Discovering

Gilded in Black Gold: Six Gaudy Projects of the Petroleum Gulf

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It’s not a surprise that the Gulf region contains some of the world’s more curious construction. Northwest to southeast Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the U.A.E. and Oman share more than just a shoreline along the world’s most politically charged body of water. These desert regions were for centuries populated by nomadic Arabian shepherds and traders, seasonal migrants. Fossil-fuels changed everything. Today the grandchildren of  the last  generation of nomads occupy some of the world’s most densely-populated urban areas...

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Five Natural Places to Love in Post-Tsunami Tohoku, Japan

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I’m letting the secret out: Tohoku, a region in Japan most widely recognized for the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated its eastern shore in 2011, has another reason to be known: for its outdoors. Dotted with mountains, gorges, waterfalls, lakes, and fields, this northern area of mainland Japan offers a superabundance of scenic pursuits for any nature-loving soul. Call me biased (this region has been my home for the past 1.5 years), but Tohoku has some of the most beautiful and at times most surprising nature a person...

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Defining “Thin Places” for the Traveler in Search of Transcendence

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What is a “Thin Place”? Despite having travelled extensively for a variety of purposes, the idea of a “thin place” was entirely new to me when I came across Eric Weiner’s article “Thin Places, Where We Are Jolted Out of Old Ways of Seeing the World,” in The New York Times. The term “thin place” derives from the Celtic Christians. Initially, the Celtic Christians believed that there was a significant distance, or border, between Heaven and Earth. At certain places, this border was significantly thinner, allowing people to...

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How to “Bow like a Japanese”: Lessons in Culture from an American Living in Japan

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There are the obvious cultural characteristics of Japan that everyone knows: trade your shoes for slippers indoors, bow, eat with chopsticks. But there are a few other differences I learned only once I’d lived in the country. The cultural differences weren’t profound, but were quite useful once I knew them. Perhaps even the most obvious of customs like indoor slippers and bowing are best understood through experience. For example, you’ll learn to watch out for those aptly named “bathroom slippers” as you fish one out of the squat...

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An Open Letter to the TSA Supervisor at Reagan Airport

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Dear TSA Supervisor at Reagan Airport: Let’s get one thing straight. There are two terminal buildings at DCA. One building houses U.S. Air and Delta and other overpriced but fairly competent airlines, the other houses Air Tran, Spirit and other Ford Fiesta level airlines (hereafter know as the Short Bus terminal). I am talking to the TSA supervisor who handles the Short Bus terminal. To the other guy, thank you for making flying a pleasant experience. So you Mr. Short Bus, must have flunked a major portion of your TSA security exam or slept...

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11 Things to Do in Dahab, Egypt

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Dahab is a little beach town on the southern tip of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula that has great food, comfortable hotels, and a laid-back atmosphere. While most tourists flock to the more glittery and developed Sharm El Sheikh about 100km south, Dahab is a great little town to get away from it all. Though it’s a small place, there is more than enough in Dahab to keep you busy, but aside from all the touristy tours and four-wheeler trips into the desert, there are a few more things you have to do while you’re in Dahab, Egypt. 1....

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World Leaders Lock Lips for Benetton’s “Unhate” Campaign

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The marketing department at the United Colors of Benetton is known for their controversial advertisements. Past ads have depicted human hearts, interracial lesbian couples, a woman breast feeding, and even a newborn baby with umbilical chord and all. They’ve outdone themselves once again. Benetton’s newest “Unhate” campaign shows world leaders of opposing ideologies in the midst of a gentle little kiss on the lips. This is definitely a good way to get people’s attention. I would sure stop walking, or at least...

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The Solo Traveler’s Guide to Exploring the Unknown

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The Art of Travelling Without Planning Step 1) Plan your trip, Step 2) Buy your plane ticket. As most solo travelers would agree, these two steps are both the least and most important aspects of traveling alone. To be fair, buying the ticket is the most important. Not because you necessarily need to have a ticket to get where you are going, but because once the ticket is bought there’s no backing out. This is the beginning of a new adventure, and in most cases a new outlook on life. In terms of travel, the word ‘plan’ tends to be used...

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6 Experiences Not to Miss While Traveling in Cambodia

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When I tell people that Cambodia is one of my favorite countries I usually get a very strange look of confusion and bewilderment. A lot of people still view Cambodia as this terrible, violent, land of rubble and danger. But the opposite it true. Cambodia has an amazing, vibrant, unavoidable soul and it rubs off on every person that goes within the border of this beauty filled country. Whether you grew up there as a child or you’re just traveling through, the excitement of everything is overwhelming. It’s a true land of smiles, with a true...

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Egypt’s “Second Revolution” – The Short of It

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Tahrir, Round Two Crowds are once again gathering in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. This story is pretty similar to that of January except that Mubarak is out of the picture. There are a number of issues but the major grievance is with the new constitution and timetables for change the military regime has put in place. The government the military rulers designed gives the military greater power than the parliament and the timetables for elections leaves the military in control of the government for much longer than necessary. They’re...

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