May 2012

Postcard from Hoi An

Hoi An is one of the prettiest cities in Vietnam: recognized by UNESCO as an exceptionally well-preserved Asian trading port, the riverfront buildings are colorful and diverse examples of 19th- and 20th-century French-influenced architecture. Hoi An is also known for its culinary delights. A major center of trade in the 16th century, the sprawling market […]

May 17, 2012 Continue reading…

The beauty of Butte County

“It’s just so beautiful!” I exclaimed, thinking about the endless sky filled with billowing clouds, the wildflowers and orchards lining the one-way stretch of freeway, the stacked layers of the buttes. Grabbing a drink with a former professor, I was still in awe of how beautiful my college town was after three years away. “I […]

May 16, 2012 Continue reading…

Summer 2012: France, Croatia and the ultimate USA roadtrip

After two winters in a row last year–granted, they were California and Australian winters, so no snow was involved–I am more than OK with chasing summer this year. After plenty of beach weather in Australia and Southeast Asia, I’m planning to make the most of the sunshine in France, Croatia and the USA in the […]

May 14, 2012 Continue reading…

The ups and downs of Phong Nha Farmstay

Every once in a while, I surprise myself and willingly break away from beaches for a chilly, cloudy destination. Exploring Ke Bang National Park was one such adventure: renowned for having some of the oldest, largest caves in the world, the region has yet to be discovered by mainstream tourism. I figured a couple of […]

May 11, 2012 Continue reading…

Postcard from the Imperial City of Hue

When I think of cities surrounded by walls and moats, I think France in the Middle Ages (i.e. Avignon).  I certainly don’t think of 19th-century Vietnam. But the Imperial City of Hue was constructed in 1802, its ruin only amplified by American bombings. It seems much older than its 200 years, with weeds sneaking through […]

May 10, 2012 Continue reading…

The trip that started it all: Europe 2009

After graduating from college in May 2009, I spent five weeks backpacking through Europe (Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Salzburg, London, Munich, Freiberg, Interlaken, Nice) by myself. Although I’d spent a summer in Provence with family friends at 16, studied in Paris for a summer when I was 18 and had taken shorter trips in France, […]

May 9, 2012 Continue reading…

Learning how to cook Vietnamese food in Hoi An

In my opinion, the best thing you can do in Vietnam is eat: I could live forever on prawn spring rolls, steaming bowls of pho and fresh-cut mango dipped in chili salt. After an awesome cooking class in Indonesia and learning how to make papaya salad on the street in Thailand, I was eager to find […]

May 7, 2012 Continue reading…