How to Spot a Noob in Vietnam

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How to Spot a Noob in Vietnam

There's a definitely learning curve to Vietnam, give or take about four months. If you can make it past then, you'll be sucked in practically forever. However, plenty of wannabe expats give up before then. Soon enough, you'll be able to tell who's gonna stick around and who doesn't have the cajones. They ones that won't make it? You can catch 'em when they say stuff like:

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How to Spot a Noob in Australia

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How to Spot a Noob in Australia

I know what you’re thinking: “All I have to do is look out for the people who drive on the wrong side of the road and make the classic ‘throw another shrimp on the barbie’ and/or ‘a dingo ate my baby!’ joke, right?” Well, sometimes it’s not that easy. Sometimes those people cleverly disguised as Aussies driving in bright green and purple JUCY vans with the ‘penthouse’ accidently left open aren’t actually Aussies, believe it or not. 

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The 9 Abilities Only Iowans Have

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The 9 Abilities Only Iowans Have

We Iowans have an unparalleled ability to fly under the radar. It’s like we’ve had this enormously successful marketing campaign convincing everyone else that we’re flat, hogs are our childhood friends, and the only thing we have to offer the world is fried butter on a stick. While we enjoy being left alone, let’s straighten out the record: what other abilities do Iowans have that seem to go unrecognized?

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The Challenge: Falling in Love with Home

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The Challenge: Falling in Love with Home

There's something about living somewhere that automatically makes it less exotic. It happened in Ho Chi Minh City, and now it's happening in North Carolina, though I suppose this time around it's less surprising. And it's not that I don't like it, I do, I definitely do. It's just that...it's comfortable. And maybe when we move places...

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...Help.

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...Help.

I'm dying. I'm physically dying. 

Do you know that ache you feel in your core after you've been single for "long enough," and all of a sudden you decide that your bed feels cold and empty and goddammit, it sure would be nice to have someone to go plunger shopping with and to annoy when you're feeling fat? You know that feeling? The kind where no amount of chocolate cake even slathered with chocolate frosting or quality friendship over bottles of wine is enough?

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Working Out the Wintertime Blues (and Eating Bacon)

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Working Out the Wintertime Blues (and Eating Bacon)

I just spent three weeks in Iowa in the dead of winter and it got me thinking: I need more eggnog. Just being there I got so out of the habit of worrying about my health and fitness and I blame it all on the snow – and the fact that I can hide my stomach under comfy knit sweaters. Back in California, whenever I got a burst of energy, I could go for a jog (a very, very slow jog). But here? No such luck. So I sat down with Mike Hoover, aka Mike Buff-for-a-Living Hoover, and he pretty much told me it was still all my fault.

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Ditch the Plane – Take the Train

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Ditch the Plane – Take the Train

Take a moment to think back to the last time you traveled by air. What was it like getting there? Finding reasonably-priced parking? Dealing with lines, gate changes, and hoping you remembered to bag all your liquids? After a few hours...

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Missing in Saigon

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Missing in Saigon

At 3am on April 20th, 2012, Edwin de La Cruz – known to his family as "Bong" –disappeared in the center of Ho Chi Minh City's District 1. Accompanied by his mother and older sister, the family had set out from the Philippines on a trip to Cambodia via Viet Nam's capital. After four days visiting family, the tired three made the bus trip back to Vietnam, arriving in the city at 1am on April 20th. They checked into a hotel near Ben Thanh Market, planning to check out the next morning. As it turns out, they would not make the journey until several weeks later and Bong would not be with them.

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Rural Mountain Livin' for One, Please

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Rural Mountain Livin' for One, Please

My grandma lived in Jesup, Iowa. Jesup, Iowa – as if living in Iowa wasn’t isolating enough.  On the way into town, there’s this sign. It says something like, “6 churches, 2 schools, 1 library, 9 bars, 4 parks, and all the friends you need.” I might be making that last bit up, but it should’ve said that if it didn’t. I always found that sign to be a little odd, but in a funny-sad way. Someone designed that sign and someone paid for it, after all. For bragging purposes, I assume. I can imagine the mayor of the town traveling to the big city (Waterloo, actually) and vehemently letting those around him know that oh, no, no, no, he’s the mayor of a town that has 9 bars – and there’s a sign to prove it.

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An Oasis for Now

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An Oasis for Now

Beneath Shasta lies a handful of old mining towns: Elmore, Etter, Morley, Pitt, Winthrop, Baird, Copper City, and Kennett. At one point, Kennett was a proud home to 10,000 inhabitants and even had an opera house. In 1935, a dam was created, forming Shasta Lake, and in turn inundating these unsuspecting towns with 400 feet of water. And while the numbers were certainly dwindling, there were still people that lived there. It's purported that some citizens stayed until the waters hit their homes, departing at the 11th hour as the nose of their little Titanic took its final breath, their feet sopping wet.

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