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The Last Notes

DSLR camera owners: 3 lenses you need to pack while traveling

DSLR camera owners: 3 lenses you need to pack while traveling

Visit MatadorU to learn more about Matador’s online travel journalism courses.SURE, A SOLID point-and-shoot camera such as the Panasonic Lumix can more than cover your photography needs. However, if you’ve purchased a digital single-lens reflex camera (digital SLR or DSLR), be sure to pick up at least two of the three lenses listed below to get more mileage from your gear.

There is nothing to search for because nothing is missing

There is nothing to search for because nothing is missing

Catherine Ingram, wearing a brown jersey and a red watch, ended her opening meditation with a soft, deep, deluxe smile that in a way seemed wasted on her few students in their hard-backed chairs. It was the kind of smile I used to go to India in search of. Not something you expect to find in an upper room between Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

In Tijuana with your gente

In Tijuana with your gente

You should just park at the border and walk to the big revolving metal door that welcomes you to Mexico. There’s never a wait to get into Tijuana, just bored Mexican border officials occasionally asking people to press a button. If it’s green you can pass, if it’s red they search your stuff. Though it seems like you can avoid pressing anything if you just walk straight through the exit and down the steps.

A literary pilgrimage: In search of Janet Frame’s New Zealand, part 4

A literary pilgrimage: In search of Janet Frame’s New Zealand, part 4

The fourth installment in a week-long series here at Matador. Read part 3.NEW ZEALAND had been in a two-month-long drought that had frizzled its characteristically green hills to a crackling brown. However, when I drove from Dunedin to the fishing village of Oamaru, the skies unleashed a furious rainstorm, as if to make up for those past two months.

3 things you should do on Facebook before any trip

3 things you should do on Facebook before any trip

1. Post your specific travel plans with a ‘call to arms.’You’re probably already going to post a status update or tweet about your trip, but be tactical about it. Instead of a simple, “Headed to X today — so excited!” make sure to include reasonably specific details, along with a question. The prior example could become, “I’ll be in X for the next 4 days — who knows something I should see that’s not in the guidebooks?

Used panties, gold bars, and caviar: 10 weirdest vending machines ever [vids]

Used panties, gold bars, and caviar: 10 weirdest vending machines ever [vids]

Matador has previously covered 20 odd vending machines from around the world, but the technology has come a long way since then.10. “Live” bait vending machine – Ohio, USA 9. Firewood vending machine – Denmark 8. Egg, meat, honey, and fresh milk vending machine – Germany 7. Inflating balloon vending machine – USA 6.

Notes on running my first marathon in Japan

Notes on running my first marathon in Japan

Between March 2012 and March 2013, almost everything about my daily life changed: my work, the continent I live on, the amount of time I get to spend with my husband, the language I speak to the people around me, the side of the road I drive on.Since moving to Japan last year, I have changed, too. I’ve pushed all kinds of personal boundaries.

4 things most native English speakers don’t know about English

4 things most native English speakers don’t know about English

I went to Paris to take a 4-week intensive TEFL course, not without hubris. Of course I could get a certification to teach English as a second language. I know what a gerund is. Misplaced modifiers make me giggle. The English language is one thing — the only thing — I am good at (though I was just about to end that sentence with a preposition).

Self-aware vs self-absorbed narration in travel writing

Self-aware vs self-absorbed narration in travel writing

In our continued discussion of travel writing, we look at pathos and different forms of narration. Join a growing community of thousands of travel journalists and develop your skills in travel writing, photography, and film with a course at MatadorU.LAST WEEK WE EXAMINED how failing to recognize rhetoric can undermine a writer’s intentions, often transforming writing into “plight writing” or travel “porn.

Czech Republic vs. Chechnya: 7 other places for Americans to confuse

Czech Republic vs. Chechnya: 7 other places for Americans to confuse

THE TERRIBLE ATTACKS that occurred in Boston last week had a minor geographic sidenote — a startling number of Americans took to social media proclaiming that the bombing suspects were from the Czech Republic, confusing the country with the Russian region of Chechnya. The mistake was so widespread that the Czech ambassador issued a statement declaring that his country was not, in fact, Chechnya.

That weird travel moment, now there’s a word for it

That weird travel moment, now there’s a word for it

20 brand-new names for 20 classic travel scenarios.1. Obliment – To forget something and instantly regret it, especially an item. “It was only after I checked out of my hotel and boarded my airplane that I oblimented leaving my phone charger in the electrical socket next to my bed.” (v; origin: Latin, Spanish)2.

On leaving Berkeley

On leaving Berkeley

When I find out I’m moving, I walk home slowly. The temperate climate of Berkeley, its warm April sunshine stretching over green hills, crowds the sidewalks with flowers — an explosion of California poppies, mountain lilac, hummingbird sage, fawn lilies, and pink-flowering currant erupting from winter into hard, bright colors.

On feeling like a crackhead in Varanasi

On feeling like a crackhead in Varanasi

We stood on the corner of a multi-species crossroads. Holy cows, hybrid street dogs, autos. Frankenstein-inspired cycle-rickshaws creaked along, much to the anguish of their equally seasoned riders.My girlfriend gave me a shady handshake that concealed a crumpled wad of rupees. I squinted into the unlit corridor next to the wine shop, which should strictly be called an alleyway with a ceiling.

A guidebook author’s top 10 for Belize

A guidebook author’s top 10 for Belize

1. Best beachesTough question; Belize has some lovely beaches and offshore islands. My top two favorites are South Water Caye (on the Pelican Beach Resort side), and Hopkins Village’s beach.2. Best food and drinkBest drink is a cold Belikin beer.Best food: Another tough one. Fry jacks for breakfast, conch ceviche, and stew chicken with rice and beans.

8 ways of seeing people that can sabotage your writing

8 ways of seeing people that can sabotage your writing

The tips in this article complement the curriculum of the Travel Writing program at MatadorU.IT’S NO original insight that writing can be a problematic gig vis-à-vis your mental health.This seemed evident again on the way to the bank last week when I saw a Mapuche man with the perfect look of a TV or movie ‘Indian chief’ only he was dressed more or less like me (jeans, collared shirt) and stood on the sidewalk unwrapping a stick of gum.

On navigating a more foreign language

On navigating a more foreign language

I study Japanese every day. For at least 30 minutes. I’m not great at it yet, but I don’t suck. I can make hair appointments and ask for parking validation. I can say, “It is sunny now, but later it will rain,” and I can ask the grocer, “Can I please have paper bags?”But when my parents visited me this spring, and we rode in a taxi from Tokyo Station to their hotel near the Palace, I couldn’t translate for my dad when he said, “This is the first cab I have ever been in where I can’t speak to the driver.

Gone missing: Lost in a Mexican disco

Gone missing: Lost in a Mexican disco

As soon as we walked into the disco, Mina met a Mexican boy-man named Angel. I got stuck hanging out with one of our language school classmates, Jimmy.I was spending the summer studying Spanish in Cuernavaca and had taken a weekend jaunt to Acapulco with my new friends, staying at a cheap hotel with a rattling window air conditioner unit and a balcony with a view of a wall.

8 of the world’s most moving spoken word pieces

8 of the world’s most moving spoken word pieces

The intensity of its physical expression. Snatching words from memory the split second before they swing and hang in the room in front of you. The release of something so deeply personal with the raw tools of one’s being.My first spoken word performance itched with pre-show anxiety and all its peculiar manifestations.

24 hours in Kathmandu, Nepal

24 hours in Kathmandu, Nepal

MorningYou’ve just woken up in the Alobar1000 hostel in Thamel, and the early morning honking is picking up like the crescendo to a shit trance tune from the ’90s. You’ll hear throats being cleared like clogged gutters in the distance and a dry heave or two for good measure. Jump right into the hippied-out arteries of Thamel, fitted with opium dealers floating around like white blood cells, and tie-dye and incense lining the outer layers of shopfronts.

5 travel lessons I learned from my dad

5 travel lessons I learned from my dad

My father and I couldn’t be more different. He’s conservative and traditional, while I’m a creative “free spirit.” He introduces himself to everyone, and I’m more reserved. I yearn for faraway places, and he’s a homebody.We share a certain stubbornness, which is what kept me from listening to his advice for so many years.