Backpackers: An Odd Species

I still remember the first backpackers I ever saw. It was the first stop of my big world trip, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Arriving at the hostel after our flight, exhausted already by the sticky heat and boisterous Vietnamese city life, my friend and I spotted 15 or so bedraggled western backpackers lounging in the foyer. Even at a glance, it was plain to see they weren’t normal tourists. I wanted to say hi, but I was too shy.

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The Night Train

Leaving the air con cool of the hotel, we walked out into the oily heat of a Saigon evening. Our guide, a tiny 57 year old Thai woman called Lek, who seemed to hate everything Vietnamese, hailed a taxi. We climbed in and were whisked through the chaos of whirring motorbikes beneath the infinite mass of telephone lines. We arrived at the train station after dark. Continue reading

A Forgotten Conversation

As you advance through countries, you will find that you assemble a patchwork quilt of memories. There are countless stories and moments which you take in your stride while you’re travelling. Some of them stick with you forever. Many are forgotten, and the memory dredged up years later while flicking through an old journal, jerked out of the subconscious by the scruff of its neck. Continue reading

The Definition of Freedom


I know, right? Intense title for a blog post.

I’ve been around the world a couple of times, and I’ve learned a few things. One of the most prevailing is this: freedom is a completely subjective concept. Some of the most liberated individuals I’ve met have come from countries we view as oppressive. To illustrate this, let’s compare Vietnam with the good old US of A. Continue reading