Friends and vagabonders,

This month I am happy to announce that — for the first time in ages — I have a new travel story appearing online.

Actually, it isn’t a new story so much as it is the “Lost Vagabonding Column of 2000” — a Syria-based essay that got lost in the shuffle when Salon dropped its Travel department last year. Since this story has a vague Independence Day theme, I decided to debut it this month in World Hum. The story is entitled “Anthem Soul,” and it went online July 5.

Right now, of course, I’m a long way from Syria. In fact, I am in Bangkok after having spent a month in Burma — the final link in my 30-month loop through Asia. Here, in an inspired flourish, I bought a brand-new Chinese made “WuYang” bicycle (as sturdy, dependable, and ugly as a pair of horn-rimmed spectacles) in Mandalay, and slowly pedaled my way down the Irrawaddy River valley. This low-speed, low-tech adventure proved to me one of the most charmed experiences of my Asian travels — and when the Burmese military government minders (and the summer monsoon) began to give me grief south of Bagan, I simply backtracked to the town of Pakokku and traded the bike for some sapphires and a fistful of pearls. Burma is that kind of place.

In other news, I’ve received so many interesting e-mails from folks in recent months that I’ve decided to start publishing some of them. This month I’m featuring a letter from Bill Jenkins of Wichita, Kansas, who posits that my travel encounters with dysentery, aggressive dogs, and army jails in India don’t hold a candle to the horrifying travails of dutifully chauffeuring one’s elderly relatives to various far-flung locations in the American heartland.

Finally, this month’s Travel Writers section features insights and advice from Manja Sachet, a part-time travel writer who co-authors Open Road Publishing’s Turkey Guide with her husband, Adam Peck. And, of course, if you missed our June interview with internationally-renowned author and journalist Simon Winchester, you can still find him in the archives. And for general travel advice from American vagabonders of all walks of life, be sure to visit the Vagabonding Profiles page.

Various magazine assignments should keep me busy in Southeast Asia in coming months — but now that my personal journey through Asia has come full-circle, I should have more time to devote to online stories and website updates — so stay tuned in coming weeks!

‘Till next time — cheers, and happy vagabonding!