Back home in Seattle, I wanted different kinds of stories, problems, discoveries and connections than my 9-5 was giving me. So I quit my job and moved abroad. Three years later, I’m living in Thailand and currently planning my next move.Read More
In Northern Thailand I sit in the Udon Thani airport eating a custard pastry. It costs 20 baht (60 cents). Along with a cup of coffee ($1.10), it is my joy. I sit across from the Dairy Queen—hugely popular in this part of Asia—and reflect on my day. Getting here required a bit of soft adventure. In this case I paid $3 for a 30-minute tuk tuk ride from Vientiane, Laos to the Thai–Laos border, then $6 from the border to Udon Thani airport, another 30 kilometers away.Read More
When I haven't been contemplating the puzzle of how to do everything, I've been planning my final international trip of the year. Yes, it's only July, but come September, I hit the road to meet readers in 63 cities for the Unconventional Book Tour. Therefore, next month's trip is my final chance to get in a couple of new countries before putting my Frequent Flyer cards back in the drawer for a long four months.Read More
The title of this post is somewhat of a misnomer: I almost never experience travel that is truly stress-free. For starters, not all travel can or should be predictable. Sometimes the unexpected is better than the planned.
Secondly, not all stress is bad, because some of the most challenging times in our lives are the most stressful. No risk, no glory—that kind of thing.
Yet, when heading out into the world, it helps to control as many variables as you can. I'd rather experience travel stress related to something fun than something preventable that was my own fault. With that in mind, here's a primer on low-stress travel—and your contributions are welcome too.Read More
When I wasn’t playing ping-pong and visiting Dunkin’ Donuts, I passed up the chance to visit Cambodia in 2002. After a few weeks in Bangkok, Jolie and I ended up in a small village a few miles from the Cambodian border. There wasn’t much happening there, and one day someone said, “Hey, why don’t we go to Cambodia?”
We looked into it and learned that the visa would cost $20 upon arrival. The transport to get there and back would have been another $10, and for some reason I decided that $30 was too much to spend for a short visit across the border.Read More
The Japanese man sitting next to me looks back and forth between the video and me. Finally, he takes off his headphones and asks, “Wrong movie?”
Yes. Wrong movie.
The wrong movie plays for nearly three minutes before it is turned off by a flight attendant. She comes on the p.a. after another three minutes. “Ladies and gentlemen… sorry… we can’t find the arrival video for Japan. If you have any questions about Japan, let us know.”
Other than that, the 11-hour flight across the Pacific is uneventful. I arrive in Narita and quickly transfer to a Cathay Pacific flight for Hong Kong. Another five hours goes by as I fitfully sleep in the back of the plane.Read More