“If it terrifies you so much, why do you do it?” my mother asked. I was about to leave for Port-au-Prince to sail on a relief yacht through Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands. I was popping anti-anxiety meds, losing sleep, my fingers itching to call it all off. To retreat into safety. I had never …

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Ghost towns are the one roadside curiosity I can never pass up—they offer the perfect combination of wilderness escape, temporary time travel, and strange, slightly unsavory Americana. Like a lot of bookish kids, I spent most of my childhood reading about fantastic worlds just on the other side of the looking glass or the wardrobe …

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Inside the silver billycan — a cooking pot that is deeper than it is wide and cheaper than it is sturdy — a small mountain of lentils is bubbling and spluttering, gently tapping at the underside of a closed lid. They are plump and steamy and make a squelching sound as though they are wading through …

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The Koloa Fish Market is a mainstay in the town of Koloa, Kauai. It is a small, simple storefront, located at the end of a strip of shops along the road that runs through town. Inside, plate lunches are offered, and I am told they are rather good, but I am here for the ahi …

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The other day, I found myself fighting to get to the end of the work day. 5:00 rolled around and all I wanted was to melt into a puddle on the couch. I thought about holing up in my house after work and calling up old friends to vent about my day (it’s easier to …

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It was my brother Ethan’s idea. He was getting married in Jinan, China, and Taishan, or Mt. Tai in English, was a quick bullet train ride away. “We’ll climb it a few days before the wedding,” he said. “We’ll be too hung-over after.” He meant he’d be too hung-over after, referring to the Chinese tradition …

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To enter the red door in the alleyway you first have to press the “2” and “5” on the keypad and hold for three seconds. You climb five levels of concrete steps in a darkened stairwell to a blue metal door with a Russian-era keyhole and no handle. Behind this door is a one bedroom …

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This past Monday was the pinnacle of marathon running — the 120th Boston Marathon. Over 26,000 runners from all around the world converged on the great city of Boston to run this historic race, and I was lucky enough to be one of them. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon was my dream since 8th grade when …

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“Can we spin around the neighborhood for a few minutes so I can get the hang of this thing?” I asked my boyfriend, Tyson, as we headed out on what would be our first long motorcycle trip and my first time riding my motorcycle on busy interstates. I had ridden dirt bikes before, but I …

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I was on my way home from work at 5 p.m. on a Wednesday in January. I could only see the few feet of cracked pavement illuminated by my bike light and all I heard were coyotes yipping somewhere in the prairie. As I pedaled my fixed-gear, hodgepodge bike up a hill with 25-mile-per-hour winds …

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I am sitting in gravel by the largest pool of Steamboat. The glassy surface of the river moves slowly and it is the end of summer so traffic on the road above is infrequent and the whoosh of an occasional car is indistinguishable in the combing breeze. I am looking at the white scar on …

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