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  • I take a lot of walks along the lakefront.

    Reclaiming my life.

    Someone once asked me why I like long-term travel. I thought for a second before replying, “When you’re home you wake up every morning and think, ‘What do I have to do today?’ ...

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  • Heart-Shaped Fig

    On Figs and Metaphors and Men.

    If you asked him, he'd tell you that I cry at everything. And, I suppose, in some ways, that's true. Because the girl he met did cry at everything. The girl he met was timid, shy, anxious, innocent...

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  • Miki Sudo wins the women's competition at the 2016 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July hod dog eating contest at Coney Island.

    Women eat too, you know.

    Every Fourth of July the best eaters in the world congregate at Coney Island and go head to head in the world’s greatest hot dog eating contest. Half of those eaters are women. You might not kno...

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  • Lollapalooza 2016

    Walking in July.

    Do you want to know what I did in July? I walked. I got up early and ran on the elliptical before work. In the morning, I got off the train two stops early and walked the last mile to work. At night, ...

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I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.


Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Val Bromann - Choosing FIgs

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten named Bacon. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Europe. After 3 years on the road I’m back in Chicago, exploring the city, decorating my apartment in too much teal, and planning my next adventure. Learn more.

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Where do you want to go?

My life list. What have I checked off? What do YOU want to check off?