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What We’re Reading

Forever Changed—Thank You Roaming Gnome,” Jetset Castle
After a whirlwind trip around the world, Ashley reflects on how travel has changed her “reality.” —Lauren Nicholl

Chef Ben Shewry on How a $1.20 Taco Changed His Life,” Eater
I’m obsessed with the super design-minded new food magazine, FOOL. The second issue just came out and includes a great piece written by chef Ben Shewry of Australia’s Attica. Shewry details how a five-day surf trip up and down the Pacific Coast Highway turned into a life-changing taco pilgrimage. Read on to find out the taco spots he hit up. —Jen Murphy

Real Faces, Real People, Real Love in Vietnam,” New York Times Lens Blog
A great series of photos of Vietnam’s LGBT community by Maika Elan. This was Elan’s first time working with the LGBT community and most of her subjects were a bit hesitant about being photographed so candidly. In Vietnam, where same-sex relationships are usually not accepted by society or family members, the Communist government is considering same-sex marriage. This would be a big move for any Asian country. —Jason Seldon

View from the Bridge,” The Milk Carton Kids
The musician Joe Henry (singer-songwriter/producer) is also a mindful traveler and polymathic thinker. In a “Foreword” to a forthcoming CD by The Milk Carton Kids, he muses on how the existential effects of travel and music are very much the same. —Derk Richardson 

Extreme Room Service: Space Hotel is Surprisingly Spacious,” Web Urbanist
If you really, really need to get away from it all, you’re soon to have more options—in a hotel roughly 220 miles from the Earth’s surface. Web Urbanist has released several images from the design phase of a new commercial space station, currently in development at a Russian company called Orbital Technologies. While it may provide an escape like no other, the view will come with a hefty price tag—a five-day stay (including transportation costs) is estimated at roughly $1 million. —Bryan Kitch

Watching Huell, Reading Ada,” Gelatobaby
AFAR contributor Alissa Walker pays tribute to Huell Howser and Ada Louise Huxtable—two urban advocates whose spectrum of influence was diverse yet inherently connected. —Shelley Kieran

Lapland, From Icy Plunge to Blazing Sky,” The New York Times
Writer Russ Juskalian takes us to what has to be one of the craziest regions on Earth: Finnish Lapland. It’s a place where indigenous people still herd reindeer, locals like to overheat themselves in saunas and then jump into near-freezing water, and “green plasma” streaks the night sky. —Serena Renner

30 Travel Terms that Don’t Exist But Should,” Lonely Planet
I love learning words in other languages, especially those that combine several different concepts into a single term. This lovely little list by Lonely Planet taught me a whole new kind of language—Travelese. These neologisms are just too good not to share. And this may be the only article on the whole internet that has a comment thread worth reading! —Sarah Zapiler

Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story, by Jim Holt
When I travel, I am frequently and literally awestruck by the very existence of the wonders I encounter. In refreshingly accessible and entertaining prose, philosopher Holt burrows down into the big question, why is this here at all, instead of nothing? His book becomes a world tour of thinking on the subject. —Derk Richardson

America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead,” Mother Jones
The connection between leaded gasoline and violent crime. —Kevin Favro

From Cripple Creek to Pound Ridge,” Seattle Weekly
Looking back on the momentous events of 2012, one that stands out in the music world was the passing of Levon Helm (The Band) on April 19. In June, Seattle singer-songwriter Jesse Sykes wrote a brief homage, which included her thoughts about how listening to The Band’s debut album, Music from Big Pink, was that kind of “pinnacle moment that music becomes something that isn’t just a void that could make you feel good, distracted, even joyful—this time it presents itself as a vehicle that could take you down through the depths of spirit and soul, make you aware you have a soul.” —Derk Richardson

Weekend Names
The site is quite simple. Weekend Names tells the stories of creative people through words and photos. Interesting people doing interesting things from all around the world. —Jason Seldon 

Photo by Ashley Castle