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How Travel Saved my Life
How Travel Saved my Life

Image h.koppdelaneyWhen the surgeon took the golf ball sized tumor out of my father’s head he apologized and said my father would be lucky to see two more months.As a family we dug in for a fight to the finish that would last 500 long days. Slowly, the disease stole all my father’s faculties until he sat shuddering in a wheelchair, one arm limp around my shoulder as I hoisted him up and carefully walked him to the toilet.

How to: Bargain in Arabic
How to: Bargain in Arabic

Bargaining over prices is a time-honored tradition in the Middle East. Here are some key Arabic phrases that will help you haggle.If you venture to the Arab world and you’re not armed to the teeth (linguistically speaking), you’ll be taken as an easy mark by shopkeepers, touts and taxi drivers alike.

Cyclists’ rights improving in Colorado
Cyclists’ rights improving in Colorado

The cycling movement just keeps picking up steam.Right on the heels of my post about How To Be Good (Better) Drivers and Cyclists, I read this article in the Colorado Springs Gazette.Governor Bill Ritter just signed a bill, effective August 5, that should offer more protection to cyclists on the road.

How to Buy, Set Up, and Sleep in a Hammock
How to Buy, Set Up, and Sleep in a Hammock

For traveling in warm climates, a hammock is the way to go. There’s no cheaper, lighter, more comfortable and useful piece of gear. Here’s everything you need to know.Choosing your hammockFirst you need to decide on the material. Depending on where you are, you may have locally-harvested materials / options (ixtle hammocks—scratchy but beautiful—are available in Chiapas, for example), but the most common hammocks are either silk, nylon, or jute.

What’s in your backpack, Alex Jouve?
What’s in your backpack, Alex Jouve?

Photos courtesy of Alex Jouve.Between working on globetrotting shows and wanderlust-inducing series for the History Channel, Discovery Channel, and Travel Channel, TV producer Alex Jouve gives Matador a peek into his backpack.On a number of occasions, especially on a 130 degree day under the Egyptian sun, I’ve been asked by fellow crew members why I always have my bulky backpack stuck to me and what could possibly in there.

Congo: Africa’s “Invisible War”
Congo: Africa’s “Invisible War”

Is the decade-long conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo “Africa’s invisible war”?Some fascinating number-crunching from Social Design Notes compares the numbers of fatalities in Darfur and the Congo — roughly 500,000 and 5.5 million, respectively — and then notes the enormous disparity in the media coverage of the two.

GuiJu: Rules of the Traditional Chinese Hot Spring Baths
GuiJu: Rules of the Traditional Chinese Hot Spring Baths

Photo by sputnikrentA comprehensive guide to etiquette and what to expect when soaking in Traditional Chinese Hot Springs.When the Japanese occupied Taiwan from the late 1800s to the first half of the 1900s, they left an indelible social, cultural, and urban imprint on the island. Among the remnants are the continually popular Beitou Hot Springs facilities located in the northern portion of Taipei County.

Semilla Nueva: Planting new seeds in Guatemala
Semilla Nueva: Planting new seeds in Guatemala

Photos Courtesy of the Author Editor’s Note: Megan Kimble was a writer selected to travel with the Green Living Project to document environmental and community sustainability efforts in Guatemala and Belize. This is one of several dispatches she is filing for Matador. We arrived to the sweltering Guatemalan coast expecting to see a blazing sunset.

Notes from the Road: Just Getting Oriented
Notes from the Road: Just Getting Oriented

Don’t try this in downtown San Jose. Photo: Ed Yourdon Editor’s note: This note is an excerpt from the first chapter of Wanderjahr, an in-the-works narrative recounting the story of a young traveler’s explorations of place, people, and self during a research year abroad in Central and South America. At this point in the story, the narrator has recently landed in San Jose.

Notes on Turning 30
Notes on Turning 30

C. Noah Pelletier spends his 30th birthday trying (but failing) to write, checking his hometown friends’ lives on Facebook, and going easy on the wine.HONESTLY, I don’t expect to finish transcribing the band interview today. There’s too much excitement, too many distractions.A birthday present sits on the Chinese table here in the living room.

Musings On Mortality
Musings On Mortality

The following is from my previous personal blog, written just after the London tube bombings in summer 2005. I’m republishing it here because I felt it extended a previous post on irrational fears while traveling.I wonder about mortality.My friend confessed she has panic attacks while sitting on the tube in London.

Notes on Burning Man
Notes on Burning Man

Photo: mr. nightshadeThey don’t call it Burning Man for nothing. Virgin burner Joshua Johnson takes us for a walk beside the flames.Tonight the tents and RVs and camps are empty.Tonight ice melts in unattended coolers. Filthy lawn chairs hold silent counsel over vacant plots of dust.Tonight 43,000 burners gather in ever widening, concentric circles.