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Stories

In Cusco/ Stories

Is This Home?

“Have you ever been somewhere and just been struck by this feeling that this is home?” That was the question posed to the audience at a talk I went to last week. The speaker was trying to describe what it was like to finally find her calling. The first thing that came to my mind? Cusco, Peru. May 2014. Sitting by the big window in my small bedroom in a hostel in the neighborhood of Lucrepata and talking on the phone via a spotty Wi-Fi…

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In Inspirational Travelers/ Stories

“Sometimes You Just Have to Ask” | A Story About French Traveler Guillaume

It begins where most great friendships do: online."Can you give me some tips on visiting Silicon Valley?" he asks me on Twitter.I have no idea who he is, what he looks like, or even what his real name is. His Twitter name is "Geek World Tour," and his profile photo shows a cartoon bunny with a Mario Brothers-style mustache.I ask a few more questions and find out his name is Guillaume, and he's a French traveler who quit his job…

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In Stories

Thank You for Your Service

No one ever tells you what kind of bra you’re supposed to wear to the ER. “Is there any metal in it?” the nurse asks me as she pulls back the curtain surrounding my hospital bed. “Um, there’s underwire,” I reply, kicking myself for not putting on a sports bra in my feverish delirium this morning. She throws me a hospital gown and says, “You can keep your pants on.” When she shuts the curtains and walks away, I begin…

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In Italy/ Stories

Piove (It Is Raining)

Agustina looks to the sky and hopes for rain. Dark, billowing clouds loom above the church bell tower in the distance. “If it rains, I can finally take a nap!” she laughs. We are on our hands and knees by a stairwell in the shadows of some forgotten part of the cloister, attempting to free the ground from the overgrowth of dirt, moss, and mildew that has engulfed it. The scraping of our metal palatine against the bricks, the occasional rumbling…

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In Stories

You’ll Never Feel Like You’ve Reached the Summit—And That’s Okay

Sometime around April 2015, broke and living with my parents, I told myself, “If I could just make $4,000 a month, THEN I’ll stop worrying.” I gave myself a deadline of a few months to grow my freelance business, or it was back to the office for me. But two months later, I was not making $4K a month—I was making more than $6.5K. So I moved to my dream city of San Francisco. And then everything was perfect. Just…

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In Paris, France/ Stories

The Girl With the Red Balloon

As a general rule, when in Paris, one must always wear black, gray, or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, navy blue. I don’t know what is different about this day, but I decide to break that rule and wear red. It is November 26, 2015. Thanksgiving Day in the United States, but just a regular Thursday here in France. Decked out in a bright red trench coat, I spend the entire day feeling self-conscious, trying to slip by unnoticed in…

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In Cusco/ Stories

Faces of Peru | Daniel the Tour Guide

“How’s your heart?” Daniel whispers to me as we pick our way through cobblestone streets in Ollantaytambo, Peru, in the drizzling rain. We’ve just finished a harrowing 1.5-hour car ride through winding mountain roads that drastically change altitudes, so at first I wonder if he’s inquiring about my cardiovascular health. But I know what he means. “Mejor,” I tell him. Better. Daniel has a keen intuition I have never seen in anyone else, a sixth sense that feels what other people are…

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