Category Miscellaneous

What’s the first question you ask after meeting someone?
Miscellaneous

What’s the first question you ask after meeting someone?

It’s a well-known stereotype here in Washington, DC, that when you meet someone, the first question they’re likely to ask you is, “So what do you do?” It’s occasionally substituted by its more blunt “Who do you work for?” Since this is a town that’s extremely career oriented, and since so much of its population is transient, most of the small talk and chitchat is cut straight out of the conversation, and you’re basically going straight to, “So how can I use you?

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Miscellaneous

Hockey fans: Swiss vs. Canadians

I grew up like most Canadian kids. I know Roch Carrier’s classic The Hockey Sweater by heart. I learned about the ’72 Summit Series and Paul Henderson’s winning goal (and Team Canada’s deliberate slashing of Valeri Kharlamov’s ankle during game six) in Mrs. Biondi’s grade 11 Canadian history class.I watched all the men in my life (and some of the women) play hockey on outside community rinks or, if we were lucky, a dark small-town arena while trying to keep warm with a rink burger and watery hot chocolate.
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Miscellaneous

You don’t go anywhere without a Xanax in your pocket

You’re a big city guy living in a suburban world. You prefer experience over material items and one of the many things your family-friendly world doesn’t offer is experience. So you travel, which often means you fly, but you’d rather not. That’s why there’s a Xanax in your pocket.There’s always a Xanax in your pocket.
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Miscellaneous

Beginner’s guide to fermenting foods on the road

Working as a volunteer on organic farms around the world, I enjoy picking my fruits and veggies, preparing my own food, and preserving them without freezing and/or canning. For thousands of years, our ancestors used fermentation to create foods with nutritional value far superior to that of the things most of us eat nowadays — the Sumerians worshiped beer; in the Arctic, fish was fermented to the consistency of mush; African tribes drank sorghum beer and ate fermented millet porridge.
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Miscellaneous

100 boyfriends

THOUGH ADMITTEDLY DRUNK off Kingfisher beer — I lost count of how many — the bathroom interrogation remains remarkably clear.It began shortly after arriving at the small thatched cabin on the edge of the Arabian Sea. My friend Sholeh and I went down to the restaurant for dinner. A big group was finishing up.
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Miscellaneous

The unexpected existentialism of t-shirt Engrish

WHEN I LIVED in Beijing, I loved spotting English phrases ironed across t-shirts. Mistranslations are nothing new, but because there are infinite possibilities in their construction, they were always a dependable source of fun:Happiness grows sky tall from the place of cryingSanta’s Dirty SecretHot BiscuitsA favorite of mine was on a t-shirt worn by a Chinese teacher at the school where I taught English.
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Miscellaneous

Some of the soldiers, they were naughty

It took me a long time and five continents to learn what I know about the men you can trust and the ones you can’t, and my gut told me I could trust this man. Still. He was a man and I barely knew him so I fingered the six-inch gurkha knife I had tucked into my pants before I climbed onto the back of his motorbike.
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Miscellaneous

What exactly is going on in Mali?

FOR MOST of the 36-hour bus trip from Abidjan to Bamako, my legs were tangled up in a mess of plantains that the woman across the aisle had purchased en route.First, she bought plantains in Dabou. Then again in Toumodi. By the time she made her final purchase in Yamoussoukro, whole branches of unripened plantains protruded from the stairwell and monopolized most of the floor space in the rear of the bus.
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Miscellaneous

24 hours in an airport

The man in the aisle seat was talking to me about the woman he liked to travel with. She would fly into JFK once a year and they would make their way to the West Coast; he would visit her home country of Iceland regularly and, when he wasn’t spending time with his in-laws, he’d spend it with her. He was silver-haired and silver-tongued.
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Miscellaneous

Top 10 Things I Miss About Traveling (But Hated At The Time)

On the road, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day troubles while missing the bigger picture…until the trip is over.When you travel for more than a few months at a stretch, it becomes a job. A job you don’t really like all the time. A job you start to complain about.I should know – while skipping around the world for a year, I did a lot less skipping than I did budgeting, reading transportation timetables, and gesturing wildly to unsympathetic street vendors.
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Miscellaneous

The passage north: Snapshots of Central American migrants

The passage north: Snapshots of Central American migrants - Our SiteOur lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~Martin Luther King Jr.EVERY DAY, hundreds — even thousands — of Central American migrants make their way north towards the United States. Hermanos en el Camino is a nonprofit organization located in Ciudad Ixtepec, Oaxaca, that advocates for migrants’ rights and provides shelter and a place to rest before the travel ahead via train.
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Miscellaneous

There’s a reality to living off the land in Mexico

One of the items on my “pro” list for moving to San Jose is, “We can come back.”Neruda said, “Those who return never left.” It is, as my husband used to say, insistently, each of the many times we said goodbye during our ulta-long-distance courtship, “hasta luego,” not “adios.” Never adios.Our son says to me, “Mamita, I love you so much, como el sol.
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Miscellaneous

Becoming history: Free-climbing Mt. Proboscis in a day

The blades of the royal blue Hughes 500D rotated above my head. I could hardly breathe in the windswept air as I unloaded bag after bag onto the frozen, rocky surface. As the chopper lifted off I huddled on the ground, my gaze fixed on the terrain that would be our world for the next three weeks. There was no grass, no trees, no single soft spot in the whole basin; instead there was snow, ice, granite boulders of varying size, and the 2,000ft Mt.
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Miscellaneous

47°C: Life in the Kalahari [pics]

This photo essay was originally published as a gallery at the Matador Community.The Kalahari is an arid region spanning three African countries: Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. It is best known as the home of the ancient San people, who exist mostly in memory due to extermination and modernisation.
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Miscellaneous

An Israeli story of death, longing, and Gandhi

Balfour Street seemed to go on and on endlessly. Daniel Reuven, the grandson, I was told, of Gandhi’s physician, Dr. Solomon Abraham Erulkar, lived somewhere off this street.Reuven had mentioned where, but he spoke so quickly it was not clear to me. Somehow I wound up a few feet from the sea in Bat Yam, where the bus driver, hatchet-faced, in the Israeli bus driver tradition, evicted me.
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Miscellaneous

How to communicate on a Chinese train

A ROW OF HOLLOW fish eyes stare back at me from the metal tray. I pretend to bite my arm and then vigorously shake my head. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t work. How do you mime “I’m a vegetarian”? The woman across from me is still wearing her expectant smile and the fish are going nowhere.As far as I can work out, I’m the only foreigner on this entire train.
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Miscellaneous

Travel gives you space to think

How little time we have to think. Consider it. When we have a long journey, we plug into a movie on our iPads, laptops, or phones; we listen to music; we read a book on an electronic e-reader. Throwaway newspapers have been provided for our convenience on the subway so we don’t have to spend too much time sitting there, lost in our own thoughts.
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Miscellaneous

Kumbh Mela: The largest gathering on earth

It all kicks off January 27, 2013, in Allahabad, India.Think of your school assembly. I remember 1,000 floppy blood-red hats rolling out in front of me towards the feet of the headmaster’s morally charged parables. I can picture a stadium full of people, no fewer than 50,000 miniature faces on the other side of a football pitch.
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Miscellaneous

Photo essay: In small-town Catalonia on a climbing mission

Matador Ambassadors Katie Lambert and Ben Ditto spent the early winter climbing the limestone of Catalonia and meeting the people of the region.Being rock climbers, we travel the world seeking the best climbing, and this takes us to some obscure destinations. This past winter, we sought out Catalonia’s limestone cliffs, where we found not only some of the finest rock around but also a culture with deep historical roots.
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Miscellaneous

India vs. New Jersey

Since moving to New Jersey from Tamil Nadu, India at age 10, my life has been a battle of two normals, of not knowing when to cry tiger and when to cry wolf. It is normal to set a watermelon on fire, for religious purposes. It is also normal to lie in a coffin-like box of ultraviolet light, or as Snooki would call it, “tanning tanning.
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