Podcast: How journaling helps us recover from anxiety “spiraling”

Podcast: Happier Digital Nomad – Journaling with Deren Temel – Ep. 18  During the past five years, I’ve been tracking an all-consuming mental state I call, “Spiraling”. Spiraling is when negative thoughts bounce around my head and in a sense eat my brain, my energy, and my happiness. Usually, my spirals last a few minutes or at most an hour. As a young man I got, … Continue reading Podcast: How journaling helps us recover from anxiety “spiraling”

Day 11: Heading Home

Indonesian Food We woke up in a good mood and made a bunch of jokes as we welcomed the first morning of 2019. Then we went for yet another disappointing Indonesian breakfast! Indonesian food just isn’t good to us. We find it simple and villagey. It is just rice and protein. It seems to lack the refined culinary traditions of Thailand and Vietnam. I couldn’t … Continue reading Day 11: Heading Home

Day 10: Sea Turtles

Save the Planet This morning we wake up to a buckle of six baby sea turtles. At 6:00AM we walked the little turtles to the beach to let them instinctively scamper into the waves. They are born along on the beach with only one thought, “head for the ocean”. That’s exactly what they did the moment they were released on the sand. Only 1/1000 of … Continue reading Day 10: Sea Turtles

Day 5: Waterfall #400,000

Cowboys In Paradise Today I woke up a bit late around 10:00 and had coffee with the German woman Sabine. She told me in detail about her experience with intercultural relationships. She also told me that Indonesia, in particular Bali, has many western women dating Indonesian men. Almost like Thailand, but for women instead of men. Then she showed me a YouTube preview for a … Continue reading Day 5: Waterfall #400,000

Day 4: Yogyakarta

I woke up early in the morning to the sounds of four Indonesian master snorers practicing in their sleep. Inspired by the animism of Pokémon, I imagined that the Snorlax (a huge snoring Pokémon) must be native to Indonesia. I was rescued by my earplugs and slept until 7:30AM when I got up and ate a polite breakfast with my snoring assailants – four well … Continue reading Day 4: Yogyakarta

Day 2: Borobudur

Sleeping on Saturday night was hell ya uncomfortable because the air condition was breathing asthmatically and I an older Italian woman was snoring and farting. I ended up closing all the curtains around my bed and sleeping naked; which is something a person shouldn’t do in a semi-public place. Although I went to bed at 10PM, I think I only slept for an hour and … Continue reading Day 2: Borobudur

Day 1: Yogyakarta

  My flight to Singapore suddenly landed in Kuala Lumpur. The landing wasn’t sudden, but my realization that I was in fact headed to in Kuala Lumpur didn’t dawn on me until I was already en route. I had been focused on organizing Trinh’s flights through Singapore that I hadn’t remembered that mine was through Malaysia. I felt like a flight attendant who knows what … Continue reading Day 1: Yogyakarta

The month before turning 29

These are thoughts and activities from August – September 2018 Our trip to Bangkok began with Trinh and I playing billiards in the Saigon Airport Bar. This is the only place where we ever play billiards, despite the fact that the ground floor of Trinh’s house is a billiards saloon. I guess that with the airport’s windows looking out on taxi-ing planes, fancy drinks served … Continue reading The month before turning 29


What is UNLEASH? I’m going to be in Singapore for eight days for an Innovation Lab, UNLEASH, which unites and sponsors travel and accommodation for 1,000 young professionals from 106 countries and divides them into 8 large grouped-themes based on the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) that the Talents are working towards in their careers and studies. The participants of UNLEASH are modestly called “talents” and … Continue reading UNLEASH INNOVATION LAB 2018

Gordon’s Visit to Saigon

Friday, October 20th 2017 Friday was Vietnamese Women’s Day, which is kind of like Mothers’ Day & Valentine’s Day put together. After work, it was raining and I walked to a small mobile phone shop near my house and bought Trinh a used dark purple Fitbit HR as a gift for Women’s Day. Then I got a call from Gordon, my uncle, that he was … Continue reading Gordon’s Visit to Saigon

Impressions of Yangon

September 2017 The Shwedagon Pagoda dominants Yangon’s skyline and the city’s exotic and sleepy vibrations. Trinh and I could see the Pagoda in-full from the rooftop of the Lavender Hotel. The first time we rode our impatient elevator to the rooftop and rounded the corner to view the Pagoda was awe inspiring. Its perfect golden spire totally captures the imagination. The jungle trees growing between … Continue reading Impressions of Yangon

Lunar New Year 2018 in Penang & KL

This Lunar New Year, Trinh and I spent 5 days in Malaysia’s Penang (wiki) Island and Kuala Lumpur (KL) cities. It was Trinh’s first time in Malaysia and my second trip since visiting Lang Kawi Island and KL in 2013 before heading to India. (Quick blog on Lang Kawi Island, 2013) Living in Asia since 2012, I have normalized seeing surprising things, grown accustomed to being … Continue reading Lunar New Year 2018 in Penang & KL

Reflecting on Being 27

Looking back on the past year, when I was 27, it has been a step forward regarding career and relationships. I remember at my high school prom a Jesus-looking young gun raised a toast and said, “ A step not towards love is a step well wasted”. That was too profound for high schoolers – but lets trace my steps when I was 27. 27 … Continue reading Reflecting on Being 27

Hong Kong | August 2017

Being in Hong Kong the last five days have been a thought-provoking experience and an exercise in patience. I’m on a package tour with Trinh’s family. Of course, package tours are not my style, but it’s a chance to get to know the family and experience being on one of those “matching hat wearing follow-the-flag” tours. This is my second trip to Hong Kong. My … Continue reading Hong Kong | August 2017

Friends in Bangkok

In 2009, I summed up the season in London by what I learned from the new and old friends that grew as I wandered through the UK and Europe; An Early Conclusion (2009). I’ll sum up the nine-month season in Bangkok in just the same way. Trinh’s willingness to fly to Bangkok at least once a month made our regional relationship simpler. We shared a new … Continue reading Friends in Bangkok

Policy Brief: Expanding Vietnamese Private Higher Education

Abstract: This brief provides recommendations to assist Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training reach its goal of 40% private sector enrollment. This brief begins by explaining Vietnam’s rationale for expanding higher education enrollment. It explores the historical context of Vietnamese higher education policy, discusses the results of past reforms and notes how academic quality, financial stability, and low reputation hinders private sector enrollment. It concludes with … Continue reading Policy Brief: Expanding Vietnamese Private Higher Education