In Indonesia among the Damudani

In 2015, I interviewed my friend Geri about her life in Korea, first alone and then with Chris, her finance. (Link) The next year we talked about the accident which had taken Chris’s legs off above the knee, their marriage, and his recuperation. (Link) Recently, Chris and I talked via Skype about his first trip to see the Indonesian Damudani, also called Dani, Danidani and Ndani. Chris was in their new home in Okinawa, and I was here in the Philippines. Thanks to Chris for the photos.

Chris’s story

About eight, ten years ago, I … Read More

Following the Plan through Southeast Asia, Part 1

This is a 2014 interview with a man who went to Southeast Asia looking for something. In this first part he’s on the road in India, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. In the second part he returns to the Philippines. Thanks to Joe for the photos.

Joe’s Story

In 2001 I was living in an apartment in Amsterdam when friends told me about their traveling experiences, meditating in ashrams in India and wats in Thailand. At that point in my life I was earning good money as a contractor, I had a nice car, and my … Read More

Hanging Out in Tagaytay


An hour’s drive from Metro Manila will take you to a cool place. In fact, in my beginning Tagalog textbook it shows up often in connection with coolness, as in, “Alin ang mas maginaw, ang Tagaytay o ang Baguio?” (Which is colder, Tagaytay or Baguio?) Both are mountainous areas known for providing relief from the summer heat. Both have terrific views. From many parts of Tagaytay, you can see the Taal Lake its volcanic crater, as well as the mountain ridges and forests where revolutionaries hid out during the 1896 the war against Spanish rule. Tagaytay is … Read More

Return to Korea

Some people set a goal for themselves to visit one new place each year. I like that idea. After all, travel is about discovery. There has been a lot of that in my life, but there’s also been a lot of going back to places where I’ve lived before—in the U.S., Europe or Asia—to reconnect with the place and to discover the changes in us both. When I returned to Korea briefly a few weeks ago, the main purpose was to meet with friends and friends of friends. I also experienced my old home from the perspective of a tourist.… Read More

In the Mongolian Grasslands

In the mid-80s and earlier, most international tourists in China traveled with organized tours to places the authorities wanted them to see, while university students and faculty were more likely to be independent travelers who might well find themselves in areas that were “closed,” or off-limits to foreigners.

In 1986, I spoke with Valerie,  a fair-complected Australian studying Chinese at Xiamen University, or actually attached to the school but learning Chinese by traveling.  Her modest, unassuming manner gave her the ability to blend in almost anywhere without being noticed, except China.

Valerie’s story

I love the minority areas. The Chinese … Read More