Photo by Luca Setti

A Story About Hanoi

This is a story about moving to Hanoi. This is not a story about moving to Hanoi as an American. This is not a story about eating phở cuốn by the lake where John McCain was shot down. This is not about learning to call the Vietnam War the American War. This is a story about moving to Hanoi, but this is not a story about moving to the capital of a communist country. ... [Continue Reading]

Photo: Dr. DeNo

Walk It Down

I caught my first salmon off the seawall in Kotzebue, Alaska in the very early morning of August fourth. I used a snagging hook: a three-pronged weighted beast of tackle that bent my rod backward when I cast. I worried about those standing by and what a rogue hook this size could do, how it might catch something on land instead of in sea. Snagging is illegal in most ... [Continue Reading]

Photo by Laurel

From the Hearth in Périgord

When I first approach the five-hundred-year-old farm, I am not sure I’ve come to the right place. The address Danièle Mazet-Delpeuch had given me a month earlier when I called her for an interview was simply “La Borderie,” the name of her French home and cooking school sewn into the fringes of a diminutive village in the rolling hills of the Dordogne, a region of ... [Continue Reading]

man-o-war photo

An Unwanted Guest

I didn’t see the jellyfish, but I felt it—a searing pain at my ankle that shot up through my leg, bringing me, in a matter of seconds, to my knees in the sand. I looked down and saw its limp, blue body floating away from me down the rivulet I’d stumbled into when the sand along its border collapsed under my step. The creature had gripped me with its tentacles for ... [Continue Reading]

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Seeds

My grandfather lives among the trees. He is streaked with dirt, brown as a fallen acorn. When he walks, the leaves bend under his feet. Years ago, he kept caged pigeons in his garden. In the morning, he would jangle their cage to announce himself. The garden is his domain, and everything in it his subjects. Out there, we know not to tangle or disturb. We are visitors. ... [Continue Reading]

LifeinMongolia

Snow in Mongolia

When I phone Amaglan in Mongolia, the first thing I want to tell her is that it’s snowing here in the U.S. But I can’t find the words for it. This shocks me. I sit there, holding the phone, watching the snow falling onto a triangle of lawn at my parents' house in suburban New Jersey. I listen to the cadence of Amaglan speaking in Mongolian, carefully enunciating words ... [Continue Reading]

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The Purest Form of Play

"Place begins with embodiment. Body is a place, and it shapes our perceptions." Malcolm McCullough I grew up with a view of the ocean. When I was little my father used to take me out in the evenings, past the breakers, into deeper water; it was quiet and soothing. I took swimming lessons over the course of a number of years. My memories of these lessons are physical, not ... [Continue Reading]

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On Packing

It is best to use a well-made bed or the floor, so long as you have a large, smooth, clear surface, a canvas, if you will. It is best to start early, to take your time, to mentally map out (a maze of nerves like tangled alleys, footpaths, avenues) the possibilities, the contingencies. You must have time to ask the questions: Will I get lost? Will I be loved? Shunned? Will ... [Continue Reading]

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Backpackers in Paradise

Our minibus is whisking us around flash cards of local color. The Waterfall. The Woman Walking on the Dusty Roadside. The Sulking Men on Motorbikes. The Village Store called “Christo!” The Kids Climbing a Lime Tree. The Fishermen At Ocean’s Edge. The Naked Toddler Jumping Into a Rock Pool. Then, when a massive metal seahorse rears up on the side of the road, the ... [Continue Reading]

stormy sky over islands

The Wind’s Keeper

We smelled the island before we could see it. The pungent acid scent hit us like a wave. “Oh my God,” I said, scrunching up my nose. “What is that?” It was past midnight, and we were heading to Volcano, a volcanic island in the Aeolian Islands blanketed with black, sulfurous ash. In the distance, I could see the faint glow of lights as we motored through the ... [Continue Reading]