The Final Exam

Within minutes of arriving, an old man was leading me by the hand up the steep mountain path. I walked out of the dark into the large, open-air communal area lit by a generator and a few swinging lights. Inside, the mother of all vagabonding challenges was awaiting...
The Best Birthday

The Best Birthday

I sat comfortably on the bamboo platform beneath my two-story local style bungalow updating my journal and listening to the sounds of the waves smacking the rocks just a few meters below me. I could smell a cooking fire somewhere in the distance and tiny boats from...

Gading Beach in Maumere – Flores, Indonesia

Interestingly, Maumere in Flores, Indonesia, was one of the places the Lonely Planet guide relegates to “There’s no real reason to linger there…” I end up staying in a lot of those. Three old women were staring at me in horror as I used a long...

Goodbye Moni, Hello Maumere

Goodbye Moni, hello Maumere I staggered backwards as the mob worked itself into a frenzy…grabbing my clothes, arms, probing hands into my pockets. In the distance I could see more reinforcements running in my direction and suddenly I knew I was in trouble. Angry...
Scrambling Around the Kelimutu Volcano in Flores, Indonesia

Scrambling Around the Kelimutu Volcano in Flores, Indonesia

Another wisp of gagging, poisonous sulfuric gas hit me in the face and made me shut my eyes. Once again, I was slipping and sliding on loose volcanic rocks — yellowish rocks that you can crumble in your hands. The insecure footing makes it tough to stand up, let...

Ende, Guns, and the Future

Hotel Ikhlas has a large screen television in its open-air lounge and last night I crashed in front of it to watch the evening news. Even though it is in Indonesian and I barely understand a word, I was half-hoping to catch up on what happened in the world of soccer. ...