If you’re going through a dark night of the soul, you might as well pass the time in a beautiful place.That’s what I was thinking as my hour-long Qantas flight from Melbourne began its descent to Sydney. Australia has long been a place of joy and peace for me, and Sydney in particular. Ever since I first stumbled into town five years ago, when I was denied boarding on a flight from Brisbane to Nauru (long story), I’ve been coming back every chance I get. This time felt different because, well, I’m different. I’ve been judging the days on a 1-10 scale, and I get excited—at least moderately so—when I feel higher than a 3. And so as the flight lands in Sydney and I take the airport train to the city, bracing myself against an onset of anxiety, I begin my self-talk. Read More
It was long ago and it was far away, and it was so much better than it is today.
I had an eclectic taste in music when I was a kid. Much of it came from my dad, who introduced me to Bob Dylan before I became more of a fan than he was. There was also Tom Petty (early years), Warren Zevon, and Bruce Springsteen at some point.
I was growing up at least ten or fifteen years late, in other words.
But our generation had an edge on the previous one when it came to technology, or so it seemed at the time. I'd saved for a Sony Walkman, a prized possession acquired at age eight, and over the next few years I recorded songs off the radio for later listening. Late at night, I’d play myself to sleep on many of those songs.Read More
Searching for a great cocktail in Australia is a quest of its own. For most Australians, a cocktail means "gin and tonic" or "margarita"—they have great wines in this part of the world, but legit mixed drinks are hard to come by.
That just means you have to look harder, of course.
I found a modern-day speakeasy hidden away in the Central Business District of Sydney. Finding the general area wasn’t difficult, but there was a trick to finding the speakeasy itself: you had to avoid an imposter bar located right outside. The imposter bar looked fine—just a normal pub with the typical overpriced drinks of Sydney.Read More
Greetings from my favorite country! I’m in Australia for a few days (no public events this time—just writing and enjoying paradise).And here’s a tip: my favorite country can be a little expensive. Consider it a tax on paradise, but just about everything you purchase may seen a tad high if you’re coming from the states. Oh, and many parts of the country are still waiting for the internet to arrive—but presumably that’s improving. Domestic flights within Australia can be pricey too, but there’s a great alternative option: redeem American Airlines miles for flights on Qantas. Read More
I love big cities, and always enjoy returning to Hong Kong, New York, and Sydney—among many others. But what about those unknown gems that are off the beaten tourist path… those obscure places that are just waiting to be explored by real travelers? Our new “Mini City Guides” are here to uncover those gems, and…Read More
During this magical phase of gifts from the gods of card issuers, Chase is offering a 60,000 point bonus on two popular cards—and yes, you can get both of them (though not usually on the same day—it's better to apply for one, get approved, then apply for the other a day later).Read More
Last week I flew to one of my favorite countries. Ever since I first got stuck in Australia after being denied boarding for Nauru, it turned into a country I love to escape to whenever I get the chance—especially the sunny city of Sydney. Only problem was, this time my favorite sunny city was in…Read More
On a day like last Saturday, you might find yourself wrapping up a whirlwind series of events in a fun East Asian country. You might be feeling the effects of little sleep and the need to be extroverted as you present yourself in various new and unfamiliar events. Hosting a talk show on Buddhist TV, for example, or perhaps being pelted by questions in the form of paper airplanes at a less formal event for readers. It will all have been wonderful, no doubt, but you'll also be in need of a change ...Read More
Australia is one of my favorite countries out of 188 visited so far, and I was thrilled to have an extended stay of five days there last week. I first went to Melbourne to speak at Darren Rowse's Problogger Event, a gathering for bloggers and other fun people from Australia. The event was well produced by Darren and team, with lots of interesting people working on all kinds of projects.Read More
It was all going so well. I had made it to three island countries in the Pacific: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau. All of them were interesting in their own way, if a bit small. OK, small isn’t the word: they were tiny. There is literally one road in Majuru, the capital of the Marshall…Read More