I remember a few years ago when argan oil was first becoming a hot new beauty trend in the states, my boss at the time said, “You know where argan oil comes from, right? Goat poop.” Of course, I initially wrote her off as a goat poop conspiracy theorist, but it’s true. Goats in Tamri, Morocco have learned that a bit of acrobatic climbing of the local argan trees will earn them a sweet snack: argan berries. After enjoying their lunch high up in the trees, they digest the berries, which are then easily harvested from their droppings that fall to the ground. After the berries are removed from the excrement, they’re pressed to make oil for cooking, hair, and skin products. Kind of gross, kind of amazing, but definitely intriguing enough to add “go watch goats climb trees and poop out a high-end beauty product” to my bucket list. [When On Earth]
A few years ago a study came out that said the anticipation of a vacation actually makes people much happier than the vacation itself, and as much as I enjoy traveling, I must admit I find this to be true. I just booked a trip to France, Switzerland, and Iceland for later this year, and I’m SO excited. Of course I’m stoked for the trip itself, but I’m almost equally thrilled about spending the next few months researching, planning my itinerary, and staring wistfully at photos of sidewalk cafes in Lyon. Nothing makes my life feel more colorful and energized than having a trip on the horizon — even if that horizon is pretty far off. Here are 5 things I love about traveling, none of which happen on the actual trip itself… Keep reading »
The small community of Solothurn, Switzerland, is having a crisis, and maybe you can help. You see, there’s a cave just outside of town, the Verena Gorge Hermitage, which for the past 600 years has been inhabited by a hermit (not a single immortal hermit, obviously, but a succession of hermits). The current hermit recently had to step down for health reasons (perhaps related to not getting enough sunlight? Just a thought) and now the town is scrambling to find a replacement to keep the hermit tradition alive. Unfortunately for introverts who are salivating at the prospect of getting paid to live in a cave and never talk to anyone, this hermit job is a decidedly social one. According to an ad the town placed in a local newspaper, “The new hermit should have a religious background, have an idealistic attitude, be willing to speak with the visitors and answer to their questions or give them advice.” But! If you can put up with advising tourists about the meaning of life, the gig does come with a free cave, a monthly salary of $1,140, and paid vacation. As far as hermit jobs go, this seems like a great one. [The Daily Beast]
No, Jessica, you’re not dreaming. What you’re looking at are 1,600 papier-maché pandas meant to symbolize the remaining great bears still alive in the world. Inspired by the World Wildlife Fund, whose symbol is a panda, the 1,600 bears are a project by the French artist Paolo Grangeon. Featuring both adult pandas and babies, they’ve traveled to 20 countries over the past six years. The next installation will be in Hong Kong, where i09 reports that Grangeon will leave behind four additional pandas permanently. I should probably never see this public art installation because I will get arrested for trying to steal all of them. [Papier-Mache.co.uk; i09]
I’m a travel writer. I’ve visited Seoul, Santiago, and Vancouver in the past few months alone. My job sounds pretty glamorous on paper: I get to sample exotic foods, visit locations that others own dream about, and meet people from all over the world.
But there is a less glamorous side, too. I usually either travel solo or with a group of other travel writers on an organized press trip — that means that I am spending the majority of my time by myself or with a bunch of people I barely know. Given these circumstances, the number one question people ask about my job is whether I have had any hot vacation hookups. Here’s the sad and possibly surprising answer: nope. While I might stay in hotel rooms with heart-shaped bathtubs, I sleep in their king-sized beds alone.
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