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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 sunburnt arm pressed into the wooden deck. My head, propped up with a balled up, wet, pink elephant-print sarong I'd purchased in Thailand. My eyes were closed and I breathed in and out with the waves. It was uncomfortable to say the least, but I was just trying to block out the nausea. The sun was setting on my fourth day of what was meant to be a five day sailing trip: we had officially hit open water that afternoon. For the first few hours I did doing nothing but sit, staring at the horizon. "Everything is going to be...