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Vagabond Journey Travel Stories and World Culture


shopping mall china Welcome to New Town Squares of China
china-air-pollution-gas-masks_DCE What Will Become of China’s New Air Pollution Consciousness?
zhengzhou-zhengdong-cbd-9 5 Chinese Ghost Cities that Came Alive


The Attraction of Singapore

marina sands singapore

The word was that Singapore was boring. I found this to be the furthest thing from the reality on the ground.

Tibetan yak_DCE

The backpacker myth of Tibet and the reality of the 21st century.

Welcome to New Town Squares of China

shopping mall china

Sure, malls are a ubiquitous, mono-cultural, expensive, and haphazard way to develop an urban area but they serve a vital social function in China that we'd probably miss if it wasn't there.

Demolition Party | The New Inquiry thumbnail

Demolition Party | The New Inquiry

An excerpt from Ghost Cities of China has been featured in The New Inquiry.


A collection of articles that I wrote for a print supplement about the Chinese city of Zhengzhou in the South China Morning Post.


Before borders can be opened for trade we need to know where the borders actually are. What will happen to Kashmir as China, India, and Pakistan become more politically and economically intertwined?

Stilt Houses Indonesia

kampung houses indonesia (2)

A visit to the kampung community that is next to Jakarta's traditional port. Building houses on stilts is one of the prime architectural designs of human culture and appear all through history all over the world.


A major shift has occurred in China, as blissful ignorance has been replaced by outrage of the country's air quality.

Indonesian students

An interesting look inside the home of some students on Sumatra.

On the Train to Merak thumbnail

On the Train to Merak

A young Indonesian woman tried to lure me back to her home on the train from Jakarta to Merak, for what purpose was the question.

China’s copycat manufacturers are now pushing the boundaries of innovation | South China Morning Post thumbnail

This is an article that I wrote for the South China Morning Post. It's about Shenzhen's massive grassroots "shanzhai" manufacturing ecosystem which was initially known for producing knock-offs but has evolved into a force which is driving innovation globally and giving the big brands serious competition.

The myth of China’s ghost cities | Thompson Reuters thumbnail

This is an article that I wrote for Thompson Reuters about the broader strategy behind the creation of China's new cities and districts, as well as how their appearance as "ghost towns" is merely a phase in their development.

Indonesian man

How I use a camera to engage people -- the pictures are only a secondary benefit.

Travels Around Jakarta

Sunda Kelapa Dock Workers

I had little to do in Jakarta but walk through the streets talking with people. These are some photos of interactions that won't make it into their own blog posts.

Arrival in Jakarta

Jakarta streets

Arriving in Jakarta I realize that I don't know what to expect.

Indonesian Urinal Guards


One small plastic guard, one big step for civilization. Investigating Indonesia's urinal guards.

Old port Jakarta Sunda Kelapa (14)

Vagabond Journey's exploration of the world's ports continues with the old, traditional port of Jakarta: Sunda Kelapa.


As China's so-called ghost cities fill up they are forgotten by a mainstream international media that is hungry for sensational stories, not rational takes on what is surely the most expansive urbanization movement in human history. Here are five new cities in China that have filled up with people and commerce since being heralded as ghost towns.

13 Insane Ways to Fix China’s Air

China air pollution

China has declared war on air pollution, and is rolling out an array of anti-smog measures that are truly unimaginable.

Ghost Cities of China book

Reviews of my book, Ghost Cities of China, and interviews with me about it that were published last month.