Why don’t you affix a bunch of pictures to a blank wall in a haphazard yet artsy fashion? I was trying to give my office a facelift, so I cut maps out of an old atlas and nailed them to the wall. I intermingled this with prints of pictures I had from my grandmother’s house showing her life in France. It’s gorgeous, reader, and now when I sit in front of my monstrously large computer monitor endlessly typing away at my next story, I will have constant sources of inspiration, and it’s fabulous. Change your world by changing your room.


Why don’t you take yourself unashamedly to a chain restaurant and veritably gorge yourself? Tonight I’m taking myself on a very romantic solitary date to the Olive Garden. It shall be the definition of fabulous. I’ll eat too much salad and sip too much soup and swill an Italian margarita. Life will be grand and good. There’s nothing sad or depressing about dining alone, dear reader. In fact, to me, there are few finer luxuries on this planet.


Why don’t you turn all of your maps upside down and learn to appreciate a new perspective? I find it remarkable how strange the world seems to appear when suddenly Florida is pointing up and Australia is in the place of North America. It really messes with you mind. And then when you realize that the Mercator Projection is a subtle enforcer of colonial viewpoints, you start gasping on your misunderstandings of the world. There is no reason for up to be up just because the map says so. Look at things differently.


Why don’t you learn more about diverse religions.? People are only afraid of things that they don’t know. This is why there has been such endless conflict between the major Abrahamic religions. I enjoy studying theology and religious history, so this doesn’t plague me. Still, I live in fear and confusion of the Mennonites, the Amish, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. I need to study their beliefs and try to understand them better so that I can appreciate them and not be ignorant. I don’t want to be ignorant on any subject.


Why don’t you look at DuoLingo and see if there are any new languages you need to learn? I recently checked and saw that there is a Romanian course, so I immediately started. I’m so excited! I’ve been rambling on for years about becoming a Romanian hay farmer. Now I can actually have the chance to talk to them when I run away in the middle of the night. Oh, this is bliss!


BY THE WAY: Summer break has started so this blog series will be on hiatus until August. In the meantime, I will be posting the remainder of my travel stories from 2016, any bizarre adventures I have in Iowa — think monasteries and caves — and then regular updates from my travels to California and Mexico City. I’m so excited!

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