Mongolia And The Gobi: It’s Absolutely Magical, It Stole My Heart

Mongolia And The Gobi: It’s Absolutely Magical, It Stole My Heart

 

My fellow travelers from my recent Nat Geo Around The World trip set up a Dropbox account for all of us to submit photos from our trip.  I went through them this past week and noticed that Mongolia/Gobi had the most submissions, followed by St. Petersburg.

  • I am still madly infatuated by all the things I experienced in the Gobi Desert and cannot get it out of my mind. The vastness of the landscape and the horses really blew me away. These kids can obviously ride before they can walk!
  • A lot of people have asked me about this trip vs. my previous one (Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat, Tibet, Serengeti, Marrakech). That trip was amazing and hit all my bucket list destinations. On reflection, many of us, including myself, were rookie travelers on our first major Nat Geo trip.
  • This Northern Route trip, on the other hand, was so much more impactful. The destinations were more remote and obscure. For whatever reason, these locations felt more significant to me (perhaps less touristy?). Additionally, my fellow travelers on this trip were more rugged and adventurous. Also, more well-traveled – several were on their 4th or 5th Nat Geo Private Jet trip.
  • My mind is still working through the experience. Major trip!!
  • See more Mongolia photos below. Unfortunately, there is no way to credit who shot them but if anyone does know and would like me to add a photo credit, please let me know.

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Trump Bumps? An Election Night That Will Go Down In History?

Trump Bumps? An Election Night That Will Go Down In History?

 

All over Manhattan – even at my co-working space – all I see are pregnant women. And I know this is not supposed to be happening:

  • New York’s birth rate is supposedly declining according to 2016 census
  • HOWEVER – based on all the baby bumps I am seeing, lots of babies were created last November
  • Could this have something to do with Donald Trump’s election?
  • And if so, how did couples decide this was the “right time” to get pregnant?
  • Were couples drowning their election sorrows and creating accidental pregnancies?
  • Or are these “disaster” babies like we saw after Hurricane Sandy?

In researching the topic, I found the documented events that caused spectacular baby booms in the past including Wars (WWII), sporting events and natural disasters. Read on below.

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Knitting: Great for Stress Relief, But So Much More

Knitting: Great for Stress Relief, But So Much More

 

Everywhere I look, there they are: Knitters (men and women!).

  • On the subway – YES!
  • At art events – YES. Yarnbombers covering trees, motorcycles, trashcans.
  • On TV – YES. Norway’s Slow TV has a National Knitting Evening with 4 hours of knitting for binge watching. Another reason to love Norway! Available on Netflix.
  • On Youtube – YES. Almost 3MM videos on knitting.
  • Memes – YES. Knit Club is my favorite.
  • Even Vogue is on board: German Vogue editor, Christiane Arp is often seen with her knitting needles.
  • Wool and the Gang, a super cool knitting company, has created a kit that builds 20 minutes of meditation into your daily schedule via knitting a scarf.  Their “Me Time” Scarf comes with striped yarn in two different shades. Every day, you’re supposed to knit rows of a single color then stop when the color of yarn changes. Each stripe of color on the scarf should take about 20 minutes to knit, which is just enough time to relax and meditate about your day.

Read on below for more on knitting including a great video on why people knit, and some first hand examples from Franklin Habit, the renowned writer, illustrator, and knitter, on the connection between knitting and yoga.

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Why Blog And Why Keep At It? Because It Makes You Smarter

Why Blog And Why Keep At It? Because It Makes You Smarter

 

Just read an excellent piece by Mark Schaefer on why you must keep blogging even when it seems nobody gives a damn.

And I know there is a difference between bloggers who are doing it to generate income vs. ones, like me, who are doing it to keep their personal brand relevant.

Here are the top reasons to keep blogging :

Learning and growing.

  • Having a blog forces you to always be on the lookout for what’s new and what’s changing.
  • I am much more on my game on the three topic areas that I cover because I am consistently researching what’s new in those areas: business/work, restaurants/food and art/culture.

You’ll become a better writer.

  • I cringe when I read some of my early blog posts. Yikes! So bad – but I at least I got the junk out of my system.
  • One of the most important things I’ve learned is how different writing for a blog is versus writing for a magazine or newspaper.
  • With blogs, you only have a nano-second to capture your reader’s attention. You get two chances to hook them: headline, first sentence. If that doesn’t grab them, they’re gone.

It’s a great way to dial up your skill set.

  • If you’re over 40, and whether you think you will be looking for a new job or not, you might want to consider creating a blog about whatever passion project you’ve got – dogs, street art, eating vegan – whatever turns you on, get a blog going on the topic. It will make you much more interesting to potential employers.
  • I’m always shocked at how out of date people’s skill sets are when it comes to tech and social media.  Doubly shocking when you realize those people are in the throes of career change.
  • The person reviewing your resume is probably under-30. The first thing they will do is google you.  Finding a small digital footprint is not a good thing.
  • Blogging is helpful not only for developing subject matter expertise but also for keeping your tech skills sharp – wordpress, mailchimp, minimal coding, Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat – in today’s world, you must have it all covered.

Feedback from readers

  • There is something incredibly satisfying about getting feedback from readers (whether it’s one email or hundreds).
  • Hearing from people who you’ve touched, or helped in some way,through your writing, is extremely gratifying.
  • For me, those emails come most consistently when I reveal my vulnerabilities and write about something very personal that resonates with many. Providing insights and tips on how to deal with particularly challenging situations is valuable.
  • Bottom line: the feedback is what keeps me going!!
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Virtual Romance Among The Herbivores Of Japan

Virtual Romance Among The Herbivores Of Japan

 

One of the most fascinating conversations I had while in Kyoto was with our guide about the changing dating, marriage and sex habits of young Japanese men (and women).

  • According to the guide, a new breed of man called an “herbivore” has emerged. He has no interest in having a real girlfriend or real sex. The term was first coined by writer Maki Fukasawa in 2006.
  • Herbivore men stand in marked contrast to the “carnivore” or “beastly” man who our guide suggested was like a typical macho “bro” or frat boy i.e. overly loud and always talking about himself.
  • Herbivores are frequently “otaku” i.e. deeply immersed in their own fantasy worlds of manga, anime and computers and that includes having relationships with virtual girlfriends e.g. through smartphone apps as well as with Sex/Love Dolls.
  • They have little interest in dating 3D women (i.e. real women) who they see as being too difficult and demanding.
  • Some herbivore men are, however, married but keep their virtual girlfriends hidden from their wives. Some say they would hate to have to choose between the two.

But it’s not just young Japanese men who are into virtual girlfriends, older married men are buying sex dolls and falling in love with them – over their wives’ and kids’ objections.

 

  • The dolls have become more popular as they’ve upgraded to more realistic silicone material.
  • They start at $6,000 and are customizable with different heads and body parts.
  • Some men have multiple dolls who they take out for picnics and other social activities – generally in wheelchairs!
  • The future of sex dolls is bright as researchers develop next-generation sexbots who are able to talk, laugh and even simulate an orgasm.

Read on below for more information including govt. data and a link to a US-based site for luxury silicone sex dolls.

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Des Moines, Iowa: Super Cool and Ranked #3 For Millennial Homebuyers

Des Moines, Iowa: Super Cool and Ranked #3 For Millennial Homebuyers

 

Heading to Des Moines in August for the Iowa State Fair (and if you’ve been reading this blog, you know State Fairs are my thing).

  • Top of my to-do list: check out what’s trending in Fair foods, livestock showings and the Thrill Zone!
  • 90’s Music Night (Millennials’ favorite pop culture decade).

But, I have an additional reason (beyond the State Fair) to check out Des Moines.

  • It came in #3 on the list of cities nationwide where millennials are buying homes.
  • 44% of millennials in Des Moines are currently home owners vs. just 20% in the NY Metro area and 18% in LA.

I’m always on the lookout for cities undergoing a renaissance and attracting millennials e.g. Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia.  Excited to add Des Moines to my roster.

Based on this excellent report from credit.com on home ownership among millennials, I’m also recommending the cities on this list for patterning and millennial trend scouting trips.

Read on below for all I am looking forward to exploring while in Des Moines.

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Climbing: No Longer A Niche But Will It Last?

Climbing: No Longer A Niche But Will It Last?

 

I’ve been following Emily Harrington, professional rock climber, on Instagram for about a year. Totally in awe of her physicality and bravery.

  • Emily has free climbed Yosemite’s El Capitan, summited Everest, and has been on big wall free climb expeditions all over the world. She is based in Squaw Valley, CA.
  • She’s Adrian Ballinger’s girlfriend, which is how she initially got on my radar.
  • Adrian was the first person I followed on snapchat (#EverestNoFilter) as he attempted to summit Mt. Everest in 2016 (and again in 2017).
  • This feat was covered not only on snapchat but also on ESPN, CNBC, youtube, instagram, facebook and network TV. So climbing has been getting lots of coverage.
  • Which perhaps explains why there are so many bouldering and climbing gyms opening up around the country.
  • Per NPD, climbing is one of the fastest-growing retail segments for any outdoor sport.

Here are some recent highlights on the growth of the category:

  • 414 commercial climbing gyms across the country at the end of 2016, up from 388 in 2015. (Source: Climbing Business Journal)
  • Earth Treks Climbing is opening the country’s largest indoor rock gym in Englewood, Colorado. They already have climbing centers in Virginia, Maryland and Golden.
  • Momentum Indoor Climbing is in the midst of opening two climbing facilities in  Houston in partnership with REI. Branded REI Co-op Climb, they will include full-service REI climbing pro-shops.
  • Brooklyn Boulders, with gyms in Brooklyn, Chicago and Somerville, Mass., has an average of 1000 visitors a day at each of their locations.
  • Most climbing gyms offer non-climbing options including fitness classes, exercise machines, yoga, pilates, saunas and cafes and bars.
  • Climbing is debuting in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Pics below.

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Amazing Critter Sightings From Around The World

Amazing Critter Sightings From Around The World

Baby goat that lost its mom being cared for by Three Camel Lodge

 

Here’s a nice Sunday roundup of wildlife sightings from Mongolia to Greenland, Norway and Japan. And because it was birthing season, we also saw tons of the cutest baby animals!!

Some, unfortunately, we could only spy through binoculars (e.g. musk oxen) and some we saw up close but still couldn’t get great pics of e.g. a reindeer with majestic antlers in Greenland.

And then there are the 130 cats that live in the basement of the Hermitage Museum, working hard to keep the mice population in control. Nary a sighting of those kittens except as calendar pinups.

But we did see – and got great pics and video of – wild horses, camels, goats, harbor seals, penguins, deer, and hundreds of sled dogs.

Pics below.

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