Category: Interesting

The Last Notes

Organizational Profile: Journeys Within Our Communities
Organizational Profile: Journeys Within Our Communities

Photos courtesy of Journeys Within Our CommunitiesSee a problem – solve a problem. It’s a good mantra to live by, and if you can travel with that mindset, even better.Andrea and Brandon Ross certainly have taken that issue to heart, doing a world of good in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. The couple runs Journeys Within Tour Company and Journeys Within B&B.

4 Bizarre Prohibited Items Confiscated by US Customs Officials
4 Bizarre Prohibited Items Confiscated by US Customs Officials

Not that you would, but here are four items you’d be better off not trying to smuggle into the U.S.Forbidden Vietnamese PlantDesperate Plant DisguiseOne wonders how and why this traveler was so attached to the plant that he or she made this artsy fartsy attempt to disguise its organic nature. Painstakingly wrapped twig by twig, and ornately appointed, the plant was further disguised in a wrapped box.

World Nomads Announces Sweet Photography Scholarship
World Nomads Announces Sweet Photography Scholarship

It could be you on that boat…. Photo: 23am.comMatador’s friends over at World Nomads announce a sweet photography scholarship.Antarctica is on many travelers’ dream destination list, but the logistics–not to mention the expense–of getting there are a bit daunting.And then there’s the issue of the weather.

What Transformers 2 and Terminator Salvation Can Teach About Bad Storytelling
What Transformers 2 and Terminator Salvation Can Teach About Bad Storytelling

Sorry Optimus, you can’t save the plot!It’s no secret, Terminator Salvation and Transformers 2 are flimsy, mind-numbing movies. So what can be learned from their storytelling failures?Transformers 2 and Terminator Salvation are perfect examples of how storytelling negligence can leave even the biggest fans feeling cheated.

Marketing Language and Youth: 2 Thoughts on Travel Writing Style
Marketing Language and Youth: 2 Thoughts on Travel Writing Style

Photo: mezoneDealing with submissions as editor can be difficult when you know the writer’s intentions are good and that he or she is just trying to put feelings and ideas out there. So let me throw this out here in the spirit of ‘helpfulness.’The problems I have with a lot of people’s writing styles (including my own) usually seem to fall into a couple semi-related categories / situations:Copying writers from other generationsMarketing languageCopying writers of other generations“An author ought to write for the youth of his generation.

Get Your Pen Moving: ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS
Get Your Pen Moving: ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS

Photos: Ckubber Feature Photo: What Silence Around Matador, we hear a lot about amazing interactions between travelers and local people–but we don’t hear a whole lot about encounters between travelers and local animals.This week, get your pen moving by thinking about amazing mammals, amphibians, insects, reptiles and fish you’ve met (or run from, or squashed, or ridden, or been attacked by…) on your travels.

Trust Your Instincts: Follow Your Nose Travel
Trust Your Instincts: Follow Your Nose Travel

Our bodies know what is best for us, even when it comes to where we should travel next.Recent studies in the world of nutrition have found that our nose knows what foods are best for us.Our taste preferences for certain foods actually begin with how they smell, and researchers have found these preferences may be linked to the nutritional value of the food.

God Abroad: Defending Your Spirituality To The Locals
God Abroad: Defending Your Spirituality To The Locals

Allison Cross, journalist in Sierra Leone, faces the scrutiny of being agnostic in a traditionally religious culture.Photo: Allison CrossGod is everywhere in Sierra Leone.Sometimes he’s Jesus and sometimes he’s Allah, but words praising his existence are plastered all over NGOs, schools, hair salons, stores, restaurants and vehicles.

10 Reasons Why A Scarf Is A Must Pack
10 Reasons Why A Scarf Is A Must Pack

There are two things I never travel without. The other is a scarf.A scarf is a great multi-purpose item for when you’re trying to pack light. Here’s why.FashionNo doubt your clothing will not see a washing machine and iron very often on the road. A scarf can help spruce up a suffering wardrobe.Sleeping SheetLay a scarf on your bed to cover those questionable looking stains on guest house sheets.

Lather Up With Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
Lather Up With Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

Rubbing soap all over has never felt so good.Taking a hot steamy shower is enjoyable. Taking a hot steamy shower and lathering up to Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap Bars takes it to another level.Believe me.I’m an addict. I have seven of these soap bars sitting on my bathroom window sill, waiting to be used.

Top 5 Travel Preconceptions
Top 5 Travel Preconceptions

What do travelers hold true long before they set out on a trip?1. The further “off the beaten track” you go, the more authentic a place becomes.Japan isn’t Tokyo, Thailand isn’t Bangkok, New York isn’t the U.S…to this refrain I say: what? Sure, U.S culture can’t be summed up by New York nor can Japanese culture be summed up entirely by Tokyo; but these places are as integral to their country’s culture as any tiny town in the backwoods.

Travel Writing Neologisms – WTF?
Travel Writing Neologisms – WTF?

Travel ‘neologism’ is the tendency to take two perfectly good words, truncate one or both of them, then squeeze them together into one word where two would work perfectly. Here’s a list of ten of these neologisms we’d just as soon never see again.“-cations”MomcationA momcation is when the mamas leave the papas and the babies at home and go out into the world, unafraid and unfettered by their loved ones.

Back To Your Roots: How to Prepare for a Journey to A Home You’ve Never Known
Back To Your Roots: How to Prepare for a Journey to A Home You’ve Never Known

Going on a search for one’s roots can be an overwhelming and emotionally jarring experience. The following are some ways to help you make the most of the journey.For those of us who grow up in a country not completely our own, visiting ‘home’ is a daunting task we set for ourselves.It is something we want to do (eventually) but there is a certain fear that it won’t live up to our expectations or that we may not be prepared for what it has in store for us.

Graphophobia: The Fear of Writing
Graphophobia: The Fear of Writing

Photo Tiago RïbeiroBlank page paralysis. Curse of the pulsing cursor. Together we will confront graphophobia, the fear of writing.It’s time to write. I wait for an image, a phrase, some remembered thing to jerk my hands against the keys but nothing comes. My palms itch, I try to sip from an empty coffee cup and curse at the lawnmower across the street that growls like a dog munching on my gray matter.

Romanian Teen To Pay Half Of Her Virginity-Auctioned Earnings To Gov
Romanian Teen To Pay Half Of Her Virginity-Auctioned Earnings To Gov

Teen now faces more than just the moral issue of auctioning off her virginity to pay for school.From the, “Wow, this whole thing is really sad” file:For those who don’t know, Alina Percea, a Romanian teenage girl living in Germany, recently auctioned off her virginity to an Italian businessman for 8,800 pounds.

All top newspapers’ circulation down but one
All top newspapers’ circulation down but one

Every major newspaper except WSJ is reporting losses, in some cases, severe. Where is this going?These numbers came out yesterday from Editor and Publisher. The only gain made by any top 25 newspaper was a less than 1 circulation increase by The Wall Street Journal.Check out some of the losses. SF Chronicle down by more than 25 percent.

The Lonely World Of A Traveling Reader
The Lonely World Of A Traveling Reader

Shannon Dunlap, expat in Cambodia, finds solace in her books, yet remains at risk of losing connection with the culture around her.One of my earliest memories is of listening to my sister read aloud the entire series of Little House on the Prairie books, a set of texts that has, weirdly, begun to come back to me in vivid detail ever since I came to Cambodia.

The Danger of the Single Story
The Danger of the Single Story

What are the implications of growing up reading about characters who are nothing like you?Lola sent this to me yesterday. It’s a great talk by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie. She speaks about how vulnerable and impressionable children are as young readers.She explains how she began reading at an early age.

Prostitution Rocks! SuperFreakonomics on the Oldest Profession in the World
Prostitution Rocks! SuperFreakonomics on the Oldest Profession in the World

When it comes to the authors’ reasoning, it’s a wonder why all women aren’t prostitutes.Always ones to stir up controversy about our long-held beliefs, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner have a new book out, SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance.

No Impact Week, Day 6: Water
No Impact Week, Day 6: Water

Photos: JC RojasMatador U student and contributor Abbie Mood takes the No Impact Week Challenge.In November of 2006, New York City resident Colin Beavan, along with his wife and daughter, set out to live with no net environmental impact.Fast forward three years later, add the Huffington Post, and you have No Impact Week.