CARDWELL, Australia — The bus pulls over, and I am the first to jump out of it. It has been hours since our last stop. If internal organs could talk, my bladder would be throwing profanities at me, and my stomach would be hysterically begging for something to digest other than itself.

Coming from Cairns, we continue our Great Australian Adventure southward to the small Queensland town called Airlie Beach. But the distance between the two demands a full day of land travel. Fortunately, there are a few stops. This is one of them. It looks like I’m going to have a lovely meal here in… wait. What is this place?

“Cardwell,” reads the sign.

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Smile, Mate!

DARWIN, Australia — I stop in my tracks for two things: the delicious scent of grilled chicken is becoming too difficult to ignore, and the sunset’s afterglow illuminating the night market is just too irresistible not to be captured. I take a deep breath, raise my camera, and work the shutter. When I put my…



GUILIN, China — I stretch my arm into the air to draw an imaginary river, but it is met with another highly baffled look by the woman in front of me. “Tour. Li River. Yangshuo,” I said while trying my darnedest to conceal my frustration. Spirit of Mulan, guide me. It has come down to…

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In the Company of Two Rivers

LUANG PRABANG, Laos — “To the city center,” I say to the tuktuk driver. The bus from Vang Vieng arrived in Luang Prabang much later than scheduled and I did not anticipate reaching the city at this time. It’s already evening, and my awkward social qualities made sure I didn’t make any friends during the…

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House of Open Doors: The Manila You Don’t Know

MANILA, Philippines — Guidebooks paint two-dimensional portraits of Manila: Intramuros here, Chinatown there, traffic everywhere. Online accounts reveal all her glaring flaws: she’s noisy, highly disorganized, a little suffocating, and totally insane. Yoshke Dimen takes a leap of faith in this sorely misunderstood megacity in search of her good side and finds that only those…


Two Years Later

PARIS, France — “Promise me you’ll come to Paris,” she managed to say in between strides. Each step was swift and fleeting. We were chasing time, trying to catch the opening of a puppet show. It was astonishing how we could still have a conversation in the middle of the erratic barrage of motorbike traffic…

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Barefoot and Nameless

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Other than taking a break from the joyful impermanence of the nomadic lifestyle, the only good thing about my self-imposed travel ban is the opportunity to desperately long for the road again. The wait, the crave, the anticipation, the minute before a cartoon show begins and the wide-eyed child stares at the screen, hoping for…



ZHANGJIAJIE, China — He looks at my passport, and I know something is not right. The bank teller stares at my currency exchange form and gives me a look I can’t decipher. My stay in Zhangjiajie is ending, and I need some yuan to catch the last train out. His fingers tap the desk anxiously,…

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Trust Issues

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