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Travel-related thoughts on life

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If you're visiting this page for the first time, you'll find it's mostly about travelling and having weird and wonderful experiences on the road. I spent three years living and working in Japan (definitely weird, definitely wonderful), so you might be interested in visiting the Japan Files for a look at school life in Japan, along with my many--and sometimes amusing--insights into Japanese culture.

Most recently I spent--along with all of my savings--six months travelling in Mexico, the South Pacific, and around Southeast Asia. Lots of good stories to tell and photos to show...

Viva Mexico!
Dreams of Fiji
Kiwi Country
Land of Oz
"Jalan-jalan" in Indonesia
Thailand: From trekking to techno"
Trekking and other feats in Nepal
Holiday in Cambodia
From Saigon through the Mekong in eight days
The island of Malapascua, Philippines
Hawaii on a (very low) budget
Harrisonburg, Virginia?

In Mexico, I spent time in Irapuato, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Oaxaca, and Mexico City. Pre-hispanic ruins, pyramids, Zapotec indians, cruising el zocalo...Era fabuloso mis amigos! Check it out. Mexico photo here.

From Mexico I journeyed on to Fiji where I fell in love with the island culture and some of the friendliest people I've ever encountered on this earth. I visited Sigatoka, Suva, and finally made my way to the island of Leleuvia--a Gilligan-esque paradise where there's nothing to do but step out onto the beach from your little grass hut, enjoy the sunshine and the fresh fish caught daily, and sit under the stars and moon drinking kava and singing along to the guitar at night. Lonely Planet on-line has quoted me here. Also check out some awesome Fiji photos.

The next logical stop from Fiji is New Zealand, a quirky country made up of friendly Kiwis (an endearing term for New Zealanders), amazing topography, fascinating culture (the indigenous Maori), and for anyone with an adrenalin fetish, it is the risk-your-life capital of the world. I dove out of a plane at 9,000 feet and climbed a glacier, while others climbed city skyscrapers ("urban rap jumping") and bungeed from unimaginable locales and heights. Stop in to see some photos.

Cruised the East Coast of Australia for several weeks via Oz Experience, a backpacker bus filled with raucous globe-trotters. Australia's a funny place with lots of very odd critters found nowhere else in the world. And the Aussies get a gold star for generally having the best sense of humor of all the major English-speaking nations. Oz photos...

One of my favorite places in Southeast Asia is Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country made up of thousands of islands. I've been back three years in a row, dancing all night long and mingling with the riff-raff of Bali, but also enjoying the intrigue and exotic-ness of Java. Indonesia is not to be missed on the Southeast Asia backpacking circuit. If you're interested in knowing more about me and how I got bitten by a "mosquito" (long-haired Indonesian boy), you might wanna read this. Some photos also.

Thailand is always a treat, and Bangkok, in my eyes, is not half as bad as everyone tells you it is. I went north to Chiang Mai for elephant trekking and visits to hilltribe villages, then south to the island of Koh Samui and surrounding Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and Nangyuan for snorkelling, sunbathing, and all-night revelry. More photos.

My mother and I had a brilliant time in Nepal where we hoofed around Kathmandu and then took a 12-day trek in the Solokhumbu (Everest) region. Yaks, Tibetan Buddhism, Sherpas, the living-goddess, moonlight in the's all in there. I also trekked for a short while in the Annapurna region, an entirely different experience from Khumbu. (Photos from Solokhumbu.)

I'd heard great, strange, intriguing things about Cambodia, so I finally went there to discover it for myself. It's a weird place with a lot of middle-aged male ex-pats, sitting around discussing prostitutes and guns. After a few days there it all seems normal. But aside from the dark side of the Phnom Penh experience (the Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum), there are the ancient temples of Angkor Wat to mesmerize and astound. Mesmerizing photos here.

I did Saigon and five-days in the Mekong Delta when I went to Vietnam, another place you'll hear people complain about, but in the South, the places I visited, I had no problems with being ripped-off or people being downright rude--though my travel companion at the time reported nightmare occurrences as you move north to Hanoi. Anyway, I had a good time and there's nothing like seeing big, fat, ornery sows running along the orange beaches of Ha Tien on the Gulf of Thailand, or dancing with a toothless Vietnamese grandma to Santana tunes in the streets of Chau Doc. Photos to come.

The Philippine island of Malapascua was a great chill-out place for me and two Norwegian friends I'd met in Fiji. That's all I saw of the Philippines, but it was a great first impression and the twelve year-old boys we danced with on the beach at night will remain in our hearts forever. Photos to come.

Several springs back I did Hawaii's Kaua'i and Honolulu on a budget--awesome trip and lots of details here of where to stay, what to do, and how to do it.

Back in the States I took a few weeks to visit an old friend and her family down in Harrisonburg, Virginia, a town with an odd menagerie of hippie-folk, college kids, alcoholics, derelicts, and hillbillies. My friends own and run a funky little restaurant called The Little Grill where all of the above descend on a regular basis and make life just a little more interesting. Harrisonburg photos, too.

Have a look at the completePhoto Gallery from my travels and three years in Japan.

Going somewhere? On a plane or in your mind, books'll help you to get there.
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So yeah, I'm a writer, trying to get published here and there, waiting anxiously for National Geographic to contact me for my big assignment. Meanwhile I settle for being published in whatever magazines will accept my work. Here are a few that have so far.

When I'm not writing, I'm working at whatever job pays, but if you're a prospective employer, I'm qualified to write, edit, proofread, promote, publish, circulate, establish office systems, teach English, clean toilets, dance on tables...Here's my resume.

"The Politics of Meaning" is a wonderful book by Michael Lerner, editor/publisher of Tikkun Magazine and a champion for incorporating a spiritual approach into our modern-day mess of politics and social chaos. He's got some pretty progressive things to say, and it's a relief to know that there are alternative ideas out there that could feasibly work if "someone" (those morons in Washington, and half the country for that matter) would be willing to listen and try something different. Here's a taste of what Lerner talks about.

Music makes my world go round, keeps me sane, makes me think, connects me to the past and to other people. Songs remind me of where I am or was, and when, and what it meant to me at the time. Ultimately music reminds me of the important things in life. Here are some words and music to live by...

Whaddya want? Concert tickets? movie tickets? a ticket to ride?
You can get it all here:


to travel resources, friends, and groovy places on the Web.

Infinite wisdom:
To paraphrase Buddha, choosing the Middle Way involves keeping your log from getting caught in the bushes on the "extremes" of the river bank.

Thought for the day:
May you always keep your log from getting caught in the bushes.

If you still cling to earthly things and you're looking for a good place to shop anonymously
(so people won't know that you're not that enlightened),
stop in here...

"If you can explain everything, what's left to believe in?"
--Star Trek Voyager

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