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Consume & Update: Free Calls, Valuable Time, and Space Capone

You learn something new every day. Well today's post is going to help you make up for last night's nonsense fest...whatever it is that you did...

What's Your Travel Personality?

Thought it would be fun to poll you, the readers, to see what kind of travel personalities find themselves on Nomadderwhere! Brave New Traveler published a story this week based on the Enneagram test results describing a travel style. Go ahead and take the test if you'd like, or just tells us below: what's your travel personality?

Down With The Roaming Fees!

This is a video by AlmostFearless.com on how to make free calls from anywhere in the world (that has wifi). Real help for me and my Blackberry...hopefully that's the next episode!

Get Wealthy With Time: A Practical Guide

Rolf Potts guest posted on Tim Ferriss' blog this week, and I found it quite well-written and full of great concepts. Though it's darn near epic in length, it offers great resources at the end and quality explanations of why time is an important currency to deal in. He notes that there's a difference in living well and doing well. I've exhibited some paragraphs I though were particularly pivotal.

This notion — that material investment is somehow more important to life than personal investment — is exactly what leads so many of us to believe we could never afford to go vagabonding. The more our life options get paraded around as consumer options, the more we forget that there’s a difference between the two. Thus, having convinced ourselves that buying things is the only way to play an active role in the world, we fatalistically conclude that we’ll never be rich enough to purchase a long-term travel experience.

Fortunately, the world need not be a consumer product. As with environmental integrity, long-term travel isn’t something you buy into: it’s something you give to yourself. Indeed, the freedom to go vagabonding has never been determined by income level, but through simplicity — the conscious decision of how to use what income you have.

...Fortunately, we were all born with winning tickets – and cashing them in is a simple matter of altering our cadence as we walk through the world. Vagabonding sage Ed Buryn knew as much: “By switching to a new game, which in this case involves vagabonding, time becomes the only possession and everyone is equally rich in it by biological inheritance. Money, of course, is still needed to survive, but time is what you need to live. So, save what little money you possess to meet basic survival requirements, but spend your time lavishly in order to create the life values that make the fire worth the candle. Dig”

The Pickle Called Reverse Culture Shock

I always have issues with coming home, which is probably facilitated by the facts that my 1. trips often last over 2.5 months and 2. lifestyle is usually akin to voluntary poverty while abroad. This week at Matador, Brittany Vargas phrases some great realities on why this transition period is the way it is.

Often the wisdom we acquire during long journeys is most evident only after we’ve returned to where we began. Coming back to once-familiar territory highlights the changes that were too subtle to notice as they occurred...So there is no way of predicting how we will adjust once we’ve come “home” – or how well others will adjust to us.

Other Discoveries

Chris Guillebeau sheds some perspective on enjoying the moment while still looking forward to what's happening next.

Let's all hope Gary gets home soon.

In honor of my next destination: Insomniac City (don't people know about melatonin?)

Don't worry, U.S. Department of State. I'm not heading to any of the scary Mexican states.

Update on Nomadderwhere

5-14 Blog

I've started packing! Less than two weeks stand between me and New York City. Not sure what I'm talking about? Read up on how my blog got me a travel job that's sending me to Mexico!

Also read up on the fast-approaching completion of The Nakavika Project chronicles. I'll be wrapping up these stories in preparation for real-time reporting from Mexico, and these stories are getting to the best of the bunch...believe me.

This week at Nomadderwhere:

  • A Gracious Thank You on Mother's Day: How my mom has dealt with her traveling daughter's adventures and her recent mother's passing

  • Reviewing a Road Trip to Des Moines: Hopefully inspiring others to look at their own video work and realize where it can go from here.

  • When Your Dreams Play Hard-To-Get: A guest post from recent World Traveler Intern finalist, Annie Leroux, and her positive note to those seeking an extraordinary path without free passes to success.

  • Independence in a Communal Society: A Fijian flashback to when Garrett and I returned from our Christmas vacation to the coast with the new responsibilities of household keeping, cooking, and fitting into a foreign society.

  • Feet Don't Fail Me Now: A guest post by Garrett Russell about his traumatic foot infection and the realization of being the only person who could save himself.

  • The Addition and Subtraction of Lives: Garrett leaves the village. Garrett and Jackie arrive in the village. A man in the village suffers a fatal heart attack. This is a flashback to mid-January, when a sad turn of events took place in Nakavika.

On an unrelated but important note: May 7th marked the release of Space Capone's second volume. If you like disco, falsetto voices, fantastic boogie music, or something to play for your next retro skating rink party, he's the one to blast. Don't worry; it's on iTunes. And by the way...he's family.

Video of the Week: Reviewing a Road Trip to Des Moines

This week's video post is dedicated to the betterment of the self-taught skills. Recently, I answered a question on how to best groom yourself for the World Traveler Internship, and since a huge part of the job is video editing, I thought it wise to encourage an exercise that will only improve our skills in videography, your's and mine. Unless you take formal classes or have a mentor, you have to push your own development in order to make travel videos people want to watch.

Along with the next video of the week, I'll be displaying some work I created almost a year ago exactly, while taking a trip to Iowa with friends. How do think I could have captured this moment better? Any techniques I could have used? Photo motion? Visual effects? Let's stretch our minds and see how many ways this experience could have been documented, using reasonably accessible gear like point-and-shoot cameras and Windows Movie Maker (what I used for this video).

Leave your suggestion or technique in the comments below, and let me know what you think of this exercise!

A Gracious Thank You on Mother's Day

My mother, Margie - I've certainly put her through a lot, especially in these last four years:

Evelyn, Ian, Olivia, and Margie

Evelyn, Ian, Olivia, and Margie

Mom has had a hard year, probably the hardest of her existence, watching her own mother deal with a fate arguably worse than death.

Losing the Matriarch

While I was lounging in a Delhi hotel room on the World Traveler Internship, Mom told me via Skype the dentist had found cancer under her tooth. As I literally watched shooting stars over Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania from my tent, Grandma Evelyn was being wheeled out of a surgery that tested the limits of human strength to recover from. And while Mom learned of her nearly certain fatal situation, she still supported my desire to go to Fiji and implement a humanitarian project.

Margie, Lindsay, and Evelyn

Margie, Lindsay, and Evelyn

Having been paired with my father since she was 15, I often wonder how it's possible for her to understand my desire and need to be alone, to travel the far corners of the world without anyone at my side, to be comfortable in near squalor altogether. It certainly wasn't an easy realization to come to, as I was firmly encouraged to correspond constantly on my Big Journey via Blackberry.

However, on this last trip to the South Pacific, my mother surprised me with her understanding of my desires, my abilities to survive completely out of her arm's reach, and my competency in dissolving extreme issues with differing minds. When Garrett returned early from Fiji, he had a long talk with my mom over the phone and reported back that even in the wake of our ridiculous stories, she knew I could handle myself and trusted I'd be okay (without even a hint of her normal "Ooohhh, Lindsaaaaay" sigh and stress-induced headache).

Whether she listened to history and assumed everything would turn out fine or our issues were relatively trivial in comparison to Grandma's, Mom proved to me that even though she'd rather I stay stateside and safe, she knows if I must pull my global stunts, I will...and it will be okay.

Margie, Phil, Olivia, and Evelyn

Margie, Phil, Olivia, and Evelyn

And what was most surprising from this shift was the timing of it all. Though I did plan the Fiji experience around what we thought would be Grandma's easiest battle through chemo and radiation, the status of her health and aggressive cancer affirmed the entire war would be a tough one to weather and even witness. Mom wanted me to be around for it all, even though Grandma (in her classic understating tone) told me it was fine to go and even miss her funeral (since she wouldn't be there to miss me anyway).

Grandma was selfless, and so is Mom, and I see this hereditary link now more than ever in the hindsight of this winter (thought not as if I didn't realize this before).

The Parental Support of a Nomad

Phil, Margie, and Evelyn

Phil, Margie, and Evelyn

I get a lot of messages from young travelers worried about their parents' impressions of their journeys, and they wonder, "How do your parents deal with you being alone and all over the place?" Though they're not dropkicking me out the front door (nicely, that is), my parents certainly have proven to be understanding of my insatiable and sometimes indescribable desire to move. Fear is always a factor, but as I continue to show more maturity in my reasons for travel, they continue to feel more comfortable with my choices, especially since I've managed to survive this long.

All kids make great stress inducers for their parents in some fashion, and those of us who like the road can certainly create extreme moments of fear on a daily basis. But the road to gaining understanding and support from a worried parent isn't very long at all.

My mom was actually the one who nudged me toward taking my Big Journey, against her own wishes to have me close by. She knew I wanted and needed the experience. She allowed me to be selfish and traipse around the Earth, while she woke up early to check and e-mail me the weather of my destination before I even arose.

On this Mother's Day, I wanted to say thank you, Mom, for understanding, even in the midst of your hardest hour. I think you'll fill the shoes of the Matriarch to the tippy toe.

Journeys of a Lifetime in May

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month - thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration for 365 days from now. Read the brief description to whet your appetite, and click on the trip name for further information (links provided by National Geographic...of course you could be a gritty backpacker and make it on your own).

Across Water

Frontier Country: Hug Indiana's southern border via river barge to experience the wild, the musical, the historical, the classy and the rowdy. I'm talking about Nashville's music scene, the natural surroundings of former Native American land, and the Kentucky Derby, which takes place during the first week of May!

Cruising Milford Sound: Thank you, Ice Age, for carving out this amazing landscape. Waterfalls cascade from the mountaintops where rain forests cling. Sail, fly, walk, drive - there are seemingly no bad ways to experience this place.

By Road

Route 66 Through Arizona: Blare your Bob Dylan and rev your old fart engine. Cruise down America's "Main Street," and you may say some thoughts like: "Gee, that's a big canyon" or "Are these guys gunfighting for real?"

The Riviera Corniches: Rent a car and drive these coastal highways that carve into the famous French Riviera. I've got a feeling, if this is your kind of trip, you'll be doing a lot of chewing and swallowing between each drive. Sounds lovely.

By Rail

The Bolshoi Express: St. Petersburg to Moscow. The Hermitage, the Kremlin - see everything amazing from both cities, including the amazing scenery in between while aboard Russia's first post-Soviet luxury train. Won't you take me to SWANKY TOWWWN!

The Andean Explorer: From the old capital of the ancient Inca world to the highest navigable lake in the world, enjoy every high altitude chug to the clear skies from your cabin window. Stops are made to increase appreciation for the fresh air and local markets selling soft alpaca wool. I hope they play the Emperor's New Groove on the train!

On Foot

IMG_0204

Everest Base Camp: My friend's grandparents took this legendary journey on foot twice in their last decades, so don't write this off just yet as something you cant handle. Acclimate to the Nepalese world for a few days in Kathmandu, take the 8 day trek up 18,000 feet to base camp, and visit the tea houses and quaint high altitude villages along the way. The photo to the right shows my view of Everest from 107 miles away (it's the little pink dot above the blue mountains. She's a tall sucker.

Samaria Gorge: Herb-scented air wafts through this wildlife-littered cut through western Crete, and you could too, if you only knew it was there. Pass through the Iron Gates in May, and you'll be walking amongst many wildflowers and past very few people. The taverns at the end near the southern coast make for an excellent and compelling finish line!

In Search of Culture

Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park: The May tours fill up quickly for this bike trip through a western suburb of Chicago filled with the highest concentration of FLW architecture. Admire his radical Prairie Style creations with Cubist influences while also burning some cals! And it doesn't hurt that Chicago has quite a lot more to admire.

Renaissance Italy: If I tried, I don't think I could do Italy's Renaissance evidence justice. Florences streets and many, many palaces, museums, and churches; Siena's cathedral, town square, and civic building; Rome's Sistine Chapel and other works scattered across the Vatican...you know you need to go. It's just about finding the time. Well, next May will be your time to explore Italy back in one of its many hey days.

In Gourmet Heaven

Depachika Shopping in Tokyo: A depachika is a basement of a department store in Japan, and these floors are stuffed to the brim with top quality food merchandise, including cured meats and cheeses from Italy, cigar wafers, chocolates, and the most expensive and juicy melon you'll ever taste. Though you don't have to wait until May; this is year-round shopping.

The Baltic Gourmet: I find the cultures between prominent cultures fascinating. So what happens when the culinary traditions of Germany, Poland, Russia, and Sweden collide? You get the palette of meat, fish, root vegetables, sour cream, and dill that is enjoyed across the Baltic countries. Bus between Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia for the full gastronomic experience.

Into the Action

The Trans Canada Trail: Wow, this thing really is TRANS-Canada. Stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and even up to the Arctic Ocean, you can either jump on for an hour of wildlife spotting and nature admiring or you can strap on a backpack and hike a massive chunk. And if you start in May, you've got the whole summer to blaze the trail. Keep in mind that in the Yukon region, summer offers 24 hours of daylight!

ATVs in the Namib Dunes: The ATVs just denote the tip of the adventure sport iceberg in Namibia, while adventure sports only cover some of what's available in this southern African nation. Visit the atmospheric Skeleton Coast, watch for dolphins, eat top notch oysters, stalk animals, and don't forget to motor around the dunes looking for that landscape of the Atlantic on the horizon.

Up and Away

Hoover Dam Air Tour: Take off in the morning to ride smooth air waves over this modern civil engineering wonder of America. Of course, if you take the sunset tour, you return to the neon-happy Las Vegas cityscape. After this trip, you'll finally be able to tell your friends you know what 5 million barrels of cement looks like.

El Teleferico: All other cable cars will feel puny compared to this one in Merida, Venezuela. Ascend the longest and highest of the global litter to sit atop Pico Espejo, an Andean peak. Block off your morning, because the cars only run from 7am until noon.

In Their Footsteps

Captain Cook's Polynesia: Jump on a ten day cruise of some lovely, isolated islands that surely beat your home landscape. Black pearls, underwater kalidescopic wonderlands, and evidence of Gauguin can't top the gorgeous surroundings, but they can certainly top the cake! The South Pacific isn't a place to see in a hurry. Sandwich your cruise with some extra days to be an islander and slow your life down.

Pilgrimage to Santiago: Join the thousands who have blazed this trail before you and become a medieval pilgrim to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. If you want to be really authentic, nix the shoes, but if you're not crazy, enjoy your hearty soles as your traverse the Iberian peninsula's north. Your first stop could include a bull run in Pamplona, but don't remember...a swift jab of a horn could do your pilgrimage in!

How's that brain? Spinning with innumerable desires to traverse continents and climates? Pull out a pen and prioritize your life by putting one or more of these trips at the top of the list. And by planning a year in advance, you'll be quite able to save, prepare, and anticipate the rigors of your adventure in every way. Check back in June for the Journeys of a Lifetime you could partake in next year!

Where are you inspired to travel to next year? Leave a comment and be my new friend.

Consume & Update: 101, Maroon, and Onslaught

Today's post came out a bit late, but that is due to the high quality of work I found this week. I also have lots to share...

How's The List Coming?

101in365

101in365

Do you have a bucket or life list running? Are most of your goals doable, or are they unattainable? Don't you wish you had that gratifying feeling of accomplishment more often than once a year or so as you near your bucket-kicking age? Allow Jenn to make it easier for you.

101in365 is all about "avoiding mediocrity, one to-do list at a time." And though I know this contradicts a post I've listed below (see Other Discoveries), I love making and completing these mini-goals to reap that sense of accomplishment. Jenn's been expanding on this web concept for a while now, and has recently pumped it up to admirable heights, offering even more awesome!

What a Maroon--ed Novel...

Speaking of my 101in365 list, one of the goals is to read a classic book this year. And from the way I'm feeling these days, I'm thinking that classic novel will either be the Lord of the Flies or Robinson Crusoe, thanks to this lovely list that reminds me of my time in the South Pacific. Any opinions on a good classic novel to read this year?

Big Tony in Chicago

Apparently, Anthony Bourdain spoke in Chicago last week about all topics on which he's verbose: food, travel, TV, and just about anything that could conjure opinions. Prior to the talk, he spoke to the Chicago Tribune to drumroll his performance. The interview was food-centric and classic Big T, with a couple comments I found amusing:

The big takeaway from the first book [Kitchen Confidential] are the rules, like don't order seafood on Mondays. Any new rules in the years since?

"Kitchen Confidential" was about a career that took place mostly in the 70's through 90's. When I wrote "don't eat fish on Mondays," the guy writing it didn't think anyone outside New York City would even read the book.

Things have changed so much in the industry. The behavior in any good kitchen has changed a lot. Certainly the business still attracts the same kind of personality types, but a lot of the behavior I was talking about — snorting cocaine or having sex on the cutting board — would probably be frowned upon, particularly in open kitchens, which is a relatively new development. There's so much genuine hope for a real future in kitchens that didn't exist back in the early part of my career. An Irish pub on Monday, I'm not sure I'd go for a seafood salad. But I wouldn't have a problem at the sushi bar at Le Bernardin.

What would you do if you were given control of the Food Network? Let's say profits were no issue, and you had editorial and creative control of the network.

I'd bring back "Molto Mario" right away. I'd have Mario Batali do a standard instructional show that would be the cornerstone. I would make it more chef-centric, of course. I would make sure Sandra Lee was never allowed near any cooking utensil or food item. Immediately. I'd have a long talk with Rachael Ray. I'd say, "Look, Rachael, you're bigger than food now. You're in Oprah territory. You don't have to cook anymore. Move on."

The Molto Mario comment excited me, as I will actually get to dine in his restaurant in a month! No idea if he will be gracing us with his presence, but since he's on the creative council for ProjectExplorer, the possibility is out there!

Eyes on Cambodia

Nice snap, Gary. Speaking of Cambodia, my friend Cathleen is enjoying her last month in Phnom Penh after five months of developing her Fighting For Futures initiatives. It's truly a place that could suck you in and put you in a trance. Subtly lovely.

Other Discoveries

Some great ideas on how to develop products for your blog without a massive business plan

Also, a little help making your blog more experiential...a favorite buzz word of mine

Oddly enough, this interesting post helped me get this late issue of Consume & Update out today! Kill your To-Do list!

And finally...thank you Amar for giving us 7 Steps toward scoring free travel from your blog

Update on Nomadderwhere

If you've made it thus far in this post, you're a trooper. I have a lot to tell you about my future plans for Nomadderwhere and for myself. I'll start by reviewing what went out this week:

Prepare for the Onslaught: As you can tell, I'm all over the place with my postings. My schedule is odd, because it's important to me to publish various forms of content: video, written, photographic, as well as displaying the work of others.

I have roughly one month until I head to Mexico on my new job, and it's been said to read more current accounts from my travels is more thrilling than the flashbacks (like I'm doing with Fiji at the moment). And though I'll be incredibly busy in Mexico, I would like to attempt more real-time postings in my favored various media forms.

Therefore, I'll soon be amping up my written postings from The Nakavika Project, telling the elaborate tales more frequently in the week in order to fit it all in before the bulk of Mexico. I'll also be covering what I'm up to in present day while still offering timeless advice and perspectives on all things travel. The videos will become more current, expansive, and interactive.

This is going to be one ca-razy month!

1 Minute or Less Moments: This week on my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan Page, I've published raw video clips of Garrett and I enjoying the Coral Coast on New Year's Eve.

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Consume & Update: The Visual Edition

Prepare yourself for a very visual-centric post today. Perfect if you went to a horse race yesterday and are a wee bit feeble this morning.

Gastropalooza: Indian Style

An eclectic video on Indian street food that will either make you hungry, want to go to India, have a headache, or think a musical pig is sneaking up on you. Thank you, MatTV.

The Exciting News

I hope you followed the application process like a fox. If you did, you already know the exciting news...

The New World Traveler Interns

The New World Traveler Interns

Not only am I pumped for these two lucky individuals, but I'm so thrilled that a fellow Semester at Sea-goer won the honor! And I'm glad that Natalie whipped out the big guns with her dance moves in both videos. This summer will be a treat to watch.

Travel Your Eyes Though Tibet

Some portraits, some editorial, some snapshots of interesting moments in Tibet; this is one interesting photo essay on China's rooftop from the Matador Network. The portraits are stunning, and I personally find any mountain culture thoroughly interesting.

Naughty Volcano Dirtying the Skies

Did you hear what happened this week with the skies over Europe? This is the culprit.

Other Discoveries

How very, very true: success in blogging is made of little victories.

For those of you in my same boat: 20 Ideal Day or Seasonal Jobs for Travel Writers.

What's Jerry Seinfeld going to joke about now? The Day the Free Meals Died

Update on Nomadderwhere

I can't believe I went to Chicago last weekend and didn't meet up with former applicant and current STA World Traveler Intern, Casey Hudetz! If I happen to make it up north again before this summer, I'm certainly going to make that happen.

And where am I this week? Right about now, I should be waking up from a rowdy weekend filled with galloping horses, tweed, and 90 pound men in pretty silks. Yes, I went to Keeneland to witness all the whinnies and snorts with my childhood friends!

1 Minute or Less Moments: This week on my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan page I have published three more videos, and are they cool or what?

- The Christmas lunch in Nakavika, waiting to be served as we sit segregated in the community hall...boo

- Garrett, Mario and the twins taking a nap on our floor on Christmas day

- The awesome traditional architecture of the Fijian forts in Pacific Harbour

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Consume & Update: Football, Fishing, and Facelifts

The amount of reading and weeding I did this week compared to how much I displayed below is amazing. I spent hours on this one...you had better enjoy it. No really, enjoy :)

The Ongoing Football Debate

I think soccer is swell. American football is also a snazzy game. I think the American distaste for soccer on the ultra-popularity scale is confusing, and our "jump on the band wagon" mentality when it comes to World Cup fever makes us look all the more silly and stereotypically hard headed. AFAR magazine takes a moment to comment on this debate, but what I especially appreciated was the John Cleese rant at the end. Enjoy.

Heavy, Heavy Thoughts

I know I had issues in Fiji with communication and staying true to my belief in how humans should coexist and relay information. My friend, Amanda (see her Interview a Traveler), is struggling with similar issues in Bangladesh, a country that has real trouble in the verbal sector.

Alarmingly, what I found myself doing was adapting to another way that Bangladeshis communicate: through force...After several seconds of this “masculine” throw-down as I screamed, “Go, uncle, move on,” I raised my own hand and smacked the wallah in the back to snap him out of his red-blooded trance.

I hit another human being. I resorted to violence, the sort of violence I am trying to combat in my work. In all reality, he didn’t even respond to my hand smacking his back. He just pedaled forward, yelling at the man behind him. But was it appropriate? Though it is culturally acceptable, should I have hit him?

I admire her for vocalizing a phenomenon that surely comes up in many people's travels - probably something most try to repress. I know at one point I got caught up in a rowdy moment with the kids and thwacked my host sister with the back of my hand just as all the other kids did. She didn't flinch...she actually found it funny and smiled at me. I was silently horrified with myself.

Have you had any moments like the ones Amanda and I have had abroad?

Fire Dancing in Fiji

Nice work capturing the moment, Gary.

Sierra at Sea

Listen to this story...My friend, Sierra, is a world traveler, star documentarian, and commercial fisherwoman in Alaska. Right now, she's on board her father's boat, wrangling herring and braving an intense fishing season, one which recently put in her a whirlwind of drama. Check out this video she shot while on her father's boat, which was recently assaulted by another vessel, and then follow that with her story of how it all went down.

Other Discoveries

Help Gary Arndt plan his trip to Spain...where should he go?

I love Anthony Bourdain for his determination to get his shows RIGHT - especially after knowing what we went through in Fiji - and I'm also a big fan of his writing style...and when he writes about writing.

Schrute Farms on TripAdvisor...it's performing mighty well

The Ethical Traveler's Guidelines, in case you thought you were getting sloppy

Update on Nomadderwhere

As you may be able to tell, I've been busy this week. I hope you enjoyed my Carnival of Blogs, and thankfully no one realized I made a lingo error with the use of "Blogs" instead of the more apt title of "Posts." I said the wrong thing in my video and went with it. Eh.

A Big Thank You: I'd like to say thank you to Rusja Foster, who helped me photoshop my Carnival of Blogs icon. Yes, this is actually a picture of me circa the 1987 New Year, and I wanted to have a fun visual for the week-long event. Rusja got it done and done fast. She's also in the top 50 for UK's STA World Traveler Internship.

Potential Facelift: I'm in the process of giving my site a facelift, since my tabs above will soon not accommodate the vast array of info to come. I'd love to make this process of reformatting my site a little transparent. By that, I mean I'd like your input. Give me a little help by telling me what you like about this site, why you come back for more, and what I can do better in the future. It takes about 30 seconds...unless you're an overthinker.

Give Me Your Input

Updated This Week: You may have noticed new icons on the right sidebar that link to different topics of interest. I'm trying out some new button ideas for my future reformatting - plus, I think it's easier to navigate to what you want. What do you think about these images? Also updated this week are more of my static pages that needed a little dusting. Don't look just once and forget about them. They're always changing! Check out the following this week.

About, Garrett, Baby Steps, Travel Advice

1 Minute or Less Moments: Fiji is still unfolding before your eyes (in the form of video and written posts), which is why I'm on week five of posting raw video files onto my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan page. This week, new videos are ready for your viewing eyes. Click on the icon below to watch the view from my bedroom window of Cyclone Mick, me "reporting live from the eye of the storm," and a coffee break amidst the worst of the wind and rain. Always a good time...

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Journeys of a Lifetime in April

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month - thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration for 365 days from now. Read the brief description to whet your appetite, and click on the trip name for further information (links provided by National Geographic...of course you could be a gritty backpacker and make it on your own).

Read More

This year's popular posts

I'm very happy to report Nomadderwhere has come a long way since this time last year, when I moved from a simple blogspot to a bonafide domain of my own. Since that time I've changed my writing style and topics, grown a readership of surprisingly many (thanks to you), won the most amazing internship known to man, and turned this online outlet for my travel thoughts and work into something that may one day sustain me. For those of you just stopping by for the first time, this is probably the best post at which to start. According to my stats and Google analytics, these are the top posts for Nomadderwhere.

The Makings of a Travel Video

The Makings of a Travel Video

...I didn’t study telecommunications or video art in college, nor did I have a good operating system while making my application video last year. If you’re new at this, like I was, don’t worry because if you have a computer, some travel footage and a passion to produce, you can make some mean videos...Bottom line is to be aware of the story you are crafting and make sure it gives people a reason to watch beyond 10 seconds and a reason to stick around until the end. The music helps me monumentally with this step of the process.

Ten Great Ideas for Chicago

Ten Great Ideas for Chicago

...I received word from two different people that Cafe Ba-Ba-Reebas! in Lincoln Park had the greatest and most authentic tapas in the city. Since my cousin is a budding foodie and my other friend lived in Spain and learned to cook there, I took their advice as fast as I took down my sangria. Rioja short ribs with manchego mashed potatoes, house meat plate with serrano, salchichon, chorizo, chicken & artichoke paella, crispy spicy potatoes with sun-dried tomato alioli, and warm potato & onion omelette - everything tasted so flavorful, even my friends who had been here before were amazed and raving. The thrill of good food doesn’t get old...

My Friend, Evan Witty

My Friend, Evan Witty

...But he found more appeal in living with 100+ kids in a country he had no ties to. He wanted to move people and make physical and emotional necessities available to anyone. With that desire and an experience such as the one he had at Palm Tree, his life work was destined to be hugely impacting and awe-inspiring, and I'm so sorry we don't get to witness his next steps.But he passed with people who loved him and he loved in return, in his sleep on the beach in Cambodia...

Things I Didn't Know Before Coming to Greece

Things I Didn't Know Before Coming to Greece

...The Greek and Italian languages are nothing alike There’s no avoiding cigarette smoke in Greece…It’s everywhere In Greece, the party starts well after midnight and can continue into brunch time The water really is that blue...

Sometimes On the Road...You Miss Out

Sometimes On the Road...You Miss Out

...For some reason unknown to me and my surrounding web, I've decided it's okay to miss the things that matter most in order to blaze literal and personal trails towards anything from failure to success. This travel path can sound illogical and like a waste, but when I realize the passions I've acquired and the maturity I've obtained, I fear where I would be without all those 50+ flights to global destinations and potential moments of learning...

What is Nomadderwhere?

What is Nomadderwhere?

...Nomadderwhere is a philosophy: it doesn't matter where you are, it matters that you're always learning and flexing with your surroundings, whether you're traveling or stationary. To capture this idea is to capture the art of travel, to know the importance of movement and to become self-aware...because you are the only constant in your world...

Street Smarts: Transport Scams

Street Smarts: Transport Scams

...“So I know we agreed on 40 rupees to the Siliguri bus station, but I know you’re going to forget this deal, even though I wrote the fare down on my hand. I’m really hoping you’re an honest and swell guy who claims he has change when he really does.” With this sort of dialogue, it’s all about tone and appearance. Speak kindly and smile the entire time. It doesn’t work any other way. And a word from experience: the more you make them laugh, the better the fare becomes...

The Irony of my Lifestyle

The Irony of my Lifestyle

...Since I returned from a round-the-world trip on August 17th, I’ve done very little besides sit in front of screens – computer, TV, what-have-you. I seldom leave home or drive my car unless it’s purely necessary. Rarely do I step outside if not to summon my cat in at twilight, and the most exercise I get comes from group fitness classes at the gym down the street. I spent one weekend in northern Indiana with my best friends eating guacamole and floating on one long raft around Lake Tippicanoe, but that certainly can’t be all the excitement I can handle over a two month period. Why do I not carpe the diem when I’m not traveling?...

Reviewing Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild

Reviewing Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild

...What was certainly magnified by Krakauer's text was the reality that we humans harbor primordial desires, and it's on a sliding scale how much we allow these feelings to be heard and acted upon. It is my belief that travelers, adventurers, nomads and those hopeful to detach from the man-made structure of modern civilization are more responsive to those "calls of the wild." Unconventional living forces a constant reevaluation of one's life [and one's mortality], and when we are closer in mindset to our own expiration, it seems we connect closer to the motivations of our primitive ancestors...

Cruises, Destination, and the Authentic

Cruises, Destination, and the Authentic

...Within the open ocean is a sea of 60-40 couples, incredibly perky cougars on the prowl, families with seven year-old twins and recent divorcees taking back their lives, not to mention a slew of Rascals scooting about. Of course, every cruise liner caters to a different demographic, which accounts for the vast differences among the commercial cruising fleets, but what they all share is the sense of ease that, in the mind of a “bare-bones” traveler, strips the so-called adventure down to physical displacement and cognitive retirement, which is in many cases the whole point...

Interview a Traveler: The Ski-Crazy Humanitarian

Interview a Traveler: The Ski-Crazy Humanitarian

...I work in an environment where people are stuck in one mindset. The monotony of everyday life can suck you in and but also give you the comfort of stability. I want to stimulate my mind and mix things up. My entire senior year of college I saved for my trip to Europe, and everyday I think back to the crazy things I did and the knowledge that I gathered and feel proud. Being young and having a flexible (and seasonal) job is a plus. So spending my money on travel is why it’s there...

The Birth of The Nakavika Project, Part 1

The Birth of The Nakavika Project, Part 1

...L: “I found an amazing flight deal I want to look further into. If the price is right, would you consider dropping the road trip idea and heading to Fiji to live in a village? We could do our own thing there, use our skills to start some effort from scratch, and I know we’re already invited and welcome to be there. I talked to them a week ago.” G: “Wow, Linz, you’re turnin’ the tables on me! This could be such a huge opportunity. Let me think it over…(30 minutes later)...I am completely, 100% behind this idea...

Plummeting Towards Earth

Plummeting Towards Earth

...We landed perfectly, a few steps to a complete standing stop, and I yelled my amazement to all the men at the bottom who hear these exclamations every day. And that was it. I jumped out of a plane. Nuts. Simply nuts...

Video of the Week: One Year at Nomadderwhere

Today is my 1,168th daily anniversary of travel blogging, but Nomadderwhere.com is but an infant still. Since I bought my own domain exactly one year ago, I've evolved my site extensively, far beyond what I was capable of from the get-go.

Nomadderwhere Turns One!

Nomadderwhere Turns One!

I'm proud today to display my year's progress and hopefully inspire you to achieve progress in your own passionate plans.

From a simple blogspot to a self-hosted wordpress...

Blogspot

Blogspot

Wordpress.com

Wordpress.com

In all her glory

In all her glory

...let's celebrate Nomadderwhere's first birthday!

Reviewing The Best Women's Travel Writing 2009

The Best Womens Travel Writing 2009
The Best Womens Travel Writing 2009

I don't normally buy these sort of books, and thanks to a friendly backpacker in Fiji, I didn't have to. Why don't I buy comprehensive anthologies of my favorite genre? Because it's not enough.

Five pages about a person's trip in Mexico just gets me in the mood; it doesn't take me there. Maybe I've read too many full narratives to now have an intolerance of anything shorter. Maybe I'm missing the point of anthologies - to sample other authors or witness the best of the best.

All I know is I read this on a beach in Fiji, swaying in a hammock under palm fronds and rustling coconuts. I could enjoy any book in that setting. And though I found a few stories lacking the substance, syntax and the snazzy wit I prefer, there were enough great tales between these covers to make the book worth lugging 7,300 miles home. Let me tell about a few of 'em!

Mexican Rain

by Pamela Alma Bass

In a town full of "whispered secrets," love and loss are inevitable.

My book sunning itself
My book sunning itself

Maybe it's my interest in Mexico. Maybe the fact that Pamela made me laugh out loud. But I think one of the main attractions I had to this tale was the perspective of the author and her choice to not describe a place just as everyone can. She took her personal connotations of San Miguel de Allende and illustrated its energy by taking the reader on a journey through her heart palpitations without the plain Jane explanations of where you are and what's going on. She assumes you can figure out the essentials between the lines of her prose.

It may come with the territory of exposing quite a bit of yourself in your writing. Pamela speaks to the reader as though they understand her sarcasm - just like an old friend would. Wouldn't it seem weird to talk about a romantic evening with a studly, foreign man and then hold back in a bubble of formality? I guess that's my interest; I like people who open up and tell it the way they experience it, not the way others expect to hear it.

Big Cats, No Guns

by Laurie McAndish King

In Africa, life is good - when you're not on the menu.

This story was much more about the substance than the voice. It might be the fact that she tells a relatable experience of a bush walk, but I certainly know I chuckled at this line:

'A good way of testing the freshness of dung, is to thrust your hand into the centre of it. If the dung is fresh, it will be warm inside.' Right. Life I'm ever going to employ this methodology. They didn't even provide a chart correlating temperature to time elapsed to distance traveled.

That's silly, Laurie. About as silly as the advice she relayed about walking safaris and that dreaded face-off between quivering biped and monstrously large beast. Standing your ground without a gun in your party sounds like a fool's direction, but that's the rule, so they say. And her character of Maureen with the new kicks and bright pink windbreaker walking around the African bush gave me a great visual. Illustrating her ironic presence there was as ominous as writing in a handgun in the story opener: something had to happen to that woman, especially since she apparently had an untied left shoelace.

Climaxing at a chance seen with dozens of other animals did the real trick. Great experience. Glad you lived to tell the tale, Laurie.

Lost in Jamaica

by Laurie Gough

In Negril, a town founded by hippies, the author explores its hedonistic ways.

Another Laurie! There must be something in the name that excites their travel writing to a level not often touched by most.

So here's the gist. Laurie befriends a local Jamaican woman and clicks with her family life - away from the drug tourists and resort hot tubs that muddy her prior exposure. Unfortunately, she burns her leg on the exhaust pipe of a motorbike and has to leave the authenticity of her experience to seek medical help.

And medicine she gets, albeit from a creepy old lady on the beach. We don't often picture 80 year-old women with wicker baskets to be drug pushers, which is probably why Laurie was caught off guard and couldn't deny the "somewhat pushy" entrepreneur her $2. Laurie ensues with an incredible explanation of her feelings while high as a skyscraper in Dubai. Not everyone has these sorts of travel experiences, nor does everyone necessarily want to, which is why I liked hearing her detail a mindset that frightens my curiosity.

The Bottomline

Open book; don't judge
Open book; don't judge

I could list my honorable mentions or go on giving away some of the best plots, or you could head to your local library and check it out yourself. Again, if I were into reading snippets of exotic life over and over again, I'd totally buy this great anthology, but I think I have a zest for the art of a novel, instead. Although, I'll make the point again that I now know a few more writers I'd be interested thanks to reading this collection.

Travelers' Tales has already published its 2010 edition of the same topic, The Best Women's Travel Writing, and is always accepting submissions for the next editions of their many annual anthologies.

The Irony of my Lifestyle, Part 4

Sometimes it’s a mind clarifier to point out the inaccuracies in your own life – that blend of irony and confusion that makes up your unique mindset. Bottom line: I’m all confused. You probably are too. Let’s talk amongst ourselves… There's a phrase I often hear from cowabunga dudes or girls that fill out their customs forms with pink glitter pens...

Live each day as if it's your last.

What a steaming load. I don't like this mindset, nor do I believe it's all that helpful. The premise is somewhat nice, but imagine if people actually took this phrase to heart.

It's Not All About The Thrills

Live to the fullest!

Live to the fullest!

Most people, given unlimited possibilities and no monetary concerns, would live out one ambitious day after the other, leaving monotonous tasks or building block actions to rot in the corner of their consciousness. Believe me, living like that is thrilling but exhausting (cough, cough). Though I do believe you should enjoy your life, very few people would allow themselves the comfort of knowing what they are doing is good enough in the grand scale of possibilities.

Having this motto tattooed to your cubicle wall seems like a dark, English joke of depressing proportions, and writing the same thing, albeit in Chinese characters, across your waistline seems about as ironic as writing, "I know how to live better than you do."

Instead I think there needs to be a rewording of this overspoken - and therefore somewhat redundant - phrase:

Behave as though you'll never get another chance to make things right. Appreciate what wonders enwrap your life today, and find the present peace that can allow contentment to reign supreme in your mind.

Mexican woman cooking in Puerto Vallarta

Mexican woman cooking in Puerto Vallarta

I don't think I live day by day, nor do I feel I live today to the fullest. I guess I do at times, but it's not a rule. If given the opportunity to do something extreme, 75% of the time I do it. But if lying in bed reading a great book and preparing a nice salad for dinner sounds better than flinging myself off a bridge head first or eating bat brains, I won't opt for the seldom done thing just because it's the ever-stated "once-in-a-lifetime experience."

There is incredible beauty in a calm existence - where precious actions of the day have a poetry of their own. We all will stare at the old hands of a Mexican hombre, chopping green pepper and limes, and call it a lovely, timeless sight of a man exercising his family's culinary secrets. If we do something comforting and truthful to ourselves, I feel we are honoring our own lifestyle by saying, "The majority of my pleasures are sweet and understated…I live a good life."

Instead of thinking "live for today," I'd rather think, "live for these next few months." Planning for more than that allows time to slip by unnoticed, and considering only the next few days doesn't give ample time for planning that which makes you tick.

The Nosedive Muse

We're going down!

We're going down!

Though I don't like this "live-today-because-tomorrow-may-not-come" saying, I have to admit that the fuel driving me on these journeys isn't much different. These days, I've grown a little fearful of planes and turbulence and often tell myself, while flying through the sky, "This bad boy could go down in flames...would I be happy with my life if that happened?"

I imagine that moment of realization as the nosedive commences; what would be going through my head? "I never took a chance on that dream experience. Why didn't I ever give that one thing a try? I never did that...or that!" It's a morbid thought, but it somehow taps into a priority list in my brain I'm not always aware of. I can barely pick a destination I'd most like to visit next, because I want to visit them all, but there's something inside me that cares more for one place or thing than another. The nosedive evokes that muse.

This is why I try the trips where the odds are working against me. This is why I don't settle down and get an apartment and a job and a boyfriend the way my family would like me to. This is why I went to Fiji on my own dollar to try and start something that very likely wouldn't work out.

Check My Expiration Date

The problems I face with my mentality are ones of support, or a lack thereof, and time, or my conflicting views of it.

On November 1st, 2009, I looked at my winter and thought, "I have enough money to have an amazing experience abroad, though I have to be extremely frugal. Where should I go, and what would be the best usage of my time?" I felt this was a completely understandable dilemma. Heck, who wants to be here for the brunt of a Midwestern winter anyway? And instead of plowing into the suffering job market looking for something that doesn't make me nauseous, I wanted to go and do something that connected with me profoundly. Makes perfect sense, no? Not if people feel more comfortable with convention and therefore feel less comfortable with your tendency to poo-poo it. It's not tolerance that backs you up; it's support.

Going for it

Going for it

I hate when people say, "Time flies!" No. Time is always the same, and it's just an awareness of it that makes this speedy perception. I plan on living my 20s to the fullest, not in a way that negates responsibility but embraces alternative views of convention to make sense to the individual. I want to try many different paths because geography doesn't have to limit my spectrum. Therefore, I'm out and about, seizing those opportunities that scream out to me in those nosedive musings. And though I know by the time I'm 30, I'll say, "Whoa, I'm getting old, and I'm nowhere near procreating," I will at least be happy with the chances I took up to that point.

Living life to the fullest means having an awareness that you're merely mortal, but as the polarity of my soul drags me toward both adventure and stationary living, I've adopted the idea that I've got plenty of time ahead of me to do everything I want to do. And since that's quite a long bucket list, I need time to space it all out. Here's hoping the nosedive is never real, until maybe my 100th birthday.

Lots of thoughts...would anyone like to add to this conversation? What do you think about the phrase "Live each day as if it's your last"? And how does your expiration date influence your choices in life?

Journeys of a Lifetime in March

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month - thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration for 365 days from now. Read the brief description to whet your appetite, and click on the trip name for further information (links provided by National Geographic...of course you could be a gritty backpacker and make it on your own).

Across Water

Sampo Arctic Icebreaker: Crunch across Finlands waterways in this 75 meter ship, and psych yourself up for a quick dip in the icy sea - protected by a thermal watertight suit, of course. Book well in advance. This looks awesome.

The Lower Zambezi River: What an incredible ride in between Zambia and Zimbabwe, where I actually saw elephants swimming, massive crocodiles sunning, and hippos pop out of nowhere - scaring the living daylights outta me.

By Road

From Cairo to the Cape: Africa is a trail map, and this is the main route. Bike it, overland it, drive it, but I beg you...don't walk through the Sahara. Give yourself at least two months, more like four, to make the trek, and you'll really feel like you know Africa.

From Delhi to Agra: Try shrine-hopping in India, avoiding the bulk of the heat and rain in March. Aside from the usual must-dos like the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, be sure to visit Fatehpur Sikri to see a well-preserved palace complex with an interesting history...no, really!

By Rail

The Shinkansen: The mother of all train systems. The Japanese are so time-efficient, the driver will humbly apologize if the train arrives even a minute behind the expected TOA. All you'll be thinking on this trip, aside from how clean and swanky everything is, is scenery...scenery...scenery...ooooh, cherry blossoms!

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express: Definitely not for the backpacker type, this line from London toParis to Innsbruck to Venice is possibly the most luxurious train in the world (ex: bring your black tie). Mark off two days and one night in March 2011 and take one of the year's first rides across the Alps and Dolomites.

On Foot

The Grand Traverse: Amble the great divide between Fiordland and the Southern Alps in New Zealand's South Island, and make sure you get there in time for the clear views in March. A five day trek with camping lodges on the way; it sounds like you need to book ahead to witness this masterpiece of nature.

The National Mall: After Japan, why not doing the Grand World Tour of Cherry Blossoms (not a real trip) by hitting up D.C. thawing trail. Bring some stellar walking shoes to visit all the memorials, but don't forget your artsy scarf and cat-eye glasses for the museums next!

In Search of Culture

Venetian Legacy: After taking the luxurious train from London to Venice, why not continue onward by stepping back in time, to when the Venetians were on top of the trading world. Take a ferry to Cyprus, via Greece, to view the cultural and economic influences on the harbor cities - town halls, mansions, fortresses, and all things tall, flashy and handsome.

Moorish Spain: Wind around Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada and Ronda to observe the remnants of the region once called the most civilized and properous in Europe (for 400 years, I might add). The Moors were partial to using Arabic architectural elements, bling in the form of gold leaf, and serious tricks with water fountain construction.

In Gourmet Heaven

Malbec in Mendoza: I don't think I need to do too much convincing with this one. Here's all you need to know: Argentina, mountains, wine, meat...done. Oh, and I can't forget, the first weekend of March holds the Vendimia, or harvest, festival. Don't you dare miss that!

Margaret River Wine Region: Man, I'm all about the wine this month. Visit the very bottom left of Australia in March, and you'll not only have beautiful red teeth from all the lovely wine tastings but also ears ringing from the sweet music of local events and festivals. While you're there, why not check out where the Indian and Southern Oceans converge. Kir-Splash!

Into the Action

Dogsledding in Alaska: Go just about any cold month and experience your mushing fantasy; however, venture up to Alaska in March and try your skills on the Iditarod trail, which will be held at that time. Not sure how much of a spectator sport it is, with its 1,151 mile course, but surely the scenery and will of the competitors is awe-inspiring.

Vermont's Catamount Trail: Can you ski across an entire state? Why not give it a try? Because it's hard...but, boy, what a story you could tell your friends back at home, through your chapped lips. Take a month and meander up or down the trail through the Green Mountains, stopping in country inns along the way. Be sure and carb load with lots of maple syrup!

Up and Away

Heliskiing the Alps: It's exactly what it sounds like: skiing on new snow overlooking the entire mountain range of the European Alps. Whether you go through France, Austria, Switzerland, or Italy, it doesn't matter. Base yourself at one ski resort or move around across borders. All you're going to remember are the amazing views and the adrenaline rushes.

Microlight on my Golden Birthday

Microlight on my Golden Birthday

Victoria Falls by Microlight: I was fortunate enough to experience this on my golden birthday, when I turned 23 on the 23rd. Get up early in the morning, put on a helmet, and board a kite with a lawn mower engine attached. Fly into a surreal world above the trees where you can see hippos swimming, elephant herds wandering, and the world's largest waterfall spew water of gigantic proportions.

In Their Footsteps

Route Napoleon: Why march in March along Napoleon's footsteps post-exile in Alba? Why, for authenticity of course! Make your way from Cannes to Grenoble, although I imagine you won't be greeted by mobs of supporters calling you "emperor," Oh well, at least you'll see some pretty cool scenery.

Tolstoy's Russia: Witness what inspired Leo Tolstoy to create work, such as Anna Karenina, by following his trail of museums and influential cities. Be certain you take a day (or two) trip to Tula, where he was born and now lies today. Tula also marks the location of his experimental school, friends, favorite natural surroundings, the peasants he worked with, and his novels' conceptions and creations. Enjoy the brisk winds of Russia in March!

How's that brain? Spinning with innumerable desires to traverse continents and climates? Pull out a pen and prioritize your life by putting one or more of these trips at the top of the list. And by planning a year in advance, you'll be quite able to save, prepare, and anticipate the rigors of your adventure in every way. Check back in April for the Journeys of a Lifetime you could partake in next year!

Where are you inspired to travel to next year? Leave a comment and be my new friend.

Journeys of a Lifetime in February

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month - thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration for 365 days from now. Read the brief description to whet your appetite, and click on the trip name for further information (links provided by National Geographic...of course you could be a gritty backpacker and make it on your own).

Across Water

Cruising to Antarctica: Start at the end of the world (Ushuaia at the tip of South America) and float toward the chilly marine life and frozen antiquity of Antarctica. You'd only do this once in your life, unless your a scientist, a mountaineer or crazy. Make that one trip count.

Pirogues and Pinasses on the Niger River: You're going to feel timeless and relaxed while floating on this great waterway of Africa. Mali makes for great camping, and the fare you catch from the river will make for excellent campfire dinners as well.

By Road

From Lisbon to Porto: Salt pans, flatlands, pine forests, wooded hills, vine-clad valleys - get a load of Portugal's western coast! Get in that car and go.

The Garden Route: South Africa's tip is not only an optical masterpiece with plenty of indigineous wild and plant life, but it's incredibly accessible for backpackers via city hostels and the Baz Bus for transport in between. Along this route are adventure activities ranging from the world's most beautiful sky dive drop zone to great white shark diving.

By Rail

Eastern & Oriental Express: Singapore to Bangkok...in style. Restaurant cars with high quality food and piano bars for sipping cocktails with a panoramic view - this could be an excellent way to see Southeast Asia's peninsula, maybe not my way. Sometimes the luxury is a nice break from the overhaul.

Darjeeling Toy Train: Locals in Darjeeling joke there's no other town in the world where a train passenger can step out of the car, take a leak and hop back in without breaking a slight jog. Locals also kid there's no other town in the world where the train gets caught in traffic jams. Darjeeling's toy train is scrawny for India's standards, but it offers views of the 3rd tallest mountain, Kanchenjunga.

On Foot

The Torres Del Paine: It's no secret I'm pining for a trip to South America's tip, to see Patagonia and Ushuaia in person. The Torres Del Paine National Park does nothing to hinder this desire. Nature trumps man once again. My hiking boots are ready.

Hill Villages of Chiang Mai: A trip up to the Thai mountain villages near Chiang Mai sounds fantastic to me, especially arriving at the end of the rainy season in February. If you're considering a trip, I'd be sure to do my research on tours vs. independent and the status of tourism's effect on the area. Anyone have experience with this region?

In Search of Culture

Maya Temples: Travel to Cancun for another reason this winter and begin a trip across Mexico, Belize and Guatemala to see the ancient remains of the Mayan jungle cities. I'd advise you to prepare by marrying the stairmaster in anticipation of the steep temple steps.

Musical Journey to Central Europe: Start in Czech Republic, mosey across Austria and end your musical quest in Hungary after becoming one with the natural and cultural inspirations of your favorite classical composers. Taking this trip is sure to give me flashbacks from my years at the piano bench, wishing the Mozart melodies in my books would be replaced by snazzy pop tunes. Thankfully, this never occurred.

In Gourmet Heaven

Cajun Cooking in Louisiana: February and Louisiana. There's only one thing I could be referring to…cajun food in Acadiana! Maybe after you unravel all the beads from your neck and find your shoes from the night before, head out of New Orleans for some real cajun food where the Nova Scotians originally settled and prepared their wicked meals.

Central Otago Wine Trail: Wine pilgrims, flock to the South Island of New Zealand for a Pinot Noir that gets international applause. And you'll surely hear your claps reverberate off the rugged, mountainous terrain that will surround your sampling session. I hope you don't choose to pair the wine with a nearby bungee jump, as the Kawarau Bridge sits tantalizingly close to all the grape festivities.

Into the Action

Tiger Safari: Ranthambore is a compact reserve in eastern Rajasthan - the perfect place to spot the 20-odd Bengal tigers terrorizing the wee other wildlife. Visiting in February beats the hot weather but comes just close enough to summer and its great conditions for seeing stripes.

Skiing Mont Blanc's Vallee Blanche: Sky down the highest Alp and the greatest run on the planet. Oui au…need I say more? I probably do…it's in France.

Up and Away

Skimming Ancient Australian Rain Forest: The rain in February awakens the ancient rain forest between Kuranda and Cairns near Australia's "Alfalfa" tip. Take the skyrail above the canopy for excellent views of the massive pythons and other wildlife dangling in the trees.

Nile Balloons: Early pre-dawn start, chilly desert morning, expansive views from a balloon in the sky, champagne breakfast - floating away from Luxor along the Nile does not seem like a shabby way to start your day in Egypt. Just think you could see more ancient temples and tombs before 9am than most people do their whole lives!

In Their Footsteps

Ansel Adams' Yosemite: Ansel Adams' parents gave him his first camera upon reaching Yosemite as a 14 year-old school boy. Visitors these days can visit the Ansel Adams Gallery and attend workshops on composing show-stopping photographs inspired by Adams' decades of work at this national park. Enjoy the snowy trails!

Jesus in the Holy Land: Visit a land where many religions converge, creating legendary landmarks of biblical proportions all over the country of Israel. Avoid the intense heat of the summer months by visiting in February, before the Easter crowd of pilgrims appears.

How's that brain? Spinning with innumerable desires to traverse continents and climates? Pull out a pen and prioritize your life by putting one or more of these trips at the top of the list. And by planning a year in advance, you'll be quite able to save, prepare, and anticipate the rigors of your adventure in every way. Check back in March for the Journeys of a Lifetime you could partake in next year!

Where are you inspired to travel to next year? Leave a comment and be my new friend.

Journeys of a Lifetime in January

Happy New Year! Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month - thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration for 365 days from now. Read the brief description to whet your appetite, and click on the trip name for further information (links provided by National Geographic...of course you could be a gritty backpacker and make it on your own).

Across Water

The Orinoco River Cruise: The dry season in January lends to the viewing of more land mammals along this river cruise through Venezuela. Boy oh boy...the description of this places includes words such as: expedition, canoe, venture, wetland and steamy jungle. I'm there.

The Mekong River: Laos is on a ticking clock toward Vietnam status, and it's up to you to seize the opportunity to view this country's incredible landscapes before the authenticity becomes manufactured. Nat Geo claims this is the most scenic stretch of the massive river through the Southeast Asia region.

By Road

Historic Spain: There's no bad time to see the architecture of historic, central Spain. January will wash out the summer tourist crowd and give you snow capped mountains in your photograph backgrounds. Give yourself one week to drive along this ribbon of highway, and remember to ask in Segovia about the suckling pig.

Crossing the Sahara: Get your visas ready and your car rented. You're about to drive across Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania to see some cultures and barren landscapes that present an awesome challenge to the "bring it on" type of traveler.

By Rail

Bangkok-Kanchanaburi-Nam Tok Line: This time riding the rail will bring you closer to the gritty, not further away. Taking this infamous route, known as the "death railway" from WWII, will remind you of the many POWs and lives lost from building the bridge at the River Kwai. It's not all gruesome and heavy-hearted; the landscape is Thai-rific.

The Palace on Wheels: India's glitzy region of palaces and architectural masterpieces will give you plenty of eye candy and good photographs on this luxurious train ride. It's not my favorite side of India, but many find the old British and Raj culture appealing. The Golden Triangle along with Udaipur and Jaisalmer makes for an awesome itinerary, though!

On Foot

The Shackleton Crossing: South Georgia is a speck in the Southern Ocean and looks like a challenge for weathered climber types like Jon Krakauer and Bear Grylls. I pretty much guarantee no one reading this post will attempt this climb, but I thought I'd give you some dream material for tonight's slumber.

Climbing Kilimanjaro: Africa's tallest peak and the only 8,000+ meter mountain that one could ambulate - climbing Kilimanjaro seems to be an achievement worth going for. Those who have claimed the summit unanimously advise climbers to take the longer route (Machame) for better odds of success and greater views.

In Search of Culture

Japanese Kabuki Theater: With make-up that would spook the Joker and costumes that could presumably stand on their own, the men of Kabuki theater become household names for their dramatic and powerful performances. Brace yourself; these shows look lengthy but worth it for a one-time experience.

Earth Architecture of Yemen: High rise earth architecture makes Yemen look pretty darn cool. Perched at the heel of Asia's wee bootie are homes made of sun-dried mud bricks and a culture sure to intrigue. Nat Geo recommends going with a reputable tour company and taking caution with photographing people. Should make for an interesting trip!

In Gourmet Heaven

Eat Your Way Around Sydney: After you recover from a surely intense NYE celebration on the beach, enjoy Sydney's January Festival and a slew of culinary jackpots around Oz's biggest city. If you're into Euro-Asian fusion food with top notch seafood, I'm guessing there are few places in the world better than Sydney.

Malaysian Melting Pot: And we thought we were a melting pot…maybe next January you'll be traveling up the peninsula of Malaysia to sample the converging tastes of many prominent food traditions: Chinese, Indian, Arabic, etc. Thanks to all the hawkers and street food artists, some call this country a snacker's paradise.

Into the Action

Following Che Through South America: Cross the Andes on two screeching wheels in the footsteps of Che Guevara, but make sure you remember to ride something a little more reliable than "La Poderosa." Buenos Aires to Machu Pichu will take you across some varying landscapes and surely on a journey fit with ceaseless inspiration.

Cross-Country Skiing in Lillehammer: Check out this "premier cross-country location" if you want to make like a Scandinavian and glide. Easily accessible from Oslo, renting all your gear is possible on location, and going in January ensures a helluva daylight surplus!

Up and Away

The Nasca Lines: It is only from the sky where you can truly appreciate the diversity of Peru's terrain, as one ecosystem bleeds into the next. Also from this vantage point you can be slapped silly by the wonder of these earth drawings that were created with pre-historic tools by the Nasca people.

Alpine Baloon Festival: Arrive in Switzerland in late January for a display that surely inspires painters, children's book illustrators and surrealists worldwide. A sky of balloons decorate the invisible Christmas tree in the Swiss Alp valley. Inquire about the nighttime flight of illuminated balloons while you're there!

In Their Footsteps

Road to Enlightenment: Follow Buddha's journey to enlightenment from his birthplace in Lumbini, Nepal to Patna, India, past the third-generation descendant tree where he attained nirvana. Ahh, the ease of traveling in the moderate chill of February around the Subcontinent.

Tramping After Mark Twain: A boat trip down the Neckar River could inspire you to write a Huck Finn sequel, just as Twain was inspired to write the original on this journey. Tramp across Germany and Switzerland, enjoying the chill and scenery of winter, on a journey that the famed American author used to "improve himself."

How's that brain? Spinning with innumerable desires to traverse continents and climates? Pull out a pen and prioritize your life by putting one or more of these trips at the top of the list. And by planning a year in advance, you'll be quite able to save, prepare, and anticipate the rigors of your adventure in every way. Check back in February for the Journeys of a Lifetime you could partake in next year!

Where are you inspired to travel to next year? Leave a comment and be my new friend.

The Irony of my Lifestyle, Part 3

Sometimes it's a mind clarifier to point out the inaccuracies in your own life - that blend of irony and confusion that makes up your unique mindset. Bottom line: I'm all confused. You probably are too. Let's talk amongst ourselves...

Martha Wouldn't Be Proud

No longer housebroken

No longer housebroken

November 24th, 2008: My first day back from the Big Journey. Refusing to enjoy the comforts of home and longing for the road immediately, I decided to cook some boiled eggs - my recovery sustenance after the evil gastro disease of October. Somehow it seemed more comforting than a bucket of ice cream or fried food to sit at home and munch on the simplicity of a jiggly egg.

I put a pot on the stove with water just covering the four rolling eggs. My father told me to put them on high heat. Forty-five minutes later, the fire trucks were parked in front of my home, while I ran outside waving them down with a white dish towel.

Upon placing the pot down on the licking flames, Dad called me downstairs to teach the art of stapling canvases onto frames, since I purchased many abroad for presents and such. After a few minutes, he took off for the gym, and I saw my comfy armchair/office and sat down to continue the work I thought I was doing prior to the art lesson.

I started smelling burnt popcorn and figured Dad had done it again, completely forgetting he took off. Even after the alarm started buzzing from smoke, I figured he was taking care of his microwaving mistake. Eventually, the beeping, the lack of footsteps upstairs, the sudden flash of sulfur up my nostrils, everything came together, and I jumped up so fast I hurdled the couch in my way.

Exploding Eggs

Exploding Eggs

The remains of four eggs were fused onto the bottom of a bone dry saucepan. Bits of yolk and white splattered every surface like shrapnel from the stovetop bomb. Opening up windows and turning on fans, ventilation couldn't happen fast enough. The phone rang. My parents decided to choose a security code we hadn't used since our days in elementary school, but after exhausting all other password choices and calling Dad's unresponsive cell phone for help, the security representative on the other end realized I was telling the truth, that I was legitimately family...and just plain dumb.

The mess was cleaned up by the time I heard the distant fire trucks. A weight pressed on my heart as the sounds grew closer, and I made a plea to the Swiffer in my hands to stop all the madness and embarrassment as I cower in the corner of the pantry.

I'm not often embarrassed. I've tripped, been pantsed, made inappropriate comments and not been as embarrassed as I was when the fire trucks pulled in front of my home. My neighborhood being a clone of Pleasantville, half my neighbors came outside holding their dogs and looking worried.

In a chicken coop

In a chicken coop

Being on the road for so long apparently stripped me of domesticity. I forgot how to be a suburban American. It doesn't make much sense when you calculate the 22.7 years I spent learning such skills compared to the 7 months it took to forget nearly everything.

And you may ask, "What does one have to learn in middle-class American suburbia?" Well, a lot.

  • The correct way to answer the phone: "Hello, Lindsay speaking..." instead of "Hello? I don't know where anyone is...what's the date?"

  • Proper laundry etiquette: wear clothes once, then wash. After months home, I still preferred the sniff test...to my detriment.

  • Bathroom manners: use the toilet. My crazy eyes darted outside often, wondering if the neighbors would see me if I pulled an African overland squat in my back yard.

  • Balancing technology time and rest time: instead of taking breaks and interacting with people on a regular basis throughout the day, I worked online 16 hours a day and forgot how to form sentences verbally.

  • Proper public attire: I apparently embarrassed my mom when I went to the mall to visit her, wearing nothing but cloud print footed pajamas and a Santa hat. I thought it'd be funny.

Travel the world. Learn about yourself. Try new things. Stretch your limits. Come back home with new eyes...apparently to find out you've forgotten everything you once knew and must learn again.

Does any of this happen to you all, or am I the only one that comes home domestically awkward?

Journeys of a Lifetime in December

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month - thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration for 365 days from now. Read the brief description to whet your appetite, and click on the trip name for further information (links provided by National Geographic...of course you could be a gritty backpacker and make it on your own).

Across Water

Airboat in the Everglades: Get deep into the mangrove forests of Florida's backcountry where alligators seemingly get bigger as you go deeper; you may even catch the rare Florida panther if there's a blue moon out.

Lake Nicaragua: A freshwater lake surrounded by lush forest and volcanoes? Crocodile-like reptiles submerged below the jungle canals? Swordfish sport fishing in a mystic lagoon? Am I dreaming?

By Road

The Grand Trunk Road: Peshawar to Kolkata: a road some call "the great river of life." It's a highway beaded with historical and memorable cities that combine to make an incredible, South Asian road trip.

The Pan American Highway: It's pavement that spans continents, but taking a ride in Tierra del Fuego and reach the end of the world: Ushuaia. You'll see grazing grasslands and ominous, omni-present mountains. Pretty great, huh?

By Rail

El Chepe: Ride the rails through an unspoiled landscape four times larger than the Grand Canyon. Indigenous Indians of central Mexico line the way, giving you access to a brilliant Latino culture.

The TranzAlpine: Cross Arthur's Pass and witness a blizzard outside your train window on this mountainous journey through the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Sounds like it gets wild.

On Foot

The Headhunters' Trail: Stay in a longhouse with Iban villages. Wade through the tea-colored waters while admiring the limestone spires. Hope you still have your head upon the trip's completion.

The Levadas of Madeira: The levadas of Portugal are a network of watercourses that hydrate the paradiasical sugarcane fields. Apparently, moseying along these canals is a camera-friendly activity.

In Search of Culture

Colonial Virginia: Even if reenactments and period acting isn't to your fancy, Christmas just may be, and Williamsburg does this holiday justice.

Ancient Egypt: Show up for the peak Nile cruising season and enjoy the history museums to make sure your time in this ancient landscape is epic.

In Gourmet Heaven

Blue Mountain Coffee: It's the best coffee in the world. It's the best time to visit Jamaica. Those are two good reasons.

Vietnamese Cuisine: Imagine a leaf of cilantro floating on a sea of seasoned broth, handmade noodles sitting below the surface like a hundred Loch Ness monsters. Are you hungry for some pho yet?

Into the Action

Surfing in Hawai'i: You're going to need a wetsuit in that chilly water, but you're also going to catch some towering waves at hot spots like Waimea beach or the Banzai pipeline on O'ahu island.

Friesland's Eleven Cities' Tour: 16,000 ice skaters jump at the proclamation of the Elfstedentocht race, which only happens on the rare occasion in Holland when the ice is 5.9 cm thick. Await the call of the race anxiously and follow the races route along the footpath beside the frozen river.

Up and Away

Skyriding over St. Lucia: This Caribbean island will make you see colors. Real colors. Absolutely vibrant hues popping through the tropical air. Zipline around the canopies of the forest, and then save some time for some fresh product at a cocoa estate.

Angkor by Helicopter: Seeing the world's largest religious monument in a way that few experience, an enlightened view from above. See what can be done with incredible planning, gray stone and a herd of trained elephants for heavy lifting.

In Their Footsteps

Hemingway in Cuba: The Malecon was Hemingway's first view of Havana after sailing from America. Go and be moved by the same places this famous writer and Nobel Laureate frequented during his time on this vivacious island.

Alex Haley's Roots: See what Alex Haley found when visiting Gambia, a main topic of his Pulitzer winning book Roots. It would involve a boat ride and a village chief...and surely an incredible cultural quest.

How's that brain? Spinning with innumerable desires to traverse continents and climates? Pull out a pen and prioritize your life by putting one or more of these trips at the top of the list. And by planning a year in advance, you'll be quite able to save, prepare, and anticipate the rigors of your adventure in every way. Check back in January for the Journeys of a Lifetime you could partake in next year!

Where are you inspired to travel to next year? Leave a comment and be my new friend.

Ten Great Ideas for Chicago

I traveled with my parents recently to Chicago, Illinois for a week of displacement and the entertainment that ensues. My time was enjoyable and low key, full of new discoveries and ample free wifi time at Borders for work. I thought I would share some of the things that made this trip stellar. Here are ten great ideas for Chicago (the order is chronological).

1. The Megabus

Megabus from Indy to Chicago

Megabus from Indy to Chicago

$1 Seats on Megabus

$1 Seats on Megabus

Instead of driving the 3+ hours along the Chicago Skyway and through the cornfields of the Region, my mom snagged us discount seats on this double-decker bus equipped with AC, free wifi, a bathroom, and a full skylight across the entire second deck. Aside from the woman talking loudly on her phone for the last 10 miles, the ride was fantastic and well worth the normal ~$20 ticket price. However, we bought ours on a special promotional deal for $1 each. You read right...

2. The Signature Room

Chicago from the Signature Room

Chicago from the Signature Room

Riding the elevator up to the 96th floor of the Hancock Building is a tad typical for an out-of-towner to do (a Chicagoan friend laughed at me later for doing this), but I think my two other friends from Chicago (who accompanied me on this excursion) would agree: the Signature Room at sunset is cliche for a valid reason.

Not only was the wait tolerable, but we snagged the best table in the house, at the very southwest edge of the building closest to the sinking sun. We ordered schmancy cocktails and took photos of ourselves with Chicago's pastel skyline. People continuously bumped my back trying to get in for that final shot of the disappearing star, and though I wanted to shout, "YOU NEED A TRIPOD!," I followed the mantra of "serenity now" and enjoyed the view for all it was worth. And ladies, note the best city view is actually from the ladies room! Just another reason why we're better...

3. The Best Tapas in Town

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reebas!

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reebas!

I received word from two different people that Cafe Ba-Ba-Reebas! in Lincoln Park had the greatest and most authentic tapas in the city. Since my cousin is a budding foodie and my other friend lived in Spain and learned to cook there, I took their advice as fast as I took down my sangria.

Rioja short ribs with manchego mashed potatoes, house meat plate with serrano, salchichon, chorizo, chicken & artichoke paella, crispy spicy potatoes with sun-dried tomato alioli, and warm potato & onion omelette - everything tasted so flavorful, even my friends who had been here before were amazed and raving. The thrill of good food doesn't get old.

4. The Blues at Kingston Mines

Duke Tumatoe's crowd

Duke Tumatoe's crowd

Though I haven't sat in a classroom for 1.5 years, I flashed my international student ID (courtesy of STA Travel, ha) for a $5 price cut off my cover into Chicago's oldest and largest real blues joint. It was an older, very relaxed crowd that felt completely opposite to the environment we'd previously been in at a local college bar.

Duke Tumatoe claimed the late shift that Saturday night and had people dancing like flopping sardines in the little space allotted just in front of the stage. I had some beers, put my hands up, and let my boots do some stompin'. I like the blues, and I love atmospheres like this one.

5. Brunch in Lincoln Park

John's Place

John's Place

Sitting on the sidewalk, orange leaves falling into my hair, I ate some high quality granola, yogurt, fruit and poached eggs with good company. Regardless of where you dine in this neighborhood, I think this is the ultimate way to take in a good weather day in Chicago. John's Place isn't a Mecca of breakfast food but it's no exception to the rule either. My advice is to find a similar place with a relaxed atmosphere, and you're guaranteed to spend the rest of your day in a fairly good mood.

6. Carnivale for the Taste Buds

Carnivale

Carnivale

This restaurant embodies the essence of the word and the party. What seems to be a massive warehouse, covered in brilliant paint with lights the size of elephants, makes up the main arena for the festive food consumption. I got on those caiprinhas without a lick of hesitation but let our waiter guide me to the best entree of the house: the pork chop.

The pork chop at Carnivale

The pork chop at Carnivale

My cousin hit the bullseye twice, once with the tapas joint and twice with this "nuevo latino" recommendation. He and his newlywed, Ashley, joined us in tackling the awesome appetizers, entrees, and the final kahuna: a three-layer, ice cream cake with chocolate syrup. I forget what it's called because I pulled a "Homer drool" upon seeing it placed on our table.

7. The Art Institute of Chicago

This is no hidden gem; this is an obvious item on on the list. The AIC is up there on the list of the nation's best art museums and truly has the ability to impress most, if not all, art lovers. Caravaggio's The Supper at Emmaus now sits in an oversized room with many of its similar style and proves itself superior to all. Caillebotte's Paris Street, Rainy Day begins the long line of impressionist works through the central galleries. I made a little video to illustrate the AIC experience. Come on along with me...

8. The Siskel Film Center

The Siskel Film Center

The Siskel Film Center

Whether this attraction is popular or not is a bit ambiguous judging from the Monday night crowd of tens, but its location lends to the idea that everyone knows about the Siskel Film Center (across from the Chicago Theater). It calls itself "Chicago's premier movie theater" and shows world-class international, independent and classic cinema.

My parents and I viewed the film Afghan Star, which is:

A sleeper hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival...In an Afghanistan recently freed from the Taliban, the equivalent of American Idol has become the national obsession. Two men and two women make it to the finals, and the country’s first baby-steps into democracy involve voting for their favorites via cell phone. The excitement is at fever pitch, then one of the female contestants performs an unthinkable, horrifying, death-defying act: she lets her head-scarf slip a bit and she dances on national TV.

9. Three Happiness in Chinatown

"Little" Three Happiness

"Little" Three Happiness

Don't be confused by the massive restaurant of the same name that smacks you in the face upon getting to Chinatown. That's not the establishment I'm referring to. Apparently, locals refer to it as "little three happiness," as the acclaimed restaurant seems but another modest family-owned joint among many.

I had no idea what to order and hoped the lady would sense I was up for anything, even the pot-o-love created for their employees' lunches. The waitress treated me very kindly but assumed I wasn't too experienced with Chinese food (since I told her I had no preference and wanted her recommendations). I asked for spicy and got medium...along with silverware. Slap in the face! I put my ego aside and just enjoyed what she brought me: schezwan chicken with vegetables over steamed rice. I don't think I left a grain of rice on the plate, nor a drop of tea in the kettle.

It was worth it just to get away from the high rises for a few hours and see a neighborhood less visited than most. If only Indianapolis had similar 'hoods.

10. The Silver Palm and the Little Pigs

Three Little Piggys at the Silver Palm

Three Little Piggys at the Silver Palm

At a sorority sister's recommendation, I took the blue line out to The Silver Palm Restaurant, a stop on my list thanks to the Chicago episode of No Reservations. As my friends and I strolled into this train car-turned-dining room, ginger gimlets and margaritas on our lips, I felt the challenge summoning me. I ordered the house speciality: the Three Little Pigs sandwich. After Tony's rave review, I had no choice but to order:

"This is a work of genius, in an evil way.... A two-fisted symphony of pork, cheese, fat, and starch... that sandwich is the greatest sandwich in America. This is the apex of the sandwich-making art... the sandwich that dreams are made of."

I did it. I can't believe I ate the whole thing. I couldn't lie on my stomach that night, but I felt pure satisfaction after its consumptions, quickly followed by meat sweats.

Other great ideas for Chicago (courtesy of my friends):

Mahzoh ball soup at Frances on Clark Street Walk along the lake to Millennium Park Have a wine-centric meal at BIN 36 The Greek Islands restaurant in Greektown on Halstead The Museum of Contemporary Art Playing a game of Whirlyball Having lunch behind the Civic Opera Building The Violet Hour Bar Seeing Jersey Boys or the Million Dollar Quartet Going to Nookies for Omelets Staying up until the wee hours and ordering a chocolate shake at the Weiner Circle Hot Doug's for a Chicago-style hot dog The Map Room with its wild selection of craft beers Great hibachi restaurant called Ron of Japan's on Ontario

What do you think about my ten great ideas for Chicago? Any personal experience with these or do you have one to add to this ever-growing list? Comment below, and thanks for reading!