People I’ve Met: Lek

Lek was my tour guide through Vietnam. Picture the typical guide you’d expect to be allocated to take a bunch of skint, giddy young people through South East Asia. You’re probably thinking of someone with nice teeth, a fifty million Dong smile, charming crow’s feet around their eyes, adventure-dyed skin, wrists a-jangle with bangles, a faded scar or two, hair free flowing, voluminous and wild, full of stories and quirks and gleeful chaos and, and, and… no. Shovel all that shit out of your head now. That wasn’t Lek. Continue reading

7 Times I’ve Been Conned While Travelling

You’ve got to keep your wits about you when travelling. Especially when you visit a poorer country, as a tourist you are a walking wallet. When the average local earns roughly a hundredth of your wage, you can’t really blame them for occasionally trying to relieve you of a few coins. I’ve thrown together a few of the various backpacker scams I’ve come across on my travels. I’d love to say I was too witty and wily and outfoxed the devious local populace but… come on. It’s me. I’m a half wit.

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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