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The one touristy thing I had on my New York to-do list was to take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I was planning to go solo, but, when my friend Kristin told me that she'd never done it before either, we decided to meet up one afternoon for the trek across the East River. We met on the Brooklyn side of the bridge (you can start and end on either side) and made our way to Manhattan, stopping to take photos of the scenery, the skyline, the river, the other walkers, and, of course, the bridge itself along the way. It...

Every time Molly Schuyler does something, I can count on at least five people sending me a link to it. Which probably says something about both my reputation and hers. There was that time she ate 363 chicken wings in 30 minutes. And that time she ate a 72-oz steak in just under 5 minutes. And then ate another one. The woman is a phenomenon. A few days before my hot dog eating contest I went to Coney Island to watch her eat 5.5 pounds of brains to win Glutton Force 5 and the NYC Zombie Crawl's Brain Bash at the Beach brain eating...

I was a celebrity. Being approached on the street for photos. Getting asked for an autograph at a bar. Receiving random high fives from the crowd. Being told by a mass of self-proclaimed groupies that they were rooting for me. For me. A self-proclaimed groupie myself. I told that group of guys that they picked the wrong girl to cheer for. I told them I came in dead last, far behind all the other totals. I told them I only had qualified by default. But no one cared. "But you did it," they'd say. They'd all say, when I'd sheepishly tell anyone who asked...

Where I stood to watch 3 years ago. Where I will eat on Friday. Three years ago today I boarded a one-way flight to New York to attend the July Fourth Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest and begin my 'round the world trip. At the time I thought, "There's no way I would ever want to travel for more than a year," and I'm pretty sure everyone else thought, "She's not going to make it three months." But things chance. People change. Yesterday I again boarded a one-way flight to New York. This time to compete in the July Fourth Nathan's...

Booking plane tickets makes me nervous. I can spend hours searching Kayak and Skyscanner for the perfect place, the perfect price, but, even if I find a great deal, can never bring myself to book. Even if I know that I have to be somewhere for something at a specific date and time I hem and haw over whether I should get there an extra day early or what time of day I should leave and arrive. The longer I travel, the harder making travel plans gets. It seems like it would be the opposite: I'd get so comfortable picking...

"Fuck the future. It would've been nice to have you in my present for a little while." A heart in my hot chocolate at Little Goat. If I'm going to be alone, I'm going to need chocolate.   I had been drunk the night before receiving that message, sitting outside a hostel in Laos at god knows what hour, after dodging another backpacker who kept trying to kiss me and take me back to his hotel room. Instead I broke free and walked home, alone, got out my laptop, and wrote to a boy I'd met at a hostel in Vietnam a few...

I'm pretty sure I first heard about Dyer's Burgers while reading Hamburger America (a roadtripper's bible of road food stops) some years ago. The restaurant on Memphis's Beale Street is known for it's deep fried hamburgers. But the patties aren't just cooked in any old grease: they're cooked in really old grease. Each burger is fried up in the same grease they've been using for 100 years, since the restaurant first opened in 1912....

I flew home from London in early December and promised myself that I would spend the next month doing nothing but catching up on work and spending as close to nothing as possible (the whole laptop thing put me behind in both money and productivity). That all went out the window though when I saw a tweet from Major League Eating announcing that the first qualifier for next year's July Fourth hot dog eating contest would be held in Mississippi a week after I arrived back to Chicago. And, well, I really wanted to go....

English food gets a bad rap sometimes. Before arriving in the country, I'd heard that the cuisine was bland and uninspired and unoriginal. I figured that I'd just end up eating fish and chips at a pub and call it a night. Every night. (Not that I have any problem with that. I pretty much lived on fish and chips in Ireland because it's one of the greatest combinations ever invented.) But, in actuality, I ate some of the best food I've ever had in London. I was lucky enough to go on two food tours in the city. One was...