Happy Friday, everyone! Congratulations on making it to the end of the week. I hope that things have gone swimmingly for you and that you’re looking toward the light of a great weekend at the end of your work tunnel.
I’m off to Atlanta today for a work contract, because what’s better than visiting the South in the heat and humidity of July? Funnily enough, we’ve had so much gross, sticky weather here in the Northeast that I probably won’t even notice a difference! I usually don’t have much more free time during these assignments than what it takes to find and eat dinner on Friday nights, but considering this is only my second time in Georgia I’m looking forward to seeing a little more of what the state has to offer. If you have a favorite Atlanta restaurant, let me know in the comments!
In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been loving lately!
1.) Best foot forward: hiking your way around the world
Note: article removed as of 9/28/20
It’s no secret that M and I love a good hike, and this article highlights some of the best in the world. It’s a great to-do list for any trekker, from novices looking for a day’s excursion to hardcore hikers committed to double- or triple-digit mileage.
Lately, I’ve been increasingly drawn to the idea of slow travel – spending more time in one place as opposed to jumping from destination to destination throughout a trip. It’s a constant battle I wage with myself in my travel planning: do we try to see and cover as much ground as possible, or do we take our time and really experience one or two places at the expense of other things we’d like to see?
There are benefits to both, but one of the points in favor of slower travel is your ability to do more hiking. Although we loved every minute of our whirlwind trip to Iceland, we did regret that our short time frame didn’t give us the freedom to go on some longer hikes that would have taken us farther from the beaten path and into more remote corners of the country. Hiking and trekking are excellent ways to experience a place, to give yourself over to nature and the beauty and peace that can be found away from civilization. Getting out into the countryside refreshes the soul, and I love that exhausted, accomplished, fulfilled feeling you get after completing a trek that was challenging, full of gorgeous scenery, or both.
Even if you’re not a big hiker, I still encourage you to find some way to get out into nature when you travel. Pack a picnic and find a secluded spot to enjoy it, or take a relaxed, meandering drive through some lovely country roads. You won’t regret it.
Back in mid-May, I shared some of the early highlights of the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest as one of my Three Things for the week. Well, the winners have just been announced, and they are unsurprisingly incredible. I couldn’t resist sharing the final results with you.
Take a moment to visit the link above and browse the different galleries, making sure not to miss the winners and People’s Choice finalists. Some immensely talented photographers and gorgeous photos are represented, and you won’t be disappointed. You may, like me, find yourself getting lost in the slideshow, overcome with wonder at how big and beautiful our world happens to be.
3.) The Vietnam War by Ken Burns
It’s a little strange to put a documentary with such heavy subject matter under the headline of something I’m loving, but I did want to share how glad I am that I took the time to watch the entirety of The Vietnam War. Master filmmaker and documentarian Ken Burns has again put together a truly compelling, provocative, and informative work that taught me so much about this horrific conflict.
I will admit that of all the periods of my country’s history, the Vietnam era was among those about which I knew the least. Unfortunately, most of my history classes focused only on the years leading up to and including the second World War, and the divisiveness of the era and bitterness of the conflict itself have meant that it isn’t as openly discussed as other, seemingly more black-and-white time periods. I learned a good bit about the war from my time in Vietnam, most notably during my visits to the War Remnants Museum, Hỏa Lò Prison, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and Củ Chi Tunnels, but my overall knowledge was still sadly lacking.
This eighteen-hour documentary, which is split into ten episodes and is available on Netflix, completely changed that. I learned so much about Vietnam’s history of colonial oppression and French occupation, the various geopolitical factors that snowballed into open conflict, the timeline of the war itself, and the peace movement back home. I was shocked by how early U.S. presidents and other key players realized the futility of the fight and deeply saddened by their secrecy, politicking, poor decision-making, and selfish motives. I was moved by the first-hand accounts of soldiers and civilians from all sides of the conflict, and heartbroken by the pain and devastation I saw playing out so savagely onscreen.
Especially as someone who grew up after the threat of communism had largely disappeared, it has always been difficult for me to comprehend how this particular war was so inevitable and so politically important. This documentary helped me to understand so many aspects of this dark and divided era of U.S. history as well as the lasting societal changes it set in motion. I can’t recommend it highly enough; just be prepared that it is not an easy thing to watch.
That’s all from me for this week! Thanks, as always for joining me.
Have a wonderful weekend!
What have you been loving lately?
What was your favorite hike you’ve done thus far?
Have you watched any good documentaries lately?