When Westerners go East, or, on not finding peace in Asia.
Luke Williams flies to Kuala Lumpur coming down off crystal meth without plans or much cash. He is there for three years. He spends time working as a prostitute in Pattaya, eats snake heart in Vietnam, consults an American medium in Ubud, and explores the eye-popping red light scenes in Jakarta and the Philippines. Along the way, he encounters other Westerners who go to Asia for the things they can't find at home - riches, wives, ladyboys, cheap living and even cheaper drugs, cults, spices, mountains, tropical beaches, beach gigolos, 'self-esteem' necklaces, and ascended masters.
Luke fully immerses himself in every environment and encounter, going far beyond reportage, while aspects of his own history - his dreams, disappointments, urges, and his inherited struggle with mental illness - begin to catch up with him. He becomes addicted to Valium, is haunted by the past, and ends up in jail. Ultimately, Luke is confronted by what is and what was, and his own footprint upon it all.
About the Author
Luke Williams is a journalist and two-time Walkley nominee. His first book The Ice Age: A Journey into Crystal-Meth Addiction was nominated for both a Walkley and the Nib Waverley Literary Prize. His work has been published in Vice, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The I-Paper (UK), The Sun (UK), The Daily Star (UK), Good Weekend, Good Reading, The Saturday Paper, The Daily Mail, The Adelaide Advertiser, Crikey, Triple J magazine, The Weekend Australian, Mamamia and Eureka Street. In 2013 he was nominated for a Human Rights Media Award for a long-form investigative piece in The Global Mail. A series of popular travel articles he wrote for news.com.au last year has been subsequently re-published in France, India, Brazil, Romania, Vietnam, Nigeria, Ghana and the UK.