Category: Interesting

The Last Notes

10 tips for dealing with pregnancy in rural Japan
10 tips for dealing with pregnancy in rural Japan

They say your life changes when you have kids. I bet if you ask any mother, they will tell you the changes come on well before the actual birth.After coming down from the initial excitement, the hormones and emotions swing into overdrive, and combined with all-day morning sickness, fatigue, frequent trips to the toilet, headaches and no sleep, the first few months of pregnancy can be quite daunting for any new mother.

Hiking in Korea is like raving, only better
Hiking in Korea is like raving, only better

Now that I’ve been in Korea for a while, I’ve come to understand that hiking here is like raving, only better. Koreans are the most stylish hikers on the planet. Forget high-fashion: K-hikers rock high-altitude style. Back in the mid-nineties in the U.S., we called them techno preppies or gangster ravers: high-performance sports gear, vests, plaid shirts, polar fleece, cargo pants, visors, backpacks (minus the pacifiers, glowsticks and sparkles).

How to: Stay in touch with kids while traveling
How to: Stay in touch with kids while traveling

Photo: Shermee When I left for Chile, I thought I’d be gone for a short time. That short time has turned into five years, during which my niece has aged from a tot of three to a kid of eight, and a new nephew has joined the fray. I’ve developed some great ways to keep the kids in the loop, and to make me into less of a stranger than I might be when we get back together.

Lulled mellow in Dahab: A tale of new beginnings
Lulled mellow in Dahab: A tale of new beginnings

Assalah town, north Dahab. All photos by author.What does it mean to feel “at home” somewhere, and how do you know when you’re there?There are nine goats lounging in the shade of a pebbly grey wall, staring at my dog. Eighteen bulging, cross-slit eyes, expressionless. My dog is staring at the camel standing haughty across the street.

Combating homesickness in Delhi’s all American diner
Combating homesickness in Delhi’s all American diner

Inside the diner in Delhi. Photo and feature by the author.Can eating at an American-style diner in Delhi really make you feel at home?Living in Denmark for more than two years and only visiting the U.S. once since I left, has made homesickness a fierce opponent. It’s caused me to gently sob when I hear Springsteen and buy imported Betty Crocker brownie mixes for $8, just to feel a little closer to home.

Solo travel: 6 reasons to wander alone
Solo travel: 6 reasons to wander alone

Buckling my seatbelt on the flight from New York to London, it finally struck me that I was going on this trip to Europe alone.Call it a delayed reaction, but after months and months of planning my trip, the fear and trepidation of traipsing across a continent all by myself occurred only at the last minute.

Osho: God is not a solution but a problem
Osho: God is not a solution but a problem

“I know for sure that God does not exist – and thank God he does not exist.”I first happened upon philosopher and guru Osho when visiting LA, perusing through the Bodhi Tree bookstore. There I saw his book, Intuition: Knowing Beyond Logic, and as I had been currently struggling with my own, I picked it up.

Learning experiences: Making soap in Paraguay
Learning experiences: Making soap in Paraguay

Megan Wood risks chemical burns and catastrophe in exchange for bonding time with a local in Paraguay.“All we’ll need is cow fat, cactus, passion fruit leaves and lye!” Blanca exclaims, reading the recipe I brought her and adjusting her husband Antonio’s reading glasses on her nose. I shiver and push my chair closer to the outdoor fire.

The origins of the Avatar
The origins of the Avatar

James Cameron’s AvatarThese days, everyone’s talking about James Cameron’s Avatar… but the concept first re-emerged in the sci-fi novel Snow Crash almost 20 years ago.In the ancient Hindu epic, the Ramayana, the god Vishnu adopts the avatar of Ram to fulfill materially his role as the Preserver. The main purpose of this incarnation is to demonstrate the “righteous path” for all living creatures on earth.

Easy does it: Quandary Peak
Easy does it: Quandary Peak

Photos: authorColorado’s Quandary Peak is an ideal first ’14er’ for hikers and travelers.At 14,265 feet, Quandary is the highest peak in the Tenmile Range. There’s straightforward, all-season access via Highway 9, with the trail head just eight miles south of cushy Breckenridge.Quandary’s wide, mild East Ridge slopes make for an excellent introduction to hiking above treeline in the summer and backcountry skiing when the snow falls.

Nights welcomes new co-editor: Kristin Conard
Nights welcomes new co-editor: Kristin Conard

Me in Butrint, AlbaniaNew co-editor joins the Nights team.Hi Matador Nights readers! I’m Kristin Conard, and I’m excited to be joining Matador Nights as a co-editor.Why I’m HereI wrote my first “book” around the age of five about a cat and a dog and a mouse (that was the title, genius I know) and my mother illustrated it for me.

A night down the pub in Dublin by the numbers
A night down the pub in Dublin by the numbers

What to drink, what to drink? Photo by Frederic Poirot, also used as feature photo.There’s work for me to do here in Dublin: lectures at Trinity College, meeting with my portfolio advisor, freelance writing, and getting my fill of Irish sights. But first, it’s Saturday night. I’d had plans to go out for drinks with a classmate but she canceled, pleading exhaustion, so that’s her tapped out and me refusing to go down without a fight.

Calling China from your mobile with Gmail
Calling China from your mobile with Gmail

Free in-country calls and dirt cheap internationals, video conferencing and text features – Google Voice is stepping in on Skype territory.After reading through Wired’s review of the new Gmail calling feature, I headed straight to Google Voice to check it out myself. I’m a fan of Skype for sure, but I’ve only used it for video calls on my laptop (that iPhone app has just never worked for me).

Sex and the stogie: A girl’s guide to cigars
Sex and the stogie: A girl’s guide to cigars

Cigars are for guys, right? Think again. Jeannie Mark lights up and shares her favorites, from fat Cubans to pencil thin cigarillos.Davidoff No. 2A long cigar chock full of quality. Hand finished and composed of high quality tobacco. Kind of the Jimmy Choo of cigars.Davidoff Long Panatela Natural CigarsCreamy, giving taste.

“Lifelogging” With Sony’s eye-tracking glasses
“Lifelogging” With Sony’s eye-tracking glasses

Sony’s new glasses prototype tracks and records the movement of the human eye.Actually, the device isn’t glasses, but rather an attachment that can be fixed on any pair of glasses. And the features? Both fascinating and frightening.Infrared LEDsPhotoreceiversCameraGPS/GeotaggingText recognitionThis thing doesn’t just record what you see – it records what you focus on, which is where it crosses the line from cool to a little freaky for me.

What’s in your backpack, Alex Jouve?
What’s in your backpack, Alex Jouve?

Photos courtesy of Alex Jouve.Between working on globetrotting shows and wanderlust-inducing series for the History Channel, Discovery Channel, and Travel Channel, TV producer Alex Jouve gives Matador a peek into his backpack.On a number of occasions, especially on a 130 degree day under the Egyptian sun, I’ve been asked by fellow crew members why I always have my bulky backpack stuck to me and what could possibly in there.

Dollars vs. Danger in the Caribbean
Dollars vs. Danger in the Caribbean

A lionfish: both beautiful and dangerous. Photo: tibchris“And what about the lionfish?”That’s what the person on the other end of the line asked after the teacher passed her cell phone to me.I was about to take 20 of her students snorkeling a mile or so offshore in La Parguera, Puerto Rico and her husband was calling to ask if I’d heard about the invasion of lionfish plaguing the area.

Is your computer killing the planet?
Is your computer killing the planet?

If the answer to that question is “Yes,” as the New Scientist suggests it is, then I’m in a whole heap of trouble.There are a lot of lifestyle changes I’ve made for the sake of the planet.Photo: “thoRI recycle. I got rid of my car a few years back and walk or use public transportation. I carry reusable bags so I don’t need plastic bags from the grocery store.

Matador’s Abbie Mood takes the No Impact Week Challenge
Matador’s Abbie Mood takes the No Impact Week Challenge

Consumption will consume you. Photo: Daquella maneraMatador U student and contributor Abbie Mood takes the No Impact Week Challenge.In November of 2006, New York City resident Colin Beavan, along with his wife and daughter, set out to live with no net environmental impact.Fast forward three years later, add the Huffington Post, and you have No Impact Week.

Toys For Grown-Ups: The A.R. Drone Quadricopter
Toys For Grown-Ups: The A.R. Drone Quadricopter

Feature photo by David BerkowitzRobots aren’t just sex and eye candy. Some can even battle other robots, in midair.Remember those remote-controlled helicopters? The ones that you could control with a remote, and they’d be all fun until you got distracted and steered your expensive aircraft nose-down into the sidewalk?