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Coloradans tend to do a lot of things outside, and one of those things is climbing 14ers. As the term implies, a 14er is just any mountain peak over 14,000 feet. Most of these hikes involve a very early start in order to get to the top in one day, arriving at the summit prior to impending storm and possible …

The hike to Conundrum Hot Springs outside of Aspen was called “one of the 50 most authentic American experiences” by Time Magazine. In an effort to be more authentically American, I decided to engage in this camping experience. In an effort to share my American authenticity with others, I decided to bring a Kiwi with me. If you’ve never met …

I started writing a Western-themed post about cowboys and Subarus, but as usual, I ended up only with a list of bad ideas turned reality. The good news is, there are enough people in my new life in Denver to merit a sitcom. Here’s a list of bad ideas. I don’t recommend trying them at home. 1. Throwing Maracas, Particularly …

I now live with two men and a dog. It’s just like New Girl… without the black dude, plus one animal, and minus True American (I’m working on that). Upon entering my house, it’s immediately very obvious that men live there. Not Chicago men, either. This morning I was inspired to compile the first Man Cave Photo Essay. (NOTE: It …

Since most of my boxes are now unpacked, I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and write down a few short initial impressions of Denver. These are in no particular order and not even really related. Only one of them is nonsense. 1. Everyone is high on life. No wait. It’s marijuana. Everyone is high on marijuana. There’s a …

road trip.

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A move to Denver to satiate my AMD (acute mountain deficiency) was something I’d been thinking about for a long time. Mountains, and corresponding male inhabitants, were alluring, as was a smaller city and slower pace of life. When I got a great job in Denver, I decided it was time to go. I sold all of my furniture and …

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(continued from carpet kidnapping – part 1 and carpet kidnapping – part 2) “I have no idea. I can’t even see the end of the maze,” I said, standing on my tip-toes to try and find a high point we could focus on to walk towards. “Madame, c’est perdu?” I looked down to see a tiny child tugging at my …

(continued from carpet kidnapping – part 1) — Back in the carpet cave… — “Yes, my boyfriend’s a football player,” I said, immediately sensing how ridiculous and unpractical the statement was. Oh, so you have a huge boyfriend, what the hell is he going to do to save you when you’re in the middle of a medina in North fucking …

carpet kidnapping – part 1.

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When I was nineteen and living in southern Spain, I convinced my friend Lokelani to go to Morocco with me. When I say “convinced,” I mean I told Lokelani that we were going windsurfing in Tarifa, a small town in southern Spain, when I knew there was no wind, and then expertly shuffled her onto a boat headed for Africa. …

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spaghetti syndrome.

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During my extensive travels, I’ve seen a girl or two fall prey to Spaghetti Syndrome – when a female abuses her favorite vices until she slithers to the ground like a limp noodle, completely unguarded. Ladies, if you are overseas, do not allow yourselves to fall prey to Spaghetti Syndrome. Remember: At home in your parent’s basement it might be …

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drug bras.

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It’s a terrifying experience to be on a bus in a foreign country where certain events cause you to suspect there may be drugs aboard. I met a Canadian couple in the Sahara desert some years ago who had landed themselves in an Ecuadorian prison, blamed for drug possession of marijuana that wasn’t theirs. I’ve had nightmares about it ever …

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the tequila disaster of 2004.

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: The events referenced in this post happened eight years ago. I have since become a somewhat more responsible adult. Somewhat. At least I’m more functional. ———————– When I lived in Japan I had a friend named Ramon from Honduras. He was part of a larger group of friends from all over the world that were in a scholarship …

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vegas donkeys.

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Most travelers don’t have any interest in Vegas.  We’ve seen the real Eiffel Tower, why would we want to see a fake one? I had zero interest in visiting this man-made desert monstrosity; strippers, gambling, and the STDs that follow aren’t my idea of a good time. My college roommate, LeAnna, lives in Vegas and told me I should visit. …

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russian invasion.

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The first thing I noticed about the Republic of Georgia was that the locals weren’t too fond of Russians. When I asked Georgians for a detailed explanation as to why this was so (I suppose I could have just skimmed over the last thousand years of Georgian history), I received the succinct response: “The Russians are always trying to invade …

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stormin’ mormon.

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**NOTE** — After receiving hate mail from Mormons, please understand that I’m very aware that Mormons are on a two-year mission when sighted abroad. I’m not an idiot. The post below is for comedic value only. Calm the f**k down. – If you are living or traveling overseas, particularly in an obscure country or off the beaten path, chances are …

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greek grandmother.

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When I lived in the small town of Preveza on the west coast of Greece, I took up running. I was usually not running from anything or anyone, but for purposes of physical fitness. I would wake up at 6:30 a.m., run for about an hour down the beautiful Mediterranean coast before turning back and jogging home. My large, airy, …

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no russian prostitutes for you.

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It was my last night in Cabarete, and I wanted to dance. This was my last chance at bachata for a long time, which is one of the top eight things I’ll miss about Dominican Republic. Dancing bachata was just a bonus, however. I was really hoping to catch a last glimpse of the band of Russian prozies I was …

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pre post-paradise depression.

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Everyone asks me if I’m excited to go home to Chicago. I’m not really excited to go home at all. I know this makes me sound like an asshole, but I could live on the beach drinking liquored coconuts for the rest of my life. There are, however, a ton of things that I will greatly miss about the Dominican …

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the real world: cabarete.

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I’ve been searching for a common theme for the random occurrences of the last week. I’ve thought about it for days, and I’ve given up. All of a sudden there were a bunch of new people in the house and around town, and shit started getting really weird. Each day I felt increasingly as if I were living an episode …

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saturday night gas station.

Prior to last weekend, activities that I’ve engaged in at a gas station were limited to filling up my gas tank and buying skittles. This list has now expanded to new horizons. My Dominican friend Jonathan lives in a town a few miles down the road from Cabarete. This town turns their gas station into a party on the weekends, …

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knife fights, chihuahuas, and sharks.

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For the last four days in Dominican Republic (Saturday – Tuesday), there was no wind. When one goes to a country specifically to engage in a sport that requires wind, and the wind ceases, one tends to find other ways to entertain oneself. Tanicus and I managed to find some other stuff to do. 1. We simulated a knife fight …

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head hurl.

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During my junior year of college, I lived and studied in the southern Spanish city of Seville. The Sevillanos, as Sevilla’s residents are called, really know how to live life properly. They eat lots of pork, drink lots of red wine, and have a penchant for flamenco, which involves a lot of clapping and stomping, two pastimes that virtually everyone …

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kiteboarding is hard.

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I’ve been in DR for about a week now. My main goal in coming here was to learn to kiteboard… in the water. I already kite on land (not very well) back in Chicago. I took my kite out for the first time on Tuesday. I don’t want to brag, but I’ve learned a thing or two over the past …

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the f**k-you face.

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The first time I traveled abroad completely independently, I was 18-years old. I arrived in Guatemala City, naïve and alone, an eternal optimist. Even the sketchiest of people would receive nothing but kindness from me… Most people in the world are good, right? Wrong. Being nice and smiling at every old pervy sketch-ball that passes by will get you nowhere. …

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mormons: who needs ‘em?

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I’ve been in Dominican Republic for three days now. I could tell you about all of the culture I’ve soaked up (none), the local history I’ve learned about (none), and the sightseeing I’ve done (none), but instead, I’ll just fill you in on the three best things I’ve experienced so far. 1. Our vaguely phallic-shaped pool implies that whoever designed …

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island arrival.

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My morning started off pleasantly. I woke up slowly, and I lackadaisically watched last night’s episode of Colbert. I was feeling particularly good about having left Chan Wook, my beloved DaeWoo, with my friend in the suburbs, where he would receive the best care appropriate for a tattered car with driver-side collision damage. Then it hit me. Holy shitballs, I’m …

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mafia cab.

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Of any country I’ve ever traveled through or lived in, Japan is by far the safest. A young foreign woman, such as myself at the time, could stumble halfway home at 4am, pass out in someone’s doorway several blocks from her house, and remain completely unbothered until she woke up at sunrise to finish her bike ride home (hey, it …

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black nikka’ed.

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I moved to Japan in the fall of 2003. Soon after, I acquired a quirky boyfriend from Oklahoma named Barnabus. Quirky is a polite term I use to describe Barnabus’s habit of drinking too much whiskey and ending up with mild head injuries. Actually, ‘whiskey’ might be a little too generous a term for what Barnabus and I were drinking. …

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gun truck.

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About a month after I graduated from high school, I took a solo trip through Guatemala, Belize, and El Salvador. As an innocent-looking-barely-eighteen-year-old American female traveling alone in third world countries, I made some “interesting” friends, and one such friend was Tanja. Tanja was of Danish nationality, Korean ancestry, and spoke English as though she were the Queen. There are …

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donkeys only.

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When I was twenty-one years old I moved to a small town on the west coast of Greece called Preveza. Because I lived in a large, whitewashed two-bedroom apartment near the ocean, I quickly acquired two weekend roommates. Gregor and Angus, Englishman and Irishman respectively, stayed in my spare bedroom every weekend, preferring Preveza’s limited nightlife to the surrounding villages, …

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intro.

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intro. My mother always told me I should write about my travels. I sincerely doubt this is the type of writing she had in mind. People often ask about my overseas journeys. Although I’m eager to share, I’ve never been able to appropriately convey the absurdity of some of the situations I’ve gotten myself into. I mean, how does one …

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