The Village That Turns Bombs Into Spoons

The first time I rented a motorcycle and drove toward Ban Napia I heard loud booms of thunder. It was mid morning with clear skies. I pulled over and looked around. In the distance, green mountains rose up, and in the valleys between them was a second row of peaks, then a third, each one […]

Read more

Privilege & Perspective

Last week I got sick in Thaton, Myanmar and learned a couple of lessons. Thaton is a small place, it was just a dot on a map I choose at random. There were a handful of guesthouses but only one had a license to serve foreigners. “All foreigners this room,” the clerk told me as […]

Read more

Relics of the secret US war in Laos

  La lok Phengparkdee has been turning bombs into spoons since he was eight. He lives in Ban Napia and works with the relics of the secret war waged by the US in this tiny country while the world’s attention was focused next door on Vietnam. For nine years during the 60s and 70s, the […]

Read more

The Serene Vulnerability of Travel

A 11:00 am I stepped off the bus in Ky Son; a place I had never heard of and knew nothing about. It is the first town in Vietnam as the two lane highway bends through the mountains and makes it’s way east, away from Laos. When I got on the bus I had a […]

Read more

Dogs

You can learn a lot about a place by observing how dogs exist within that society. I’ll compare the U.S., Ecuador and Laos; three nations I have lived in with vastly different cultures. In the U.S. stray dogs are almost entirely non existent because any that do are quickly trapped and put in cages. Many […]

Read more

Laos: First Impressions

I’ve been in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic for over a month now; here are my first impressions and observations: It’s more common to see Lao walking with umbrellas to block the sun than it is to see them wearing sunglasses. They call it ‘summer’ now (Jan/ Feb). But, since we are in the northern […]

Read more

Slow Journalism

Last month I packed a bag and bought a one-way ticket to Laos. I’ve lived abroad before and had various types of jobs but my biggest source of income has always been teaching English; this time may be different. A new plan is forming. My only trip abroad in 2015 was to a familiar place; […]

Read more

2016 Primaries: A Cause for Concern and for Hope

This is the year of the fringe candidate. Probably a good thing, if, like me, you believe that the status quo is not working for the majority. But there are all kinds of outsiders. There is Bernie Sanders. There is also Donald Trump. I am often a critic of my birth nation. Yes, the United […]

Read more