Friends and vagabonders,

I write this update from Rio de Janeiro, where I am spending the winter learning samba and working on some magazine stories. 2007 proved to be a far-flung year for me, with travels taking me to the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Russia, France, the Czech Republic, Canada, Brazil, and many parts of the United States (including New Orleans, New York, Washington, and the West Coast). Teaching kept me almost as busy as writing this year, as I taught classes at SLS St. Petersburg (Russia), the Book Passage Conference (San Francisco), the Salina Public Library (Kansas), and my annual gig at the Paris American Academy (where this year I was joined for two weeks by my parents, who were visiting Europe for the first time).

Writing-wise, I penned a number of travel essays for a new online magazine called The Smart Set, including “Jurassic Tennis,” about the French racquet sport of Jeu de Paume; “Death of an Adventure Traveler,” about my old Burmese barber in Thailand; and “Le Musee du Fumeur,” about a smoking museum in Paris. I also wrote essays for the Travel Channel’s World Hum about the death of the mile-high club, finding a home in Kansas, and the relevance of Kerouac’s On the Road. I also wrote a series of travel-advice columns for the Los Angeles Times online, as well as an article about B-movies for the New York Times Magazine. My Jordan-based essay “Dancing at the Blood Festival” appeared in a Solas House literary anthology called Encounters With the Middle East, and I have essays forthcoming this year in The Best Travel Writing 2008, and The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 2.

Elsewhere in the media world, I will appear as a travel expert in a couple of Travel Channel specials that debut this winter, and I’m featured in the travel documentary Odyssey: Driving Around the World, which debuted on international TV last fall. At the Travel Writers portion of my website, I’ve recently interviewed Tahir Shah, Richard Bangs, L. Peat O’Neil, Gary LeeEric Hansen, Kate Siber and John Gimlette. Upcoming interview subjects include Arthur Frommer, Peter Greenberg, and Gary Shteyngart.

For the latest news from my world, as well as travel information and advice, surf over to my blog,

Cheers — and happy vagabonding,