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    China
     
    Radiation Run-1

    A Dream Deferred: The End of Backpackology?

    When I finally penned my response to Men’s Journal (at three in the morning) (over one week late), I was sitting amongst cockroaches on my hotel room floor, stripped down to my underwear, high as a rocket ship on mysterious Chi...
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    Adventures in Backpackistan!
     
    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...
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    Adventure
     
    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...
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    Adventure
     
    Taliban Grimace-2

    Walnuts & Machine Guns: A Taliban Tale

    A man with a machine gun has been following me for the last five days. His name is Zia, and he is very, very shy, especially for a man with a machine gun. He first started shadowing me in the town of Chitral, near the end of my...
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    Adventures in Backpackistan!
     
    WrongPancakeRaw-4

    The Wrong Pancake

    For this week, I intended on writing a story about terrifying street-food in Rangoon… but then I arrived in the mountain village of Kalaw, and suffered an incident so absurd that I couldn’t resist sharing my tale immediately. T...
  •  
    China
     
    Radiation Run-1

    A Dream Deferred: The End of Backpackology?

    When I finally penned my response to Men’s Journal (at three in the morning) (over one week late), I was sitting amongst cockroaches on my hotel room floor, stripped down to my underwear, high as a rocket ship on mysterious Chi...
  •  
    Adventures in Backpackistan!
     
    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...
  •  
    Adventure
     
    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...
  •  
    Adventure
     
    Taliban Grimace-2

    Walnuts & Machine Guns: A Taliban Tale

    A man with a machine gun has been following me for the last five days. His name is Zia, and he is very, very shy, especially for a man with a machine gun. He first started shadowing me in the town of Chitral, near the end of my...
  •  
    Adventures in Backpackistan!
     
    WrongPancakeRaw-4

    The Wrong Pancake

    For this week, I intended on writing a story about terrifying street-food in Rangoon… but then I arrived in the mountain village of Kalaw, and suffered an incident so absurd that I couldn’t resist sharing my tale immediately. T...

 
Latest Posts
 
 
 
Backpackology 101
 
Culture Shock-2
Culture Shock-2
Culture Shock-2

Travel Tip #1: Culture Shock, Travel Challenges, and the Order of Countries

Backpackology is a bit of a misnomer—it implies that there is something scientific, perhaps educational; that there’s something to learn.  While this was my original intent, I instead mostly just talk about my bowel movements, ...
 

 
China
 
Uighur Food-1
Uighur Food-1
Uighur Food-1

Wednesday Wanderings: Uighur Food of the Kashgar Night Market

If you’ve never woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of your own screams after suffering traumatic, reoccurring dreams the revolve around mutton fat, then you haven’t spent too much time in the Xinjiang province of ...
 

 
 
Culture
 
Karakoram Highway-15a
Karakoram Highway-15a
Karakoram Highway-15a

The Karakoram Highway

When I tell people that my favorite country thus far has been Pakistan, I often receive horrified stares, as if I’ve just admitted that I enjoy licking squirrels or pooping in jam jars.  But what people don’t realize is that Pa...
 

 
Backpackology 101
 
Trip Planning-1
Trip Planning-1
Trip Planning-1

The Art of Trip Planning

I’m writing this article for my younger brother, who, with all due respect, is about to make a terrible mistake. “Steve!” he exclaimed over the phone. “I’m coming to visit you in Thailand for New Years! I’m booking my flight no...
 

 
 
China
 
Kashgar Livestock-1
Kashgar Livestock-1
Kashgar Livestock-1

Wednesday Wanderings: The Former Nation of East Turkestan

It’s hard to stabilize a video camera when you’re being stampeded by a crowd of bedraggled Uighur shepherds, when you’re tripping over barnyard critters and women with gold-plated teeth and painted unibrows are screaming foreig...
 

 
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...
 

 
Backpackology 101
 
Travelers Diarrhea-2
Travelers Diarrhea-2
Travelers Diarrhea-2

Everything You Never Knew You Didn’t Want to Know About Traveler’s Diarrhea

After three months of dread-filled anticipation, it was in Kannur, India, at the ironically named “Hotel Happiness,” that I finally got what was coming to me. The first wave of nausea ripped me awake at about 2:45AM, and within...
 

 
 
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...
 

 
 
Inspiration
 
World HIghlights-5
World HIghlights-5
World HIghlights-5

Guest Blogger Michael Spencer Bown: The Top 80 Highlights of the World

An unexpected benefit of visiting ‘dangerous’ places like Pakistan is that it affords you the opportunity to meet some fascinating people. They’re never tourists; they’re travelers, adventurers, lunatics, or some hazardous cock...
 

 
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...
 

 
 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
1000 Egg-1
1000 Egg-1
1000 Egg-1

The 1,000 Year Old Egg (and the Three Penis Wine)

Grocery shopping with a Chinese local is a bit like doing mushrooms for the first time. You gingerly step through the automatic doors, and tumble head first down the rabbit hole, into an alien world of saccharine colors and cha...
 

 
Culture
 
Pashtunwali-3
Pashtunwali-3
Pashtunwali-3

The Way of the Pashtunwali

For this week’s special Photo Travelogue, there won’t be any happy postcards. Nor will I be striking wacky, douchebag poses in front of historical buildings. Nor will you see the usual cheery colors and smiling kiddies from the...
 

 
 
Culture
 
Border Closing-1-2
Border Closing-1-2
Border Closing-1-2

Last* Wednesday Wanderings: The Closing of the Border

I would have posted this last Wednesday, but I just so happened to be ankle-deep in yak shit with some nomadic, yurt-dwelling family, near the border of the vowel-impaired nation of Kyrgyzstan… But better late than never....
 

 
Adventure
 
Kidnapped in Alipur-1
Kidnapped in Alipur-1
Kidnapped in Alipur-1

Kidnapped in Alipur

I find it ironic, and embarrassingly hypocritical, that not even a week after I ranted about how you should never get into cars with strangers, I turned around and did exactly that. It was noon, and the heat of June shimmered a...
 

 
 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
Dead Yet-2
Dead Yet-2
Dead Yet-2

I’m Not Dead Yet!!! (But My Macbook Broke, and I’m Dead Inside…)

Huzzah, I’m not dead yet!! And you thought I’d been captured by Al-Queda and frozen in carbonite. Fortunately, I still haven’t managed to euthanize myself, and I’m now safe in poo-smeared China, eating pigeons in the desert and...
 

 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
kid-1
kid-1
kid-1

A Postcard from Pakistan

Greetings from a rooftop somewhere in Pakistan, I’m still alive! Albeit, sweating profusely. And I probably have dysentery or something. Oh, and also I was detained and interrogated for sixteen hours by ‘secret police.’ So, um,...
 

 
 
Bizarre
 
Kuruva Theyyam31-3
Kuruva Theyyam31-3
Kuruva Theyyam31-3

Wednesday Wanderings: The Baali Theyyam

I know it’s Monday and not Wednesday, but today’s story isn’t finished yet, and NO ONE’S PERFECT GET OFF MY LAWN. For this Wednesday Monday Wandering, here’s a video of the Baali Theyyam in Kuruva,...
 

 
Culture
 
Kalash Joshi-15
Kalash Joshi-15
Kalash Joshi-15

The Joshi Festival

Laughing in the face of Travel Warnings and a threat from the Taliban, I head north into Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to visit the indigenous Black Kalash Tribe and to see their annual Jos...
 

 




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