How to piss off someone from Vermont

WE HAVE A FUNNY THING in Vermont that I like to call the soft “T.” When we pronounce our home state, the hard “T” is replaced with a delicate yet guttural puff of air from the bottom of the throat, which can only be written out as accurately as: “Vermon(gh).”
It’s not pretty, but it’s pure. It’s spoken the same whether you’re a suburbanite in Chittenden County, or a dairy farmer in the North Country. It’s one of the many things Vermonters share, and we tend to care a lot about the things we share as a community. Treading heavily on those things just might piss us off.
1. Tell us you heard we have more cows than people.
Just don’t. It’s not true. We love our cows, though, and we’re very proud of our farmers, thank you very much.
2. Mistake us for New Hampshire.
See How to piss off someone from New Hampshire. Our legislature debates how to deliver universal healthcare, while theirs argues about whether to finally make driving without a seatbelt illegal. We still love our neighbor, though.
3. Tell us how much you love Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked.
We remember when Ben & Jerry’s was actually a local company, before it was bought by a behemoth that also makes soap and mayonnaise. We remember when the carton looked like this and the only flavors were chocolate, vanilla, and Cherry Garcia.
Okay, fine. That’s silly nostalgia. We still adore Ben & Jerry’s, even if neither Ben nor Jerry are involved anymore. To its credit, the company manages to preserve their core quality, brand, and most importantly, their social mission that’s deeply rooted in progressive Vermonter ideology. And Half Baked is amazing. We just don’t need a bunch of you telling us how good the ice cream is. We’ve known for years. 
Keep reading: How to piss off someone from Vermont
WE HAVE A FUNNY THING in Vermont that I like to call the soft “T.” When we pronounce our home state, the hard “T” is replaced with a delicate yet guttural puff of air from the bottom of the throat, which can only be written out as accurately as: “Vermon(gh).”

It’s not pretty, but it’s pure. It’s spoken the same whether you’re a suburbanite in Chittenden County, or a dairy farmer in the North Country. It’s one of the many things Vermonters share, and we tend to care a lot about the things we share as a community. Treading heavily on those things just might piss us off.

1. Tell us you heard we have more cows than people.

Just don’t. It’s not true. We love our cows, though, and we’re very proud of our farmers, thank you very much.

2. Mistake us for New Hampshire.

See How to piss off someone from New Hampshire. Our legislature debates how to deliver universal healthcare, while theirs argues about whether to finally make driving without a seatbelt illegal. We still love our neighbor, though.

3. Tell us how much you love Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked.

We remember when Ben & Jerry’s was actually a local company, before it was bought by a behemoth that also makes soap and mayonnaise. We remember when the carton looked like this and the only flavors were chocolate, vanilla, and Cherry Garcia.

Okay, fine. That’s silly nostalgia. We still adore Ben & Jerry’s, even if neither Ben nor Jerry are involved anymore. To its credit, the company manages to preserve their core quality, brand, and most importantly, their social mission that’s deeply rooted in progressive Vermonter ideology. And Half Baked is amazing. We just don’t need a bunch of you telling us how good the ice cream is. We’ve known for years.image

Keep reading: How to piss off someone from Vermont

On explaining travel to your parents 
1. Respect who you’re dealing with. They only want the best for you.
I once played an April Fools joke on my mom. I posted a photo of a hideous rose-themed neck tattoo on Facebook with the caption, “First tat! Go big or go home!” next to it.
When my mother saw this, she collapsed on the ground and was UNABLE TO BREATHE. This woman is an emotional grenade. She would physically explode if I were to make a bad decision for myself.
Your mom may or may not be similar. Either way, you totally crashed her “freewheelin’ woman doin’ whatever I want” party back in the ’90s, when you forced your way out of her loins and left her with frizzy hair and varicose veins. So respect that.
I don’t even have to tell you what dads go through. Fathering teenage daughters. Mini emotional grenades. That is not how I want to spend my late 30s / early 40s. I will tell you what.
2. Come clean about your finances.
How many times have you asked your dad what he wants for Father’s Day and he responds with something you absolutely cannot buy at Cabela’s? “I want you to be more responsible!”
When I tell my parents that I’m going on a trip, and they come back with, “It better be a trip to the bank!” I like to recite a number. I usually share with them exactly how much money I have in my savings account, money which I am saving for “things other then travel.”
Even if this number is small, it still says that in some minuscule way, I am saving for my “future.”
3. Take steps to ease their mind.
Take a self-defense class. Contact any trusted acquaintance you have at your destination and let your parents contact them as well. Get an international cell phone plan. Do anything you can to give your parents the confidence that you’re going to be okay.
When I went away for a few months to live on a sailboat with absolutely zero sailing experience, my parents were a tad uncomfortable with the idea. So I asked my captain to get a SPOT device, which is a satellite GPS messenger. And he did, no problem.
Continue

On explaining travel to your parents 

1. Respect who you’re dealing with. They only want the best for you.

I once played an April Fools joke on my mom. I posted a photo of a hideous rose-themed neck tattoo on Facebook with the caption, “First tat! Go big or go home!” next to it.

When my mother saw this, she collapsed on the ground and was UNABLE TO BREATHE. This woman is an emotional grenade. She would physically explode if I were to make a bad decision for myself.

Your mom may or may not be similar. Either way, you totally crashed her “freewheelin’ woman doin’ whatever I want” party back in the ’90s, when you forced your way out of her loins and left her with frizzy hair and varicose veins. So respect that.

I don’t even have to tell you what dads go through. Fathering teenage daughters. Mini emotional grenades. That is not how I want to spend my late 30s / early 40s. I will tell you what.

2. Come clean about your finances.

How many times have you asked your dad what he wants for Father’s Day and he responds with something you absolutely cannot buy at Cabela’s? “I want you to be more responsible!”

When I tell my parents that I’m going on a trip, and they come back with, “It better be a trip to the bank!” I like to recite a number. I usually share with them exactly how much money I have in my savings account, money which I am saving for “things other then travel.”

Even if this number is small, it still says that in some minuscule way, I am saving for my “future.”

3. Take steps to ease their mind.

Take a self-defense class. Contact any trusted acquaintance you have at your destination and let your parents contact them as well. Get an international cell phone plan. Do anything you can to give your parents the confidence that you’re going to be okay.

When I went away for a few months to live on a sailboat with absolutely zero sailing experience, my parents were a tad uncomfortable with the idea. So I asked my captain to get a SPOT device, which is a satellite GPS messenger. And he did, no problem.

Continue

Learning to surf? Go to Portugal

1. The coastline is huge.
Portugal has nearly 1,800 kilometers of coastline, and there are beaches for surfing almost everywhere: from northern spots near Porto, to Ericeira, Nazaré, Peniche, Cascais, Costa da Caparica in the south, and some others in the Algarve. It doesn’t matter where you stay, because even if you have to drive two or three hours west, you’ll find a nice place to begin your surf experience.
2. The local sardines are the perfect food.
You probably hate them because your mother told you they were good for you. But give them another try now that you’re in Portugal. You’re older and wiser.
What you’ve eaten in the past is very different from the grilled sardines, sardinhas asadas, found during the Portuguese summer. They’re delicious; but the real difference is the experience of going into a small local restaurant and inhaling the fishy, fresh Atlantic Ocean aroma.
3. Southwestern Europe has awesome weather.
Europe in the summertime can be a gross, sweaty experience. But not in Portugal, where summer temperatures remain a pleasant 80°F. Autumn and spring bring averages of 60, while winter temperatures hover in the high 50s. Even if locals say, “Hey man, it’s chilly today,” you’ll be smiling and sweating tears of pleasure.
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1. The coastline is huge.

Portugal has nearly 1,800 kilometers of coastline, and there are beaches for surfing almost everywhere: from northern spots near Porto, to Ericeira, Nazaré, Peniche, Cascais, Costa da Caparica in the south, and some others in the Algarve. It doesn’t matter where you stay, because even if you have to drive two or three hours west, you’ll find a nice place to begin your surf experience.

2. The local sardines are the perfect food.

You probably hate them because your mother told you they were good for you. But give them another try now that you’re in Portugal. You’re older and wiser.

What you’ve eaten in the past is very different from the grilled sardines, sardinhas asadas, found during the Portuguese summer. They’re delicious; but the real difference is the experience of going into a small local restaurant and inhaling the fishy, fresh Atlantic Ocean aroma.

3. Southwestern Europe has awesome weather.

Europe in the summertime can be a gross, sweaty experience. But not in Portugal, where summer temperatures remain a pleasant 80°F. Autumn and spring bring averages of 60, while winter temperatures hover in the high 50s. Even if locals say, “Hey man, it’s chilly today,” you’ll be smiling and sweating tears of pleasure.

Read more

The naked bookseller of Quartzsite

I pull off Quartzsite’s main drag into the gritty parking lot of Reader’s Oasis Bookstore. Quartzsite is a tiny Arizona town in tough desert 125 miles from the even tougher city of Phoenix. Reader’s Oasis is a metal shed, a half dozen tables, a tiny desert garden, and a porta-potty in which a teddy bear poster tells us Bear Behinds are welcome…
…as are fronts. The gray-haired man who greets me wears a broad-brimmed leather hat, velour t-shirt, a barely there paisley thong. He waves as I climb out of my truck. It is clear he is not about to give me that cheery Sales Associate “Can I help you?” His smile is real and weathered as his skin.
Read More
I pull off Quartzsite’s main drag into the gritty parking lot of Reader’s Oasis Bookstore. Quartzsite is a tiny Arizona town in tough desert 125 miles from the even tougher city of Phoenix. Reader’s Oasis is a metal shed, a half dozen tables, a tiny desert garden, and a porta-potty in which a teddy bear poster tells us Bear Behinds are welcome…

…as are fronts. The gray-haired man who greets me wears a broad-brimmed leather hat, velour t-shirt, a barely there paisley thong. He waves as I climb out of my truck. It is clear he is not about to give me that cheery Sales Associate “Can I help you?” His smile is real and weathered as his skin.

Read More


6 needs of the Millennial traveler
THE WAY I TRAVELED as an 18-year-old college student is not the same way I travel as a 27-year-old full-time writer. The one aspect my two selves have in common is that we are of the Millennial generation, categorized as people currently between the ages of 16 and 34, or anyone born after 1980.

Our parents were lured in by exotic vacations packaged neatly by travel agents that would accommodate their two-weeks’ paid time off from their jobs. But with an unemployment rate that’s still dogging many of us in the US, Millennials don’t have the income to justify those kinds of experiences. We’ve gotten creative with our lack of funds and non-structured time off. Our needs as travelers have changed as a result.
It may be true that most travelers are looking for some, or all, of the aspects listed below. And not all Millennials fit the mold. But from interacting with new travelers on a daily basis — as well as analyzing my own behaviors abroad — these are the desires I’ve noted when it comes to the next generation of traveler.
1. Constant connection
The #1 request on any Millennial traveler’s wishlist is for the world to offer free wifi, everywhere. We base our choices on how many outlets a hotel has, which airlines have in-flight entertainment, and which attractions are the most Instagram-worthy. We desire to be constantly connected to the outside world, and in real-time. We’ve also managed to maintain long-distance friendships with people we’ve met along the way much more easily than previous generations ever did.
2. Comforts of home
We don’t want to know we’re sleeping in a hotel — we want our accommodations to feel familiar. We like hunkering down at “broken-in” spaces — a la AirBnB and, to a lesser extent, CouchSurfing — where we come “home,” greeted by roommates, or to a quiet space just for us. We don’t want to be bothered by housekeeping knocks at 8am, or inconvenient check-in times. We would rather rent an apartment for a month than stay in a hotel for two weeks. We enjoy feeling like we’re a part of the community, and are more likely to accept a homestay as an option.
3. Authenticity and personal experience
We are driven by the emotional connection of travel. We want to see the Eiffel Tower, but only as a Parisian would see it. We want to eat pasta in Italy, but help make it fresh in the kitchen of a Sicilian grandmother. We choose to sit in trendy cafes for hours, surrounded by locals and unfamiliar languages, rather than pack our trip itineraries with must-see attractions. We are all right with taking a week to drive across the USA, because we know it will result in life-changing personal experiences.
Keep reading

6 needs of the Millennial traveler

THE WAY I TRAVELED as an 18-year-old college student is not the same way I travel as a 27-year-old full-time writer. The one aspect my two selves have in common is that we are of the Millennial generation, categorized as people currently between the ages of 16 and 34, or anyone born after 1980.

Our parents were lured in by exotic vacations packaged neatly by travel agents that would accommodate their two-weeks’ paid time off from their jobs. But with an unemployment rate that’s still dogging many of us in the US, Millennials don’t have the income to justify those kinds of experiences. We’ve gotten creative with our lack of funds and non-structured time off. Our needs as travelers have changed as a result.

It may be true that most travelers are looking for some, or all, of the aspects listed below. And not all Millennials fit the mold. But from interacting with new travelers on a daily basis — as well as analyzing my own behaviors abroad — these are the desires I’ve noted when it comes to the next generation of traveler.

1. Constant connection

The #1 request on any Millennial traveler’s wishlist is for the world to offer free wifi, everywhere. We base our choices on how many outlets a hotel has, which airlines have in-flight entertainment, and which attractions are the most Instagram-worthy. We desire to be constantly connected to the outside world, and in real-time. We’ve also managed to maintain long-distance friendships with people we’ve met along the way much more easily than previous generations ever did.

2. Comforts of home

We don’t want to know we’re sleeping in a hotel — we want our accommodations to feel familiar. We like hunkering down at “broken-in” spaces — a la AirBnB and, to a lesser extent, CouchSurfing — where we come “home,” greeted by roommates, or to a quiet space just for us. We don’t want to be bothered by housekeeping knocks at 8am, or inconvenient check-in times. We would rather rent an apartment for a month than stay in a hotel for two weeks. We enjoy feeling like we’re a part of the community, and are more likely to accept a homestay as an option.

3. Authenticity and personal experience

We are driven by the emotional connection of travel. We want to see the Eiffel Tower, but only as a Parisian would see it. We want to eat pasta in Italy, but help make it fresh in the kitchen of a Sicilian grandmother. We choose to sit in trendy cafes for hours, surrounded by locals and unfamiliar languages, rather than pack our trip itineraries with must-see attractions. We are all right with taking a week to drive across the USA, because we know it will result in life-changing personal experiences.

Keep reading

On moving from Kentucky to Australia
1. Kentuckians are nicer than Australians.
In Kentucky, everybody is always friendly no matter what. It’s almost as if people trip over themselves to say hello, or call you “partner,” or hold the door for you. In Australia, it seem like the reverse is true. You’ll get a lot more icy stares and avoiding eyes. The meaner friends are to you, the more they like you (“taking the piss”).
Kentuckians live by the old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” Aussies are happy to shit all over your weaknesses.
2. A Kentuckian takes 30 words to say something an Aussie can say in one.
Kentuckians spend hours and hours talking. Whether it’s in line at the post office or at the grocery store, it’s a contest for who can tell the longest story. A completely uneventful trip to grandma’s can be retold for three hours.
Aussies are famed for being laconic. Every single word gets shortened. Even though it has the same number of syllables, breakfast has to be “brekkie.”
3. Kentuckians eat like shit.
In Kentucky, people believe that authenticity can be bought and bought for cheap. Want authentic Italian? Head down to the drive-thru, where a “real” Italian meal is $5. And it comes with a five-megalitre plastic cup of Coke. Are you a parent with a picky eater? No problem! You can choose from an array of frozen mini corn dogs and pizza chips. Or what the hell, just feed your precious little darling some popcorn and chocolate cake for dinner.
Plenty of Aussies eat junk food, and McDonald’s (Macca’s) is quite popular, but the average Australian has a better grasp of the five basic food groups. An Aussie understands that a salad tastes better when it doesn’t come in a plastic container. And apples don’t need to be pre-sliced for convenience.
Keep reading

On moving from Kentucky to Australia

1. Kentuckians are nicer than Australians.

In Kentucky, everybody is always friendly no matter what. It’s almost as if people trip over themselves to say hello, or call you “partner,” or hold the door for you. In Australia, it seem like the reverse is true. You’ll get a lot more icy stares and avoiding eyes. The meaner friends are to you, the more they like you (“taking the piss”).

Kentuckians live by the old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” Aussies are happy to shit all over your weaknesses.

2. A Kentuckian takes 30 words to say something an Aussie can say in one.

Kentuckians spend hours and hours talking. Whether it’s in line at the post office or at the grocery store, it’s a contest for who can tell the longest story. A completely uneventful trip to grandma’s can be retold for three hours.

Aussies are famed for being laconic. Every single word gets shortened. Even though it has the same number of syllables, breakfast has to be “brekkie.”

3. Kentuckians eat like shit.

In Kentucky, people believe that authenticity can be bought and bought for cheap. Want authentic Italian? Head down to the drive-thru, where a “real” Italian meal is $5. And it comes with a five-megalitre plastic cup of Coke. Are you a parent with a picky eater? No problem! You can choose from an array of frozen mini corn dogs and pizza chips. Or what the hell, just feed your precious little darling some popcorn and chocolate cake for dinner.

Plenty of Aussies eat junk food, and McDonald’s (Macca’s) is quite popular, but the average Australian has a better grasp of the five basic food groups. An Aussie understands that a salad tastes better when it doesn’t come in a plastic container. And apples don’t need to be pre-sliced for convenience.

Keep reading

The moral cost of travel 

It was in Paradise Lost that John Milton introduced the notion that Adam and Eve ate an apple from the tree of knowledge (thus explaining why your “knowledgeable” elementary school teachers may have had the infamous symbol sitting on their desks). The writers of Genesis left the forbidden fruit unspecified, but scholars have since claimed it could’ve been a grape, possibly a fig, even a pomegranate. Whatever it was exactly, the first Biblical book is clear that its consumption was the ultimate sin — and ever since the Western world has equated knowledge with a loss of innocence. Banned from Eden, the original sinners were also the original knowledge seekers, and the idea that understanding means corruption is widespread, often seen in dubious platitudes like “ignorance is bliss.”
Throughout history, innocence has been lost when new knowledge is gained, and the most common way for that to happen is by leaving home. By temporarily or permanently saying goodbye to what she knows best, the traveler willfully treks out from the light into the dark, plucking an apple from the tree of knowledge on her way.
The realm of the unknown is perhaps humankind’s greatest fear, but as the philosopher Spinoza said, “There can be no hope without fear, and no fear without hope.” To travel is to hope, but it’s also to confront one’s fears. To stay in your tiny corner of the globe is to stay ignorant, and, indeed, it can be blissful. Yet what a warped perspective this blind contentment gives. Prejudices and naïve thoughts bask in restfulness and immobility.
Travel can inadvertently cause people to become scared of the world.
Read more
It was in Paradise Lost that John Milton introduced the notion that Adam and Eve ate an apple from the tree of knowledge (thus explaining why your “knowledgeable” elementary school teachers may have had the infamous symbol sitting on their desks). The writers of Genesis left the forbidden fruit unspecified, but scholars have since claimed it could’ve been a grape, possibly a fig, even a pomegranate. Whatever it was exactly, the first Biblical book is clear that its consumption was the ultimate sin — and ever since the Western world has equated knowledge with a loss of innocence. Banned from Eden, the original sinners were also the original knowledge seekers, and the idea that understanding means corruption is widespread, often seen in dubious platitudes like “ignorance is bliss.”

Throughout history, innocence has been lost when new knowledge is gained, and the most common way for that to happen is by leaving home. By temporarily or permanently saying goodbye to what she knows best, the traveler willfully treks out from the light into the dark, plucking an apple from the tree of knowledge on her way.

The realm of the unknown is perhaps humankind’s greatest fear, but as the philosopher Spinoza said, “There can be no hope without fear, and no fear without hope.” To travel is to hope, but it’s also to confront one’s fears. To stay in your tiny corner of the globe is to stay ignorant, and, indeed, it can be blissful. Yet what a warped perspective this blind contentment gives. Prejudices and naïve thoughts bask in restfulness and immobility.

Travel can inadvertently cause people to become scared of the world.

Read more