Nov 242009
 
Thai Massage's Sexy Reputation

“A question, please,” said my classmate Olivia shyly. “In Brazil we don’t have this idea, but I hear that in America and Europe, Thai massage sometimes is, um… well… how you say…” “Linked with prostitution?” I asked. Olivia’s face lit up and then flushed bright red. “Um, yes.” “Oh absolutely!” I said, thinking of all the joke emails from friends I currently have in my Inbox in reaction to the news that [...Read More!]

Nov 222009
 
An Ode to Me-Cation Hermit Time

“We’d take a last embrace, she whispering to me, “Jesus, what am I going to do now?” …But the moment I left her my head cleared. It was another kind of music, not so croony but good just the same.”(p. 170 in Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer“)

  Partially in celebration of Miller’s wise words, and partly because I really freaking needed it after three months of hardcore travel, I have been a [...Read More!]
Nov 212009
 
Budget Travel Tip: Uber-Expensive Hotels

A gloriously counter-intuitive budget travel secret: crazy expensive hotels are your friends!

Have you ever woken up in your perfectly comfortable but not exactly luxurious $7 hotel room (pictured, right) and thought, “Geez, man, I could stand to feel bit more like a Prince/Princess today.”? Of course you have.

(Okay, literally, as I was just sitting on my $7 bed writing that last paragraph, an ant crawled up the mattress and onto [...Read More!]

Nov 192009
 
...And Then the British Lass Stole his Passport

(Note: This is a seedy, spicy, shocking story that happened a few weeks ago in Laos, which I am only now at liberty to recount. Be assured, though, that the end comes with a wholesome lesson. The accompanying photos are utterly unrelated (sorry, but I couldn’t really have photos of the folks in this sketchy story!), and were taken tonight at the gorgeous Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai, Thailand: my current [...Read More!]

Nov 172009
 
On Cabbages and Condoms

“Ew, miss,” said the straight-A student from the table across the classroom, “No one uses condoms anymore.”

“WHAT?!” I screamed, choking on my tea. “NO!!!”

The conversation had started innocently enough. Two sweet students had lingered after school to catch up on homework and (let’s face it) flirt with each other. The topic of our school’s endless teen pregnancies came up, and I began to inquire about current safer sex [...Read More!]

Nov 142009
 
An Update on the Around the World Itinerary

Sheesh, folks, calm yourselves!

After posting my flight plan changes (staying in Southeast Asia until late December and postponing the Dubai/Turkey leg) I received a veritable barrage of flustered emails. Let’s answer some of the questions you posed to see if we can all soothe our souls a bit.

Q: “Why aren’t you going to Turkey or Dubai?? I really want to hear your perspective on those [...Read More!]

Nov 142009
 
The Heavenly Mekong Riverboat

I cursed foully when my friends electronically forced me to take the two day riverboat up the Mekong.

“You’ve taken every other form of transport!” hollered one chum. “Another bus would just be boring for us to read about.”

“Grr, then,” I grumbled, and fearfully hopped aboard.

Today, however, emerging from an absolutely delicious two days on the water, I bless you, oh prophetic souls, for your forceful mandate!

I HIGHLY recommend [...Read More!]

Nov 122009
 
How Do You Know Where to Go?

For years, it has been my fantasy to be one of those columnists who dips into her mail pool to answer reader questions… and (dah da da DAH!) that day has finally come!

“Could you please tell me,” asked a kind reader, “How do you choose which places to visit? Do you have it all planned in advance? Do your plans change?”

Here is the multi-part answer, adorned in the background [...Read More!]

Nov 112009
 
An Irish Expat's Insight into Luang Prabang

(Note: The photos that accompany this article are from around Luang Prabang, Laos, including a free Lao fashion show at a local restaurant.)

“It’s crazy to hear all the tourists come into this bar saying, ‘Oh, the Lao people are so simple and shy and sweet!’ ” said Clara, her magenta lipstick and hearty Irish face framed by graying blond hair.

“I’ve been working here in Luang Prabang for three years now, [...Read More!]

Nov 102009
 
The Tourist Trail Versus Other Budget Ways to See the World

I used to hate whirlwind tourists and avoid any famous site like a high schooler avoids homework. After three months of hardcore Tourist Trail backpacking around Asia, however, I’ve grown to see the fabulosity in every type of travel.

Let’s look at some of these varied ways to see the world on a budget, in order from least “touristy” to most “touristy”…

(In the background, please enjoy scenes from Luang Prabang, Laos!)

The [...Read More!]