1. Ever heard of the Lofoten Islands? Me neither. But I’d guess you’ve seen commercials or pictures of this place. Lofoten is in Norway and inside the Arctic Circle, and they are a small archipelago surrounded by these huge mountains. I think there’s a Volkswagon commercial or something that shows how you can get around on these islands.
2. I always hear that clock of mine ticking away when I write these things, but this is definitely one of those dreams of mine, to hike the Sentiero Italia (Trail Italy), 7,000 kilometers across the entire country of Italy and it looks absolutely amazing. I also love the mountains of Italy, especially in the northern region. I realize I can’t hike for 3 months to accomplish this, but I could take a week at one point.
3. It’s time we think about death, especially if you haven’t already. I’ve mentioned this a lot, but being an estate planning attorney, I’ve thought quite a bit about death, it actually is a huge part of my life because I deal with people dying all of the time. Outside Online’s Michael Easter writes about his trip to Bhutan:
“You Americans are usually ignorant,” he said, using a word often seen as an insult in the United States, but that by definition means “lacking awareness.” In Bhutan and other Buddhist countries, “ignorance” is the rough English translation of “Avidyā.” That’s a Sanskrit word that means having a misunderstanding of the true nature of your reality and the truth of your impermanence. “Most Americans are unaware of how good you have it, and so many of you are miserable and chasing the wrong things.
“You act like life is fulfilling a checklist. ‘I need to get a good wife or husband, then I get a good car, then I get a good house, then I get a promotion, then I get a better car and a better house and I make a name for myself and then …’” he rattled off more accomplishments that fulfill the American Dream. “But this plan will never materialize perfectly. And even if it does, then what? You don’t settle, you add more items to the checklist. It is the nature of desire to get one thing and immediately want the next thing, and this cycle of accomplishment and acquisitions won’t necessarily make you happy—if you have ten pairs of shoes you want 11 pairs.”
The problem with this checklist of things (which I’m completely guilty of as well) is that we’re always filling our lives with things, things to do or things in general and that’s maybe not contemplative for a fulfilled life. I know for me, the further I get away from that idea, the better my life seems to be, or the more appreciative my life seems. And Easter further explores this idea that death is a cliff that we’re all headed towards, no matter who you are, and facing that reality is a good thing.
4. I totally had crushes on the girls from “A Different World” and I am almost positive that I may have been one of the few people that I grew up with that had that thought and I am sure I never expressed that to anyone. That was appointment television for me and via Vanity Fair, an oral history of that show brings back a handful of memories. The other thing that this introduced to me was the idea of a historically black college, something I had no idea about and am not even sure that this was something that was intended, but it certainly registered in my brain. I also wanted Dwayne Wayne’s glasses.
5. Via Eater’s Kieran Dahl, she visits Monowi, Nebraska, a one-person and one-restaurant town (yes, 87-year old Elsie Eiler lives there and has a restaurant). I remember growing up and in my town I felt like there was only one restaurant option, Moon’s Cafe, where it was basically a cafeteria style restaurant. Moon’s is still there in my town and there are now more restaurants. I also tend to think that my parents never ate out and when we did, it was 7 of us so a place like Moon’s where there was hardly ever anyone there, made it easy. My town also always had a Dairy Queen, so that sort of counts too, but for whatever reason we never ate there.