and valuable stuff out there. So for the love of learning, here’s five things worth reading online today: 1. Dear Guy Who Just […]

Palm trees and beachside lounging at The Sea, Koh Samui

Koh Samui may be famous for its luxury resorts, but there’s also plenty of local atmosphere – if you can tear yourself away from your swimming pool. This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of Bangkok 101. Read it here.  Towering palm trees and flamboyant orange blooms of the Poinciana tree line the […]

Sarah and Chrissy at THe Chill Resort Pool on Koh Chang

The “Every Island” adventure: Thailand has more than 300 islands; 100 of which are accessible to humans (read: they’ve been inhabited and developed to varying degrees). That’s over 2,000 miles of tropical coastline, guys. I’ve set a realistic goal of visiting all 100 of those which are accessible. And some of the inaccessible ones. (Just kidding, Mom and […]

Monk at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Bask in the glory of Angkor Wat before hitting Cambodia’s provincial backroads. This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of Bangkok 101. Read it here. Just before the sun rises over Angkor Wat, the most imposing temple at Angkor Archaeological Park, the crowds muffle their chatter. The silhouettes of its five towers against […]

Cleveland Ohio skyline

1. We’re Diverse City, Ohio. Cleveland has the twelfth largest Polish population in the US. Those Poles immigrated to an area in Cleveland, set up kielbasa and peirogi shops on every corner, and called it Slavic Village. Like OPEC and its petroleum-exporting countries, these sausage shops might as well have been a cartel. But you’d be […]