Category: Interesting

The Last Notes

7 reasons to try snowshoeing this winter
7 reasons to try snowshoeing this winter

Photo by m.prinkeIf you’re looking for something different and a bit quirky to adopt as this winter’s outdoor activity, consider taking up snowshoeing.Mellower than sledding and less painful than snowball fighting, snowshoeing may be the perfect way for you to get outside and enjoy the crisp air of the winter months.

‘The Lost Girls’ find their way
‘The Lost Girls’ find their way

The Lost GirlsThree NYC gals decide to quit their stressful careers in journalism to take a trip around the world for a year. Only then do they realize what they’re really made of.I’m betting the Lost Girls got a lot of “you’re so lucky!”s when they first broke the news to friends about plans for an around-the-world trip.

Impoverishment and peace for the South Dakota Lakota tribe
Impoverishment and peace for the South Dakota Lakota tribe

Far from a household name, Avrol Looking Horse leads the Lakota Tribe in trying to shift mankind’s energy toward peace.HE MET WITH Desmond Tutu and with the Dali Lama. He spoke on world peace and religious freedom at Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth. He traveled to Iraq to pray for global healing. He carried his concerns to the United Nations.

Eat, pray, love in France
Eat, pray, love in France

A guide to the food, wine, romance, and sacred spaces of the world’s most visited nation.Eat SlowlyLyon, the country’s oft-named culinary capital, is a good starting point if restaurant meals are what you’re after. But make sure not to confine yourself — after you’ve discovered what the city has to offer, pick a neighboring region and dive in.

Letting go of judgments is not easy
Letting go of judgments is not easy

Kristin Conard makes some snap judgments and catches herself. She finds she’s mostly wrong. But sometimes she’s right.I’M AT A POSH RESTAURANT. What’s worse, I’m at a restaurant that knows it’s posh (judgment). There are multiple crystal chandeliers, gold brocade fabric hanging in swooping swags. My tennis shoes and windblown hair from being out on a boat aren’t quite right, and I’m hating myself for not changing or running a comb through my hair (self-judging).

Alaias: How an old-school board is making surfing greener
Alaias: How an old-school board is making surfing greener

How some surfers are exploring history to create a greener board.Sometimes looking backwards is the only way to move forward. So it makes sense that we’re looking to return to simpler, more sustainable ways of experiencing our sports.Surfing is no different, and is said by many to be hypocritical in it’s current choice of gear.

11 reasons to visit India in summer
11 reasons to visit India in summer

While the majority of travelers visit India in the winter, there are some who like it hot.India is a popular summer destination for European vacationers, monsoon lovers, and travelers who prefer to go against the grain. There are lots of good reasons for visiting India in the summer: the profusion of festivals, Himalayan destinations inaccessible in winter, empty tourist attractions, cheaper airfares, and slashed accommodation rates, to name a few.

The absurdity of ‘spiritual enlightenment’
The absurdity of ‘spiritual enlightenment’

Now is certainly NOT the time for a positive spiritual outlook. We must focus on scandals and Rush Limbaugh.More and more conversations these days seem to veer in the direction of change and the soon arriving “enlightenment of humanity”. I must admit, I tend to get a bit depressed thinking that we’ve made it to a period of shifting priorities and spiritual awakening.

Backpacking after baby
Backpacking after baby

Deanna Niles McConnell gives five experience-tested tips for hitting the road after giving birth.Photo: gregor_yA lot of people believe parenthood is the end of the party. The needs of a tiny person can be overwhelming, and it often feels easier to just never leave the house. There’s all that stuff that babies need (or we’re told that babies need), and you hate the idea of traveling with more than just a backpack and a smile.

How do you cultivate your humanity?
How do you cultivate your humanity?

Whether you’re traveling or staying at home, there are steps each of us take to strengthen our humanity.Cultivating empathy might just be one of the coolest by-products of travel.It’s hard not to feel someone else’s pain when they lose a loved one, or don’t have enough money to buy food, or watch their heart being broken, even when your beliefs and worldview are completely opposite.

Fresh idea: Venice by kayak
Fresh idea: Venice by kayak

A new way to explore Italy’s “City of Water.”Getting on the water has always been a “must” for visitors to Venice, whether springing for a romantic gondola tour or simply hopping on a vaporetto waterbus. The canals define the city, and experiencing them from water level can be a lot of fun.The company Venice Kayak has recently taken that idea in a new direction, offering guided kayak tours through the maze of waterways that comprise the floating city.

Love in the time of Matador: Romantic Roman rendezvous foregone for self love
Love in the time of Matador: Romantic Roman rendezvous foregone for self love

Lauren Quinn tells us how she learned to love herself. No strings, no exceptions.The scene was set: Rome in autumn. An up-lit fountain in an ancient piazza. Lovers separated by an ocean — both physical and metaphorical — reuniting. A tentative hug, a bashful glance, hearts swooning with the purr of motorinos.

Are laws against sex workers sexist?
Are laws against sex workers sexist?

A male sex worker argues that laws against sex work disempower women.The phrase “sex work”, at least for me, conjures up images of pain, victimization, and slavery of women throughout the world.I wrote about my frustration with the continued perpetuation of this system, and what I believe is its effect on our spirit, in the piece The Butterfly Effect of Women’s Plight.

The tie that binds: Do we need alcohol to connect on the road?
The tie that binds: Do we need alcohol to connect on the road?

Sure, a couple of beers make it easier to walk up to that cute Brazilian. But can we really not make deep connections without the bottle involved?Drinking alcohol tends to be a large part of many traveler’s itineraries.Ok, maybe not ‘itineraries,’ per se, but checking out a local pub or expat bar usually plays into the travel experience.

Lies and reality about expat life in Cairo, Egypt
Lies and reality about expat life in Cairo, Egypt

Meeting an Egyptian during a visit to Cyprus causes Theresa Everline to consider what it means to represent her adopted city abroad.“Egypt is wonderful,” I said. This was a lie.Ten minutes prior, I had taken off my shoes and walked alone into a mosque.The guidebook described the building as architecturally interesting, but it looked rather mundane.

How to: Be your own chai wallah
How to: Be your own chai wallah

Above: Various spices used in chai. Photos by Susanna Donato.Learn the skills of a chai wallah by creating your own delicious, homemade blend of chai masala. Just follow these directions.In our temperate North American climate, October means crisp blue skies, the sweet dusty smell of leaves piling up beneath trees, and of course, a burning desire for warm, spicy food and drink.

10 common gestures easily misunderstood abroad
10 common gestures easily misunderstood abroad

Frequent travelers must be great at charades. When you need to communicate and you don’t have the luxury of a shared language, body language is invaluable. A skilled traveler can negotiate a taxi, buy food in a market, and get directions from a stranger through hand motions alone.Things can get lost in translation, though, when a typical gesture from your country means something completely different in other parts of the world.

What’s in your backpack, Leif Pettersen?
What’s in your backpack, Leif Pettersen?

Leif Pettersen hanging in a hammock in Ko Chang, ThailandLeif Pettersen (pronounced “Life”) is a road-worn wordsmith who has worked in the travel writing racket for nearly a decade.Known for his hilariously irreverent style, Leif’s candid travelogues are enjoyed by thousands each month on his blog Killing Batteries.

The Matador guide to wedding roles
The Matador guide to wedding roles

Matador editor Kristin Conard breaks down what you need to know about the different roles you might be called on to play in a wedding.Given how wildly different weddings can be, it’s often hard to know exactly what your role is. I’ve attended more weddings than I can count, and have been lucky enough to play a significant part in four of them.

Are we deluding ourselves with spiritual inquiry?
Are we deluding ourselves with spiritual inquiry?

The shamans of the ancient world had so much more depth than spiritual leaders of today, right? Ok, maybe it’s time to chuck those rose-colored glasses.More than one of us have heard a grandparent or elder say, “Back in the good old days…”What surprised me is when I began to utter these words, about days that came before I my existence was even a contemplation.