Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
 
 
Adventure
 
Blue Flame-1
Blue Flame-1
Blue Flame-1

Blue Flame Java Lava: A Gas Mask Shenanigan

Strolling around town in a gas mask—like carrying a machete—is a profound and magical experience that everyone should endeavor at least once. It has the power to make the most mundane daily chores feel like a daring and cavalie...
 
Adventure
 

Bungle in the Jungle, Five Days in the Hide: An Ill-Fated Search for the Rare and Elusive Nasalis Larvatus

“Hell is not hot, or cold. Nor is it deep below ground, or somewhere in the sky. Instead it is a place on Earth filled with sucking bogs, disfiguring diseases, and millions of tiny flesh-eating creatures. Hell is a jungle, and ...
 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
jjimjilbang3-1
jjimjilbang3-1
jjimjilbang3-1

THE JJIMJILBANG DIARIES (Part 2): The Gateway to Hell is in The Basement of a Seoul Department Store

This is the second half of the two part saga The Jjimjilbang Diaries. To read the first half, check out “The Jjimjilbang Diaries (Part One): Six Days Naked in a Hot Tub Full of Old, Dirty Korean Men FOR SURVIVAL“ Il...

 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
Postcard from Seoul-4
Postcard from Seoul-4
Postcard from Seoul-4

Off the Eaten Path: A Culinary Tour of Korea (Part One)

At first, I thought it was dead. At least in most corners of the globe, this is what you assume when something is placed before you on a platter and you are handed metal chopsticks. But this was not ‘most corners of the globe;’...
 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
Hitchhikers Tale from the Gobi-6
Hitchhikers Tale from the Gobi-6
Hitchhikers Tale from the Gobi-6

The Long Road To Nowhere: A Hitchhiker’s Tale from Outer Mongolia

On the third day, I made a sea-change decision: I thought, if I ever get out of this miserable desert, I’m going to write my first postcard ever. “Sunny Greetings from the Gobi!” it will say, happily scrawled over a stark, grey...
 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
Jiankou Wall-1 copy
Jiankou Wall-1 copy
Jiankou Wall-1 copy

Guilty as Charged

If Purgatory exists, I imagine it looks something like the Concord District Courthouse’s waiting room: a torturous realm of eternal, soul-sucking silence; overly air-conditioned, reeking of floor cleaner, lined with wooden benc...

 
Adventure
 
Bibi Jawindi-1
Bibi Jawindi-1
Bibi Jawindi-1

Detained in Bahawalpur

Nearly two months have passed since my ill-fated journey to Bahawalpur, since my sixteen-hour CIA interrogation in a dirty, Pakistani hotel room, since they threatened to shut down my website if I publicized the story. I’m hopi...
 
Adventure
 
Rukn i Alam-1
Rukn i Alam-1
Rukn i Alam-1

Flirting with Afghanistan: The Smugglers’ Bazaar

It was a dangerous idea to try to go to Peshawar, but its Siren’s call promised romance, intrigue, and adventure: a legendary Silk Road city of traders, warriors, and poets, a place where a hairy Pashtun might offer you four ca...
 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
Meanwhile in China-1
Meanwhile in China-1
Meanwhile in China-1

The Star Spangled Detour

Last night, I ate spicy Chongqing hotpot in Beijing. This morning, I ate pita with feta and hummus in Istanbul. It’s now lunch time, and I am sitting in a sticky booth at a McDonald’s in downtown Brooklyn, weeping nostalgically...

 
Adventure
 
goatcover
goatcover
goatcover

GoatBall Superstar, Afghan Hero

The afternoon sun slanted across the District Chief of Police’s office as he sat glowering at me in his oversized armchair, gnashing his teeth like some rabid, Pashtun muppet. Sitting in his line of fire, I smiled at nothing in...