Category: Miscellaneous

The Last Notes

Stretching on the Seas: The First Ever Arctic Yoga Safari
Stretching on the Seas: The First Ever Arctic Yoga Safari

All photos by authorWyndham Wallace heads north to broaden his horizons – and shoulders – via a unique excursion into healthy living.It’s 8.45am on Saturday morning, and I’m being guided to my yoga class by a reindeer.I’m sitting with four other would-be yoginis in the back of a car driven by a jovial Norwegian local to the village school in Skogvika when the huge antlered beast lumbers into view, its rear end swinging loosely.

Even Sadhus Get the Blues
Even Sadhus Get the Blues

Robert Hirschfield befriends a wandering monk in India. Together they ponder loneliness.All photos by authorYOU MAY HAVE seen his eyes: whorls of melted brown lit from within. A staple of Indian travelogues. I’d see them and wonder, Who do those eyes belong to? One afternoon, in an ashram library in South Calcutta, amidst the shriek of a bustee, a man approached me with those eyes.

How to: Make Toilet Paper Origami
How to: Make Toilet Paper Origami

Michelle Schusterman experiments with toilegami, five star style.Toilet paper origami (or toilegami, for those of you who don’t shudder at yet another portmanteau invading the English language), is a skill often displayed at fine hotels as yet another sign of luxury, in addition to handcrafted soaps and Oreo-topped pillows.

Notes from the Jaipur Literature Festival
Notes from the Jaipur Literature Festival

On his second visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival, Jonathan Yevin gets ground level notes including Orhan Pamuk on the ‘ugliness’ of culture in his novels, Jon Lee Anderson on Che Guevara, and Junot Diaz on writers learning to endure their ‘wackness’.JLF entrance. Photo by AuthorTHE JAIPUR LITERATURE FESTIVAL, taking place this week, is intellectual nuclear fusion.

Tai Shan: A Sacred Climb
Tai Shan: A Sacred Climb

Photo: kanagenAlmost 500 km south of Beijing, the city of Tai’an in Shandong province is home to one of the “Five Sacred Mountains” of China.At its tallest point, the Jade Emperor peak tops out at 1545 meters. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Tai Shan is loaded with historical, cultural, and natural significance — pilgrims have been making the trek up the mountain for over 3,000 years to pay religious homage.

Pakistani Politics: Why Women’s Voices Matter
Pakistani Politics: Why Women’s Voices Matter

Photo: Alex StonehillViolence in Pakistan dominates the headlines. But rarely do we hear reports on the perspective of women. Sarah Stuteville finds their voices.In the gray light of my first morning in Pakistan, the thick salty smell of sulfur introducing me to the seaside city of Karachi, the streets were full of men.

Teaching English In Japan By The Numbers
Teaching English In Japan By The Numbers

Photo: author1. Weeks it took to get your TEFL certification: 22. Weeks of training to teach English at your English Conversation School: 23. Schools taught at per week: 54. Hours worked a week: 29.55. Hours worked a week at your job back home for roughly the same pay: 406. Minutes you’re expected to arrive before a shift: 10-157.

Learning Experiences: Shearing Sheep in the Australian Outback
Learning Experiences: Shearing Sheep in the Australian Outback

Six months into my exploration of outback Queensland, my money supplies – vastly under-calculated in a country where even a few beers can run up a small fortune – dwindled to a measly wad of $5 bills.By this time I had already mastered the art of cheap living, working my way from farm to farm and volunteering to work in exchange for a bed and a few home-cooked meals.

Notes on Portal Canyon
Notes on Portal Canyon

In a slot canyon somewhere near “the vampire lairs of Vegas,” Mary Sojourner finds an unexpected visitor, leading to questions about places and what’s “holy.”I AM IN the heart of the earth, a delicate canyon holding dried grapevines, petroglyphs, cigarette butts, bottle caps and a trickle of water no wider than my hand.

Five tips for beginning organic farmers
Five tips for beginning organic farmers

After years of dreaming about having an organic farm—or at least a huge garden—I finally have some land to plant, and feel daunted by all that empty space.When it occurred to me that a disproportionate number of my friends and acquaintances are organic farmers, I decided to round them up and ask for advice.

Chill Caribbean: Going Slow in Abaco
Chill Caribbean: Going Slow in Abaco

Photo by woody1778a.“Abaco is not for sissies.” That’s one of the first things you’ll hear from locals if you ask about traveling to the fabled outer islands of the Bahamas.It’s not that they don’t want you there or that they’re unfriendly. They just want to warn you, in advance, not to expect big resorts and pampering, or even things like steady electricity, air conditioning, or maybe even ice cream.

Encounter with the Jewish death keeper of Calcutta
Encounter with the Jewish death keeper of Calcutta

All photos by authorRobert Hirschfield finally tracks down the youngest Jew in Calcutta and talks to him about his work.I AM STANDING OUTSIDE the clinic on Free School Street, watching him approach in his baggy black pants like spent parachutes. I am thinking, so this is what the likely last Jew of Calcutta looks like.

Notes on Trying to Call Egypt
Notes on Trying to Call Egypt

Elizabeth Zito takes ground level notes from the Egyptian embassy, the crowds marching towards the White House, and sitting at home in DC, trying to skype friends and family in Egypt.I WAKE UP to a text saying that they’re all ok, that the phones work sometimes.I go to the Egyptian embassy and walk with the crowds of several hundred to the White House.

Six gift ideas that give back this holiday season
Six gift ideas that give back this holiday season

Looking for something to give your friends and family this year instead of the traditional gifts that, let’s be honest, could potentially be thrown out or re-gifted anyway? The five companies listed below will either allow you to give a gift that (truly) keeps on giving or is something that is truly environmentally friendly/socially conscious.

Bariloche Juxtaposition
Bariloche Juxtaposition

How do we remember place?IN THE CENTER of the plaza is a statue of General J. A Roca,¹ his face tagged with pink and green paint. Two pot-leaves are stenciled on his jacket, and the word “GENOCIDIA” is written in all caps across his horse (whose balls and eyes and nostrils are also pink). Spraypainted on the base of the statue, the side facing the wind, are the words “PUEBLO MAPUCHE.

A Virtual Ride On A Chinese Train
A Virtual Ride On A Chinese Train

Go for a ride on a Chinese train.At 4:45 a.m. you wake to the gently rocking train and the early, absurdly early, Chinese morning light. It gets light around 4:30 now, probably because China rejects the idea of time zones in favor of national solidarity.Waking up at quarter to five — usually the thickest slog of night with darkness and dreams at their heaviest — and seeing pale green light rising is yet another of those in-between-worlds sensations so frequent in life in China.

Notes from the Trans-Siberian Railroad
Notes from the Trans-Siberian Railroad

“This was the end of my thirty days in Russia: cows and tanks.” — MFBPhotojournalist Marcus Benigno (mfb) rides the Trans-Siberian Railroad 6000 km across Russia, documenting people’s stories and images, and the juxtapositions of local culture along the world’s longest railway.km 0 – MOSCOW // ON BOARD MOSCOW TO GORKY SIDESTEPPING through generations of Russians who stood with shopping bags of picnicware and bedclothes, we scrambled to the first platform at Yaroslavsky where the midnight train stood minutes before departure.

Notes from an Old Leftist in Fading Red Bengal
Notes from an Old Leftist in Fading Red Bengal

Robert Hirschfield reflects on his “low grade affection” for a political party in India and how political change is yet one more filter through which to look at place.A FEW MONTHS ago, waves of trucks from rural West Bengal flying red flags spotted with hammers and sickles converged on the Maidan in Calcutta.

BNT’s Best Of The Week: Burning Man Roundup
BNT’s Best Of The Week: Burning Man Roundup

After a week on the playa, BNT editor Ian MacKenzie shares his photos and rounds up the best post-Burning Man links on the web.Love and Rocket / Photo: Sean AikenPrior to the event, I wrote about my expectations in Burn Baby Burn.Having now returned from the desert, I can honestly say Burning Man was an event unlike any other.

Writing and Driving: Notes from 1000 RPMs
Writing and Driving: Notes from 1000 RPMs

Considering the desert (and other things) at under two miles per hour.THE NEEDLE ON THE TEMP GAUGE pushed into the red. And then it kept going, like the needle on an old record player when the song ends. We were at the foot of the wash, just out of cell range, still 3500 vertical feet and ten long miles from the crest of the Inyos.