Why We Travel (Parts 12 & 35)

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If travel’s supposed to be about self-discovery, should professional travelers and writers dictate how everyone needs to do it? As if there’s a pressing need for the travel movement, and only one way to get there. Recently in the New York Times, Ilan Stevens and Joshua Ellison — a lit professor and editor — gauged the differences between “meaningful, fruitful travel” and “mere tourism.” They called the piece “Reclaiming Travel,” harkening back to pre-modern pilgrimages, and wrote “we must bring … Continue reading

The Cereal Roadtrip: 76-Second Travel Show

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Nothing in the world is better than breakfast cereal. A couple months ago I was writing about the Kinks in my daily journal, and the subject led me in a long missive on cereal. Then I stopped to check a few things online, and learned about Dr Caleb Jackson — a very interesting man. A Civil War-era health nut entrepreneur with a crazy-long beard, Jackson — himself quite unhealthy — fretted over American dining habits, and created granūla out of … Continue reading

Photo of the Week: Lenin’s Pillars

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Vladimir Lenin was born Vladimir Ulyanov. At 31, he changed his name to “Lenin,” most likely after the Lena River, a north-flowing river that crosses the Russian Far East and is used as a frozen highway in winter. The river’s most famous feature are the Leninski Stolbi (or Lenin Pillars), rock formations reached by boat a day’s ride from Yakutsk, a city of a quarter million on stilts to protect from permafrost. While researching Lonely Planet’s Russia guidebook a few … Continue reading

58 Things You Should Know about the War of 1812

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Douglas Coupland’s 1812 sculpture, Toronto ‘War of 1812’ would make a great name for a bulldog. They’re irrational creatures – with misshapen jaws and butts that make them look mean, and squashed tails that easily get infected by passing fecal matter. But down deep they’re really softies with an unfortunate tendency for leg-humping, slobber and youthful deaths. The real War of 1812, incidentally, turns 200 today. And I’ve been thinking about it lately. Particularly because I knew nothing about it. … Continue reading