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Choosing Figs

Amorphophallus titanum - corpse flower - at Volunteer Park Conservatory in Seattle, Washington.

Five Days in Seattle

I'd been to Seattle three times before. The first time, in 2009, I did everything my guidebook told me to do there. The second, in 2011, I explored for a few hours between a train from Vancouver and a flight back to Chicago. And the third time, in 2013, I spent a few days after a trip to Hawaii. I went back to Seattle, for five nights, for the fourth time, a couple of weeks ago....

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HOPE Outdoor Gallery in Austin, Texas.

On Austin. And hope.

A few weeks ago, I had a day. A day where I was both upset over something and excited about something and my emotions were all over the place. And all I kept thinking, all that day, was, "I need change." "I need to make my world what I want it to be." "I need to reclaim my life." So, that day, I signed up for guitar lessons and bought a Groupon for salsa lessons and looked...

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Haul of vegetables from Green City Market

August Alive.

Things have started getting better. I've started feeling better. I've started feeling more alive again. Of course, when I'm feeling good, when I'm feeling alive, I tend to go overboard, I tend to take on more things. I tend to overextend. I'm hoping, now, I'm able to balance. I'm hoping, now, I won't fall down another rabbit hole. I suppose we'll see what happens next. But, August. August was a good month. Here are some of the things...

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Brisket plate with jalapeno cheese grits and campfire chili beans at Micklethwait Craft Meats food truck in Austin, Texas.

Life List #216: Eat everything in Austin, Texas.

I had but one goal for my four-night vacation in Austin, Texas: eat everything. Austin's food scene excited me. The city is probably best known for tacos and Tex-Mex and barbecue. And who wouldn't be excited for tacos and Tex-Mex and barbecue? But it goes beyond that. There are food trucks on seemingly every corner, in every empty lot, attached to every bar. And those food trucks specialize in every cuisine and fare imaginable....

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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?' But, when you're traveling, you wake up and think, 'What do I want to do today?'" It was harder going from a full-time life of wants to a full-time life of have-tos than I led myself to believe. I was more depressed, coming home...

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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, naive, emotionally unstable. Crying was her knee-jerk reaction to anything, everything she couldn't handle. And there were a lot of things she couldn't handle....

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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 know that from the media coverage of the contest. After all, the men's eating contest gets broadcast on ESPN while the women's is only ever available online. The women's contest is lucky to get a thirty second spot on the televised...

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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, I got off the train a stop or two early and walked home. I walked around the park, dodging the children and teenagers and adults hunting Pokemon. I walked around my neighborhood,...

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Joey Chestnut wins the 2016 Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest at Coney Island.

On traditions, the Fourth of July, and a hot dog eating contest.

Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie took their prime spots at the center of the table and, from the moment the clock started ticking down, they were both fully focused on the win. For the first few HDBs they were neck and neck but, by two minutes in, Joey Chestnut had eaten to a steady lead. As the minutes ticked down and more hot dogs were eaten it was no longer a question of who would...

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