Category: Miscellaneous

The Last Notes

Don’t confuse your bucket list with your grocery list

Don’t confuse your bucket list with your grocery list

Sometimes people confuse their travel bucket lists with their grocery lists, talking about cities as if they were check marks. Unlike remembering to pick up milk, you cannot say you’ve ‘done’ a city simply because you spent a weekend there. What you actually mean is you’ve already been there, and that given a limited window for travel time, you would prefer to go to a city you haven’t seen before.

Why would I learn to snowboard?

Why would I learn to snowboard?

At the hotel two guys showed up with snowboarding gear. They wanted us to try it on. I tried taking pictures of myself wearing snowboard boots. I jumped around like I was walking on the moon. I’d never gone snowboarding before, and I thought I looked novel. I’m an unathletic Jew from LA — why would I ever go to the snow?

Middle East & Africa to get data-free Wikipedia

Middle East & Africa to get data-free Wikipedia

The world’s freest encyclopedia just got even freer.IN A PRESS RELEASE today by the Wikimedia Foundation and Orange, it was announced that mobile users across Africa and the Middle East will soon have access to the entirety of Wikipedia — without incurring a single data charge (so long as they’re using Orange).

The Digital Generation’s travels are corrupted beyond repair

The Digital Generation’s travels are corrupted beyond repair

I spent a large percentage of my formative years in front of a screen. Despite my parents’ best (and laudable) efforts, I invested a lot of my prepubescent time with Kim Possible, Luke Skywalker, and Mario + Luigi rather than out playing with the mud like prior generations did.And I am not the only one.

Help protect the Futaleufú

Help protect the Futaleufú

AS WE’VE REPORTED over the past two years, multinational energy company Endesa owns the water rights to many of Patagonia’s largest and most pristine rivers, and has developed plans for hydroelectric megaprojects in spite of massive public opposition and legal issues. While plans for the Rio Baker are currently stalled, in early January a representative from Endesa revealed the multinational’s plans to continue advancing on the Futaleufú1.

How to get the most mileage out of your travel writing

How to get the most mileage out of your travel writing

For more advice how to maximize the readership and longevity of blogs and published work, check out the MatadorU Travel Writing course.THE INTERNET IS A medium that seems custom made for travel writers. It puts our work before an unlimited audience, provides free exposure through RSS and other subscription services, and serves as an electronic archive of published work and feedback.

Who am I if there’s no one around to know me?

Who am I if there’s no one around to know me?

When I told my friend Rock I was leaving for Japan, he told me to cut all ties with everything I knew. Rock had, some time ago, left to wander around the Middle East for a while. This career-interrupting retreat of self discovery I’d flung myself into is not uncommon in my circle of friends. Forgo a phone and internet, he advised, and get deep down inside yourself.

Facebook + Skype: Match made in social technology heaven?

Facebook + Skype: Match made in social technology heaven?

The first time I did a three-way conference call with my sisters in the US, me in Sweden, and our parents in Nigeria, I sent Skype a direct tweet along the lines of “I love you guys!”With family spread out across three different continents, all aging with each passing day, Skype remains an integral part of my family’s daily conversations.

Steve and Vali discuss the tomfoolerly of ‘The Ridiculous Race’

Steve and Vali discuss the tomfoolerly of ‘The Ridiculous Race’

Illustrations by Tim TomKinson26,000 miles. 2 guys publish a book on the most ridiculous race…ever.WITH ANOTHER INSTALLMENT of the addictive Emmy award-winning The Amazing Race barreling towards its conclusion, TV watchers will soon be left with an extra hour to kill on Sunday nights.To fill the void left by Phil Keoghan, Jerry Bruckheimer, and those yellow and red route markers, we recommend Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran’s The Ridiculous Race.

Tick on a dragon: An interview with J. Maarten Troost

Tick on a dragon: An interview with J. Maarten Troost

MatadorLife editor Tom Gates finds out what’s behind J. Maarten Troost’s latest book, including prescient economic forecasting, the family life of a traveling writer, and the Chinese art of expectorating phlegm.Maarten Troost is the author of three books, all of them poignant and hilarious. Fans of his work know him as wry, witty and a little touched.

Ayun Halliday on budget travel and “No Touch Monkey!”

Ayun Halliday on budget travel and “No Touch Monkey!”

By her own admission, Ayun Halliday will probably never set foot on the Moon.But she will go just about anywhere else-especially if someone else is footing the bill.Finances, however, are not a deterrent to the budget traveler with an eye for adventure and a knack for comedy-intentional or otherwise.

10 ways to use a car for more creative video shooting

10 ways to use a car for more creative video shooting

Vimeo shows you how a vehicle can be used for a variety of shots, replacing dollies and the need for expensive equipment.THIS TUTORIAL by Vimeo packs so much info into three minutes it’s worth breaking out the sections in a list:Tracking shot (shooting out of trunk, following subject)Chasing shot (camera mounted out window facing forward)Side dolly shot (camera mounted out window facing sideways)Slow push (shooting out of trunk, approaching subject)Circling shot (putting car in neutral and pushing around subject)“Helicopter” effect (driving shooting from overpass)“Out of body” effect (subject filmed on hood with car moving)Bird’s eye view (static, using roof of vehicle)Driving shot (use backseat, keeping hands out of frame)“Thrown out of car” effect (splicing two different scenes)What tricks have you used for mounting cameras in-vehicle or using a car to film in creative ways?

6 books to improve your photography

6 books to improve your photography

Matador staff writer Jeff Bartlett shares 6 photography books that help him break out of any creative rut.1. The Hot Shoe Diaries, by Joe McNallyJoe McNally has been a National Geographic contributor since I was born. He’s also been a staff photographer for Life Magazine and has shot cover stories for TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and Sports Illustrated, among others.

50 article ideas for 2012

50 article ideas for 2012

Stories of travel culture are found everywhere. Why are we only telling 1 ?FIRST, A DISCLAIMER: this is not a submission call. Matador isn’t endorsing or condoning the actual production of, or requisite behavior involved in producing the following stories, some of which are potentially dangerous, others illegal, and others probably impossible.

This is the dream deferred

This is the dream deferred

The neighbors downstairs are shouting again, banging doors, their muffled voices rising through the floor. You shuffle through the stack of books by your bed, reach for your laptop and the audio book you downloaded to break up the stillness of your solitary evening. “Angle of Repose” by Wallace Stegner.

Preserving Tibet’s culture and history: Interview with National Geographic’s Michael Yamashita

Preserving Tibet’s culture and history: Interview with National Geographic’s Michael Yamashita

The yatsa gonbu, a cordyceps fungus that kills and mummifies its caterpillar host, only extends about an inch out of the ground — nearly impossible for the naked human eye to see. Many Tibetans spend the summer months on elbows and knees, crawling through the grass in search of the elusive sprout. Known in English as Ophiocordyceps sinensis, and in Chinese literally “winter worm, summer grass,” the harvested yatsa gonbus are bought and sold by Chinese traders as “nature’s Viagra.

This Coachella lineup would absolutely kill

This Coachella lineup would absolutely kill

This year’s Coachella lineup features some of the hottest names in music. As always, it is both “siiick” and “sooo good.” Which means it’s easy to miss some of the best performances due to big crowds, drunk bros, and friends who seem like they are trying to ditch you.While the festival’s hierarchical lineup structure touts the most popular performers, the real Coachella experience comes from reading the fine print: the lesser-known acts.

A convo with Jimmy Chin and Tim Kemple on climbing the Ennedi

A convo with Jimmy Chin and Tim Kemple on climbing the Ennedi

Q&A with the Camp 4 Collective crew about their shoot in the Sahara.JIMMY CHIN AND TIM KEMPLE’S Towers of the Ennedi managed to simultaneously make rock climbing look more safe, and traveling to Chad less so. Matador spoke to them about the realities of shooting in such a hostile environment.MN: How did your experiences in Chad match up to your expectations?

3 golden rules for reviewing anything

3 golden rules for reviewing anything

Take online courses in travel journalism and join a growing community of thousands of travel writers, photographers, and filmmakers at MatadorU.OVER AT Slate, Robert Pinsky gives a run-down of how NOT to write a book review, calling attention to some 200 year-old critics of John Keats whose snark comes off as potent as ever, even today:Reviewers have been sometimes accused of not reading the works which they affected to criticise.

How to write narrative essays using scenes

How to write narrative essays using scenes

Visit MatadorU to learn more about Matador’s online travel journalism courses.STRONG NARRATIVE ESSAYS are always moving. They start with action–the narrator snowboarding with the Aspen Ski Patrol, for example, then deepen the scene with descriptions–the dry powder, the steep bowls, the late January sky.