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Posted by on Oct 3, 2013 in Blog, Change, Feature |

Maps as Art and a Metaphor for Life

Maps as Art and a Metaphor for Life

Maps are conceptual perfection. Lines, dots, colors, and symbols all neatly grouped together to convey distance, space, culture, and place in one compelling visual. Oh the joys of exploring the interplay of parts and wholes! Zeroing in on a small detail and then zooming out again to capture the complete picture in one delightful moment! Maybe like Ken Jennings, I’m a “Map Head“. (Although in his geography quiz I scored at an ‘American college student’, which is narrowly above ‘the atlas shrugs’ and ‘Terrain wreck’ and sadly far below ‘Sensei of direction’ and ‘Certified maphead’!) So even though I won’t win the geography bee, my travel obsession combined with my ‘topophilia’ (Greek, ‘love of place’) is why I am drawn to maps and get lost in their cartological magic. Maps are both aesthetically pleasing but also functional. Just look at these examples…stunning and informative!   And what could be better than to have your map and eat it as a cake too? ‘Map’ props to this couple for creating...

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Posted by on Sep 15, 2013 in Blog |

More Choice, Perks & Savings When I BUY or FLY Frontier Airlines?

More Choice, Perks & Savings When I BUY or FLY Frontier Airlines?

Written from the air on Friday, September 13, 2013. Dear Frontier Airlines, Today is my first flight with you, Frontier Airlines. In fact, I am writing this from Flight 831. I sure picked a weird day to fly to Colorado. Just after fastening my seatbelt for takeoff, the captain informed us that our flight to Denver was delayed for 2 hours because the flooding is so bad that many  air traffic controllers couldn’t make it to work today. Eesh. Friday the 13th? Nah, I’m not superstitious. Overall, Frontier, I’m impressed. Your personnel have been friendly & personable.  When the delay was announced, we were allowed to deplane to get lunch while we waited. My seats are comfortable and the cabin is spacious. I feel that I got a great deal on my flight. I’m not a parent, but thank you for announcing baby changing tables are available in the lavatory. I like a family-friendly company. But, recently you made one big mistake, Frontier. When I checked in at the ticketing...

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Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Blog, Change, Travel |

Do I Travel to Escape?

Do I Travel to Escape?

—I had to come home, he said. —How long were you gone? I asked. —6 months of constant travel. Long enough to get to the point where anywhere was okay. Do you know what I mean? he asked staring me in the eye. I did know what he meant. I do know what he means. Travelers escape through their familiar atmosphere to become satellites, orbits in a night sky — observing and participating from a distance.  —It’s scary stuff, he said and then retracted from the conversation to curl up into a memory. In this brief pause, an argument of defense welled up from my cherished memories on the road. But the conversation changed as quickly as it began and the moment was gone. I thought about what he said and how he challenged not only my sentiments about travel but also the trajectory of my life. Am I close to a dangerous detachment? Is this travel as a lifestyle, this perpetual suspension an escape, excuse, or cop out? Yes/No. It is...

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Posted by on Aug 29, 2013 in Blog, Travel |

Smitten with the Mitten: Highlights from Northern Michigan

Smitten with the Mitten: Highlights from Northern Michigan

After eight weeks in Northern Michigan, I too am ‘smitten with the mitten’! What’s not to love about fresh-picked cherries, wooded trails, and stunning sunsets over Lake Michigan? I went to Harbor Springs for work but found a few adventures along the way. I’ll tell you where Harbor Springs is. Take your right hand and turn it towards you so your palm is facing you. Your hand makes the shape of lower Michigan. Harbor Springs is located at the top of your ring finger. Yeah, it’s up there. “What the water wants is hurricanes and sailboats to ride on it’s back.” ~Sufjan Stevens Life in Harbor Springs is shaped by Lake Michigan. Sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing! Speaking of fish… I wrangled in a 25 lb King Salmon. I cooked it in lemon, butter and pepper and served it with fresh broccoli from my host’s garden. Talk about eating local! Every Wednesday and Saturday I looked forward to the farmer’s market in Harbor Springs. With a scone from My...

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Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 in Blog, Change, Culture, Guest Post, Relocation, Study Abroad, Travel, Volunteer Abroad, Work Abroad |

What to Know About Living Abroad

What to Know About Living Abroad

The following is a guest post by Troy Peden, Founder of GoAbroad.com. Living abroad is different from any other type of meaningful travel, particularly if you do not have a set date to return to your home country.  The ambiguity of living abroad changes the way you consider your new digs and how you adapt to a new environment. The following tips about living abroad contain advice I frequently share with study abroad students but also include specific advice geared towards long-term visitors and expats. As someone who has lived abroad a few times and is currently living abroad right now, here are a few of my Do’s and Don’ts. Let Go of Your First Culture Don’t bring a suitcase full of your favorite granola bars with you to your new home.  The sooner you become comfortable with your new ‘granola bar substitute’ the better!  Clinging to your first culture doesn’t allow you to fully immerse into a new culture. Living Abroad is Different, But Not Better Remind yourself...

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Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 in Blog |

Thank You for Giving Joy: My Birthday Wish Update

Thank You for Giving Joy: My Birthday Wish Update

In response to my blog 28 Ways to Give Joy Today: My 28th Birthday Wish, I promised to give an update about the response from my community. I received messages from friends and family telling me how they are giving joy by bringing people together to share quality time and telling someone they care about how much they mean to them. Someone gave to a study abroad student raising money online to reach her goal of teaching English abroad. Someone purchased a book by a friend of mine who recently launched a book. Someone shared with me that a gift I gave them over 10 years ago is still meaningful to them today. So thank you for giving joy. You made stepping into year 28 that much more delightful. P.S. The Traveling Advisor had the most page views of all time on that...

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