I'm Elen, welcome to my travel blog, 'Wilderness, metropolis...' because whichever I'm in, I long for the other, and my travels take in everything. I'm an editor, writer, blogger, traveller...
Great Cities to be a Freelance Writer

Great Cities to be a Freelance Writer

While my days of country hopping might just be over (don’t count on it), there is definitely something attractive about a freelance lifestyle that allows you to pick up and follow your heart’s desire. This is even more attractive if you’re a travel writer. And have a strong passport to back up your dreams, of course. I’ve just had this article published on The Write Life, titled ‘6 Cheap(er) Cities Where it’s Great to Be a Freelance Writer.’ My home of Kathmandu does not feature, because most of the time it’s pretty goddamn terrible! It usually features on lists of the world’s worst places to be a freelancer, along with cities in Bangladesh and India. The internet in Kathmandu goes to sleep for at least a couple of hours each week, usually more, and that’s with a pretty solid home connection. But I manage. No, you won’t find any South Asian countries on this list for quite obvious reasons, but there’s a mix of North American, Latin American, European and Southeast Asian cities featured. To find out which cities I’ve included, read the full article on The Write Life, here. Top image: Edgardo W. Olivera/Flickr

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Eat Your Way Around Hoi An, Vietnam

Eat Your Way Around Hoi An, Vietnam

As a vegetarian/pescatarian, Asia is generally a great region to travel in (with the exception of the Philippines, where they treat you like you’re suffering from a mysterious ailment if you don’t eat pig in all its permutations–I blame the Spanish.) Vietnam is especially wonderful, because there is such a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs served with every meal. And most of it is so healthy. I think you could eat your way around Vietnam and come back lighter at the end of it. Hoi An, on the coast about halfway up/down the skinny country, is often called the culinary capital of Vietnam, and for very good reasons. While food in Vietnam is good everywhere, in Hoi An it’s really something to write about, even for a relative non-food like myself. So that’s what I did. I recently published this article on Travioor titled ‘6 Hoi An Food Experiences to Sample Vietnamese Cuisine’. I’ve been to Vietnam twice, but this is the first time I’ve published anything on it. So enjoy. And then go find your nearest Vietnamese restaurant. Fortunately, we have a few excellent ones in Kathmandu. Read an extract below, or the full article on Travioor. 6 Hoi An Food Experiences to Sample Vietnamese Cuisine You could spend a year in Hoi An and still not sample every Vietnamese dish, or visit every restaurant and makeshift stall. Instead of recommending specific places, this article outlines the types of food experiences you should be aiming for in…

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A Day in Hauz Khas Village

A Day in Hauz Khas Village, Delhi

The Indian capital is a massive city that’s impossible to see in a single visit—or even in several. If you’re short on time while visiting Delhi and don’t know how to balance competing desires to sightsee, eat well shop in the city’s best shops, then head straight to Hauz Khas Village in South Delhi. This small urban enclave has it all, and will keep you occupied for hours. Sightseeing Hauz Khas Village is centred around the Hauz Khas, or ‘royal tank’, a large pond dating back to the 13th century. Above the pond are an impressive collection of ruins of a seminary, mosque and tombs. Delhi is a city full of atmospheric old ruins from the Mughal period and earlier, hinting at the city’s many centuries of history and layered civilisations. The ruins at Hauz Khas are some of the best in the city, and are free to enter. It’s a peaceful place, even when filled with smooching students hiding between the pillars. Information boards dotted around are as informative and detailed as any museum’s. There is also the pretty Deer Park adjacent to the pond, where you can stroll through the dense woods. If you’ve just passing through Delhi, sightseeing in Hauz Khas Village will give you a great introduction to the city’s atmosphere and appeal. Shopping Hauz Khas Village has developed rapidly over the past few years from a quiet suburb into one of the city’s trendiest shopping hubs. This means that a lot of shops (as well…

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Day Hikes in Lower Mustang

Day Hikes in Lower Mustang

I’d been wanting to travel to the Mustang region of Nepal for a long time. It’s an ethnically and culturally Tibetan region of Nepal, north of Pokhara and the Annapurnas, that sits in the rain-shadow of the Himalayas. This last year I’ve really gotten my fill of Tibet and little-Tibets, with my trips to Ladakh in India and Tibet itself in China, but Mustang and its $500 permit still eluded me. However, it’s only Upper Mustang for which you have to pay the pricey permit. Lower Mustang (the area around Jomsom, Kagbeni and Muktinath) is accessible and, while not completely permit free, much much cheaper. Thanks to Inside Himalayas and Redhouse Lodge Kagbeni, I travelled to Lower Mustang in February. I flew from Pokhara to Jomsom, an easy 30 minutes through the mountains, rather than go overland via Beni, a trip that would’ve taken around 10 hours. Most people visit Lower Mustang on the way through to Upper Mustang, while on the Muktinath trek/pilgrimage or as part of the Annapurna Circuit trek. But, as I found out, it’s a worthy destination in its own right. I wrote about day hikes around Lower Mustang for Kimkim.com. Check out the full article here, or read on for an extract. Day hikes in Lower Mustang “The Lower Mustang region of Nepal sits on both the classic Annapurna Circuit and is on the way to mysterious Upper Mustang, but it deserves more attention as a destination in its own right. Spending four days to…

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Review: The Lodhi Spa, Delhi

Review: The Lodhi Spa, Delhi

Delhi—whether you’re a first time visitor or come here often—can be exhausting. It’s massive. For much of the year it can be very hot (and the rest of the time it’s very cold). And getting around, even with the excellent metro system, can take a while. The perfect antidote to the big-city stress is an afternoon spent at The Lodhi Spa. I have been to Delhi many times, but in 2016 I visited during the monsoon for the first time. I’d spent two and a half months in the parched high-altitude desert of Ladakh, so Delhi’s thick dampness was actually welcome, despite the heat. Delhi’s lush gardens and tree-lined avenues really sparkle at this time of year. What I love most about the metropolis, and what keeps pulling me back, are the pockets of peace that can be found amid the chaos: in the shade of a fifteenth-century ruin, or walking down a flower-fringed pathway in an unknown urban park. But during this rainy-season visit I had to resign myself to the fact that I couldn’t spend all day walking around the spacious avenues and outdoor shopping areas, like I usually would, unless I wanted to get really wet. A perfect time to retreat to The Lodhi. The hammam is open for hotel guests and spa patrons to use before or after their spa treatments. It’s even hotter and steamier than the monsoon streets outside. After plenty of cooling down with air conditioning and ice-cream at lunch, I retreated to…

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