Amateur Traveler: Russian Far East


Ian Frazier calls Russia both “great and horrible,” yet submits to an all-consuming “Russia-love.” It’s a bug I know well. To continue my flurry of Russia posts, here’s the link to a 52-minute discussion on the Russian Far East — the wild east, past the heart of Siberia — that I recently recorded for Chris Christensen’s Amateur Traveler. Have a listen! Amateur Traveler … Read on

The Russian Far East: Best Place in the World


Only a handful of travelers ever take the Trans-Siberian Railway, and only a trickle of those complete it. Instead, most go from Moscow to Yekaterinburg (26 hours east) to see where the “Last Czar” died, then to Irkutsk (another 55 hours’ ride) for a look at Lake Baikal, then cut south into Mongolia and China. An epic trip. But what remains unseen of … Read on

How to be an Ugly American


Last week I began a new monthly column for Transitions Abroad* with a story of what happened to me on an Indian bus that turned me into an “Ugly American.” I’m not ashamed of it. At all. Particularly if you go back and look at the original meaning of that term, “Ugly American” — it’s essentially the ultimate in “travel like a local.” … Read on

Why my 2014 resolution has nothing/everything to do with travel


I’ve never made a New Year’s resolution before, but I’m planning one for 2014. Even though it’s apparently a really awful idea. Psychologists say so anyway. Many claim big, life-changing resolutions overwhelm our willpower, or come off like false politics and have minimal chance of success: Of course some of those guys got busted for plagiarism: So who knows? Maybe it’s just the … Read on