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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...

 
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Backpackology 101
 
Golden Temple 2
Golden Temple 2
Golden Temple 2

Weekend Destination: Top 10 Free Vacations (5/5)

This article is part five of the five part series, “The Top 10 Free Vacations.” You can find destinations #10 & #9 in Part One, destinations #8 & #7 in Part Two, destinations #6 & #5 in Part Three, and destinations ...
 

 
Adventure
 
Hampi-2
Hampi-2
Hampi-2

The Shaman’s Seeds of Wisdom

A chorus of tribal drums thundered in the twilight of Hampi, reverberating off the granite boulders that crumbled down from the cliff face above. Sam Monahan sat cross-legged on a worn mattress away from the drum circle, near a...
 

 
 
Adventure
 
Dharavi Slums Alley-1
Dharavi Slums Alley-1
Dharavi Slums Alley-1

The Heart of the Slums

The scruffy, young beggar banged on my window. “Sir, money! Money!” I tried to ignore him but it was futile; we were stuck in Mumbai’s gridlock traffic, and he wasn’t going anywhere. “Sir!” I had no small bills. I considered ap...
 

 
Backpackology 101
 
Motorcycle Details
Motorcycle Details
Motorcycle Details

Weekend Destination: Top 10 Free Vacations (4/5)

This article is part four of the five part series, “The Top 10 Free Vacations.” You can find destinations #10 & #9 in Part One, destinations #8 & #7 in Part Two, and destinations #6 & #5 in Part Three. 4. WWOOFing i...
 

 
 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
Bollywood-2
Bollywood-2
Bollywood-2

Steve McDonald: Bollywood Extra(ordinaire)

Considering the Europeans’ rich history in Asia—as the evil purveyors of cholera, missionaries, and opium—it should be no surprise that Western actors are often hired to play the feringee villain, or ‘white villain,’ in Indian ...
 

 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
Holi Festival-14
Holi Festival-14
Holi Festival-14

Holi Moly! Do or Dye!

Suresh Mehta screamed as his tiny feet pounded over hot sand, sprinting across the beach to the protection of his older sister. I thundered after him with my fist raised, eyes twinkling with vengeance, my entire body splattered...
 

 
 
Backpackology 101
 
Andaman 2
Andaman 2
Andaman 2

Weekend Destination: Top 10 Free Vacations (3/5)

This article is part three of the five part series, “The Top 10 Free Vacations.” You can find destinations #10 & #9 in Part One, and destinations #8 & #7 in Part Two. 6. Kibbutzim in Israel Who said labor ca...
 

 
Backpackology 101
 
Bagan Buledi
Bagan Buledi
Bagan Buledi

The Backpacker’s Manifesto

There were a dozen sagging rear-ends in my face as I plodded up the long, narrow staircase of Shwezendaw Pagoda, trapped behind a Swiss tour group who were ascending at glacial speed. I turned around to a sweeping panorama of B...
 

 
 
Backpackology 101
 
SayonaraIndia-75
SayonaraIndia-75
SayonaraIndia-75

Weekend Destination: Top 10 Free Vacations (2/5)

This article is part two of the five part series, “The Top 10 Free Vacations.” You can find destinations #10 & #9 in Part One. 8. Couchsurfing Europe Wait, couchsurfing… Is that like when you go to a stranger’s house and he...
 

 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
Rangoon Street Food-8
Rangoon Street Food-8
Rangoon Street Food-8

‘Have You Eaten?’: An Angry Foodie’s Portrait of Burma

It’s likely that you’ve never tried Burmese food, or even seen a Burmese restaurant. There’s a reason for this. Wedged between the three culinary giants China, India, and Thailand, you might expect the cuisine of Burma to be ro...
 

 
 
Backpackology 101
 
Free 10 9-3
Free 10 9-3
Free 10 9-3

Weekend Destination: Top 10 Free Vacations (1/5)

This article is part one of the five part series, “The Top 10 Free Vacations.” 10. The Great American Ghetto-Ass Road Trip With the price of gas alone, a road trip has no place on this list—but it was really hard to...
 

 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
Budgetometer-1
Budgetometer-1
Budgetometer-1

The Budgetometer

I could tell the wealthy-looking French family was alarmed, but I suppose I would be too if a total stranger started following me at uncomfortably close range. The mother shot me a worried look as I edged even closer, breathing...
 

 
 
Adventure
 
Human Zoo-2
Human Zoo-2
Human Zoo-2

The Human Zoo

As our motorized canoe sliced through the morning mist, I couldn’t discern the water from the sky. We were sailing through a monochrome plane of grey, with no reference point but the occasional floating lotus leaf, or a few Int...
 

 
Adventure
 
Korea Mass Games
Korea Mass Games
Korea Mass Games

Weekend Destination: The Top 5 Countries You Thought Were Dangerous, But Really Aren’t…

For any of you who missed out on childhood, let me recap a cardinal lesson: Danger = Fun. You may have grown older, and sticking forks in unplugged toasters might not be as high octane as you’d remembered, but still, nothing ge...
 

 
 
Backpackology 101
 
Mt Everest WM-46
Mt Everest WM-46
Mt Everest WM-46

How To Step Out The Door

“It’s not a question of money, it’s a question of desire,” said Collette, in her lyrical French accent. “It’s a question of time,” I corrected, and waved to the grill master for another round of spicy pork. We were seated aroun...
 

 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
WrongPancakeRaw-4
WrongPancakeRaw-4
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...
 

 
 
Adventures in Backpackistan!
 
Layover-3
Layover-3
Layover-3

How to Endure a 14-Hour Layover

The biting winter chill swirled around me as I stepped out of the plane, and I tugged my flimsy jacket close around me. “Ni hao,” smiled the stewardess, “Welcome to Beijing.” The 10 mg of Ambien my friend had given me in New Yo...
 

 
Backpackology 101
 
Bindle-8
Bindle-8
Bindle-8

What’s In My Bindle?: The Ultimate Packing List

So you wanna see my package? You want me to unzipper that badboy and lay it all out on the table? Sure, I will, but let me tell you about it first. Alright… So, it’s really small. So small. It’s incredible, actually… And it sme...
 

 
 
Adventure
 
SteppingRaw-1
SteppingRaw-1
SteppingRaw-1

Stepping Off The Edge

In the darkness, I could feel my heart pounding. I had been lying in bed for over an hour, staring up at the ceiling of my hotel room, fighting to breathe against the stifling heat of the Burmese monsoon, which hung over me lik...
 

 
Adventure
 
Babas
Babas
Babas

Go East, Young Man…

If you know who I am, or the adventure I’m about to embark on for the next two years, you might call me overly cavalier, which is fair. Cavalier is a great synonym for stupid. My name is Steve—Steve McDonald—and at this fleetin...
 

 




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