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Wake Up Your Windows

I have always been attracted to the worn, to patina, to rusty and to rotten things. Whether it be architecture (Havana, Yangon), fashion (a good pair of old jeans, or old leather boots), or even food (dry-aged steaks, pickle, fermentation – which when you boil it down is rot, tasty, tasty rot…). And as a boy from the south, humidity, the great instigator in speeding up both life and death, has always sent my head spinning into a world of dream and magic, a world of Borges, Faulkner, and Burroughs. Hot climates produce good music, spice, plant life, as well as madness and disease, and I think this constant contradiction is what makes me love South East Asia. It is immediate, fast, alive, vulgar, and passionate.

My first few hours in Asia were a long layover in Kuala Lumpur, jet-lagged, young, scared, excited. And mind-blown. Being jet-lagged is the perfect mind-state for a first time in Asia – it makes all the sense in the world that there is a physical response to moving through the world too fast, that your body has to take time to catch up to your geography, and to land a stranger in a strange land that is foreign in every way. Jet lag just fits.

As soon as I landed in KL, and walked off the plane into the wall of heat and wet, the smell and feel rocked me. It’s a moment I shall never forget, and have been chasing in all of my travels ever since.

I write this to answer the question I sometimes get asked when talking travel…why Asia? Because it shakes the cage is why. Because sitting on the side of the road eating noodle soup in Hanoi can rock your soul and wake up your windows. Because that strange scent of the tropics and of South East Asia stirs some primal emotion, like when a trufflepig springs to action on a scent, which at the end of a chase – or a journey – can produce the finest of products: happiness.


Tyler Dillon has come a long way since those first few mind-blown hours in Kuala Lumpur. He’s now the other side of several decades of travel and planning experience in Asia and beyond. But he’s still regularly mind-blown. And we’re proud to have him as the latest addition to our crack planning team. Drop him a line here to talk street food, fermentation, jeans, music – or the sum of all the above (travel).

My first few hours in Asia were a long layover in Kuala Lumpur, jet-lagged, young, scared, excited. And mind-blown.

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