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A publication from Medium on personal development.


In Forge. More on Medium.

A trip to Las Vegas taught me how to succeed without really trying

Las Vegas, NV, USA // Photo: John Gorman

I went to Las Vegas over the weekend in what was my first honest-to-goodness vacation since October 2019. I don’t typically love Vegas — I don’t club, gamble, or enjoy touristy things or bro-y meatheads — but there are few better cities in the U.S. for food, sunshine, and feeling like you’re “off the clock.”

You say you’re going to Chicago and work will send you texts and emails. You say you’re going to Seattle and work will assume you’re there for a job interview. …

The rejuvenating power of feeling like a visitor

Photo: Masaaki Komori/Unsplash

Rejuvenation. That’s what a friend recently told me she needed. She’d written a book that was published in October, right before the election, but she’d felt too exhausted to publicize it. Not that it would have mattered anyway. The world was shouty and stressed.

Now, with vaccines and tulips all around us, she was still dragging herself from masked grocery store visits to the occasional school pickup (when school wasn’t closed because of Covid.) “What can rejuvenate me?” she asked. We listed the obvious options for middle-aged women in Brooklyn: yoga, wine, essential oils, hanging out in someone’s backyard for…

🌎 Today’s tip: Make time off feel like a vacation with a virtual tour.

“Vacation days seem like a relic from another era,” Negin Safdari writes in Forge. “If you’ll only be journeying from one end of your apartment to the other, why bother?” But even now, you can still get out into the world — from the safety of your apartment! — by taking a virtual tour of some faraway attraction, like a museum or zoo. Do a quick search to find one that appeals, and then set aside a time, like you’re building a real vacation itinerary.


Who We’ll Be After This

The idea of getting on a plane terrifies me. But I know I’ll do it again anyway.

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

While I’ve been having a terrible, terrible case of wanderlust since the spring, I’m terrified at the thought of getting on a flight again. Think about it. Think of the compact space we’re in. Think of the stuffy air and the collision course of energies from other passengers, whether it’s peace, anxiety, anger, or impatience. Think of our proximity to one another.

In low moments during the pandemic, I have asked myself: Will we ever be able to travel freely again? There would have been no way that I could’ve pulled off writing my second book, Wandering in Strange Lands

Wisdom is portable — even when we’re stuck at home

Photo: Kiatanan Sugsompian/Getty Images

When fear and despair nip at our heels, some people turn to religion; others to psychology, or tequila. As a longtime travel writer and lifelong wanderer, I turn to my globe. It’s nothing fancy — a simple, steel model, faded from use and old enough to include the Soviet Union. But that globe is my talisman and my salve, a reminder of where I’ve been and what I’ve learned there.

I subscribe to Henry Miller’s philosophy of travel: “One’s destination is never a place but a new way of looking at things.” Such transformed vision demands open eyes and ears…

Things I Miss

My phobia of flying has been replaced by something bigger

Illustrations by Mari Andrew

In my old New York City life, the one that no longer exists, I used to watch planes fly one by one, in a stoic parade on their way to JFK Airport. I’d wonder about the people inside: some going home, some landing in a foreign place, some who would soon be sitting at a deathbed, some about to get too drunk a wedding, some who’d sleep alone in a hotel on a lonely business trip.

I miss doing that. Now, when I see the occasional plane (I counted only three yesterday), my shoulders tighten. Nobody on that plane gracefully…

Allow wanderlust, rather than your partner, to be your travel buddy

Credit: David Freigner / EyeEm/ Getty Images

I’m writing this from atop a futon in New Orleans that I’ve been paying $26 a night to sleep on. I’ve spent the last two days people-watching in the French Quarter, hiking through swampy state parks, and sipping drinks named after both natural and human-made disasters.

At a seafood stand in a rural area, I approached a couple that reminded me of my parents. I had some questions about my walking route that only a local would know, and they looked like people I could trust with the truth that I was traveling alone.

Predictably, the husband’s jaw dropped. He…

Winging it has advantages, even if you love planning your trips down to the minute

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

There’s something undeniably alluring about the idea of traveling without an itinerary: showing up at the airport with little more than a ticket in hand and a thirst for adventure, leaving the door open for whatever may come your way. Maybe you’ll have a whirlwind romance! Join a ragtag band of roaming street performers! Become a confident wearer of scarves! The world is your oyster, ready to be sucked from its shell and swallowed whole, probably at that adorable seaside café you just chanced upon while parading around with the street performers.

Or at least it sounds romantic and exciting…

Enough with this “like a local” nonsense

Photo: Angela Franklin/Unsplash

A bartender once stopped me from ordering a creme brûlée while I was on vacation in Paris because, as he put it, he “couldn’t let me eat like a tourist.” I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw something as surefire as dessert to the wind, so I let him order for me. He returned with a plate of very mediocre canelés, and I’ve therefore still never enjoyed a creme brûlée in Paris. Which is probably precisely the place you want to be when you’re in the mood for a creme brûlée.

I don’t know why the word “tourist” is so…

Why we want to believe

Keystone / Getty Images

If the Loch Ness monster is anything at all, new research argues, it’s probably just a really big eel.

A team of scientists analyzed the DNA found in hundreds of water samples collected from Scotland’s Loch Ness to piece together a picture of the lake’s animal life. The team, led by Neil Gemmell, a professor of anatomy at the University of Otago in New Zealand, announced this week that all that testing didn’t turn up anything to suggest a viable candidate for Nessie. No giant reptiles, no oversized sharks.

“The remaining theory that we cannot refute based on environmental DNA,”…


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