Ulaanbaatar and Sainshand, Mongolia

I threw vodka into the air above the offering circles as I read aloud the wish I’d written on a slip of paper.  Then I took off my shoes and lay on the… Continue reading

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Mongolia

Four days?  I thought our horse trek in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park was only supposed to last three days, but sure enough, it would be four.  Yikes.  Given that an hour or two of… Continue reading

Southern and Central Mongolia

Mongolians must love basketball.  At virtually every community and ger camp, no matter how small, we found a rickety backboard rising from a lonely field.  But not once in all our time in… Continue reading

The Gobi Desert, Mongolia, Part 2

According to our guide Bold, all Mongolian music is about just three things:  love, mothers, and horses.  Those are the most important aspects of Mongolian life, he claimed, and not necessarily in that… Continue reading

The Gobi Desert, Mongolia, Part 1

“How lost do you think we are?” whispered Marie. I stared out the window at vast emptiness in all directions.  We weren’t driving on a road, exactly – more like faint tire tracks… Continue reading

Halong Bay and Hanoi, Vietnam

Halong Bay is overrated.  Yes it’s beautiful, with countless limestone towers jutting up dramatically from the water.  But the hype goes too far.  Fodor’s describes it as “mind-blowing.”  Lonely Planet calls it “a… Continue reading

Sapa, Vietnam, Part 3

“Why you no bring your girlfriend?” the Hmong women asked.  “She no friendly?” “Sure Marie is friendly,” I said.  “Why wouldn’t she be friendly?” The women, laughing, reminded me that when I’d visited… Continue reading

Sapa, Vietnam, Part 2

When I visited Sapa in 2010 I brought my Hmong friends prints of the photos I’d taken of them in 2006.  Some of the other Hmong women heard I’d done that, which prompted… Continue reading

Sapa, Vietnam, Part 1

If civilization collapses, the Hmong who live around Sapa will be just fine.  They’d be inconvenienced, of course – many of them now have electricity, mobile phones, and motorcycles, and some earn their… Continue reading

Hanoi, Vietnam

“What is the best way to lead a meaningful life?” the Vietnamese student asked me. Wow, I thought, that escalated quickly.  His first two questions had been “Where are you from?” and “How… Continue reading