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Hong Kong: Kowloon Walled City Park

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When I first moved to Hong Kong in 1990, there was a part of the city that was off bounds. It was an ungoverned slum called the Kowloon Walled City, with layer after layer of tenement buildings so close to one another that daylight sometimes never reached the minuscule alleyways. In the center of the […]

Searching for trams in Hong Kong

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One of my favorite things about living in Hong Kong was traveling an hour south from my home to see the trams glide up and down the northern part of Hong Kong Island. So when I returned to Hong Kong two years ago for the first time in fourteen years, I made sure my husband […]

Tell Them We Were Beautiful in the Philippines

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Let’s do something unruly. Let’s get lost in our own selves and brush all the expectations of society aside. I’ll pack the bags and you can swing open the door. We’ll tell everyone where we’ve gone, but they’ll have no way of finding us there. We’ll wander into strange towns with strange buildings and we’ll […]

Revisiting Hong Kong and Its (Disappearing) Neon Signs

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I still remember my first impressions of Hong Kong. Racing through Kowloon in the back seat of a red taxi at midnight in 1990, I saw the neon. Bright and colorful, flashing and still, the neon signs peered at me through the side streets as my taxi made its way to the quiet of the […]

Ilocos Norte, Philippines: Paoay Opens Bacsil Sand Dunes

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Sure, the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte have been used as the setting for the desert scenes in the movies Mad Maxx, Born on the Fourth of July, and the local blockbuster flicks ‘Ang Panday’ series and ‘Temptation Island’. The sand dunes have always been there. For the longest time, the locals knew it was […]

Saturdays in Manila, Philippines

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I lean to open sliding doors and step onto the red-tiled lanai. It’s 6 a.m. A canopy of bamboo, trees, and pastel awnings portrays rural privacy. The mango Abby and I planted two years ago curtseys in a breeze, begging applause for her growth. I wonder if she’ll ever bear fruit. Most days, I walk […]

Gunung Mulu National Park: a World of Caves

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The karst landscape of Gunung Mulu was inscribed in 2000 as Malaysia’s second UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. Among many natural sites already present in the prestigious list, Gunung Mulu easily stands out as it is one of the few that is inscribed on all four natural criteria set by the World Heritage Committee. These are: 1. it being an outstanding specimen […]

The Musings of a Backpacker in Australia

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The Musings of a Backpacker in Canada There are many things that I have come to realize throughout the last few months of travels. Things that under normal circumstances, surrounded by familiarity and comforts, one would likely never think about. With everything I need stuffed indecently into my 75 liter backpack – spontaneity is no […]

Marvelous Malaysia: Housesitting in Langkawi

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While sitting in our guesthouse in Fortuna, Costa Rica last Fall, I was imagining our upcoming trip to Volcan Arenal when I found a housesitting assignment in Langkawi, Malaysia in the Caretakers Gazette. After nearly a year and a half on the road, staying in one place for three weeks sounded like heaven.  I wrote […]

Finding My Soul in Yokohama, Japan

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As a pessimistic, nine-year-old kid that doesn’t travel much, I was nearly blown away with the news that we were going to visit Japan. I was so excited! It was December of 2008, and we were leaving in just two weeks. We arrived to Japan at the airport terminal. As soon as we got off […]