How to Explore San Francisco Like a Champ

I will be leaving the San Francisco Bay Area in one month and returning to Seattle. During the year I was here, I explored the hell out of the area. I saw more of San Francisco than many will see in years or decades. Two or three times a week I ventured into San Francisco […]

Back From Portland, Oregon

My only other visit to Portland, Oregon was when I drove from San Diego to Seattle in 2007. Since then the coffee scene has exploded down there. I will post a full report on INeedCoffee later. For now, I’ll post a few non-coffee related photos. Khao Muu Daeng/Muu Krob from Pok Pok Rose Test Garden […]

Talk Me Down, Safe and Sound

If you live in Seattle or plan on coming here for vacation, I highly recommend taking the Seattle Underground Tour. It is 90 minutes long and full of fun history on how the city got started. Most of my photos did not turn out, so I found some better ones from Flickr. The tour is […]

Marco Polo Didn’t Go There

Two years ago I read the travel book Vagabonding, which I enjoyed. I was pleased to discover the author had written another book. Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: Stories and Revelations from One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer (Travelers’ Tales Guides) by Rolf Potts is a collection of travel stories. Most of the stories […]

Planes, Trains and Elephants – My 2009 Asia Trip Overview

Early in my 4 week trip to Asia, I discovered that slow upload speeds would prevent me from posting my travel blogs in a sequential timeline. Now that I have all my posts finished (finally), I can assemble them in order with links. I bolded the more important posts. At the end of the post, […]

Chiang Mai, Thailand

It seems I missed a post. I posted about the cool things I did in Chiang Mai, such as the Thai cooking class, elephant training and playing with tigers, but I didn’t mention the town itself. Chiang Mai was just my speed. Even though I loved exploring Bangkok, I prefered the much smaller city of […]

A Holiday in Cambodia

How did I end up in Cambodia when my original travel plans only included Thailand? It was me discovering what type of traveler I am. The thought of spending two weeks on the white sand beaches of Thailand may sound like paradise to many, but I got bored quickly at the beach. I needed a […]

Cambodian Landmine Museum

The sad history of Cambodia involves land mines. Lots of them. I read an estimate that there may still be 2 million land mines buried in throughout the country. And no one bothered to document where they were placed. As a result, people are still being killed andmaimedtoday. While in Cambodia, I saw quite a […]

A Rainy Day in Seoul, South Korea

On the return flight home to Seattle, I had a 12 hour layover in Seoul, South Korea. Urban hiking in 41F rain felt a lot like Seattle. Like Kuala Lumpur, Seoul has an airport which connects right into a train/subway system. I was able to get to the heart of downtown Seoul in about an […]

Coffee Hunting in Seoul, South Korea

Yesterday I had a 12 hour layover in Seoul, South Korea. Instead of hanging out at the airport, I decided to venture into the city and seek out some coffee. Before heading out, I got a good espresso from Caffe Pascucci. That provided enough fuel for me to leave the airport and make my way […]

I’ve Got Seoul and I’m Super Bad

What do you do when you have a 12 hour layover in Seoul, Korea? Hang out in the terminal or go exploring? Explore! It is time to put allthat cold weather training to use. Once I step outside the terminal (minutes from now) it will be 41 F. Good thing I dropped $2.50 on a […]

Arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The adventure continues. I arrived in Kuala Lumpur late last night. This is an awesome airport. The KLIA Ekspres hooks right into the terminal and drops you off in the center of the city, which is a 28 minute journey. Once at the center (KL Sentral) you can take a train or get a prepaid taxi. […]

My Return to Bangkok

For those keeping score, I left Cambodia and returned to Bangkok for a night before flying down to Malaysia. Before returning to Seattle, I will go back to Bangkok for one more night. I will get around to posting on Cambodia, but probably not until I return to Seattle. Cambodia was an amazing experience. I […]

Ko Samui, Thailand

After escaping the hell known as Patong Beach, I headed for the quieter beach setting of the island of Ko Samui. Although the vendors were still pushy, it was far less than Patong. If you only have a few days to spend on the beaches of Thailand, I’d go to Ko Samui instead of Phuket. […]

Phuket, Thailand

The prime vacation destination for Thailand is probably Phuket. That should have been a warning. I did not care for Phuket. It was loud and the vendors were beyond obnoxious. It was probably my mistake for staying at Patong Beach. Once I got away from Patong, the rest of Phuket was much better. Patong is […]

Posting Bottleneck From Thailand

I am behind on my trip blog posts. The primary reason is the upload speeds in Thailand (to my American servers) are horrific. This means the photos are being uploaded at a painfully slow rate. Most are failing. Unless I get faster upload speeds soon, I may need to do mini-galleries here and then work […]

Off to Thailand

I am off for a 4 week trip to Thailand (Nov 12 – Dec 10). This is my first trip to Asia. In 2006 I met a retired British school teacher in Auckland, New Zealand. For over an hour he told me how wonderful Thailand was. The food, the people, the beaches and everything else. […]

Some Good Travel News For Me?

Last December, I learned that my super common name was on the “naughty list” at airports. From the post Osama MAS Laden: Guess what common American as apple pie name is now on the governments watch list? Mine. American Airlines has confirmed that my name is on the naughty list. Being on the watch list […]

Vancouver – Nice and Beautiful

Writing about travel is the hardest thing for me to do. I’d rather hack out 500 words on the stupidity of Ben Bernanke. It pains me to use terms like “nice” and “beautiful” to describe a trip. That is so boring. I think that is why it has taken so long for me to get […]

New Orleans 2009

Well I am finally getting around to posting on my trip to New Orleans. I arrived on the Sunday before Fat Tuesday and left Thursday afternoon. This was a great way to see the city both during the chaos of Mardi Gras and the normalcy just afterwords. From 1994-1998, I lived in the Tampa Bay […]

The Lovely Ladies of Texas?

When I arrived at my gate at the DFW (Dallas Fort-Worth) airport, I walked past a stunningly beautiful woman. Magazine cover quality. Two minutes later, a better looking woman walked by. And then a third. My only trips to Texas have been confined to airports, so I have no idea what exists past the security […]

Paying to be Considerate

Whenever I fly, I check my bag in. The reason is I detest all those people who abuse the carry-on policy. One small bag became one small bag plus carry on. Then the bag got larger. Women would not count their purse as a carry on. Grab a bag of McDonalds and a 32 oz Coke. […]

Osama MAS Laden

Guess what common “American as apple pie” name is now on the governments watch list? Mine. American Airlines has confirmed that my name is on the naughty list. Why did my parents have to slap me with the most common baby name for 43 consecutive years on top of my surname a Smith? If my […]

Smile When You’re Lying

Just like I did in 2007, soon I’ll be assembling my Best Books of 2008 list. I’m almost certain this one will make the list. Smile When You’re Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer by Chuck Thompson is a very funny travel book. The author trashes the travel writing industry and then tells a […]


The 4-Hour Workweek exposed me to the idea of working on road. Although I’m pretty good at working remote, more instruction was needed on the traveling part. Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts is a collection of essays and tips written for those considering living on the […]

Returning to Columbus, For a Weekend

I got tired of waiting for my high school reunion planning committee to set a date for my 20th (now 21st) high school reunion. Guess I’ll catch them at the 25th. I’m heading back for a long weekend from Thursday April 17th through Tuesday April 22nd. Family, friends, Ted’s Montana Grill, Donatos Pizza, Staufs, etc. […]

Culture Shock Japan

On my short list of places to visit next is Japan. My first step in learning about a new country is reading the Culture Shock! book for that country. CultureShock! Japan: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Culture Shock! Guides) by P. Sean Bramble by P. Sean Bramble is the best Culture Shock! I’ve […]

Waking Up in Costa Rica

What is the best thing to read on a cold wet January day in Seattle? Maybe a book about how much cheaper and warmer life could be in Costa Rica. Moon Living Abroad in Costa Rica (Living Abroad) is by Erin Van Rheenen and she sold me on Costa Rica. Although I seriously doubt I’ll […]

Back From Canada Eh!

Vancouver was an amazing city. Think San Diego with frostbite. Actually it’s downtown is further built out than San Diego. Despite the rain and cold temperatures, I was able to get some good photos. And I now have a new favorite coffee house: Caffe Artigiano. Great food, Clover and my new favorite drink the Americano […]

Not Much of a Culture Shock

After reading the Culture Shock! books for Chile and Cuba, I thought I’d read the one for Vancouver. My first trip to Canada is in a week. How shocking is the Vancouver culture? Judging solely by the book Culture Shock! Vancouver: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Culture Shock! at Your Door) by Cuek-Cheng […]

Two Types of Travelers

I’ve noticed that people who travel tend to fall into two camps. People who go to the same places they know and like multiple times. People who always seek out a new place to visit. I’m clearly in the second group. As much as I liked Maui or Buenos Aires, I have many more places to visit before […]

The Most Dangerous Places in the World

Over a month ago I stumbled upon the most interesting travel book I’ve ever seen. This book isn’t about places to snorkel in Hawaii or New England bed and breakfast locations. This was a book on traveling to the most dangerous locations in the world. Robert Young Pelton’s The World’s Most Dangerous Places: 5th Edition […]

Culture Shock Chile

Last year before I went to South America I did minimal research. Basically I just checked to see what the weather would be like, got some vaccinations and read the travel bulletins provided by the State Department. I wasn’t prepared enough. Culture Shock! Chile: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Culture Shock! Guides) by […]

Guavaween 2006

I’m back from my 12th Guavaween. Another year, another great time. The first thing I learned once I arrived in Ybor City was that the Tampa Bay Brewing Company relocated. They left 15th St and reopened in Centro Ybor next to the 20-screen Muvico. They lost their upstairs, balcony and dart boards. They gained a […]

New Zealand Trip Overview

I’m back from my 11 day trip of New Zealand. The trip just covered the North Island. For all those people who said why didn’t you go to the South Island? The answer is it is still winter in the South Island. New Zealanders told me that the best time to see the South Island is […]

Travel Weight

I always find it interesting to measure my weight and bodyfat percentage before and after a vacation. Stepping away from my standard diet and exercise routine can shock my system into either weight gain or weight loss. Usually it is more common to gain weight on vacation. After 3 weeks in South America, I could […]