I got my start in journalism in the traditional manner: working for the Slovak Spectator in Slovakia. There I cut my teeth on stories about bad caves, out-of-control washing machines, and the sublime beauty of socialist architecture. I spent my free time being mistaken for a notorious Czech swindler, cooking sweet-and-sour tofu on television, and explaining Halloween to a Slovak radio audience. Once back in the United States, I moved to Oakland, California, and have written for the New York Times, Wired, Sunset, Newsweek, and other publications as a freelance writer and served as a contributing editor for the travel magazine Via.