Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Golden Loop Motorbike Ride, Central Vietnam

Haha, funny hair on Adam. lol At the Da Nang beach before we set out on our motorbikes.

This past February brought one of my all-time favorite adventures in Vietnam! One of my absolute best friends from High School, Adam, joined me on a motorbike tour nicknamed The Golden Loop, courtesy of super-indie-traveler Tom over at Vietnam Coracle, an indispensable source for Vietnam travel.

It was a vacation for the ages, truly! Let me take you on our trip, step by step, ending with New Year's celebrations in the historic UNESCO village of Hoi An!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Life Update: 2018 in Pics and So Much Text

Saigon at night, with Landmark 81, the newest, tallest building in Vietnam.

Hello folks!

It's been a crazy 2018 over here!

(To be fair, it's been an even crazier year for the rest of the globe - man, am I glad to be outside of America right now. What a dumpster fire my country is right now! As I tell my students, half-jokingly "We're just going through some things right now... we'll get better... I hope...!")

So I guess I'm typing again, and communicating with the rest of the world from Vietnam. Like I said, it's been a year of big changes on the Vietnamese homefront. Let me get down to business with what's happening in my world!

Lots and lots of text today, so please enjoy some photos from the last year as well!

Click through for all the news!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Ba Be Lake, North Vietnam

The best trip I've ever had in Vietnam?

Definitely the Ha Giang Loop in the North. Spectacular views, uninterrupted beauty, crisp air... and only a few dozen kilometers through 6 inches of mud (can't believe I didn't wipe out in that junk, what a miserable stretch of construction). 

My cuzbro Chris and I went in the off season, so we had a day of miserable rainy driving and a few scattered downpours over the rest of it. Still... it was the ride of a lifetime... so far.

My cousin and I took a rather unorthodox trip around the Ha Giang Loop, in that we were riding clockwise from Hanoi to Dong Van to Ha Giang to Sa Pa, without a guide (my favored way to go on motorbike trips, now that I can speak a little Vietnamese).

Check it out after the jump!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Suoi Tien Amusement Park, HCMC (Photo Post)

There are people around the world that like to go to weird amusement/theme parks.

AHEM: ATTENTION THOSE PEOPLE. This one is for you!

For pure goofy, Buddhist, Vietnamese WTF (and a whole lot of culture!), it does NOT get better than Ho Chi Minh City's Suoi Tien Amusement Park.

Located in Tan Phu ward of District 9, HCMC, this is a bit of a trek for the average tourist who will likely spend most of their time downtown. At about 40 minutes away, it's definitely off the beaten path, but if you've got an afternoon to kill, this is Vietnamese weirdness exemplified. It's a total treat, and one that could only happen here in Vietnam.

Take a look in this picture post! (Also, a special thanks to Mariana for letting me use her beautiful face in these pics!)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

3 Vital Lessons I Learned from Stage Managing and One I'm Still Learning

As I’ve taken more risks in my life (in fact, almost making a habit of it some days!), I’ve come to the conclusion that the wide variety of practical skills I learned in theatre have been instrumental both to my successes and the very fabric of who I am.

Sometimes these skills come from actor-stuff, helping me make more sense of social life and living in a different culture.

Today's topic: I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it wasn’t for the skills I learned from Stage Management.

I tried out stage management not because I wanted to do it professionally, but because it’s a vital job within a theatre production and I wanted to learn more about it. Tackling a new job only tangentially related to your area of expertise and experience, or even completely outside it, is always a great way to stretch your brain.

View it as a challenge, and work to apply your existing skills in new ways (that’s right: your existing tools might be very successful when applied in unorthodox or novel ways!). If nothing works, seek out new skills to cope. We don’t always succeed at these ‘risky’ experiments, but being curious about how systems work is a great way to make new mental connections, skills, and develop a top-down model of your life and work.


You are both in charge and not in charge. You’re expected to be invisible, immediately come to the forefront when problems arise, and then disappear again.

You get dumped on, a lot – because the buck stops with you.

If you're lucky...

Sunday, October 15, 2017

In Praise of Living with Housemates Abroad / New House Tour

I live in a reasonably-sized bedroom, but I believe there are many great benefits of living in a smaller room, especially when you're in a house FULL of varied, awesome, friendly, nerdy housemates! (Seriously, we're all nerds about something, it's fascinating.)

First, let me describe my house for you.

I live in a house. It’s 3 meters wide at the main door on the street. My house has a garage, nicely-equipped kitchen, and a comfortable living room on the ground level. The living room and back 5 bedrooms were previously part of a separate structure, but at some point the wall between the (current) kitchen and living room was knocked down, combining the two and giving the house a super weird footprint. Rooms in the back lack the view of the canal, have less natural light, and are a bit hot, but are also  a bit cheaper.

Let's take a quick tour of my new place!

Friday, October 13, 2017

No Plan Motorbike Vacation: Tây Ninh

The City of Tây Ninh lies in the heart of Tay Ninh Province, almost an even 100 km NW of Ho Chi Minh City. The ride is along well-travelled highways (although you can explore if you so desire, Google maps is fairly accurate as far as I can tell), and there are many buses back and forth if you choose to watch the scenery roll by instead of getting a super-sexy farmer’s tan.

But a rando weekend getaway on a bus? Nopers. Nuh-uh. Not when it’s so close!

It’s time for a motorbike trip!