Watch out! Unusual tourist scams to avoid in Paris

Whenever I go to Montmartre, I always keep my hands firmly in my pockets and out of sight.  Why? Because I know if I don’t, a tout will inevitably approach me and try to tie a piece of string around my fingers or wrist. It’s a common trick at Parisian landmarks, the Bracelet Scam. You […]

Life in Paris & London: Summer 2015

It’s been over two months since I left Shanghai to go permanently on the road. In that time I’ve been to seven countries on three continents, saw very many friends and very few touristy things, probably gained a few pounds in wine and cheese, and went on far more camping trips than I was comfortable […]

13 ways I saved money for travel as a teenager

We were poor when I was growing up, to be blunt about it. My parents immigrated to the US in the late 1980s as grad students (immigrants and grad students: talk about a double financial whammy), and worked a number of minimum-wage jobs — including waitress and convenience store clerk in NYC* — before finally settling […]

Travel Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: 21 Lessons from 21 Countries

If there’s one thing every travel blogger loves to talk about on the internet, it’s that solo travel is marvelous and made of puppy tears and will cure your long-standing eczema. In principle, I support solo travel. It’s definitely something I think everyone should try at least once. But personally, it’s not for me. As […]

Worth the wait: Highlights from Japan

For the longest time, I’ve wanted to visit Japan. And for the longest time, I’ve told myself to wait. I did not want to do Japan on a shoestring, I did not want to go as a backpacker; I wanted to wait until I felt it was the “right time” — whenever that was and whatever that […]

I quit — now what? Upcoming travel plans for 2015

So now that I’ve quit my job to travel and have all this free time, next comes the obvious question: Where do I want to go? Even though I’ve been planning this new chapter for a while now, when the map is actually laid out before you, it gets a little overwhelming. Do I spend […]

And then I quit my job to travel

After being abroad for the past seven years, I have some surprisingly big news. Really big. You may have figured it out from the title of this post already, BUT LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT IT, OKAY? It’s so big, I actually emailed my parents about it a few weeks ago. I love my family […]

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 […]

The things I won’t blog about

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been picking up my blogging game lately. I’ve missed writing as often as I used to, about travel and food and sports journalism and expat life. But I’ve learned something difficult over the past year and a half: I am not one of those people who can balance a full-time […]

When a city changes your life — and you never want to go back

I first moved abroad in early 2008. I was 18 years old, a sophomore in college. The plan was only to stay for four months and study Chinese, then return to my ‘normal’ life at home. I ended up staying a year — and after that, a ‘normal’ life was the last thing I wanted. […]

Life on the Move: Winter 2015

The first two months of the year saw me on three continents … and it’s taken till the fourth to write about it. I love monthly recaps and it’s atrocious that this one’s a quarterly — but let’s make up for it with snappy photos and snappier text. It’s a speed round! Here we go: […]

Beijing Lit Fest! And other fun spring updates

That’s me! In the lineup of a Literature Festival! So last year, I was published in this book. This year, they’re launching the book at the annual Bookworm Literature Festival in Beijing. Meaning this weekend, I get to discuss my essay — which was based on this post — in public. I’m very self-conscious about both my […]

Realistic Resolutions for 2015

00:00:00: our view when midnight struck in Sydney I’m one of those in the minority who love New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s resolutions, and making a big hullabaloo in general about the whole thing (see: previous editions of Realistic Resolutions). So because public accountability to a large group of strangers is an unsurprisingly strong […]