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This week’s post comes from the brilliant and lovely Angela, who I consistently describe as “one of the best people I’ll ever work with. Ever.” (She was also inspiration for my be-nice-to-everyone day in Chicago last year.) Recently, Angela became a mom to an adorable little girl (like, really recently. As in, LAST WEEK recently). Fortunately, a few weeks ago, as she sat around her house impatiently awaiting the arrival of her munchkin, she decided to kill some time by writing me a guest post! Keep in mind, this is a couple weeks old, so the baby of which she speaks has now arrived, and is an absolute cutie. But anyway, on to Angela’s post …

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By Angela Taylor Hylland
(a.k.a. Syntax Sorceress)

As I started writing this post, I couldn’t help by wonder if Geraldine would find it amusing or offensive, given that I wasn’t able to make it to her destination wedding in nearby Eastern Oregon two years ago. But since she likes to walk that line herself—one of her most endearing qualities, to be sure—I finally decided she would approve. The idea came to me yesterday as I was lounging around the house waiting for the impending birth of my first child. After you’ve run out of nesting projects, checked Facebook 100x too many, and caught up on your favorite blogs (including The Everywhereist, of course), you have a lot of time to think. And I’ve been thinking about the important lessons I’ve learned that I’d like to pass on to my child.

Oh the places these little feet will go …

Oh the places these little feet will go …

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Mindy has, under no duress or guilt, agreed to do one more brilliant blog post for all of us! Thanks Mindy! (P.S. – as soon as the post gets 3 comments, you’ll get your dog back, as per the terms specified in our ransom agreement).

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Dear Everywhereist Readers,

Wow. I’m back. Now I know Geraldine’s just taking pity on me. But I’m not going anywhere. And if you’re not either, relax. There are many books that use travel as a metaphor or plot device to entertain you, my beloved home-bound readers. In literature, sometimes “road trip” or “journey” or “travel” are used as code words for “voyage of self-discovery” or “brisk plot.” Cool, huh?

So let’s say you’ve read all the classics of travel writing, like On the Road or even Bill Bryson or Elizabeth Gilbert (and let’s be honest, if you are a female between the ages of 18 and 65, chances are you or your best friend has read Eat, Pray, Love). Don’t despair. There are plenty of interesting and new (enough) travel-themed books you may know about. Yet.

Here are a few I’ve enjoyed, and a two I haven’t even read. Yet.

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This week’s post is courtesy of my brilliant friend Laura, who I’ve known the 10th grade. I could go on and on about Laura’s awesomeness, but this story illustrates it perfectly:

Laura and I were in a terrible statistics class our senior year of high school. It was a requirement for the IB program, and I think it’s safe to say that both of us hated the class. One day the teacher, Mr. Jacobson (who had just become a father) asked our table a question.

Laura, who was generally rather quite in class, mumbled something.

“What was that?” Mr Jacobson asked.

And so Laura repeated what she said, this time louder, and with an Australian accent.

“THE DINGO ATE YOUR BABY.”

Mr. Jacobson stared blankly at her for a few minutes.

Finally he replied, “No it didn’t.”

He then went back to teaching class, and gave up on engaging us in conversation. It was awesome.

Just like Laura.

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I assure you, dear readers of Everywhereist, that I thought long and hard about what I should write for what I hope is only the first of at least several guest blog posts that you will bookmark in your web browser of choice and cherish forever. (Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?) My topic for today is how to avoid common pitfalls when traveling to an athletic event in which you are competing. I tried to re-word that to make it sound more exciting (or at least shorter), but all other descriptions were too vague for my attorney brain to handle.

Several years ago my husband and I began competing in races. I’m not sure what you think of when you hear the word “races”, I guess you might think of Nascar or the Kentucky Derby. I’m mainly talking about triathlons, but we also swim and run without the biking part. One time we biked without the swim and run part, but it is something of which we do not speak because it resulted in a very silent car ride home.

At any rate, much to my husband’s chagrin, some of our races have taken us out of town. I have now been banned from scheduling any races more than half an hour away from our house without prior approval. Luckily for you, my husband was slow to catch on and I picked up on a few things that could make your life easier if you are planning any destination races. (more…)

It is my utmost pleasure to welcome back the brilliant librarian/historian/bookworm/femme fatale Mindy for our second installment of “Mondays with Mindy“. I’m incredibly lucky she agreed to write another guest post for the blog, because I don’t know anyone else with her name, and frankly, “Mondays with Mindy … with Geraldine!” sounds like an identity crisis.

All of the content to follow is Mindy’s, all typos and formatting errors are mine.

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Dear Everywhereist Reader(s),

It’s my lucky day! Geraldine asked me back to talk about books again. But this time, we’ll gear the discussion toward the frequent flyer. You’re lucky, too! Nancy Pearl, the rock star of the library world, has already detailed her ideas of what makes for a great “carry-on book.” (Shut up. Do you have an action figure in your likeness? I didn’t think so.)

To sum: a good plane trip book has to be deep enough to draw you in and distract you for a good, long while. But it can’t be so freaking complex that you can’t set it down to let your neighbor use the loo. And it has to be compelling enough to hold you rapt, in the unlikely event you’re being harassed by fellow passengers and airline employees for your crazy leftist politics.  (Good job on the Swedish thriller, Geraldine. That’s the perfect airplane pick: plot-heavy, fascinating characters, crisp, clear prose.)

Sometimes I think there is nothing better than a good Law and Order marathon, I am still willing to admit that there is a time and a place for great works of literature (G.W.O.L.). The airplane, my friends, is not that time. Heading to Dublin? Struggle through Joyce in the privacy of your own home. Try Benjamin Black or Tana French for that atmospheric Irish in-flight entertainment instead. (more…)

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This week’s guest post comes from Naomi, a.k.a. The Gastrognome. Longtime readers (hi to both of you!) may remember my previous proclamations of Naomi’s awesomeness. She is a brilliant food blogger, an absolute riot, and she’s not too hard on the eyes, neither.  If the opportunity presents itself to share a meal /drink/ dirty joke with her, I strongly suggest that you take it.

All that, and she’s been awesome enough to share her tips of how to swing an awesome vacation (in this case to Cabo) while unemployed. This is definitely one to bookmark, kids: the economy kind of blows right now – employed or no, saving a little cash never hurt.

It’s also been way too long since she and I have hung out, so I’m going to turn the last bit of this intro into a guilt-trip. After all, she’s too busy galavanting around the world to call me. Or email. It’s fine. I’ll just sit here. Alone. In the dark. Waiting for her to call …

Cough cough …

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Today’s guest post is written by the brilliant and lovely Mindy. I have trouble explaining the full scope of her awesomeness, so I will use the following example. Years ago, Mindy had a Bastille Day party. Why? Because of said awesomeness. And the invite read as follows:

“There will be Fronch dressing. Fronch fries. Fronch bread. And to drink….Peru!

She is also a local historian, a talented archivist, an avid reader, and has more degrees than most thermometers (she likes learnin’). All that, and she’s agreed to write a post for my blog about how to choose the best books for summer reading (because she’s assumed we’re all literate. Let’s not spoil her fun with the truth, okay?)

Without further ado, the very first of “Mondays with Mindy” …

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Dear Everywhereist Readers,

Let me congratulate you on being readers. Reading is important! Americans don’t do it nearly enough. Traveling is the perfect time to catch up on your reading. That’s why Geraldine asked me, her token librarian friend, to help you with your book needs. Today, let’s talk about booking it on the road. If I’m lucky, Geraldine will invite me back. Fingers crossed!

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This week’s guest post comes from Deanna, the brilliant blogatrix behind Traveling Monkeys. Since she’s far, far too modest to include a bio herself, I’ve included one for her. Here it is: Deanna has a wicked sense of humor. If you met her in person, you might pass out from the sheer awesomeness of it all. She’s mom to Ninja-baby, whose cuteness warms the brittle lump of coal that is my heart (quote, from Rand: “That child should be in commercials.”) Deanna’s traveled extensively with her little one, and today she’s been kind enough to share her knowledge with us poor schlubs, while even including a few Mad Men and Muppets references. In short? She might just be cooler than me. But don’t get used to this high caliber of writing, kids. Because tomorrow? I’m back.

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This is my daughter Maggie, aka Ninja Baby.

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Maggie was born in Honolulu, our families are in Maine and Florida and our closest friends are in Washington, DC.  By the end of 2010, she will have been to nine states and four countries.  You might say she’s traveled a bit, and I might reply “Bork bork bork Swedish Chef?  Blah blah blah Ginger?” because I have logged those miles right beside her and consequently, my brain is squishy and addled.

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This week’s blogger, Andre Gunther, is an expert in a field of which I know very little, but am still ridiculous passionate about: photography. And he’s been gracious enough to share some of his know-how.  Read on for his tips on how to frame that perfect shot, hold your viewers’ attention, and maybe even capture that elusive snapshot of Bigfoot when the opportunity presents itself (and I am always assuming it will).

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Learn how you can take better pictures with these easy-to-follow tips.

Creating great pictures is extremely rewarding.

Maybe you want to captivate your viewers and earn their admiration, or maybe you just want to preserve your family memories. Whatever your goal may be, with a little motivation, you can improve your photography skills tremendously.

1. Get Up, Go Out, and Take Photos

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camping

If you can only remember one thing from this list, remember this:

Get out there, get moving, and get busy!

The more you shoot, the more you will learn. Try out new ideas and challenge your old ones. Nobody has to see the photos that do not turn out so great. In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell theorizes that the only real difference (between being great at something and being only average at it) is practice. Talent often is nothing more than practice and tenacity.

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