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Vagabond Journey Travel Stories and World Culture


Horgos China construction Horgos: The New Silk Road’s First New City
urumqi tank Urumqi Police State
coal mining_DCE Why Coal by Wire and the Decentralization of Pollution Will be China’s Biggest Environmental Catastrophe Yet


Ghost Cities of China book

Media coverage of Ghost Cities of China for June. Featuring the Nanjinger, TimeOut Beijing and Shanghai, the Guardian, Channel NewsAsia, and the China Daily.

Horgos China construction

Take a look at the first new city of what could be the greatest development initiative the world has ever known.


This is my latest article in CityMetric, the urbanism blog of the New Statesman. It's about the reasons why many of China's new cities appear so empty for so long.

Changes in Kashgar


Empty malls replacing ancient neighborhoods, the police patrolling the streets, and a place where Uighurs and Chinese come together were all part of what Lawrence Hamilton found when he returned to Kashgar.

horgos border crossing

Crossing borders in and out of Xinjiang proved to be unexpectedly problematic. Is this a sign of challenges to come as I continue research on the New Silk Road?

View From My Window: Horgos, Xinjiang


Looking out at Horgos, a backwater town on the Kazakh border that's being super changed into becoming a big city by all out fiat.

flat bread oven Xinjiang

How Uighur flat bread ovens are made in Urumqi.

Uighur Ice Cream

uighur ice cream

A little about the ice cream that is virtually everywhere in the Uighur parts of Xinjiang.

A Great Life in Kashgar

Uigher Men In Kashgar

The harsh reality and subtle beauty of everyday life in Kashgar.

Urumqi Police State

urumqi tank

Urumqi is a city that appears to be under siege, and in many ways it is.

After “Under the Dome”: Can China solve its air pollution crisis? | CityMetric thumbnail

This is an article that I wrote for CityMetric, the urbanism blog of the New Statesman.

A Trip to Xinjiang’s Asbestos City

Xinjiang buses

The long road through the far west of China shows the reality of the Chinese dream in one shocking catastrophe.

traditional ice cream Urumqi

Every traveler knows this rule or learns it the hard way.


How to navigate the excessive amounts of purchases you will be making when traveling.

About the cameras that Chinese drivers mount on their dashboards or windshields to film the road ahead.

electric car charging station China (5)

Electric car charging stations are starting to go up all over China. When they do the transition will begin.

China’s 5 most amazing ‘new’ cities | Weird@Wanderlust | Wanderlust thumbnail

This is an article that I wrote for Wanderlust Magazine about my five favorite new cities in China and why travelers should visit them now.

coal mining_DCE

Hiding the pollution doesn't make it go away.

Screenshot 2015-06-16 12.24.58

Bad VPN days in China derail all digital nomad operations.

Don’t Lose Your Leverage in China


Cultures are rarely run on logic or sense, and the true meaning of our games and what we actually compete for is rarely easy to discern.