Monthly archives "July 2012"

TED Talk about the Power of Introverts

Okay, I’m going to do a little jig away from talking about travel for quick minute in order to recommend this moving, informative and inspiring TED talk I just watched about the beautiful qualities introverts (aka quiet people) have to offer the world. In it, the speaker discusses the ways in which the western world (and the US in particular) discriminate against the quiet, more introspective people among us (which make up, according to a statistic cited in the talk, 1/3 to 1/2 of the US population).



For more introverted-related awesomeness, check out my other posts on the subject:

The Introverted Traveler

Dear America, Stop trying to change us! Love, an Introvert

Travelogged: This Week’s Top Picks and Posts for Travel Addicts

 Happy Monday everybody! Here’s your weekly round-up of some of my favorite photos and travel-related goodies. For more funny photos, check out the Taken by the Wind Facebook page. Muchas gracias!

“In a Jam” by JD Hancock

miniature toy figurine climbing a jam jar

“In a Jam” by JD Hancock

Seriously Slow: 6 Travelers Who Walked Around the World – from Matador. Apparently it takes four years to walk around the world and 14,450 miles. Crazy!

Here’s a great NPR piece on the new generation’s focus on collecting experiences & not possessions. We’ve been nicknamed “first globals”.

16 Fortresses for Staving Off the Zombie Apocalypse. What a clever way to try to sell some real estate.

This town has no roads. Don’t think I’d ever live here, but I definitely wanna visit.

“Through the Brush” by JD Hancock

small indiana jones toy figurine attacking a hairbrush

“Through the Brush”

indiana jones toy with toy whip

Indiana Jones by JD Hancock

  “Vacationing on a Dime” by JD Hancock

toy indian figurine floating on a dime in a pool of water

Vacationing on a Dime by JD Hancock

dog and man playing poker funny photo

Poker Face!

Photo by Lawrence.

painted unicycle lane

Unicycle Lane

Photo by Shannon Henry.

 Got any travel-related posts to add?  Post them below!

Mugging for the Camera at the Mob Museum

I went to the mob museum in downtown Las Vegas over the weekend and found myself in funny photo shoot heaven. Enjoy. : )

girl posing with machine gun inside the mob museum in las vegas

Me, pretending to shoot a machine gun.

girl sitting in fake electric chair and woman pulling the lever at the mob museum in las vegas

Me, pretending to get electrocuted by my friend’s aunt.

girl pretending to be electrocuted in chair in mob museum las vegas

Me in the electric chair

two girls with glasses and fake moustaches

woman sitting in fake electric chair in mob museum in las vegas

I love her facial expression!

girl posing for fake mug shot from mob museum las vegas

Fake mug shot

girl with fake mug shot

Fake mug shot (side view)

glasses and mustache disguise

Me, disguised as a mobster

What Travel Tradition Do You Want to See Make a Comeback?

A piece I wrote for the Tripbase travel blog was published today (yippee!). It’s  entitled “14 Travel Traditions I wish they’d bring back”, which I was inspired to write after brainstorming a similar list for a client on (a great publishing tool for aspiring writers, by the way) called “14 forgotten items and customs we wish they’d bring back“. Why 14? Well, why not?

I think out of all the items on that list though, the number one thing I’d love to see become en vogue again would be the hand-written letter.


Vintage letters

Photo by Karen Cox.

Imagine for a moment that you open a box in the attic and discover a stack of your grandmother’s love letters. Now imagine that those tear-streaked pages tied together with a yellow ribbon were printed emails. Not as romantic, huh?

Chances are that if the internet had been around when your grandmother was a teenager, those letters would have never even existed. They’d be sitting in the internet-dump of cyberspace, amongst the millions of spam Viagra emails and deleted cat photo chain letters. Or else they’d exist only in a cell phone memory chip, punctuated with LOLs and kissy-face emoticons.

I still have the letters my mom sent me when I was 15 and living in Japan for a summer. Email was still in its infancy back then and my host family didn’t have a computer, so most of our correspondence was via letters and doodles scrawled on pink stationary. The letters, decorated with the photo booth stickers that were popular in Japan at the time, still exist, though the emails, like my AOL email address, have long since disappeared.

I’m a terrible email writer and an even worse letter writer, but I think it’s sad that this tradition has fallen by the wayside. I’d love to see it return.

What about you?


Neurotic New York or Nice New Orleans: Which US City Suits You Best?

map of america

Where do I belong?

I fell in love with Orlando during my sophomore year in college. Warm, exotic and full of Latin charm, our relationship was hot and intense, but as is the case with most first relationships, it eventually came to a petering halt and by the end of college, I’d moved on to my next great love: Brooklyn. Brooklyn was everything Orlando wasn’t: Neurotic and cold yet creative and quirky, Brooklyn buzzed with a wild, frenetic energy that was both exciting and infectious.

What these two former loves have in common is that they are both cities; Cities that like boyfriends, had a lot of potential but for one reason or another, were never a good fit.

This is an allegory that author Richard Florida would probably understand. He’s the researcher and Stanford economics professor who penned the book Who’s Your City? How the Creative Economy is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life.

City Slickers vs Southern Belles

In Who’s Your City, Richard Florida details a study by psychologists Sam Gosling and Jason Rentfrow, entitled “The Geography of Personality“. The study was conducted using a 44-question online personality test, which the researchers used to gather personality data on 600,000 participants across the United States.

By asking participants to rank to what degree they agreed with various statements (“Religion is an important part of my life”, for example, or “I spend a lot of time visiting friends”) Gosling and Rentfrow were able to measure what psychologists call the “Big Five” facets of personality: neuroticism, extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness. Gosling and Rentfrow then used the participants’ zip-codes to pinpoint their precise locations, thus creating a “Personality map” of the United States.

personality map of the us

Richard Florida’s Personality Map of the US

Source: The Official Who’s Your City? Website.

As they’d hypothesized, the results showed that certain personality types tend to cluster in particular regions of the country; coastal cities like the Bay Area or Boston were hotbeds for the intellectually curious while cities along the Bible Belt attracted a largely conventional and industrious crowd. As it turned out, there was some truth to the stereotype that New Yorkers are harried and stressed and Southerners are friendly and rule-abiding.

The following is a description of four personality types as well as a list of their corresponding city “matches”. Read on to find out if you and your favorite city are a match made in heaven or if you’d be happier, well, moving on.

The Cynic

neurotic new yorker

Neurotic New Yorker. Photo by Vic Deleon.


Cities: The New York metropolitan area, the Midwest (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit), parts of West Virginia and Kentucky, Tulsa and Oklahoma City

Famous Cynic personality type: Woody Allen. Though extremely creative and artistic, quintessential New Yorker Woody Allen has also been described as socially-withdrawn and aloof.

New York City and Midwestern cities like Detroit or Pittsburgh are ideal for those who like their life served with a heaping dose of drama and unpredictability.

A large number of people in these areas scored high on the neuroticism scale, which means they’re prone to anxiety, depression and hostility. Neurotic personality types are also characterized as being emotionally unstable, impulsive and aloof.

But it ain’t all bad. The same personality trait that makes New Yorkers moody, also allows them to experience life intensely and have a depth of emotion that when channeled properly, can be used to create brilliant works of art.

The Party-Animal


party animal

The Party Animal. Photo by Haags Uitburo.

Cities: Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Omaha, Wichita, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Worth, San Antonio

Famous Party-Animal personality type: Robin Williams. Funny-man and actor Robin Williams was born and raised in Chicago and as a passionate and talkative extrovert, is naturally drawn to the spotlight.

The Party-Animal personality type is extremely extroverted and loves to socialize. Though people in this region scored low in the neurotic trait (and thus aren’t moody and angst-ridden like their Cynic neighbors) they also scored low in positive qualities like conscientiousness and openness to new experiences. Furthermore, these Midwesterners scored very low in agreeableness, which means that though they may love team sports and group activities, they’re not the nicest or friendliest in the bunch (that distinction goes to North Dakota, whom the study found to be the ‘friendliest’ state in the nation). Thus, these cities are not well-suited for more agreeable types who crave close friends and community involvement.

The Model Citizen


model citizen

The Model Citizen

Cities: Atlanta, Phoenix, Richmond, Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Memphis, Nashville, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Indianapolis

Famous Model-Citizen personality type: Sarah Palin. Former US vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin grew up in Alaska and is a warm and energetic rule-follower who values traditions, security and close family ties.

The agreeable and the conscientious personality traits tend to go hand-in-hand and most of these personality types cluster in the southeast, particularly in the Atlanta, Memphis and Mississippi areas. ‘Model Citizen’ personalities are hardworking, compassionate and trusting and nurture close bonds within their family and community. While they score very low on the neurotic scale, they aren’t very open to new experiences either and thus, are less adventuresome and less likely to move far from home.

These cities are great for people with conventional views and values. If you aren’t the type to challenge authority (like more “open” personality types) and prefer a few close friends over a wide circle of acquaintances (like the party-animal personality) then the South may be the region for you.

The Artist

the artist

The Artist. Photo by Frank Kovalchek.

Cities: The top three cities for creative-types are New York, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. But cities in the Northeast, as well as Miami, Austin, Portland, Oregon and Seattle scored high in the openness trait as well. Others: Boston, Buffalo, Washington DC, Baltimore, Louisville, New Orleans, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas and San Diego.

Famous Artist Personality type: James Franco. James Franco, a native Californian from the Bay Area, is an actor, artist, filmmaker and writer who holds two MFAs and is currently working towards a PhD in English from Yale.

The cities that line the northeast and west coasts of the United States tend to attract people who score high in the openness trait. Curious, artistic and creative, these “artist” personality types crave excitement and variety and are naturally drawn to cities with large bohemian and immigrant populations. Because the study’s results found a frequent overlap between cities that scored high in the openness trait and those that scored high in neuroticism (like New York or Las Vegas, for instance) these cities are not ideal for people who place a high value on tradition or long-lasting friendships. People in cities like San Francisco or Seattle aren’t as neighborly as they are in cities that scored higher in the agreeable trait, like Minneapolis or Salt Lake.

Birds of a Feather:  Why Where You Live Matters

What does all of this mean? According to Richard Florida, it means not having to settle for second-best. We no longer have to remain in ill-matched marriages to the cities of our birth, because for the first time in history, we have the means and opportunity to live almost anywhere – and be happier because of it. Case in point: One of the unexpected results of Gosling and Rentfrow’s study involved city personality matches and happiness levels. The study found that people who live in cities similar in personality to them are happier than people who don’t; an independent nonconformist will find it difficult to be in a relationship with rule-oriented North Carolina, for example, as will a religious family-man in free-thinking Oregon.

Thus, if you haven’t found that special somewhere, keep looking. The city of your dreams may be no more than a Google Maps-click away.

Main photo Image by Marc Levin.
Model Citizen photo by Philippe Leroyer.

Do you agree with the results of the study? Does your chosen city match your personality type?

Travelogged: This Week’s Top Pics and Posts for Travel Addicts

travel tattoo

This tattoo says “Freedom” in German

Photo by Laura Leh

Happy early 4th of July everybody! Any of you Americans have anything fun planned for the holiday? If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m not a huge fan of the holiday.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet, but it’ll likely involve a cold drink, a pool and some reggae (if I’m lucky).

travel photos

Photo by Uwe Mayer

Photo by Uwe Mayer.

25 Photos You Won’t Believe Weren’t Photoshopped – Bunnies the size of ponys? Sea monsters?  Awesome!

I’m adding this to my bucket list! The title says it all…Is this the world’s weirdest beach? Crystal-clear saltwater, golden sand and even waves… yet it’s in the middle of a meadow. From The Daily Mail.

23 Super Creative Repurposed Items from Matador. I love the piano water fountain.

Luke Skywalker’s Home, Fans Do Fix from NPR. Apparently much of Star Wars was filmed in Tunisia, where parts of the film’s sets still stand, including Luke Skywalker’s home.

Don’t listen to this podcast if you’re afraid to fly…Why Flying is No Fun (and may be more dangerous) from NPR.

As some of you know, two months ago I landed a full-time blogging job at a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Internet marketing company. Though I won’t post everything I write, (because I’m sure most of you have little interest in say, dental hygiene or LED lights), I’ll occasionally post some of the more interesting, travel-themed content.  Here are a few of them:

Though I liked Matt’s first dancing travel video best,  I think most people will be hard-pressed not to go “Awww” as they watch this. It carries the message that we humans are basically all the same and what’s not to love about that?

Okay, enough from me. Read (or write) anything interesting this week?