Category: Collections

The Last Notes

When did you first know you were a traveler?

When did you first know you were a traveler?

This article is pulled from a MatadorU forum thread that was just too awesome to keep from the light of day.I WOULD VENTURE that most everyone who’s made travel a part of their lifestyle can tell you where they were when they realized they wanted to see, taste, hear, smell, and experience as much as possible.

To be a citizen of the world

To be a citizen of the world

Wallace Stegner crept up on me, his name slipped into my hands at a dinner party. Perhaps it was a voracious appetite for new literature, or the vaguely familiar sound of his name, or the way my heart skipped a beat when the man next to me mentioned him, his blue eyes keenly fixed on mine with such an acute expression of wisdom and kindness that the moment was burned into my mind.

24 hours in Harare, Zimbabwe

24 hours in Harare, Zimbabwe

MorningIf you’ve just arrived at the airport don’t be alarmed — you haven’t crash-landed on the head table next to a giant’s wedding cake. The architecture is inspired by the Great Zimbabwe ruins in the south of the country, but the tower makes a better pass as a grain silo at a fancy dress party.Unless you’ve arranged a ride into town, get a taxi, which should cost no more than US$20 for the trip through the centre and into the northern suburbs, where I would recommend setting up camp.

How to choose which song you should be listening to as your plane crashes to the ground

How to choose which song you should be listening to as your plane crashes to the ground

The habit started in May of 2009, the summer after my dad had bought me noise-canceling headphones for Christmas, while I was on a plane traveling to Beijing for a shitty summer internship. The plane hit a particularly bad patch of turbulence, and, as a pocket of air suddenly decided to just not be there anymore, the plane dropped what must’ve been about 20 feet before catching itself.

The 8 coolest bars in Montreal

The 8 coolest bars in Montreal

1. Dieu du Ciel!29 avenue Laurier Ouest514.490.5555Offering their own house microbrews and exotic imports on chalkboard wall menus, Dieu du Ciel! has everything from chocolate stouts to peppercorn-infused red ales to “Aphrodisiaque” cocktails (sometimes known as “literally any cocktail”).2. Dominion Square Tavern1243 rue Metcalfe514.

A short history of the best chapalo bar in Niamey, Niger

A short history of the best chapalo bar in Niamey, Niger

“Are you sure my car will fit?” I said to the Burkinabé sitting next to me.“Yes, yes,” he replied, as I turned off the main road onto a dirt track twisting into a neighborhood of flat-roofed mud houses. The labyrinth of alleyways opened onto a small square, where I parked under the shade of a neem tree.

15 of the finest karaoke bars in the US

15 of the finest karaoke bars in the US

From Portland, OR to Portland, ME, we’ve tracked down the best ‘roke in the nation.Santa’s Pub (Nashville) – Hosted by a dude who looks like Papa Noel after an all-nighter with Waylon Jennings, Santa’s Pub is housed in a double-wide that serves $2 beers and is populated with Nashville singers both fledgling and washed-up, all united in their commitment to naughtiness and off-key singing.

5 common mistakes of beginning travel writers

5 common mistakes of beginning travel writers

Take online courses in travel journalism and join a growing community of thousands of travel writers, photographers, and filmmakers at MatadorU.AS THE LEAD faculty member of MatadorU’s travel writing program, I work with students from all sorts of backgrounds to help them achieve their goals as travel writers.

10 things being a bartender teaches you about people

10 things being a bartender teaches you about people

1. We’ll tell strangers anything.You’ll often feel trapped. At work, you live in a 20-foot-long space — there’s nowhere to hide.Unless you’re slammed, you’ll have no choice but to listen to every customer’s backstory, often from birth to present, and offer the appropriate comments in the appropriate places.

EatWith.com: The Airbnb of food

EatWith.com: The Airbnb of food

I WAS RAISED IN A FAMILY where meals were an event and the more people you shared with, the better. You didn’t even have to know those people well. Just pull up a chair and fill your plate; by the time after-dinner drinks are poured, you’ve shared an experience much more than a meal.Guy Michlin, co-founder of EatWith.

On the ritual and romance of mate

On the ritual and romance of mate

El Rosedal is in the centre of Montevideo’s Parque Prado. It consists of a long, iron arbour draped with vines and roses and leads to a marble pergola. Doric columns encircle an old brass fountain.Juan has brought me here. A tall, lanky boy with a shy smile, he’s a salsa dancer I met last night. It had taken an hour of coy eye contact before he ushered me onto the dance floor.

12 foreign McDonald’s menu items that should absolutely be sold in America

12 foreign McDonald’s menu items that should absolutely be sold in America

Everybody knows McDonald’s has some pretty crazy items in other countries (Vegemite McMuffin FTW!), but they’ve also got some pretty tasty items that you’d be crazy not to dive right into — and that they’re crazy for not selling here, because people would undoubtedly go crazy for them. Crazy. Here are the 12 best.

6 things I’ve learned about New Zealand

6 things I’ve learned about New Zealand

I moved to New Zealand after falling in love with a Kiwi I met volunteering in Thailand. To keep our budding romance alive, I nabbed a working holiday visa and went back with him to his hometown of Wellington, where I’ve been living ever since.Like any new resident, I had to be schooled on certain things.

3 lessons in Mexican Spanish

3 lessons in Mexican Spanish

Lesson I: The polite plastic bagOne way to express friendliness or politeness in Mexican Spanish is to add diminutive suffixes to words. For instance, someone giving directions might tell you to pass the parquecito — the “little park” — even if the park isn’t little. At the cafe, someone might ask for a cafecito, or “little coffee,” even if he wants a large.

Should you buy a DSLR for your travel photography? Take this quiz

Should you buy a DSLR for your travel photography? Take this quiz

Take online courses in travel journalism and join a growing community of travel photographers at MatadorU.DIGITAL SLRs are popular items these days, especially among traveler photographers. This article will explore the fundamental differences between a DSLR and a compact digicam, plus the facts on what a DSLR can and can’t do.

Gorkha Palace: A good escape from Nepal’s tourist trail

Gorkha Palace: A good escape from Nepal’s tourist trail

In September, 1768, Prithvi Narayan Shah, the king of Gorkha Kingdom in what is now central Nepal, was perched at the lip of the Kathmandu Valley, preparing himself for its imminent vanquishing. For weeks, the Shah and his 20,000 troops had been slowly choking off the city by blocking vital trading routes in the surrounding hills, and, hanging at the roadside, catching smugglers bringing in supplies.

Does your travel writing suck: Plight writing and travel ‘porn’

Does your travel writing suck: Plight writing and travel ‘porn’

Continuing from where we left off last week, here are several more excerpts of new lessons from the MatadorU travel writing program.LAST WEEK we examined rhetoric in travel writing, the way it’s often used unwittingly, and how this can result in an unintended “packaging” of cultures, people, and place.

10 essential tips for visiting indigenous peoples

10 essential tips for visiting indigenous peoples

PEOPLE DEFINED as “indigenous” are those with the earliest historical connection to the places they inhabit. More often than not, they are isolated from modern civilization, which has both positive and negative implications. Access to modern health care and education is limited, but their culture and way of life is most often pristinely intact.

What it’s like to eat at McDonald’s in Denmark

What it’s like to eat at McDonald’s in Denmark

Gudmund Gudmundsen returns to the table with a plastic tray loaded with El Maco salsa burgers, laksewraps (fried salmon rolled in something like a taco), chili-cheese tops, what looks like deep-fried cream cheese stars, a side of carrots, and two beers.I’m dressed in shorts and a windbreaker, hustling through the street entrance, quickly scanning the room to join Gudmundsen.

On watching movies in multilingual Europe (as a monolingual American cinephile)

On watching movies in multilingual Europe (as a monolingual American cinephile)

I sputtered back to the salesperson the price she had quoted me for my ticket. “TWENTY-four Swiss franc?” I asked if anything came with the ticket. “Of course!” she said, as if I were a combination extraterrestrial and Village Idiot. “We give you a take-home visor for the different, how do you say, the images in three dimensions?