World

Boldly Going Where Practically Everyone’s Gone Before: An Ode to Hot Spots

An Ode to Hot Spots

Considering I live in the middle of nowhere (at least, as middle-of-nowhere as you can get while still living in the Netherlands), it may surprise the casual reader to hear I don’t make a habit of avoiding popular places.

To the contrary: I might live in the Dutch countryside, but I take pretty much any excuse to go to Amsterdam. I’ve blogged about Parc Guell in Barcelona, the London Eye, and Hamburg’s Christmas markets. I spent seven months in Melbourne and more than two years in Queenstown, New Zealand. Clearly, I have zero qualms about visiting big tourist destinations.

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Celebrating & Critiquing the Women’s March + Links

Celebrating and Critiquing the Women's March

When I opened up my social media feeds this past weekend, I was blown away.

Blown away by just how many people were out on the streets on Saturday protesting hate, inequality, and injustice. Blown away by the photos of the crowds, the witty signs they made, the powerful words they spoke and posted. Blown away by the sheer size of it, not just in DC or across the US, but around the world. I saw some amazing awareness, compassion, understanding, and support taking place, and it warmed my heart.

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The Unexpected Side Effects of Living in a Hostel

The Unexpected Side Effects of Living in a Hostel

When it comes to hostels, I’ve got a bit of experience. I’ve stayed in dozens of them, and for more than 700 nights altogether. On the internet, that basically makes me an expert.

Of course, hostels vary wildly — big and little, charming and soulless, clean and, uh, not so much — but staying long-term in any kind of shared accommodation will certainly change you and your life. Just look at me: if it weren’t for hostels, I probably wouldn’t have met Simon, or be living in the Netherlands right now.

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A Brief Statement on My Non-Neutrality

Recently, in the United States, years and years of white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, and other forms of hate and bigotry came to a head. Things are far from just beginning, and they are far from over; but it seems a great deal of Americans are only just realizing that.

Now, more than ever, when we stand up and speak out, we must be clear who and what we are standing up for. It is all well and good to talk about love, positivity, and compassion, but it means nothing if you are not specific.

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“Going Home” When You Live Abroad

Going Home When You Live Abroad

When you’ve been living abroad for as long as I have, the idea of “going home” starts to become a bit fuzzy.

Though I use the word frequently — both to refer to my apartment here in Dedemsvaart, and my hometown of Minneapolis — if someone were to straight up ask me what I consider home, I wouldn’t be able to answer. At least, not in the traditional sense.

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Why Travel Has Everything To Do With Your So-Called “Politics”

Why Travel Has Everything To Do With Your So-Called Politics -- Em Dashed

“This friend of mine, we have really different views on a lot of things — but we just don’t talk about politics!” Sound familiar?

Or what about this one? “This is not the place to discuss politics. This is a travel blog/make-up channel/fashion account. I don’t follow you/read your posts to hear about your ~causes~!”

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Hostel Backpacking: Do You Have What It Takes?

What Makes a Good Hostel Backpacker?

I’m not sure where I stand on the whole nature-nurture debate (or, for that matter, where anyone stands — the last time I heard anyone talk about that was eighth grade biology). So I can’t tell you if great backpackers are born or made, and I also can’t tell you if that matters.

What I can tell you is somehow, I’ve ended up with a few traits that have made it a hell of a lot easier for me; and if you share any of them, perhaps it’s time to accept your destiny — nay, embrace it — and get backpacking. (There are worst destinies to have, trust me.)

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