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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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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Pakistan on My Mind

Pakistan on My Mind

Pakistan has been on my mind rather a lot today. First, I helped publish (edit) a great article over at Inside Himalayas on a solo woman’s motorbike trip along the Karakoram Highway. Then I got listening to some Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Then, I discovered that Himal Southasian, my dear old employer, republished an article of mine from 2014 that had originally appeared in print. Now you can read it online, for free. It’s called “Of Shadows, Skins and Stones“, and is a literary essay on Pakistani women’s literature. I’ve been saying for years that I will make it to Pakistan soon, but it hasn’t happened yet. I know, I do actually have to make it happen, but I’ve been very busy making all sorts of other things happen. So, the closest I’ve still been to Pakistan is the Wagah Border Crossing in Indian Punjab, in 2008. Although Pakistan is near Nepal, this part of the world isn’t very well connected, transport-wise, and I don’t trust Pakistani or Nepali airlines all that much. Plus, getting a Pakistan visa in Nepal seems like rather a headache. But, these are just excuses. I don’t think this year will be my Pakistan year, but next might be. You can read an extract of my Himal Southasian article below, or the full article on the site. ‘For a few years, Pakistani English literature has been on the verge of a ‘boom’; not quite an explosion, but what scholar of contemporary Pakistani literature Claire Chambers…

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Manila Survival Tips

Manila Survival Tips

Here I am writing about what is probably my least favourite Asian city, again–Manila. I think many of these tips are common sense, but it would still pay to keep them in mind for a first-time visit to the capital city of the Philippines. Read my article ‘6 Manila Survival Tips You Must Know Before Visiting‘ on Travioor; an extract is reproduced below. “The capital city of the Philippines is a seriously big city with some seriously big-city annoyances. Many travellers get out as soon as possible to enjoy the beaches, jungles and more relaxed towns elsewhere in this beautiful Southeast Asian country. However, Filipinos are friendly people, including those in Manila, and there’s lots to enjoy here too. In case you have a few days to spend in the city, Elen Turner has some advice and tips to make your stay more enjoyable. 1. Traffic is Hectic in Manila This is always the first thing anyone will tell you about Manila, and will likely be an enduring memory of the city. Even those who have travelled high and low in Asia are shocked by how terrible the Manila traffic is. It’s not uncommon to sit in a traffic jam for two hours and only travel a kilometre down the road. The one saving grace is that Filipinos aren’t overly enthusiastic with the horn (a la India), so at least it’ll only be the car fumes giving you a headache, not the noise. Survival tips for when (not if) you get stuck…

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