Matador Network
Matador Network is the web’s largest travel magazine. Our fast growing community includes independent travelers, as well as athletes, journalists, photographers, filmmakers, and writers we sponsor to produce original investigative works. Our mission is to empower, connect, and feature travelers promoting culture, conservation, and sustainability around the world.

17 signs you were raised in a Chinese-American family

1. You speak Chinglish fluently.

You and your parents have developed your own, unique language, made up of some parts English and some parts Chinese. Every Chinese-American family has their own version of Chinglish. Some of my family favorites: “I bought hen duo (a lot) of your favorite snacks.” “It’s too mafan (troublesome).” And: “That’s so diu lian (humiliating).” When you were younger you felt embarrassed to speak Chinglish in public, but now that you’re older, you cherish having such an intimate language that you share with only a few other people in the world.

2. You appreciate your Tiger Mom now that you’re older.

For you, the Tiger Mom is neither myth nor satire. Got an A- in your super hard Physics class? Too much TV. Can’t master that piano concerto at the age of eight? Practice more. Not as good as your math whiz cousin who got into MIT at the age of 13? No more video games. Play was considered a four letter word when you were growing up. While this may have made for a stressful childhood, once you were out in the world on your own, you appreciated the discipline your Tiger Mom taught you. But she still hassles you on the phone, no matter how old you are.

3. There’s a collection of really tacky gold jewelry waiting for you once you get married.

Your Chinese parents may be completely Americanized otherwise, but one cultural habit from the old country they can’t let go of is collecting gold jewelry for their daughters’ weddings. We’re not talking tasteful, subtle, delicate pieces. We’re talking blingy, 24K pieces with dragon and flower motifs and big-ass rubies. We’re talking the kind of jewelry that doesn’t go with anything. Except the super uncomfortable red qipao dress with gold embroidery that you’re not looking forward to wearing at your Big Fat Chinese Wedding banquet.

Keep Reading

On explaining travel to your parents 

1. Respect who you’re dealing with. They only want the best for you.

I once played an April Fools joke on my mom. I posted a photo of a hideous rose-themed neck tattoo on Facebook with the caption, “First tat! Go big or go home!” next to it.

When my mother saw this, she collapsed on the ground and was UNABLE TO BREATHE. This woman is an emotional grenade. She would physically explode if I were to make a bad decision for myself.

Your mom may or may not be similar. Either way, you totally crashed her “freewheelin’ woman doin’ whatever I want” party back in the ’90s, when you forced your way out of her loins and left her with frizzy hair and varicose veins. So respect that.

I don’t even have to tell you what dads go through. Fathering teenage daughters. Mini emotional grenades. That is not how I want to spend my late 30s / early 40s. I will tell you what.

2. Come clean about your finances.

How many times have you asked your dad what he wants for Father’s Day and he responds with something you absolutely cannot buy at Cabela’s? “I want you to be more responsible!”

When I tell my parents that I’m going on a trip, and they come back with, “It better be a trip to the bank!” I like to recite a number. I usually share with them exactly how much money I have in my savings account, money which I am saving for “things other then travel.”

Even if this number is small, it still says that in some minuscule way, I am saving for my “future.”

3. Take steps to ease their mind.

Take a self-defense class. Contact any trusted acquaintance you have at your destination and let your parents contact them as well. Get an international cell phone plan. Do anything you can to give your parents the confidence that you’re going to be okay.

When I went away for a few months to live on a sailboat with absolutely zero sailing experience, my parents were a tad uncomfortable with the idea. So I asked my captain to get a SPOT device, which is a satellite GPS messenger. And he did, no problem.


Mother as wingman in Santorini, Greece

“OH NO YOU DON’T,” my mother said. “You’re not going to jump off from there.”

“It’s deep enough,” I said, teetering on the edge of the schooner, the Aegean Sea below. In the distance, the white-washed buildings clinging to the edge of the caldera looked like snow.

“I forbid it!” she said.

“Mom, I’m 35.”

“Then act like it,” my mother called.

I leapt into the sea.

As I climbed the ladder back into the boat, the sandy-haired stranger smiled at me and winked. I had noticed him as soon as we had boarded the sunset cruise. He had smiled at me then, and being my mother’s daughter, I smiled back. He didn’t look like the usual tourist — sunburned, tennis-shoe-clad, a face tinged with an expression of awe and indigestion.

“What do you think you are, a mermaid?” my mother asked.

“Maybe,” I said and smiled over to the sandy-haired stranger.

My mother caught me and said, “What are you looking at?” even though she already knew.

After a hiking trip up Nea Kameni volcano and a swim in the cloudy warm springs, the tourists were settled back in the boat, drinks in hand, and the sandy-haired man played the saxophone, serenading the setting sun. My mother and I sipped Greek wine, listened to the breathy saxophone, a sound both sassy and serious. The music of a clandestine love affair. Or so I imagined.

It was my mother who’d asked him to ride up the rickety cable car back to Fira with us, who’d invited him to dinner. It was as if she wanted to make sure somebody was going to have a Shirley Valentine experience in Greece.

But this proved to be quite an ordeal, considering Benny, the Albanian saxophone player, had a repertoire of about 10 English words. He could speak Greek, Italian, and of course, Albanian. I can speak Spanish, a language closer to Italian than English, so we managed on Benny’s Italian and my broken Spanish, understanding about 7% of what the other said. We made it through dinner this way, eating takeout gyros on a park bench. He invited us to have drinks later at Enigma, the nightclub where he worked.

“That Benny sure is nice, isn’t he?” my mother asked.

“I guess so. It’s hard to talk to him.”

“He’s handsome.”

“Did you see he’s missing teeth. In the back?” I asked.

“Don’t be so judgmental,” my mother said.


As kids: You see potential where nobody else can. If travel is an act of realizing one’s curiosity about a place, then nobody travels like kids. No matter where they go they’ll discover every possibility for play, exploration, mastery. Whereas an adult sees a hillside and a picnic table in their most utilitarian terms, a child creates whole worlds and games out of this simple landscape. This is why children can pick up languages quickly whereas adults struggle: They simply embody wherever they are and whatever conditions are present.

8 portraits of travel before and after having kids.  #Sandisk #SanDiskStories

Dear Mom: I want to travel with you


I want to travel with you — just you. I want to explore a new place alongside the woman who raised me, who changed my diapers, who put up with my teenaged angst, and my rebellious college years. I want to see my favorite cities with the lady who taught me essential life lessons, like look both ways before crossing the street, and how to use a glue gun, that it’s not worth sleeping with every guy you meet, and that the most important thing in the world is to help others.

I want you to stop dropping me off at the airport for some trip I’m about to take, and start becoming my seatmate.

(Read the rest here)

Adopted by an Indian mother in Kerala

When Amma heard that I wasn’t married, she began calling me daughter, which she pronounced doughter. And she insisted that I call her Amma, meaning “Mommy.” She also took it upon herself to make sure I was well fed, shoving food into my mouth whenever I opened it. If I opened my mouth to speak, which happens a lot, Amma would shove half a banana in my mouth.

(Read more here)

Our son says to me, “Mamita, I love you so much, como el sol.” I love you so much, like the sun. Every evening for months now, we’ve had to discuss: the sun goes away, but it always comes back. We need the dark so we can rest, so we can see the stars, and the moon reminds us that the sun is still there. Often, we discuss: Mamá has to go to work, and you can be with your friends, and with papito, but mamá always comes back, she’ll always come back for you.

—excerpted from There’s a reality to living off the land in Mexico

(Read the rest here)