Age of Exploration: Adventure is Out There!

It is with deep pride and pleasure that I present to you my sophomore album, Age of Exploration. Ta-da!

This album is about places, transit, and adventure. My biggest hope is that it will inspire you to explore the world around you as well as the one within you. Dare to step out of your comfort zone, try something new, meet interesting people! Surprise yourself. Then, tell me all about it!

The entire album will be available FREE for streaming on SoundCloud until 11:59pm Pacific. You can also purchase your digital copies online. There are no physical copies of the album YET, but I will work on getting those out to you soon! (As most of you know by now, I recently relocated to Chicago, IL, so I’m still getting settled in!)

If you’re interested in the Age of Exploration Travel Guide, which includes extra album artwork, song lyrics, and full album credits, send me an e-mail at with “Travel Guide” in the subject line. These items will eventually be available in the album’s physical version.

Adventure is out there! Go find it, and listen to this album along the way. Let the journeys begin.

Big, big love to you,

Lily Bee

P.S. I LOVE live reactions. Feel free to e-mail or tweet me as you listen to it. I want to know what you think, whether you love it or hate it!

Also, if you’re going to tweet about the album, use the hashtag #AgeofExploration and tag me @dangerbui!

Slow News Days


I recently watched Paul Salopek’s talk from the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference: The Story and the Algorithm. He’s a peculiar fellow with plenty of idiosyncrasies to boot. Soft spoken and hoarse, he paced around the stage while reading from a stack of stapled papers to an audience that strained to hear him. He was a stark contrast to the bombasters who preceded him, yet it was all so appropriate for the topic at hand: slow journalism.

Taking inspiration from the slow food movement, Salopek advocates the slowing down of our tendencies to overshare our lives. We have so many ways to tell stories these days that we inflate news feeds with minutia–from photos of our food to passive-aggressive tweets about things that irk us. We have so many outlets that we have begun abusing the media that make it possible to share our lives in meaningful ways.

Don’t get me wrong. I completely acknowledge the value of being able to instantaneously share my newfound obsession with the BBC series Dr. Who at the exact moment that I realized that I loved the show. (I immediately received reactions via tweet and text message from the same friends who have been trying to convert me into a fan for the past two years.) The 21st century is an amazing and important time for technology. Like Salopek, though, I fear that our hyperconnectivity with others attenuates the connection we have with ourselves.

Salopek chooses to endorse his slow news movement by walking (yes, walking) across various continents while inviting his audience to follow along online as he documents this journey. He calls it a “collective walk into the future.” It’s undeniably experimental, and I’m still dubious as to whether or not it is going to make a big enough impact to affect a large-scale change in technology. However, it’s worth thinking about. I realize that I’m guilty of inflating the importance of everyday trifles, so I welcome this shift in thinking.

I’m not about to start any cross-continent treks, so don’t get your hopes up. What I’m going to try is a social media diet. No Twitter, no FourSquare, no Instagram, no Facebook for a few days. These instantaneous methods of sharing take away from being in the moment itself, and they take away from the time we have with the people we share these moments with. I’m invoking the days of old in which photo uploads happened AFTER the fact and blog posts (or dare I say it–xanga entries) were fully thought-out reactions to life instead of impulsive comments that we push out the proverbial (though technologically advanced) door.

Technology provides so many ways to tell stories, construct our identities, and share our lives with each other. Let’s not diminish our attention spans, shorten our tempers, and cheapen the process of learning about ourselves along the way.

Giant Onion

Chicago derives its name from the French adaptation of a Native American word. It either means “big, tall, and strong” or “giant onion.”

Unlike other big cities I’ve been to, Chicago isn’t so rooted in a history that it can’t be shaped, and it’s not so modern that its identity is still inchoate. Chicago is a city of plasticity. It is what you make of it, and ever since I arrived, it has let me do so.

My stream of tweets, check-in’s, and photo uploads will never suffice as representations of what this city is to me. Though my enthusiasm for Chicago has definitely come through to a lot of my friends and family, what is happening internally is far more profound than any Instagram capture can convey. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss words altogether for the sake of landscapes or skylines (or in the case of the 21st century, food porn).

When I moved to D.C., it was incredibly uncomfortable. Exorbitantly shy and habitually hermitic, I resisted adapting for as long as I could (until I found music). This time around, it feels different, and I realized why: I am comfortable in my own skin. Instead of resisting my shyness, I realize that it’s a part of me, and that’s totally okay. I don’t need to be out every night around loud music and inebriated crowds to feel like I’m alive. I know that I’m alive.

Here, I am filled with wonder and surrounded by newness. Whether by wandering around the city or striking up a conversation with a stranger, I am connecting and connected to everything–including myself. In my work, I am lucky to have mentors who are not only passionate about their work but also stellar human beings outside of their work. I cannot go a day without learning something new. I go to bed every night reluctant fall asleep (lest I miss something) and wake up out of pure excitement to start the day.

There can only be one explanation for this: I’m in love–with my work, with this city, with life itself. What better place is there to be than right here, right now, in this moment, exactly where I am?

Seven Days at Sea: A Father’s Day Story

The story behind “Thuyền” (meaning “boat” in Vietnamese), a song on the new album Age of Exploration.

My dad recently came to Chicago with me to help me move. When he first emigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam in the 1970s, he ended up in Chicago. He was around the same age as I am now. I asked him whether I could interview him for a story. This is what resulted.

This next album is about exploring the world around you as well as the world within you. This interview helped me do both things.