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After the most epic imaginable month of tent camping and mountain biking in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, I realized that it was my destiny to be a full-time RVer – how else will I visit all the best mountain biking and surf towns in the USA, but still have a place to work when it's raining?
The epiphany came to me while I was climbing the Benson Grade fire road to Eh Line — but as I started thinking through the logistics of my new life plan, I realized I had no idea how to tow.
I totally accidentally got into mushroom foraging this summer, after I happened upon some totally gorgeous yellow mushrooms growing in the middle of a bike trail in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and decided to find out what they were.
Chris Farley's famous "van down by the river" sketch was a hilarious staple of my childhood -- but now, as an adult, I completely, 100% understand Matt Foley's rage.
And I don't even live in a van down by the river. I've just been told I should.
Liberals Shouldn't Let Conservatives Own Patriotism (And The Confederate Flag Has NO Business Flying Beside Our Flag)
I've spent 11 of the last 36 months traveling. From Austria to Cambodia to Honduras, I've blogged about how travel can teach you how to be happy; how travel is like being in kindergarten, college, and adulthood, all at once; and how there's no limit to how much you can learn (and teach) while abroad. I've seen wild orangutans, herds of elephants, five different hornbill species, 900-year-old temples, blue flame volcanoes (seriously!), and so much more.
Despite all this, when people ask me to pick my favorite country, the answer is easy:
America is the best country.
When people ask me what my blog is about, I want to tell them, "Playfulness." Playfulness is why I started this blog. It's on my About page; it's discussed on some of my most popular posts...
Yet one recurring theme has been assertiveness. Assertiveness seems at odds with playfulness... but, in fact, I've found assertiveness to be a crucial skill that enables my playfulness.
And it's probably one of the most important possible social skills you can learn and use during the current lockdown/quarantine/social distancing protocols.
You'd think, from the hysterical way white dudes drinking cheap beer at hostel bars tell white women they need to "cover up" while traveling, that I'd've offended someone by now.
(I mean, other than said white dudes. They, like certain parts of certain cultures, do not deserve my respect.)
But no! No bikini, shorts, or tank top I've worn has ever offended a local -- in fact, most seem absolutely delighted for the chance to chat, question, or take a photo with me. Especially the women.
But... there is one thing I wore once that was super offensive, and just thinking about it makes me cringe.
There aren't a lot of countries where I can casually enter my PIN in at ATM and walk away a millionaire... But Indonesia is one of them.
There are a lot of 0's on the IDR, or Indonesian rupiah.
Angkor Wat. Image: @TheHappyTalent on Instagram.
On June 4, 2019, I was in Hong Kong, honoring the victims of Tiananmen Square alongside tens of thousands of Hongkongers whose freedom is in peril, and mainland Chinese citizens who aren't allowed to discuss June 4 in their hometowns.
Then I hopped on a plane, traveled back in time to San Francisco, and lived June 4 all over again, this time commemorating the travesty by singing "Ohio" by Crosby Stills and Nash. Angrily repeating the refrain, "Four dead in Ohio! Four dead in Ohio! Four dead in Ohio!" I kept thinking about two things:
As I've mentioned in several recent posts, I've been traveling around Southeast Asia the last few months -- and one of my favorite things about travel is exploring cultural differences.
One that keeps popping up this year... is sex. Specifically, sex taboos.
"Excuse me, do you have a lighter?" I'm asked for the third time today.
"Of course not! I'm American -- we don't smoke!" I reply, hoping that whoever ends up lending this European backpacker a lighter is standing far, far away from me.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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