Friends and vagabonders,

Greetings once again from Thailand, and here’s hoping 2002 finds you well!

Late 2001 was a busy time for me, with various magazine assignments sending me hiking into the jungles of Thailand’s Khao Sok National Park, scuba-diving in the Andaman sea, and exploring the Mergui archipelago in the south of Myanmar.

2002 should also prove to be a busy year, with lots of stories that have been on hold since 9/11 ready to run in coming months, and plenty of interesting new Asian travels lined up. Unfortunately, an announcement last month on the National Geographic website that my story “Fear and Loathing in a Five-Star Hotel” would appear in the Jan.-Feb. 2002 issue of Traveler appears to have been a misprint (check back here for details on the actual release date). The good news, however, is that I will start off the year with an appearance on National Public Radio’s “Savvy Traveler” program. My spoken-word essay, which is about the Egyptian art of baksheesh, should be available for download here.

Also this month, my Travel Writers page features an interview with former Salon Travel columnist Elliot Hester, whose book Plane Insanity: A Flight Attendant’s Tales of Sex, Rage, and Queasiness at 30,000 Feet will be released this month by St. Martin’s Press. Be sure to check back in February for an online interview with Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba author and Moon Handbook writer Christopher P. Baker.

On a final note, I will say once again that the travel world is still open for business, and I’ll assert that even the Muslim world is still as vibrant and welcoming as ever (despite all the alarmist filler you see on the news).

Till the next update, cheers — and happy vagabonding!