Five years on: How I moved abroad after college and built a career through travel

This week marks the five-year anniversary of my college graduation. FIVE years! Well I. feel. old. When I graduated from the Class of 2010, I was 20 years old, had $700 to my name — and zero clue what to do next. This is the story of how in the five years since, I’ve lived in […]

Travel in Europe: Have you considered Azerbaijan?

If you’re not like me and chasing every event on the international sports circuit from here till 2020, you might not be aware that today marks 30 days to go until the first-ever European Games. (Imagine the Pan-American Games, but for Europe; or the Olympics without five continents.) The inaugural event will be held in […]

Who are you? (A reader giveaway)

I have a terrible habit of keeping things in backlog purgatory. I have countless half-finished diary entries written on various Word documents scattered across my hard drive; I haven’t uploaded a proper photo album onto facebook since I went to Australia in December 2011.The most taxing part of it is, I always say I’m going […]

The Fairy Tale of Kish

You know how in In Bruges, the characters keep repeating in reference to the city, “It’s like a f—in’ fairytale or something.” That’s exactly how I felt when I went to this monastery in the tiny Azerbaijani village of Kish. Forget Bruges, this is a fairy tale. That ‘happy place’ that people claim to go to when they’re […]

Instagrammed: The best of Azerbaijan

Scary confession: I took over two thousand photos in the one month that I spent in Azerbaijan — 600 of those were with my iPhone. Luckily I showed a bit more restraint when it came to my instagram feed. Below are a few of the best snaps from that month, depicting some of my favorite […]

To the people of Azerbaijan

Note: I put my travel posts on hiatus during the holidays, but now I’ve resumed posting in chronological order. I plan to finish Azerbaijan this week.  I recently got sucked into the black hole that is the internet when an Azerbaijani forum linked to all of my posts on their country and then proceeded to discuss […]

Why 2012 was the best year ever — and 2013 scares me

Happy New Year everyone! I realize I’m slightly late with my 2012 year-in-review; I took the past week off to celebrate the holidays in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau. But you know, better late than never.  I’ve been extraordinarily lucky: since 2008, every year has been exponentially better than the last. When I was 18, […]

Martyrs’ Lane, Baku

Azerbaijan only recently became an independent country, and that independence came at the cost of thousands of innocent lives. Many of those lives have been laid to rest at Martyrs’ Lane, or Şəhidlər Xiyabanı, a cemetery and memorial dedicated to those killed when Soviet forces invaded Baku and fired shots into crowds on the street, killing innocent […]

Playing with fire at Yanar Dag, Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is known as “The Land of Fire”. So a visit to Yanar Dağ, or Fire Mountain, was obviously going to be on our agenda. Located on the Absheron Peninsula, a 20-minute drive outside Baku, Yanar Dag usually gets overlooked by tourists who visit the nearby Baku Ateshgah, or Temple of Fire. However, the three of us decided to […]

How to drink tea with jam (yes, jam) in Azerbaijan

If you ever find yourself in Azerbaijan, do at least this one thing: Drink the tea. …with jam. Yes, fruit jam. Sounds like a typo, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought too when I saw the menu. My two Latin American friends and I sat down to tea after walking through the Old City and assumed […]

Photo essay: Why you should miss that bus and go to the Old City, Baku

“Are they — are they leaving without us?!“ We stopped in our tracks and stared incredulously. A few yards ahead, the bus pulled out into the street, turned left, and disappeared. We waved frantically at the bus. Someone waved back. Very helpful. “They left without us!” We couldn’t believe what we’d just seen. The bus, full […]

Baku to the Future

Quick: What’s the first thing that pops into your head when I say Azerbaijan? I’ll tell you what didn’t pop into mine before I visited: modern. How very wrong I was. Let’s start with the obvious: Flame Towers. When you arrive in Baku, it is impossible not to notice these newly-constructed and overwhelmingly large buildings, […]

Azerbai-where? An introduction to Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan was never on my list of countries to visit. In fact, the only context in which I’d heard of the place was in catchy retorts – you know: “Oh it is ON like the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan.” So when I accepted a gig that would see me spend a month in the […]

The 5 best things I ate in Azerbaijan

I’m not sure how to begin writing about my month in Azerbaijan. The landscapes were beautiful, the cities enchanting, the people so friendly. It was full of adventure and nothing at all like I expected it to be. So where do I start? I’m still slightly overwhelmed trying to process it all. (Including the over […]