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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...

My hostel in Ometepe had a 13-drink drinking challenge that was free for all guests on their fourth night. I wasn't really all that keen on attempting it but all my friends were doing it (peer pressure, anyone?) and, if nothing else, I figured I could stop after the first few and get drunk for free. In actuality two of the drinks weren't drinks. But since I'm "pure" as one of the guys put it the lovely bartender mixed me a couple of extra drinks for those rounds instead. And she might have promised me that she'd make me weaker drinks...

Isla de Ometepe is an island on Lake Nicaragua formed by two volcanoes: Concepción and Maderas. As we sailed up to the port, smoke rising from the cavity, I knew it was a place I could fall in love with. By day, the omnipresent volcanoes loom over the landscape. At sunset, they silhouette against a sky so purple, so pink, so yellow. At night everything goes dark and you can look across a field sparkling with thousands of firefly tails. It all feels so romantic and humbling and calming and enchanting. ...