This Way More Better

Stories and Photos from Asia's Back Roads

by Karen Coates
Photographs by Jerry Redfern

Karen Coates carries the skill of a trained journalist and the language of a poet when she travels. The people she sees are people whose stories she learns and tells with a precision and sensitivity that makes them fully-fleshed individuals, illuminating their landscapes with their presence. >From an American doctor working beyond his limits in East Timor, to a group of Burmese journalists in exile using their slender resources to make a newspaper, to an Australian woman baking cakes in a Thai jungle, the voices are clear and the stories unforgettable as men and women open their lives to a gifted stranger.

Whether you’ve been to the places Karen Coates takes you to in This Way More Better, or whether you only dream of going there, you will see these countries in a way that few visitors do, through the lives and stories of those who live in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and beyond.

“Books often offer a vacation from life. I hope, instead, this book takes you traveling,” Karen says in her introduction. Not only does this book take us traveling; it gives us stories told by people who become our friends, in countries that become our no longer distant neighbors.

Illustrated by the photographs of Jerry Redfern, Karen’s travel companion and husband, This Way More Better provides a unique view of “Asia’s back roads.”


Karen Coates
Karen Coates says “I’ve been hooked on Asia ever since I spent a semester of graduate school in Hanoi more than a dozen years ago. Somehow I managed to wheedle my husband, photojournalist Jerry Redfern, into a life on the move. I took a newspaper job in Phnom Penh in 1998, shortly after we married, and we’ve been tromping through jungles and rice paddies ever since.  I’m the Southeast Asia correspondent for Archaeology and I write a Food Culture column for The Faster Times. My work appears in publications around the world such as GlobalPost, Wall Street Journal Asia, Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, DAYS Japan, GEO Spain, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and many others.”

Jerry Redfern
Jerry Redfern began his career as a staff photographer at newspapers in the American West, at a time when papers still had darkrooms and photographers still processed their own film. In 1998, he and his wife, Karen Coates, moved to Cambodia where Redfern shot news, features and investigative stories for Agence France-Presse, The New York Times, The Cambodia Daily and other publications. Redfern’s work has won awards from numerous journalism and art organizations, including the Fund for Investigative Journalism, Center – Review Santa Fe, and the National Press Photographers Association. Redfern’s images appear in publications around the world, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Archaeology, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, GEO, Sierra, National Geographic Books, and many others.

See the Book Trailer

2013; 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches; 288 pages; paperback; color images
ISBN-10 1-934159-48-4
ISBN-13 978-1-934159-48-4