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  1. Mutual Travel Respect

    Mutual Travel Respect

    Share this: September 29, 1999: My business partner Daniel Fraser and I boarded a plane from Calgary, Canada to Bangkok, Thailand. The idea: start a travel company for people that don’t like ‘tours’, yet want a very comprehensive experience in about two weeks. Smiling Albino was born. We spent our first year doing odd jobs, traveling as much as we...

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  2. Technological Travel Distraction

    Technological Travel Distraction

    Share this: In October 1999, around the time I moved to Thailand, I met a very peculiar Dutch man who was already a long time resident of Bangkok. He ran what was then the first and only company that ran bicycle tours through the city’s labyrinthine alleys and along canal-side communities. I joined one of his trips and it was...

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  3. Personal Growth and Travel

    Personal Growth and Travel

    Share this: Altering one’s perspective, growing, and actually changing is a challenge. Our habits, likes and biases are generally formed early in life and typically deeply set. Having an experience that shifts our personal beliefs, the way we think and operate sadly doesn’t happen as much as most of us would probably like. Within our day-to-day lives finding an outlet...

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  4. One Billion Travelers

    One Billion Travelers

    Share this: A century ago traveling from San Francisco to Hong Kong meant spending up to two weeks at sea by steamer ship, most of which were not particularly comfortable. Braving rough seas, passing the time and more importantly covering the bill was something most people simply couldn’t do. Nor was the notion of traveling for fun particularly in people’s...

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  5. Angry Birds’ Global Assault

    Angry Birds’ Global Assault

    Share this: 2012 saw many trends, newsmakers and fads, one of the biggest being Phy’s catchy Gangnam Style, which took over global airwaves and broke the all-time YouTube views record. But I suggest there was a larger force at work this year that had greater impact upon the globe. One that crept up on the planet’s citizens gradually over the...

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  6. Passing of Norodom Sihanouk

    Passing of Norodom Sihanouk

    Share this: Born in 1922, Norodom Sihanouk went on to become one of modern Cambodia’s most revered and storied characters. He ruled as King twice, once as president, twice as prime minister, was sovereign prince two times, chose and changed sides frequently, and even sided with the Khmer Rouge for a number of years, who went on to murdered five...

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  7. Ten Eighties

    Ten Eighties

    Share this: The albums and cassettes I listened to in the Eighties (yep, that’s what we bought then), the really good ones, it’s funny how often I end up giving them a play today. And when they’re on, it’s not just the songs, but the emotions they stir, remembering little moments when that song or album it was on came...

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  8. Global Gangnam

    Global Gangnam

    Share this: A pudgy Korean man dressed like a campy Lady Gaga fan prances, gallops, swoons and finds his way in to millions of peoples’ hearts. The song is catchy, but certainly not the year’s best pop track. The beats are undeniably toe-tapping but it’s the video’s visual absurdity that’s lifted PSY’s Gangnam Style to become a true global sensation....

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  9. Food is really taking off

    Food is really taking off

    Share this: I love food but am by no means a foodie, a term that’s really hit the mainstream over the past few years. I also don’t have cable so I’m not entirely up-to-speed on all the celebrity cooking shows but am aware of a number of their names and how food has really become a craze over the last...

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  10. Dave Lemke: a good storyteller

    Dave Lemke: a good storyteller

    Share this: A few weeks ago via a travel business connection, I was introduced by email to Dave Lemke, a Canadian photographer living in Hanoi, Vietnam. I’ve met a good number of professional photographers living in SE Asia over the years while running travel company Smiling Albino, and getting in touch with him wasn’t a priority due to a pretty...

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