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Last year, I went on date to see the movie Kedi at The Music Box here in Chicago. Kedi, in Turkish, simply means "cat," and the film documents the cats in Istanbul who rule the streets and seem, all at once, to belong to everyone and no one. (You can watch the movie here.) The documentary hit a sweet spot for me because, well, CATS, but also because I had spent a month of my travels in Istanbul and around Turkey and remembered fondly all of the cats I saw everywhere while there. There were cats in the streets, cats in...

The next day was more than a little awkward. We said our goodbyes and I left to see if I could find a room. I went back to the place I was staying at before and they said to check back in an hour. And I ran into him again on the street and somehow asked if he wanted to get breakfast. So we both sat, and drank coffee, and waited. And then we both ended up checking in. And then we both ended up in the same room....

"Find a man who thinks your silence is beautiful." I often remember those words that an old artist told me while we were sitting in a bar in Amsterdam. It was a chance and brief encounter. He probably never would remember me or remember uttering those words. But it is a phrase that I've kept with me ever since. It may have only been appropriate that the man who once told me that was Dutch. Without really thinking I agreed to go on an overnight snorkeling trip with Jonno on Koh Rong Island, Cambodia, one of the neighboring islands of Sihanoukville. I...

The bartender, one of about seven working behind the small bar of Monkey Republic asked me where I was from. When I said "America" he didn't believe me. Apparently when they were all talking in a language I didn't understand and glancing over at me they had been taking guesses at my nationality. German or Russian was the consensus. Because they are quiet. Because they are the ones who sit alone at the bar, drinking, saying nary a word. ...