Oct 082009
A Fantastic Vietnam Birthday

Really now, your birthday evening cannot be anything but FABULOUS when it kicks off by receiving the following email:

“Happy b-day Ms. Marshin. Thanks for everything u did for me at Ctown. U shudda took me wit you on this world wide trip. But it’s all good– u still my Home Dogg. – Terrence”

I laughed uproariously, then wrote back with love from Vietnam. Thank the heavens and [...Read More!]

Oct 072009
Birthday Realization: A Vice May be a Boon!

Reflect for a moment: What is something you absolutely adore (it makes your heart pitter pat and wakes you up in the morning with excitement), but which drives everyone around you absolutely CRAZY?

For me, one of these things was my Internet addiction.

Picture this: I would be having a perfectly delightful evening with my closest friends, then I would spot an unsupervised computer in the next room. Excusing myself [...Read More!]

Oct 072009
A Terrifying and Amazing Update from a Traveling Friend

I just found out that my first friend in Thailand was almost killed recently.

“I have a story for you,” Anish typed to me from his medical school in Aruba.

I was prepared for a joke or a piece of gossip– not the heart-stopping story that followed.

“You remember those sacred tattoos I got by that monk in Thailand?” he asked. “They’re called Sak Yants. One was done with tiger fat mixed [...Read More!]

Oct 062009
A Humble Birthday Present Request

Tomorrow, October 7th, is my twenty-eighty birthday! Huzzah!!! I may or may not be on a seven hour bus ride to the central mountains of Vietnam, but we’ll deal with that later.

In the meantime, do you desire to give me a small gift? If so, here is my present request: please forward this website to one or two people who you think might enjoy it, or (let’s be [...Read More!]

Oct 052009
$10 Touristic Day Package Joy

I am fundamentally a lazy bum. Therefore, I usually kick and scream when friends try to get me to mobilize for touristic productivity. But you know what? I always thank them for it in the end. Check out what $10 and seven hours buys you in fantastic Mui Ne, Vietnam…

1. Meet your jeep driver at any of the one hundred tourist kiosks where you booked your trip. [...Read More!]

Oct 052009
The $30 a Day Budget Secret

A major goal of this blog is to show folks who think they don’t have the luxury to travel that it’s actually easier and cheaper than you think. The key is to get yourself to a “Developing Country”, aka, a country less rich than yours. Basically, if you save up for the $300 flight to Latin America, or reeaaaally save up for the $700+ ticket to Southeast Asia, you [...Read More!]

Oct 042009
A New Appreciation of Japan

I’ll admit it: when I was in Japan for those ten days in August, I didn’t get it. Everything was so quiet… so mercilessly efficient and effective… so… helpful! The fact that the trains were on time to the MILLISECOND made my free-spirited soul panic.

And yet, I am now starting to get it.

Sitting in Saigon’s hottest new cafe, the Japanese-run “Ministry of Food” (“MOF”), I gazed at my green tea [...Read More!]

Oct 042009
How do you Choose Where to Stay?

Five hours out of Ho Chi Minh City, our bus trundled into Mui Ne: a beautiful coastal town in South-Central Vietnam. What followed nicely illustrates my current hotel selection process whilst solo, budget backpacking in new and far-off places. Perhaps this strategy may work for you in the future!

1. Pre-research the location through a guidebook, but acknowledge the guidebook’s out-of-date-ness.

Ahh Lonely Planet Guidebook– it’s been good for basic background [...Read More!]

Oct 032009
The Vietnam War Remnants Museum

The Vietnam war slashed its knife through America. My parents marched in anti-war protests, sprinting from billy-club smashing police, and aching with frustration at the movement’s powerlessness to stop the conflict. My father became a teacher to avoid being thrown into the bloody battle overseas; others were tragically drafted and deployed. Even today, new Vietnam War films, books, and stories emerge each month. The Vietnam war is [...Read More!]

Oct 032009
Banh Xeo: The Heavenly Chicken Pancake

This next post is dedicated to the witty, wise, and w-ridiculous Ray Newton (pictured, right, in the classy purple shirt). Ray was a student in my English class for four straight years (the lucky duck!) from ninth grade to twelfth. I watched Ray grow from a sunglasses-wearing pup who stared in awe at the Aquarium fishtanks during our field trip until we forcibly pulled him out, to a sunglasses-wearing [...Read More!]