Hiking Mt. Fuji: Friendly Advice From Someone Who Made All the Mistakes For You

“Anthea, are those parachutes?!” my friend asked me. And just like that, I was so excited I practically shook in my dusty, busted sandals. I felt that feeling in the pit of my stomach – the one that usually means I’m about to experience an adrenaline rush. “I think they might be?” I said, looking over the edge at the dark, disappearing shapes falling through the thick, white of clouds circling the top of Mt. Fuji, leaving trails behind them. Continue reading “Hiking Mt. Fuji: Friendly Advice From Someone Who Made All the Mistakes For You”

Cuba’s Fusterlandia: Transforming a Neighborhood

Cuba and U.S. relations have improved enough that visiting is no longer impossible. One must apply for the appropriately categorized trip on their visa. Cuba is almost indescribable in less than fifty thousand words, but suffice it to say the culture, history, and nature are uniquely beautiful. And the people are unlike anywhere else – a particular kindness, and an unusual sense of safety for two women traveling alone, was a pleasant surprise. Continue reading “Cuba’s Fusterlandia: Transforming a Neighborhood”

Overgrowth in Chernobyl: Interesting Botany and Wildlife in the Exclusion Zone

What do Korea’s demilitarized zone and Chernobyl, Ukraine have in common? It may sound like the beginning to a poorly chosen joke, but it’s a sincere question with an unexpected answer. Both areas have become nature sanctuaries. Both regions are undisturbed by human activity and construction, allowing animals to flourish and plant life to return unmitigated by industry or landscaping. After the destruction of war and nuclear catastrophe in 1986, Chernobyl’s exclusion zone has seen the return of a number of species to the area, including the intentional introduction of one species. Continue reading “Overgrowth in Chernobyl: Interesting Botany and Wildlife in the Exclusion Zone”

Music and Opera in Mongolia

Overtone singing is the practice of splitting one’s voice so that two tones are audible. The tones can be the same note, or one can remain constant while the other modulates. Perhaps most eerily beautiful is when both tones change at the same time. The effect, you can imagine, is astonishing for those unfamiliar with the talent; an individual singer will produce two haunting voices simultaneously, both the lead and the background to the same song. The practice requires skill and a great deal of work to perfect.
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Stained Glass, Art, and Murals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

I’ve heard Chernobyl, Ukraine is best described as a living museum. It’s perhaps the best way to explain what is now referred to as the exclusion zone because it truly feels like even the cities decomposition is a way of preserving what happened there. The exclusion zone – the region now off limits due to residual radioactivity from the 1986 power plant accident – is largely deserted, apart from the military and scientific staff that are rotated in shifts to maintain its borders and keep a close eye out for fires or illegal settlers. Continue reading “Stained Glass, Art, and Murals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone”

On the Lookout for Kafka in Prague

A man wakes up horrified to discover that he’s been transformed into an enormous insect – a burden to his family, a freak to the civilized world. Sound familiar? Whether you’ve read “The Metamorphosis” or not, you’ve probably been touch by material that’s
referenced this famous work by Franz Kafka. A Czech author whose work tends to lean towards the darkly surrealist, many know of his novels, but not all recognize how omnipresent he is in the nation’s capital where he was born.  Continue reading “On the Lookout for Kafka in Prague”

Art and History in Rome: What not to Miss

Rome, a modern city built around a massive piece of history, is known the world over for its archaeological sites, its art, and its architecture. With so much to see, it’s a good thing the city is so compact. Many of the major sites 

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