One of my favorite ways to deepen the experience of a new destination is to immerse myself in a book set in that place while I visit. I first experienced the magic of layering fiction and real-life exploration with the book/destination duo of The Glass Room by Simon Mawer/Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic in 2013. Like a properly paired wine and cheese, a book and a trip can enhance one another into an experience that neither could be alone. This post is about one such blended experience, when I explored the southwestern tip of Florida while reading Swamplandia!.
Sometimes, I don’t understand London. It’s not one thing in particular, it’s just that I’ll go out and come home feeling exhausted and frustrated. Most of the time I chalk it up to being American. I just don’t understand what to expect in some situations.
Like today, for example. Nothing big went wrong, yet I came home with wet socks, holding a raw egg in my hand, and wondering why I couldn’t manage a simple day’s itinerary. If you understand this city, please leave tips in the comment section. If London bewilders you, too, perhaps you’ll relate to this sequence of events: Continue reading
I love words. Words impart the power to express yourself with nuance and clarity, but only if you use them correctly. Some words, as we know, sound similar to others but mean very different things. You might slip by in conversation, but if you write the wrong one, your ignorance glares out at the reader, possibly obscuring the meaning of a sentence and definitely causing the reader to pause and consider your writing ability, thinking:
Whenever I realize that I’ve been using words imprecisely, I take note, happy that I’ve discovered the error and a bit chagrined that I’ve likely made it several times. Below are four pairs of words I haven’t been using quite right, perhaps my confession will help you avoid the same mistake. Continue reading
Below is a table shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that visualizes how higher winds increase the danger of frostbite.
For me, the table reinforces the importance of monitoring wind just as much as temperature during cold months. Add a little wind to 0ºF and your risk of frostbite goes from low to happening within 30 minutes. Add a little wind to -10ºF, and you’re in the 10-minutes-til-frostbite range.
Even after this polar vortex passes, be careful out there and stay warm.
Find more information from the CDC here: Outdoor Winter Safety
Read a little more about cold weather safety in this article I wrote for Travelers Today: How to Weather the Polar Vortex Without Losing a Body Part
If you’re traveling from north to south in Croatia, your last stop might be Dubrovnik. Mine was. And after two weeks of crystalline Adriatic seawater and minimal cruise crowds, Dubrovnik shocked me. Yes, the walls are beautifully preserved. Yes, it has a historic and aesthetic Old Town. But the place is crammed with tourists. If you’re looking for clean beaches, reasonable accommodation, or even elbow room while walking around, Dubrovnik might disappoint you.
However, I am not writing this to tell you not to go. I am here to tell you where to go when you’re there. Because it is hard to not go, even people who don’t plan to go back would find it difficult discouraging you to visit at least once. And when you run, sweaty and panicky, away from the Old Town crowds there are some amazing day trips to take. Here are the two I recommend, one to a gorgeous and haunting beach and one to a wonder-filled arboretum. Continue reading
A recurring post on this blog, Soil in the Headlines, collects a few of the ways soil is featuring in our lives and in our news.
Japan tries to contain 133,000 tons of Fukushima’s radioactive soil
According to Japanese Daily Press, the Japanese government earmarked $970 million to store soil contaminated by Fukushima’s nuclear energy plant disaster. With the soil collected and money set aside to store it, the next question is, who wants to have a radioactive soil containment facility in their backyard? So far, no one is volunteering.
Soil microbe displays intriguing and potentially useful growth patterns
A recently published article in PLOS ONE describes a soil bacteria’s response to physical change in its surroundings. The bactieria, Bacillus mycoides, reorganized themselves into growth patterned around physical obstructions in their environment. Beyond the, “ooo, neat!” factor, this new knowledge of the bacteria may be useful for Continue reading
I came to Twitter skeptically. The first day of my journalism master’s program a professor required us to sign up, so I did. As I claimed @emilyeggleston, I wondered if my future self would wistfully mark that moment as the start of an exponential rise in the amount of time I spent staring at my phone. If you’d handed me this New York Time’s op-ed, My case against Twitter, I probably would’ve yanked my fingers from the keyboard and remained account-less, class requirement or no.
But two years later, the only thing I regret about signing up is not choosing a shorter handle. Here’s why. Continue reading