This is a video I made of a bamboo raft ride I took on the Yulong River in Yangshuo County, China.
I’ve traveled enough that preparing for a trip has become routine. The night before I leave, I make sure essential items have already been packed. Plenty of clean underwear. Passport. Cellphone charger. ATM card. Digital SLR camera.
I sleep easier knowing that when I wake up the following morning, all I have to worry about is brushing my teeth (never optional) and showering (sometimes optional).
For Chinese New Year, I traveled to Yangshuo (阳朔), a county in southern China’s Guangxi (广西）Zhuang Autonomous Region. Because of its unique landscape, Guangxi is a place I’d been wanting to visit ever since I moved to China. The province’s karst peaks give it an otherworldly feel. Continue reading
I took these photos during a flight from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Denver, Colorado. The pilot said we’d experience a few bumps while traveling over the Rocky Mountains. “We’re going to have a near-death experience every five minutes” would have been more accurate. What a jerk. Continue reading
My favorite place in the world to watch the sun set is on the edge of my grandparents’ dock in Traverse City, Michigan. Sure, there are plenty of places more beautiful. But none hold more memories.
As I dip my feet in the chilly waters of Lake Leelanau, I’m reminded of all the summers I spent here, frolicking with cousins and pulling up stones submerged underwater in search of crayfish. I remember my once muscular grandfather, now too frail to stand on his own, wading into the water with his shirt unbuttoned, pulling a 10-foot aluminum boat to the shore with one hand. Continue reading
During a recent trip home to the United States, I flew to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to visit my uncle Jim.
Jim and I became close after my father — his youngest brother — died when I was in fourth grade. Something about his presence helped fill the gap that Dad’s absence left. We’d horseplay in my front yard, and Jim, built like a defense lineman, would sling me to the ground using techniques he learned during tai chi classes.
I hadn’t seen him since 2008, a couple of years before I moved to Beijing. The first few times I came home to Kentucky for my annual leave, we talked on the phone but I didn’t visit. I felt guilty, and so this year I decided to go West. Continue reading
On my last day in Shangri-La, I hiked to the top of a hill overlooking the city. The incline wasn’t steep, but every 20 paces or so I had to stop to catch my breath. The city has an altitude of 3,200 meters, and my body still hadn’t completely adjusted to the elevation.
Along the hike, I passed several tombs that had been dug into the hillside. Some were very elaborate, with sculptures of lions and carvings of people dressed in ethnic attire. I assume families chose this spot as their loved ones’ final resting place because of the view. From the hill you can see a giant golden prayer wheel – the largest in the world – and rows of mountain peaks that grow taller as you look farther into the horizon. Continue reading