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Month In Review: May 2018

What happened, where I went, and what I did this month.

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PRAGUE, Czech Republic- The fifth month of the year is in the books. The thing is almost half over and I haven’t gotten close to accomplishing what I want to yet. I wouldn’t say that I’m getting frustrated but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that a sense of urgency is starting to kick in.

May started out in Bangor, Maine. Then I went to Montreal to give a guest lecture at McGill University and to be filmed for a CBC documentary about new cities. After that I went out to Rochester to visit my family — I hadn’t seen them in a year. Then it was back to Europe: Prague, where my wife is going to school.

Publication on this blog is usually intentionally delayed by one month — I prefer to be long gone from a place before the things I did there becomes public.

Where I published in May

The Guardian

Cities from the sea: the true cost of reclaimed land– This is the story of how land reclamation is changing the face and altering the maps of Asia- literally. The on-the-ground case study was from Penang in Malaysia, a place that has been environmentally and socially ravaged by reclamation projects that appear to be driven by little more than a thirst for profit. So far, this article has gotten 1,697 shares and has brought in 353 comments.


How China’s Belt And Road Just Got A Big Boost From Europe’s TIR Convention
The hallmark of China’s Belt and Road Initiative is in tying together and utilizing existing international political and economic organizations and agreements. By signing onto the EU’s TIR Convention, Beijing is keeping right on course.

How The Growth Of New Cities Is Becoming A Global Economic Driver
Over 100 new cities are popping up all around Asia and Africa, amounting to trillions–yes, trillions–of dollars of investment. But what exactly is a new city?

What Could Happen If Malaysia Builds Three More Islands
Malaysia’s Penang island is set to engage upon another mass land reclamation project, creating three new islands where there was only open sea before–sacrificing the maritime ecosystem and the livelihoods of local fishermen in the process.

New Geographies

I also wrote an article for Harvard University’s New Geographies journal about the interesting — yet very typical — development process of Cyberjaya, a new city in Malaysia. I believe this issue will be coming out in the autumn.

Vagabond Journey

Tack on 12 blog posts to my tally this month, mostly documenting my travels out to the new city of Duqm and around other places in Oman and a little about what I was up to in Bulgaria. I really like the Duqm series and encourage you to give it a look. I should have some articles written about Duqm coming out this month, and you can pair them up with the blog posts to get a bigger slice of the story.


I only published one video on YouTube this month:

I really love vlogging and making short documentaries and publishing them on YouTube but doing so regularly really puts me in a position where I need to make a choice: videos on YouTube or articles that make money. Throughout the first part of this year I focused more on video and what could be called my real work suffered — I was missing deadlines and not meeting my quotas. I wish I could come up with a way to do all of the above and I’m hoping that after I finish my New Silk Road book I will be able to do so.

I guess that’s it for May. In June I should be in the Czech Republic, Austria, maybe Poland, maybe Switzerland, and maybe Liechtenstein — what the hell is Liechtenstein? Maybe I will take the girls to Venice.

Oh yeah, I’m watching my two girls this month on my own as my wife goes to school — but I can’t say I’ve found this to be an excuse to not travel. It’s looking like I’m just going to have to bring them with me.

Thank you.

Walk Slow,



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About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3687 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: Papa Bay, Hawaii

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