What basketball has meant to me lately, years after it meant everything.

Image for post
Image for post
Note: I am a Knicks fan. I have no idea where this Scottie Pippen jersey came from.

In absolute terms, I have never been good at basketball. In relative terms, my peak was around fifth grade, the year I made the All-Star Game of my neighborhood league.

I remember looking over the rosters in the school gym, after our games one week. I was frustrated. My team, the Blue team, had Jaytona, arguably the best player in the league. But the other team was stacked. They had guys like Daniel, and Brett — who even as a 10-year-old somehow had the underarm hair and shoulders of an adult. It took me a moment to realize that, in the eyes of the league, I was good enough to anchor the Blue team. …


What kind of people willingly break the law to let foreigners sleep on their couch for free? I tried to get the answer from these three residents of Myanmar.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Eric Goldschein

One night, many months ago now, I was sitting on a bench outside a hostel in Battambang, Cambodia, talking with a young European couple.

Like me, they were traveling, but they had made a rule for themselves: No paying for transportation or a bed. They would hitchhike and crash with strangers everywhere they went. They cut corners whenever they could. Earlier that day, they’d gone to a nearby temple attraction and claimed to have entered without paying the $1 fee, by just asking.

You wouldn’t believe how much money you save, they said, as they waited for that night’s host to return from a friend’s house with some couch cushions they planned to lay across the floor and use as a bed. …


The hidden -and quite often surprising- value in understanding what we do with time.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Icons8 team on Unsplash

We’ve all heard the cliches: Time is valuable. Time is our most precious commodity. We’ve even seen the studies: A time-saving purchase makes people happier than a material purchase.

And yet, most people avoid actually taking the time to, well, track their time. It’s understandable: For decades, if not longer, people have been using crude, unpleasant means to keep track of what they’re doing — spreadsheets, handwritten tables, or mental notes. Filling out a timesheet at the end of each week can be arduous and unfulfilling.

But like many areas of our lives, technological improvements — mainly powered by the apps on our smartphones and other smart wearables — have made it easier to keep track of how we’re spending our time, both at the office and around-the-clock. …


“Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.” — from Desiderata

I think about this quote — not all the time or anything, but occasionally, when I’m not looking for food — when I travel alone.

Though traveling alone leads to loneliness at times, it’s also incredibly rewarding. And for me — a freelancer, who often spends a lot of time alone anyway, writing and working — there actually is a beautiful peace that comes with removing myself from the activity and tumult (read: drunken tourists) that the travel life often intersects.

Image for post
Image for post
Looking out over a drowned lake in southern Laos, thinking about travel and such. (Photo credit: Eric Goldschein)

How I deal with isolation when I travel is the question I get asked the most. It’s asked in different ways: “How do you make friends while traveling?” “Is it hard to go somewhere where you don’t know people?” …


Image for post
Image for post
Outside Brasserie Les Halles in Manhattan.

It seems easy to say this now, in the wake of his death, but the day that someone told me that I reminded them of Anthony Bourdain, my life changed.

I had always enjoyed watching “No Reservations,” a fun show about food hosted by a dude who I recognized as classic New York-guy-at-the-deli; the regular at the end of the dive bar; a walking, talking, swaggering leather jacket of a person. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Antonino Visalli on Unsplash

I’m a millennial. I was also a manager of a group of writers for a digital media outlet for several years. While my time in that position was mostly successful, I narrowly avoided more than a few disasters. In my first week, I nearly fired an employee who called me a dick while I was shopping at Costco on a Saturday morning.

It was not an auspicious beginning, and I spent a lot of my first year or so stumbling from one questionable decision to the next.

While every generation of new managers steps into the role with little idea of what “a manager” really does or needs to be successful, there are some unique challenges to being a “millennial manager”. …


Image for post
Image for post

Paris — a city in France. It’s a place so magical, it sends Japanese tourists into an emotional tailspin, and not the good kind!

I recently saw a headline on the Matador Network, which has never accepted any of my travel writing pitches, that boasted “12 things I wish I knew before visiting Paris.”

When I saw that article, I thought, what a great idea! What better way to tell people you’ve been to Paris (France), while remaining humble and “down-to-earth” (only a real asshole would write an article called “12 Things I Already Knew Before I Went To Paris That Turned Out To Be Accurate,” right?)? …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

Employee resistance to changes in how businesses are organized and their work is conducted is legendary, and as old as the “modern” workplace — the Harvard Business Review first tackled this issue back in 1969.

When businesses introduce new project management tools, IT software, office policies, or roles and relationships, employees tend to chafe.

For organizations, this should be expected. As the writer Arnold Bennett once put it, “any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.”

Opposition to organizational change can take many forms. It can be quiet killers, such as refusing to use (or reluctantly and haphazardly using) new tools, or dips in morale and dedication that slow down projects and productivity. It can also be more overt, such as leaving the company altogether.

Of course, resistance is futile. Change happens to organizations whether the employees, or even their managers, like it or not. For one, new technology is rapidly altering how we work — we’re communicating, collaborating, and automating certain processes in new ways nearly every day. …


Touring the super-famous Khmer ruins by bike isn’t for the weak, but those who pedal themselves there (and back, and there, and back) can reward themselves with extra visits.

Image for post
Image for post
Angkor Wat is awesome, and everyone knows it. You may need some extra time to explore.

For budget travelers, Angkor Wat can be a wallet-killer. The temple complex is a “must-see,” and most agree that a one-day pass isn’t enough (nor, for that matter, is a three-day pass, or even a seven-day — the level of detail on all of the temples could take you a lifetime to appreciate).

But even if you only have one day, as of 2017 a one-day pass costs $37. A three-day pass is $62, and a seven-day pass is $72. In a country of $2 noodle dishes and $4 dorm beds, those are high prices.

That’s before you factor in that Cambodia is hot, the complex is enormous, and most of the history is tough to parse on your own if you’re not already familiar with Suryavarman II and Jayavarman VII. …


Smartphones are making travel easier and more enjoyable. They’re also destroying everything that was once good about it.

It’s been some years since my last long-term stretch of travel. Back in 2010 and 2011, I spent four months moving through Central America, as well as a few more living in Paris and taking a few trips to other parts of Western Europe.

Now, I’m on the road in Southeast Asia. I’m writing this in Vietnam. …

About

Eric Goldschein

I’m a freelance writer originally from Brooklyn. I write about travel mostly but also business and “culture.” I hope you like what you read. ericgoldschein.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store