Welcome to all Frugal Traveler fans who've landed on this page from the link in Seth Kugel's well-written and thoughtful article about women and travel. As some of you already know, I was the NYT Frugal Traveler from 1998 to 2004--an amazing, intense, and wonderful time to be frugal traveling (way back then, 1 USD =85 Euro cents. Eat your heart out, Seth!) If you're one of my readers from those days, and finding this blog for the first time, a special warm hello to you. Hope you enjoy poking through the other entries on this blog. BTW, if you're not...

  I split my year between Hong Kong and New York, and just got back to my Brooklyn apartment a couple of weeks ago. Of course I'm feeling discombobulated--brutal jet lag and all--but I think that's a good thing. One of the advantages of never completely settling into a place is that you never get a chance to stop seeing it with fresh eyes. That's the great gift that traveling gives all of us. Even (especially) when we're in the most familiar surroundings, we can still feel the thrill of discovery. At home, we're tourists. (Apologies to new wave rockers, the Gang...

Every year I try to give myself the gift of a few weeks to go off the grid, and travel alone without a plan or itinerary. Southeast Asia is a great place to be a meandering traveller. The logistics here are so easy. Guesthouses and hotels are cheap and plentiful, you never need to worry about finding a place to sleep even if you don't have a reservation. Transport is no sweat--there are good connections by air, rail, bus and boat. And best of all, you will never, ever find yourself far from delicious food.  Last month I bought...