ASIA | Our Fondest, Dearest Farewell

Throughout my entire childhood, I always wanted to see the world. I pictured myself in Paris, Athens, and anywhere else exotic. Though I always wanted to see Asia, I just never imagined that it could have become a reality at such a young age. However, the more I travel, the more I realize how lucky we are as Westerners to be afforded such a wealth of opportunity – we can leave... Read More

Japan | Last Asian Adventure: Tokyo

Our departure from Kyoto happened on the perfect day, as it was too dreary to do much more than sit in a surprisingly luxurious bus piled to the nines with obscure snacks. Japan’s scenery is exquisitely pretty, filled with rolling hills covered in lush greens and purples. And the air is clear! Such an agreeable change from China. Unfortunately, it turns out that finding anything... Read More

Japan | Himeji, Kyoto, and a Few Really Long Days

Given the prices of rail passes in Japan (seriously, I’m still on about the $80 cantaloupes), we decided to make a really long day of it and work our way to Himeji, return to Osaka for our things, then leave for Kyoto. Happily, the train systems in Japan are superb, and the whole experience was pleasant. Even wandering Himeji blindly was uneventful, by and large. The Himeji Castle,... Read More

Japan | Osaka is Bustling, We Are Starving

The first thing I will say is that we miss China for the sake of food. You really could just stumble upon any random bricked hole in the wall and emerge with a full stomach and happy demeanor. In Japan, you pay a minimum of $6 for any kind of meal, and portions are stingy, to say the least. I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that I have witnessed multiple $80 cantaloupes... Read More

China | Nothing Beats the Shanghai Skyline

Shanghai had us by our first meal, which was a delectable 6-yuan bowl of noodles served to us in a garage, next to a car. We literally ate next to a car. Upon arrival, my feet were a frightening kind of swollen – the kind of engorgement that causes alarmed looks from passersby. After a fiasco searching for a room, we found a clean and modern hostel where we could recover from... Read More

China | The Greatness of the Wall

After yet another really terrible train ride, we rolled into Beijing before dawn and headed to the Russian district, where my friend Reed is nice enough to house the three of us. He took us to breakfast in his neighborhood and we gaped as he ordered in rapid Chinese that was comprehensible enough to get us soup and what can most easily be termed ‘oil sticks.’ Once he... Read More

China | Longmen Grottoes

Well, yesterday went so flawlessly that the next day couldn’t have possibly followed suit. Indeed, somewhere in between taking out train tickets and handing off train tickets, we were one ticket short. It was so bizarre – like it vanished into thin air. In this way, we lost our fourth travel partner, Luke, as we had to sent him off to Luoyang so he could see the Grottoes... Read More

China | Terracotta, Please

Oh, the train. Why did we choose to take this not-so-rapid beast for several days, when our only comfort was the brief upgrade to sleeper class and fried rape (which, turns out, is soggy veggie stems of some kind)? To see the views of course. While nice they were, this is China after all. The train to Golmud (Geermu) is crowded and long, without any mercy from the poorly padded... Read More

Tibet | What a World

Tibet is one place I never imagined I would see. It’s cold, high, and mostly inpenetrable – not to mention occupied by heavy military forces and difficult to travel to. And yet, here we are, surrounded by Mars-like vistas and snowy peaks. It’s truly another world here, more isolated than most of the planet, and bizarre in landscape. Few colors contribute to the... Read More

Nepal | Thank You, Kathmandu

Kathmandu has been nothing like expected, and such a welcome from India. Truly, this is a case for the people making a city. Perhaps it is the mountains, but the Nepalese are beyond wonderful, full of smiles and warmth. We have spent over a week in and around Kathmandu, now joined by Brent, with no plans except relaxing, eating, and booking our Tibet tour. Surprisingly, many people... Read More