Inside the Secret World of Language-Learning Superstars

In how many languages do you know how to say “hello”?  If you can answer, “11 or more,” you qualify as a hyperpolyglot, according to this article in The Economist: Foreign Languages: The Gift of Tongues.

The article starts with a historical figure, Cardinal Mezzofanti of Bologna, Italy.  He was famed as a master of languages.  Native speakers … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (6)  | March 23, 2012
Category: Languages and Culture, Notes from the collective travel mind

Will you ever stop travelling?

A friend asked me, “Will you ever stop travelling?” and without hesitation I answered, “No.”  Then he looked at me earnestly for an explanation.

Truth is, a few years ago I gave his question a lot of thought. I’d been perpetually moving for three years and decided to rent a 21 acre farm, unpack boxes and take a romantic relationship to the next level. But then I tacked up a world map on the wall … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (7)  | March 22, 2012
Category: Vagabonding Life

Thin places: The reasons we travel

Sometimes, it’s hard to explain why we travel. Us travelers like to view ourselves as different than tourists, and our journeys as different than vacations. We enjoy experiences, people and perhaps most importantly those unpredictable things that come from freely roaming. There’s a feeling that comes with these experiences that can simply be hard to describe.

I think this recent New York Times article, Thin Places, Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer, comes close. … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (6)  | March 21, 2012
Category: General

Regrets of the dying, lessons for the living

It’s possible that some of you have seen this viral study by Australian palliative nurse Bonnie Ware. In this article, which has since become a book, she records the most common regrets of her patients in their last weeks of life. She witnesses end-of-life epiphanies and received overwhelmingly consistent responses when she asked about regret. Similar themes continued to surface as her patients faced mortality, and it’s evident that the responses were too … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (7)  | March 20, 2012
Category: General

Whose life are you living?

your time is limited don't waste it living someone else's lifeCarpe diem. Seize the day. Make the most of today. Don’t worry about the future.

We’ve all heard it. We’ve all heard the urgings of others pushing us toward our dreams. “Live for today,” they say. “Let tomorrow take care of itself.”

But should we?

Society has raised … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (5)  | March 20, 2012
Category: General

At home we tend to stick to what we know, with little deviation

“If we were to map out our daily movements, we’d find that we tend to stick to what we know with little deviation. We move from our house to our job to the gym to the supermarket, back to the house, and get up the next day to do it all again. Guy Debord, one of the key figures in situationism, proposed taking a holiday from those routines in the form of the derive or … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (4)  | March 19, 2012
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

Pre-trip planning, post #4: technology

This post is the fourth in a series on pre-trip planning (see the Intro, post #1: research, post #2: travel insurance, and post #3: gear).

When I think of how technology has improved the way I travel, two words instantly come to mind: Dropbox and Kindle.

Dropbox, for those of you who are not familiar with the service, is a way to back up files and sync them across all … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (3)  | March 16, 2012
Category: General