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What We’re Reading

Packing List Series, Part 1: Joan Didion,” Smithsonian.com
In the first part of a series on packing lists (yes, keep reading), Smithsonian blogger Emily Spivack shares her enthusiasm for author Joan Didion’s traveling uniform. The upshot: keep it simple. And don’t forget the Bourbon. —Julia Cosgrove 

Going Nowhere
Two young photographers from Brooklyn, Andrew Kenney and Jake Jones, just stopped in at the AFAR office to show me some of their ongoing work. They are on a three-month road trip across the U.S. and have devised a personal photo project of sending postcards made from the images they taken along the way to their Kickstarter donors. Check out their journey (image shown above). —Tara Guertin 

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
An inspirational and thought provoking memoir, chronicling Strayed’s attempt to conquer the demons of her past by setting out to hike the challenging Pacific Crest Trail—solo. A brilliant story of fortitude, love, and determination. Makes me realize that nothing in life is insurmountable. —Jill Greenwood

Every Woman Should Travel Alone,” Salon
Everyone seems to be talking about Cheryl Strayed. I couldn’t put down Wild. And I love the honesty conveyed in this piece, inspired by Strayed’s book, about why all women should travel alone. —Julia Cosgrove

On the Trail of the Warsaw Basilisk,” Smithsonian.com
What’s missing from travel tales these days? Good old-fashioned monsters, sea dwelling or otherwise. Oh, for the days, from the 8th to the 16th century, say, when everybody talked about the basilisk, a hybrid creature—”a crested snake that hatched from an egg laid by a rooster and incubated by a toad.” Mike Dash tries to unravel the tale and stumbles across humanists, Rosicrucians, and more. —Derk Richardson 

Living in: Thelma & Louise,” Design Sponge
Design Sponge’s ode to the rebel chic flick Thelma & Louise. —Jen Murphy

Turntable Kitchen’s Guide to Sicily,” Turntable Kitchen
I love the blog Turntable Kitchen for its innovative food and music pairing ideas. They also write about their travels. Here, Kasey and Matthew spend some time in gorgeous Sicily and has me jonesing for pasta con le sarde, cannoli, and granita. —Davina Baum

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
I’m a huge Seinfeld fan. Jerry returns with a new TV show (that you can’t watch on TV) called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. A fun way to waste 15 minutes on the internet.  —Jenny Burbank

In California City, a California Chicken Coop Tour,” New York Times
Poultry voyeurs take the Tour de Cluck and festive tour garb ensues. —Shelley Tatum Kieran 

A New Katherine Mansfield Mystery Stops the Press,” The Independent
What luck! Brings me back to college as an English major, wondering what literary treasures could be hiding in the library archives. —Jenny Burbank 

About the Food of Nigeria,” Global Table Adventure
This is a blog that I follow regularly. Sasha’s on a mission to cook a meal from every country around the world. Her thoughtful recipes inspire me to learn about the cultures, cuisines, and traditions of every country that she writes about. This week? Nigeria. Never been there, but the photo of kids in Zaria really makes me want to visit. —Sakhi Vyas

Hiking Italy, Volcano to Volcano,” The New York Times
If you’re fascinated by volcanos and outdoor adventures, you’ll be tempted to start planning this trek. Access not one but four volcanos from the infamous Mount Vesuvius to Stromboli, which erupts every 15 to 20 minutes. Options include a guided hike that requires a moonlit descent and a restaurant with views of the lava sparks. Sign me up! —Serena Renner

Backpacktivism with Operation Groundswell,” Journeys for Good
The travel industry is seeing a surge in volunteer tourism, which often turns into feel-good travel. This takes a good look at “investing in people before profits” and really finding meaningful projects that are sustainable and also meaningful for both the traveler and community. —Sakhi Vyas

Photo by Jake Jones, Goingnowhe.re.