“Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik.” –George Bernard Shaw (Irish playwright, 1856-1950)
We’re excited to continue traveling “Through the Realms” with Becky Sparagowski, another world traveler who has lived abroad for the past three years in Poland, Sicily, and is currently residing in Edinburgh. In fact, Becky and I first met each other while studying abroad in Rome in 2012, where we shared our love of food and travel, and enjoyed exploring bellissima Italia together (also with Katie Christensen, who recently told us about Cuba). Little did we know that our love of travel would reunite us over four years later…at the University of Edinburgh, where we unexpectedly ran into each other!
While Becky has spent most of her time traveling in the places she’s lived during the past three years, she’s also visited Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, and earlier this month, went on a weekend excursion to Dubrovnik, Croatia (a city located in the southern part of the country, famously dubbed “the Pearl of the Adriatic” and known for its Old Town, which is encircled with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century).
Becky’s documented a lot of her adventures on her travel blog, Aspar Adventures, where her motto is to “Read, Eat, Travel” – everything we love to do!
We asked her to share a bit of her experience from Croatia with us, and here’s what she had to say: Read more
Online, names are more significant than they are when they’re worn by a person you can see. The internet has created ‘a whole class of name-only interactions,’ [Laura] Wattenberg says [a name researcher and creator of BabyNameWizard.com], emails and Google searches being prime examples. Even on social media, where there are pictures, much of a person’s existence is textual.
It makes sense that in this environment, parents would be motivated to give their kids more unique names. But in order to really precisely identify people on the internet, we’d have to move beyond names as they’re currently conceived, [Judith] Donath says [author of “The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online“]…
Donath says she could see a future world where ‘an email is something that’s yours at birth, and in perpetuity,’ as a way of assigning people a permanent online identity. ‘But we’re not there yet.’
But Wattenberg thinks people focus too much on creating a unique identity through names. ‘A name is a social signifier more than anything, and we might be making a mistake in treating it like a username that has to be unique in a network,’ she says. ‘Day to day, having a name that is perceived as attractive and intelligent and strong is so much more important than having a name that nobody else on the internet has.'”
Keep thinking with our previous Thinker Thoughts on:
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” ―C.S. Lewis
Every night growing up, my brothers and I would curl up next to my mother as she read us a bedtime story with a gentleness and nurturing spirit that only a mother can provide.
She introduced us to the kind and imaginative Boxcar Children, took us through the mischief and mishaps of Curious George, The Berenstain Bears, and Corduroy, kept us questioning with Goosebumps, and entertained us with the rhyming cadences of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See?, Jamberry,and all of Dr. Seuss’ classics (Go, Dog. Go!being a particular favorite), in addition to other beloved stories, such as Make Way for Ducklings, Goodnight Moon, and the many enchanting tales of Walt Disney. Read more
“Winter turns to Spring, famine turns to feast, nature points the way, nothing left to say, Beauty and the Beast.” –Mrs. Potts
Disney could have hardly chosen a better time to make and release a live-action adaption of the beloved Beauty and the Beast 1991 animated classic.*
Winter’s cold, snowy and lethargic presence has been exacerbated by a long, polarizing and turbulent political season, leaving many of us desperately longing for a ray of spring sunshine and a rebirth of our depleted spirit.
While I suspect the film would have been a record-breaker** regardless of its release date, Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast was all the more enjoyable and uplifting for the contrast it provides to the current mood and political climate permeating our country. Read more
“Originality is not a fixed trait. It is a free choice.”
When people think of entrepreneurs, they tend to see them as the ultimate risk-takers: people who unabashedly take a chance on something they believe in. People who enjoy going out on a limb, taking leaps into the unknown and thrive on uncertainty.
But, it isn’t necessarily so. In fact, entrepreneurs are more risk-averse – and much more calculated – than you think. The proof is in Adam Grant’s latest book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.
Utilizing data and studies from across industries, Grant shows how entrepreneurs are fueled less by risk and more by the opportunity to try something new, pursue a passion and see things in a new light. Read more
“Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind – you could call it ‘character in action.’” –Vince Lombardi (football player and coach, 1913-1970)
It has been a little over a week since I ended my 40-day chocolate and “things I like most” fast in observance of the Lenten Season – the first time I have willfully committed to “giving up” something since I entered full fledged adulthood nearly five years ago.
A tradition that I gladly embraced at the start of Ash Wednesday during my childhood years, it became significantly less appealing as the demands of adult life made the idea of giving something up seem nearly unbearable.
In fact, it was only during these last 40 days that I came to a greater realization of just how challenging the practice of self-denial is – and how much truth exists in the age-old saying that life’s most valuable lessons are best learned through times of difficulty, struggle and discomfort. Read more
“Walls for the wind, And a roof for the rain, And drinks beside the fire – Laughter to cheer you And those you love near you, And all that your heart may desire!” – Irish Blessing
In many ways, it was like a scene right out of a movie. We had entered into a small local pub, tired and hungry from a long day of traveling in the cold, rainy winds of an Irish November. We had stumbled blindly through the dark, a five-minute walk from our hotel along a narrow, winding road set amidst rolling hills.
There were just two other people in the pub, visitors, like us, evidenced by the large, worn backpacks towering next to their table. The bartender greeted us warmly and we asked if he had a menu for food.
“We do, but the kitchen is about to close,” he said. “We only have homemade beef stew and seafood chowder.” We ordered one of each, two pints of Guinness and sat down at a tableside fire for what was to be one of the most memorable stops on our two-week long journey. Read more
There are many reasons to applaud football icon Peyton Manning for the speech he delivered earlier this week announcing his retirement from the NFL.
Delivered with grace and humility, it stands in stark contrast to the dastardly dialogue and vindictive language that we continue to hear during what is bound to be one of the most significant presidential elections in American history.
For football fanatics, his speech was a testimony to the greatness of the game and the ability of any player to rise, against any and all odds, on any given Sunday. For Peyton Manning’s fans, it was bound to confirm their fervent admiration and respect for an athlete who has role modeled hard work, dedication and integrity throughout his 18-year career. Read more
Please note: This piece was also published in OnBeing.
Following the sparkling glimmer of a light-infused season, the month of January can sometimes feel as if a heavy, wet blanket of snow is descending upon us. It’s a time when the body can feel overindulged and earthbound, a time when we dispiritedly plod through the weight of winter days.
Sliding from the high notes of the holidays to the low notes of mid-January, nature’s force ushers us unwittingly from the warm cheer of family and friends to a still and penetrating solitude. Even our music changes tune, as the festive good tidings of December songs give way to introspective, tranquilizing melodies that help carry us away from the sluggish, gray days of January. Read more
Long ago and far away, in the ancient city of Copenhagen – the land of fairy tales as imagined by Hans Christian Anderson – lived a man named Niels Brock Perch who opened a tiny little tea shop in the very old part of the city called “Christianshavn”, where ships from exotic places like China, Ceylon, India, Japan and Africa would arrive with goods to be traded and sold.
A man with great vision for opportunities that sailed into port, Mr. Perch couldn’t have known when he opened A.C. Perch’s in 1835 at Kronprinsensgade 5 that it would still be a purveyor of tea – from some of the finest plantations and gardens around the world – 180 years later. Read more