books for travel and language lovers

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‘Tis the season…

I wouldn’t call a list of books a holiday gift guide per se, but all of these would make lovely presents for the voyager or language enthusiast in your life (or for you!)…

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It’s five years since I wrote a five-year plan

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Today I am feeling like this meme; just replace 2016 with 2012.

I have another blog, which I’ve kept up for ten years now. At this point it functions more as a private journal than a public site. The other day, I was searching for something there, and I got caught up reading old posts that I had long ago forgotten. I stopped short at one that I wrote just over five years ago. It was my five year plan.  Continue reading

(get over the) hump day inspiration: Cheryl Strayed / Leycha edition

This is the song that floored me at the first Youssou N’Dour concert that I went to in Dakar. The song and the voice are among the most beautiful I’ve ever heard.

Missing Senegal something awful after hearing this again today.
But… in relation to Senegal and many other things, I’m reminding myself of the wise words Cheryl Strayed shared in a recent “Dear Sugars” column in the New York Times:
“We have the strength to let go of even the things we treasure. Other treasures eventually replace them.”
Such a beautiful way to express something that is so hard to do.

(get over the) hump day inspiration: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf edition

Today’s quote comes directly from The New York Times’ International Women’s Day-themed Daily Briefing. And it couldn’t be more appropriate to where I’m at right now.

Also, the briefing noted that Senegal ranks in the top ten countries with the most female representation in Parliament. I had no idea. Go, Senegal!

(get over the) hump day inspiration: Kurt Vonnegut edition

I unexpectedly and very pleasantly had the day off, and with nothing pressing to do, I started the mammoth article I’ve been meaning to read for three months, added words to my neglected French vocabulary list while finally streaming Lemonade, ran a couple of miles at dusk, and generally lazed about doing semi-taxing but rewarding things that are only enjoyable when done at leisure. And I did indeed note that I was happy, and feel grateful for it.

I hope you are having a happy day, too.

(get over the) hump day inspiration: Jack Canfield edition

I harbor a very strong fear of posting cheesy* motivational quotes by multi-millionaire self-help gurus on my blog, but since everything I want is on the other side of that fear, I’m doing it anyway.

*yet powerful, practical, and true

(get over the) hump day inspiration: Rilke edition

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I’m not sure whether anxiety and depression are feelings, or mental states that keep you at a distance from your feelings. Regardless, a big old ball of anxiety tinged with despair has been hanging over me like that little Zoloft cloud lately, and every which way I’ve tried to fight it – or not fight it and simply get through it – has failed miserably…

…including posting this quote. Oh well. Maybe it’ll work for you.

(I don’t know whether this rightly belongs in the “inspiration and encouragement” category, but I don’t have one called “let’s all feel like shit together,” so it’ll have to do.)

 

(get over the) hump day inspiration: Desmond Tutu edition

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Trying times. So many hate-filled people causing so much needless pain. I wish I could go hang out on Desmond Tutu’s couch and listen to him make me feel better about the universe. Last week I said I would pay to be David Sedaris’ friend. Today, I think I would turn over my life’s savings just to sit at a kitchen table with Desmond Tutu and David Sedaris and feel that all is right with the world.

Perhaps I should give up on language learning and join an ashram instead…

(get over the) hump-day inspiration: Paperwhite edition

I am actually over the hump already, since it’s 1:30 on Thursday morning here, but I never changed from EST to Dakar time on my computer so I’m just going to pretend it’s still Wednesday at 9:30. When it was actually Wednesday at 9:30, I was in a great mood despite this looming deadline, but since then a very industrious and vengeful mosquito has picked up tormenting me where it left off last night. This same mosquito bit me repeatedly on four of my toes yesterday, and today it has tattooed that ankle and also gotten both arms so many times that the hydrocortisone cream that usually kills the itch immediately has given up the fight and left me wanting to peel my skin off. I don’t even understand how one mosquito needs that much blood. How has it not exploded by now?

This is all entirely tangential. I had meant to post a song that, while not filled with the most inspirational words, is filled with an inspirational feeling that had described my current mood, until my current mood shifted from a world-is-my-oyster-happiness to a world-is-nothing-but-discomfort-itchiness. Is itchiness a mood? Because it is literally overwhelming all my senses right now.

In the battle of mosquito bloodlust vs. Ruth wanderlust, the mosquito has won out tonight. But there’s always tomorrow, and with that I am off to bed.