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    Postcard from Tibet Paid Member

    Lying alone in an unheated hut on the shores of Namtso Lake in central Tibet, I spent a sleepless night contemplating death. Maybe it was the altitude or the exhaustion, but mortality suddenly didn’t seem so bad. My personal and karmic accounts felt settled. I had made countless offerings to the Buddha in the prior days and sent postcards off to most everyone I loved. I had left letters for my family back home. I recalled a particularly touching birthday celebration the month before my departure, and thought it might be fitting if it were my last. More »
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    Adventures in Going Nowhere Paid Member

    When I was 29, I had the life I might have dreamed of as a boy: a 25th-floor office in midtown Manhattan, four blocks from Times Square; an apartment on Park Avenue and 20th Street; the most interesting and convivial colleagues I could imagine; and an endlessly fascinating job writing about world affairs—the ending of apartheid in South Africa, the People Power Revolution in the Philippines, the turmoil around Indira Gandhi’s assassination—for Time magazine. I had no dependents or responsibilities, and I could—and did— take long vacations everywhere, from Bali to El Salvador. More »
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    Yellow River Odyssey Paid Member

    The author at the source of the Yellow River, 1991. More »
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    The Loneliest Road in America Paid Member

    We dropped down from Lake Tahoe into the Great Basin. The signage warned us about a veritable Noah’s Ark of animal life: bear, deer, cattle, moose, horses, men on horses, men on tractors. It got hot, fast. Ninety-two miles in we had lunch in Fallon, Nevada. Then we entered the desert, our motorcycles shredding the silence. When I mentioned to Hunter, my riding companion, that the next stretch of 409 miles was known as the Loneliest Road in America, his response was “Well, I’m the loneliest man in America.” More »
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    The Third Sparrow Paid Member

    Prayer flags drifted on the wind like long strands of kelp in a current. The sun sank low and orange in the west. The trip was ending? No, couldn’t be. Impossible. Sophia and I walked our clockwise circles, again and again, not really believing that in a handful of hours a plane would rise from the Kathmandu Valley and we’d be on it. We’d been traveling in Nepal for five weeks, through sweaty jungles and mountains bright with snow and claustrophobic markets where old, hunched men sold metal beads, spices, cheap digital watches, hunks of raw water buffalo. There’d been elephants, monkeys, a man-eating tiger, and a moonlit horse nuzzling our tent with his big velvety nose. Countless children asking for chocolate. A gorgeous one-eyed woman. More »
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    8,000 Miles to India Paid Member