The three supertall buildings of Shanghai - Clockwise from left: The Jin Mao Tower at 420.5 meters making it the 17th tallest building in the world. The Shanghai Tower at 632 meters making it the 2nd tallest building in the world. The Shanghai World Financial Center at 494.3 meters making it the 7th tallest building in the world, and the highest observation deck of 474 meters.

Modern Ghost Towns, Racecars, and Skyscrapers in Shanghai

After being the more traditional cities of Beijing and Xi’an for a bit, I was ready to step into the more modern world of Shanghai. In the last few decades, like much of China, Shanghai has been on a building spree, with new buildings popping up everywhere. I took about a week to walk the …

Terracotta horses, preserved in the musem.

Visiting the Terracotta Army in Xi’an, China

After my week in North Korea, I returned to Beijing, China for a day, and then continued on to Xi’an on 2015-04-20. My friend Emily is currently living there, which made for a perfect opportunity to drop by to see a friend, and to check out the Terracotta Warriors. I only spent 3 days there, …

Women wait for their bus in front of the iconic Pyongyang Ice Rink.

Exploring North Korea and Running the Pyongyang Marathon

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), aka “The Hermit Kingdom”, has always seemed like a mysterious, somewhat threatening, la la land of communism, military threats, and massive sporting events. The timing on my lap through Asia worked out perfectly, and I decided to check it out for myself – and to run the 2015 …

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Exploration of North Korea – Successfull, Covered by NBC News

After spending a week in the DPRK – North Korea, I’ve finally landed safely back in Beijing. I ran the Pyongyang Marathon (personal record – 3:36:55), visited the north side of the DMZ, and saw in person the bodies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, among many other amazing and weird experiences. Full …

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Why Staying in Hostels While Traveling Solo Is Great

Earlier this year, while I was traveling through Beijing, China, I stayed in Leo Hostel. During my short stay there, I was interviewed by a Chinese school group producing a short segment about travel in China. In the segment, I speak a little about my travel experiences, and why I think it’s a great idea …

Orange tiles protecting the roofs of the Forbidden City fro m the afternoon sun.

Finding Community in China’s Capital – Beijing

My first stop in China was the capital city, Beijing. Visiting China was a big moment for me – it’s size, population, and ever increasing role in global affairs make it a force to reckon with. I felt like it was essential to give a good chunk of time to develop an understanding at a …

A lighthouse on the way to Udo Island

Exploring A Shield Volcano – Jeju Island, South Korea

Jeju Island, located off the tip of South Korea, is a paradise for geologists, honeymooners, and adventurers alike. I ventured to Jeju on a recommendation from a friend, as well as seeing the epic pictures of the Seongsan Ilchulbong. Jeju is a geological paradise, with interesting volcanic features such as Mt. Hallasan, an almost perfect …

Yi Sun-sin looks into modern-day Seoul.

Stepping Into The City Of The Future, Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea is a city of the future. It’s layer upon layers of buildings, technology, culture, people, and pollution. The streets are buzzing everywhere with food vendors, frenzied college kids, psychedelically dressed middle aged women, matching couples, and markets. It’s wired to the max, with some of the fastest internet in the world, ubiquitous …

Our first day, going up the small, kinda old, japanese gondola. These things looked like eggs, and opened in the middle. Small and fun!

Snowboarding and Snow Monkey Beer in Shiga Kogen, Japan

My final stop on this lap through Japan was in at Shiga Kogen, Japan’s highest, largest ski resort. I joined a local Tokyo-based winter adventure club appropriately called “Tokyo Gaijins” on their Snow Monkey Beer Live trip to Shiga Kogen. The trip provided both awesome winter sports, as well as access to the “Snow Monkey …

A nun blesses followers at the Zenkoji Temple, Nagano, Japan

Zenkoji Temple, Nagano, Japan

During my most recent lap through Japan, I had the opportunity to spend a day at Nagano’s mystical buddhist Zenkoji Temple. I’m blaming my lack of sleep the night before for the absence of shots, but here’s a few from the time I spent there. In Nagano, I stayed at the 1166 Backpackers Hostel, which …

Snow monkeys love hanging out in the warm onsen. Only for monkeys though!

Shibu Onsen Snow Monkeys

High in the mountains of central Japan, there’s a hotsprings “onsen” where Macaque snow monkeys bathe. Saori and I took an amazing trip to visit them, and soak in a few onsens ourselves.

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Running the Tokyo Marathon

My first stop in Japan was Tokyo, to run the 2015 Tokyo Marathon. Miho and I had originally entered the marathon registration lottery months before, however unfortunately, only I won an entry. I still had a good run without her – although not nearly as much fun or motivation to kick ass! Running through the …