Beng Mealea: The Temple That Almost Wasn’t

Beng Mealea is one of Siem Reap’s lesser visited temples and was long so for good reason: land mines set up by the Khmer Rouge. Only a few people had visited the temple before its mines were cleared in the last decade and those who did faced a painful death if they took the wrong […]

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Mui Ne’s Red Sand Dunes

I’d seen pictures of the otherworldly landscape of the sand dunes in Mui Ne prior to arriving in Vietnam. It seemed odd that a town without much to offer in terms of attractions would be home to two massive sand dunes. The White Sand Dunes are located about an hour out of town, while the […]

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Where Uncle Ho Meets Mother Russia

I had been forewarned about the number of Russian visitors to Vietnamese beach towns like Nha Trang and Mui Ne, but it was different seeing it firsthand. Upon sitting down at a restaurant, the waiter assesses you to determine if you speak English or Russian. Usually we were handed Russian menus before they tracked down […]

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Can You Have Roots and Wings?

Something I’ve struggled with for as long as I’ve been traveling is having it all: both a close relationship with my friends and family and the thick skin required to travel the world solo. I find myself justifying my extended jaunts because “no one really notices when I’m not there” and that I’m not really […]

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Lured Into the Charms of Hoi An

If Hue was a stopover, Hoi An was the place I could have spent a week. I’d heard so many great things from my fellow travelers about the historic town in middle Vietnam, but I still wasn’t sure if it would seem too Disney-esque for my liking. But my concerns were unfounded. Hoi An is […]

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Photo Friday: Hue, Vietnam

Where am I?  Wandering over the moat and into the city walls of the Imperial Citadel in Hue made me feel like I was walking through turn of the century China, rather than modern day Vietnam. After an overnight train from Hanoi and a day spent recovering from the heat and exhaustion, Sammi and I […]

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The American War Legacy in Vietnam

War is brutal. That much I knew. But seeing images of the destruction of both Vietnamese and Americans during the war at Saigon’s War Remnants Museum, I wanted to know why we went. Was it to support our allies the French in the South? Or to fight the dreaded spread of communism? I didn’t live […]

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27 Things to Do Before Turning 27

Today is my 26th birthday, thus ushering me into the age known as “late twenties.” My 25th year was one of personal growth and physical fitness. I learned to accept my figure, but despite that lost weight and gained muscle after two a day workouts many days of the week. I ran my first half marathon […]

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Travel Writing Round Up [July 2014]

If you saw the last few editions of Travel Writing Round Up, welcome back! There are a lot of great opportunities this month, so I hope you will take full advantage of them. A lot are repeats from last month as well, but new posts are denoted with stars. I have checked all the links to […]

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Traveling During Turmoil

The sound of the mounted police riding past my Charleston house sent shivers down my spine years later, despite the fact that there was nothing afoul with their patrol. It brought me back to the first time I ever saw mounted police, in Paris on New Years Eve 2006. But since my very first trip […]

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Sleeping in History at Majestic Hotel Saigon

Embellished archways, golden ironwork and balconies overlooking the city made me feel like I was living out A Room with a View as I checked into the Majestic Hotel in Saigon, Vietnam. The 1920s French Colonial style hotel wouldn’t look out of place in the Champs-Elysées, but instead overlooks the Saigon River in District 1 as one […]

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10 Lessons from Three Months in Southeast Asia

Anthony Bourdain related going to Asia for the first time like finding out there’s a new color you never knew existed and I feel the same way. It’s overwhelming and surprising and always a little bit stressful. There’s constantly something new to experience, from the bizarre looking fruits like dragon fruit and mangosteen to the first time […]

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