Pick-pocketed in Ho Chi Minh City: A cautionary tale

Although we hoped it wouldn't happen, we knew that being pick-pocketed on our Trip Around the World was a very real possibility. We tried to always be careful, especially in crowded places, but we just weren't careful enough in Ho Chi Minh City.

If you've ever visited Vietnam or even seen videos on YouTube, you know the streets are filled with an endless flow of motorbike traffic. There are plenty of cars on the road, too, but, as it was explained to us, Vietnam has an import tax of 200% on automobiles while motorbikes are bought and sold from flyers on the walls of cafes and restaurants for $200. And that means there are a lot more motorbikes than cars traversing the streets of Vietnam.

We'd been in Vietnam for more than a week, so we'd gotten used to the intensity of Vietnamese street traffic. We even got really good at crossing the street with (almost) no fear. Despite this familiarity, we were still a little surprised when we left The Secret Garden (a well-regarded, somewhat hidden rooftop restaurant located up four flights of stairs in an alley off Pasteur Street) to walk to Fanny's, an ice cream parlor where we had a reservation to enjoy a fancy 14-scoop ice cream fondue platter.

It was New Year's Eve, and a massive number of people and motorbikes were clogging the city's streets like nothing we'd seen before. HCMC has a population of almost eight million people, and it felt like every one of them was either driving through the heart of District 1 on a motorbike or walking toward Công viên 23 Tháng 9 (Park September 23) to get a good view of the upcoming New Year's concert and fireworks show. Read the rest

How to buy secret cookies baked by cloistered Spanish nuns

How to buy Nun Cookies in Spain
When we heard about the semi-secret cookies baked by secluded nuns in Madrid, Spain, naturally we had to seek out these mythical treats. Here's what we found.

Pondok Pekak Library, a hidden gem in Ubud, Bali

Pondok Pekak Library in Ubud
Ubud has been called the cultural center of Bali, and at the heart of Ubud Village sits the literary oasis that is the Pondok Pekak Library & Learning Center. It was one of our favorite hangouts while we visited Bali.

What bees taught me about Cambodia

Giant Honeybee Hive in Cambodia
I come from a family of beekeepers, so I had to check out a tour of traditional techniques. But I got more than I expected, and learned a lot about life in rural Cambodia.

A tour through New Zealand's amazing steampunk town

Steampunk HQ, New Zealand
We went to Oamaru, New Zealand to see the blue penguins (and they were super cute), but it was the town's dedication to Steampunk that really got us fired up.

Tsukunejima: A Fantastic Dining Experience in Hiroshima

Tsukunejima Streetside View
When I visited Hiroshima, Japan with my family, I expected a lot of tough questions about the atomic bomb from my daughters. But I didn't expect to stumble upon one of the best restaurants I've ever eaten at.

Welcome to Sacred Monkey Forest

Mean Monkey in the Monkey Forest
"It felt like one of those horror-movie moments when a party of teenagers are lost in the woods and stumble upon some cute thing and everyone says, 'Aw, isn't that cute.' Then it turns from cute to evil and kills them." Tom Fassbender takes his kids to a monkey park in Bali.

The Majesty of Easter Island

As a young boy, Tom Fassbender remembers being fascinated by Easter Island while watching In Search Of, but he never thought he'd have the chance to actually visit the place — then his family decided to travel around the world.

Managing expectations on a trip around the world

When Tom Fassbender took a trip around the world with his family, he wasn't naive enough to think that it was going to be a year of easy adventure full of laughs and endless fun.

How We Decided to Travel Around the World

How We Decided to Travel Around the World
"Most people think that taking a family of four on a trip around the world for an entire year would require a long discussion and some careful consideration," says Tom Fassbender. "But for us, the decision was made with the speed of a single text message."