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Lima is the beautiful and vibrant capital of Peru. Situated along the arid desert coast of Peru it has developed into the top culinary hub for South America, hosting 3 restaurants in the "Top 50 Best Restaurants" list. Let us just say that travelers to Lima should bring loose-fitting pants and large appetites. The Limeños (people from Lima) love to eat well and they do not hide it as the restaurant's of Lima are always packed with families devouring all the delicious culinary delights that Peru has to offer. If you are going to travel through Lima and don't know what to eat, here are 7 Peruvian dishes you must try while visiting Lima. The Top 7 Peruvian Dishes You Must Try Ceviche Ceviche is probably one of the most popular Peruvian dishes to come out of Peruvian cuisine and is still popular amongst the locals. Typically enjoyed during lunch, it is a refreshing dish for those hot Peruvian summers. Ceviche or cebiche is made up of seafood cooked in a lime-based sauce known as leche de tigre or tiger's milk. The fish is prepared by chopping it roughly and letting it cook in the citric acid of the leche de tigre sauce. Along with the fish, the dish is topped with an onion salsa, boiled choclo corn and sweet potato. Ceviche is light, bright and a very refreshing dish that can be found throughout the city. Make sure to enjoy it while sipping on some pisco or a local larger. Head to El Muelle Cebicheria in the beautiful neighborhood of Barranco. This local spot is always crowded with families, so expect to wait. If you are with a group, I suggest ordering one of their large ceviches as it is enough to feed a small army. El Muelle Jr. Alfonso Ugarte 206, Lima 15063, Peru Conchas a la Parmesana Conchas a la Parmesana is one of the best simple snacks to enjoy with a beer. It is simply scallops on the half-shell with melted parmesan on top and a little olive oil. This dish is just another example of the wonderful ingredients the Peruvians pull from the Pacific Ocean and the delicious simplicity of Peruvian dishes. Head over to Punto Azul in Miraflores for some fantastic concha a la parmesana as well as other traditional Peruvian dishes. This is a very popular stop for both locals and tourist alike. Don't let the wait discourage because it is well worth it. Punto Azul Calle San Martin 595, Miraflores 15074, Perú Tiradito Continuing down the path of the ceviche family, you will find tiradito. According to urban legend, tiradito was invented by the local fisherman or pescadores. As they would clean their morning catch they would cut off thin slices, toss them onto the hot coastal rocks to lightly sear them, and with a squeeze of lime juice eat them right there. What separates tiraditos from ceviche is the thin cut. Tiraditos is cut sashimi style in the Japanese tradition*. Then they cover the fish with a lime-based sauce to cook. This is a popular dish at both traditional and modern restaurants. We suggest heading to Hanzo in San Isidro for some fantastic Nikkei cuisine and of course tiraditos. *In Peru it is very common to find Japanese, Peruvian fusion called Nikkei. Hanzo Av. Los Conquistadores 598, San Isidro 15073, Peru Anticuchos Anticuchos is the must-try dish on this list when coming to Lima. It is their ultimate street food that has a long history in Peru. Anticuchos are beef hearts that are grilled with different spices on a hot grill off the flame. Don't let the beef heart scare you off. You would have no idea that this savory meat was heart if I didn't tell you. Just order three to six sticks of Anticuchos, dip them in their spicy yellow pepper sauce, and enjoy. Anticuchos can be found throughout the city but we suggest heading to Anticuchos Grimanesa. This was once a street stand but it got so popular that the owner was forced by the city to open up her own place due to the congestion in the streets, so you know it's good. Anticuchos Grimanesa Calle Ignacio Merino 466, Miraflores 15074, Perú Lomo Saltado Lomo Saltado simply put is the Peruvian version of stir-fry. A popular cuisine in Peru is chifa, the fusion of Peruvian and Chinese cuisine. As you wander the streets of Lima you will find chifa restaurants all over the city. One of the more popular dishes to come out of this is Lomo Saltado which can be found in local bodegas and chifa restaurants alike. Lomo Saltado is simply beef cooked in spices, onions, peppers and the Peruvian saltado sauce. The stir-fry is plated with fries and rice and there you have it: lomo saltado! It is a fantastic cheap dish to fill you up. Head to Las Mesitas in the neighborhood of Barranco for some fantastic Lomo Saltado. This is an old school restaurant that will have all the Peruvian greats when it comes to food. Las Mesitas Av. Almte. Miguel Grau 341, Lima 15063, Perú Causa Causas are little Peruvian stacks of heaven that any traveler serious about eating in Peru needs to try. Peru is the potato capital of the world and this dish shows how they are the masters of preparing them as well. Traditionally causas are prepared by layering chilled mashed potatoes with layers of avocado and shredded chicken to create heaven. However, today they can come filled with many different ingredients including shrimp, white fish, octopus, and crab. No matter what you order it will always be a stack fluffy potatoes, avocado, and a tasty filling. Lunchtime on the weekend is the best time to enjoys these Peruvian towers and make sure to get a pisco sour to wash it all down. Stop in at Canta Rana in Barranco for lunch to try these delicious stacks of heaven! Canta Rana Genova 101, Barranco 15063, Perú Picarones Let us finish off this list with a tasty doughy dessert. Picarones is the Peruvian doughnut. They are delicious little rings of fried dough made from wheat flour and pumpkin and then topped with a sugar cane syrup called chancaca. Picarones can be found everywhere both in restaurants and on the streets. One of the best times to go and enjoy these treat is at the weekend evening street market in the center of Barranco. If you happen to miss it though head to El Tìo Mario to try this sweet Peruvian dish. El Tìo Mario is also famous for anticuchos so order up some more of that delicious beef heart and finish the night off with Picarones! Anticucheria El Tio Mario Paseo Chabuca Granda, Distrito de Lima 15063, Perú It is difficult, to sum up this gastronomic brilliance of Peru and Lima in just 7 Peruvian dishes but this list is a great start for your culinary adventure. For any traveler who travels for food, Lima is the city for you! Read More About Lima: Unique Things to Do in Lima, Peru The Best Pisco Sour in Lima Lima to Huacachina: Exploring the Only Desert Oasis in South America Escape from Lima | A Peruvian Adventure with Peru Hop Pin for Later This article was originally published on Tavior.
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Tech Zone 24 – Just another WordPress site While browsing the internet I came accross an amazing article from Semrush that I would like to share with you. If you enjoy this article then you can visit the original article using the link to the bottom of this page. You’ve heard people telling you that you need to write in-depth content because that’s what Google wants. And it’s true… the average page that ranks on page 1 of Google contains 1,890 words. But you already know that. The question is, should you be writing 2,000-word articles? 5,000? Or maybe even go crazy and create ultimate guides that are 30,000 words? What’s funny is, I have done it all. I’ve even tested out adding custom images and illustrations to these in-depth articles to see if that helps. And of course, I tested if having one super long page with tens of thousands of words or having multiple pages with 4,000 or 5,000 words is better. So, what do you think? How in-depth should your content be? Well, let’s first look at my first marketing blog, Quick Sprout. Short articles don’t rank well With Quick Sprout, it started off just like any normal blog. I would write 500 to 1,000-word blog posts and Google loved me. Just look at my traffic during January 2011. As you can see, I had a whopping 67,038 unique visitors. That’s not too bad. Even with the content being short, it did fairly well on Google over the years. But over time, more marketing blogs started to pop up, competition increased, and I had no choice but to write more detailed content. I started writing posts that were anywhere from 1,000 to a few thousand words. When I started to do that, I was able to rapidly grow my traffic from 67,038 to 115,759 in one year. That’s a 72.67% increase in traffic in just 1 year. It was one of my best years, and all I had to do was write longer content. So naturally, I kept up with the trend and continually focused on longer content. But as the competition kept increasing, my traffic started to stagnate, even though I was producing in-depth content. Here are my traffic stats for November 2012 on Quick Sprout. I understand that Thanksgiving takes place in November, hence traffic wasn’t as high as it could be. But still, there really wasn’t any growth from January to November of 2012. In other words, writing in-depth content that was a few thousand words max wasn’t working out. So what next? Well, my traffic had plateaued. I had to figure something else out. Writing longer, more in-depth content had helped me before… so I thought, why not try the 10x formula. I decided to create content 10 times longer, better, and more in-depth than everyone else. I was going to the extreme because I knew it would reduce the chance of others copying me. Plus, I was hoping that you would love it as a reader. So, on January 24, 2013, I released my first in-depth guide. It was called The Advanced Guide to SEO. It was so in-depth that it could have been a book. Literally! Heck, some say it was even better than a book as I paid someone for custom illustration work. Now let’s look at the traffic stats for January 2013 when I published the guide. As you can see my traffic really started to climb again. I went from 112,681 visitors in November to 244,923 visitors in January. Within 2 months I grew my traffic by 117%. That’s crazy!!!! The only difference: I was creating content that was so in-depth that no one else dared to copy to me (at that time). Sure, some tried and a few were able to create some great content, but it wasn’t like hundreds of competing in-depth guides were coming out each year. Not even close! Now, when I published the guide I broke it down into multiple chapters like a book because when I tested out making it one long page, it loaded so slow that the user experience was terrible. Nonetheless, the strategy was effective. So what did I do next? I created 12 in-depth guides I partnered up with other marketers and created over 280,000 words of marketing content. I picked every major subject… from online marketing to landing pages to growth hacking. I did whatever I could to generate the most traffic within the digital marketing space. It took a lot of time and money to create all 12 of these guides, but it was worth it. By January of 2014, my traffic had reached all-time highs. I was generating 378,434 visitors a month. That’s a lot for a personal blog on marketing. Heck, that’s a lot for any blog. In other words, writing 10x content that was super in-depth worked really well. Even when I stopped producing guides, my traffic, continually rose. Here’s my traffic in January 2015: And here’s January 2016 for Quick Sprout: But over time something happened. My traffic didn’t keep growing. And it didn’t stay flat either… it started to drop. In 2017, my traffic dropped for the first time. It went from 518,068 monthly visitors to 451,485. It wasn’t a huge drop, but it was a drop. And in 2018 my traffic dropped even more: I saw a huge drop in 2018. Traffic went down to just 297,251 monthly visitors. And sure, part of that is because I shifted my focus to NeilPatel.com, which has become the main place I blog now. But it’s largely that I learned something new when building up NeilPatel.com. Longer isn’t always better Similar to Quick Sprout, I have in-depth guides on NeilPatel.com. I have guides on online marketing, SEO, Google ads, Facebook ads, and the list goes on and on. If you happened to click on any of the guides above you’ll notice that they are drastically different than the ones on Quick Sprout. Here are the main differences: No fancy design – I found with the Quick Sprout experience, people love the fancy designs, but over time content gets old and outdated. To update content when there are so many custom illustrations is tough, which means you probably won’t update it as often as you should. This causes traffic to go down over time because people want to read up-to-date and relevant information. Shorter and to the point – I’ve found that you don’t need super in-depth content. The guides on NeilPatel.com rank in similar positions on Google and cap out at around 10,000 words. They are still in-depth, but I found that after 10,000 or so words there are diminishing returns. Now let’s look at the stats. Here’s the traffic to the advanced SEO guide on Quick Sprout over the last 30 days: Over 7,842 unique pageviews. There are tons of chapters and as you can see people are going through all of them. And now let’s look at the NeilPatel.com SEO guide: I spent a lot less time, energy, and money creating the guide on NeilPatel.com, yet it receives 17,442 unique pageviews per month, which is more than the Quick Sprout guide. That’s a 122% difference! But how is that possible? I know what you are thinking. Google wants people to create higher quality content that benefits people. So how is it that the NeilPatel.com one ranks higher. Is it because of backlinks? Well, the guide on Quick Sprout has 850 referring domains: And the NeilPatel.com has 831 referring domains: Plus, they have similar URL ratings and domain ratings according to Ahrefs so that can’t be it. So, what gives? Google is a machine. It doesn’t think with emotions, it uses logic. While we as a user look at the guide on Quick Sprout and think that it looks better and is more in-depth, Google focuses on the facts. See, Google doesn’t determine if one article is better than another by asking people for their opinion. Instead, they look at the data. For example, they can look at the following metrics: Time on site – which content piece has a better time on site? Bounce rate – which content piece has the lowest bounce rate? Back button – does the article solve all of the visitors’ questions and concerns? So much so they visitor doesn’t have to hit the back button and go back to Google to find another web page? And those are just a few things that Google looks at from their 200+ ranking factors. Because of this, I took a different approach to NeilPatel.com, which is why my traffic has continually gone up over time. Instead of using opinion and spending tons of energy creating content that I think is amazing, I decided to let Google guide me. With NeilPatel.com, my articles range from 2,000 to 3,000 words. I’ve tried articles with 5,000+ words, but there is no guarantee that the more in-depth content will generate more traffic or that users will love it. Now to clarify, I’m not trying to be lazy. Instead, I’m trying to create amazing content while being short and to the point. I want to be efficient with both my time and your time while still delivering immense value. Here’s the process I use to ensure I am not writing tons of content that people don’t want to read. Be data driven Because there is no guarantee that an article or blog post will do well, I focus on writing amazing content that is 2,000 to 3,000-words long. I stick within that region because it is short enough where you will read it and long enough that I can go in-depth enough to provide value. Once I release a handful of articles, I then look to see which ones you prefer based on social shares and search traffic. Now that I have a list of articles that are doing somewhat well, I log into Google Search Console and find those URLs. You can find a list of URLs within Google Search Console by clicking on “Search Traffic” and then “Search Analytics”. You’ll see a screen load that looks something like this: From there you’ll want to click on the “pages” button. You should be looking at a screen that looks similar to this: Find the pages that are gaining traction based on total search traffic and social shares and then click on them (you can input URLs into Shared Count to find out social sharing data). Once you click on the URL, you’ll want to select the “Queries” icon to see which search terms people are finding that article from. Now go back to your article and make it more in-depth. And when I say in-depth, I am not talking about word count like I used to focus on at Quick Sprout. Instead, I am talking depth… did the article cover everything that the user was looking for? If you can cover everything in 3,000 words then you are good. If not, you’ll have to make it longer. The way you do this is by seeing which search queries people are using to find your articles (like in the screenshot above). Keep in mind that people aren’t searching Google in a deliberate effort to land on your site… people use Google because they are looking for a solution to their problem. Think of those queries that Google Search Console is showing you as “questions” people have. If your article is in-depth enough to answer all of those questions, then you have done a good job. If not, you’ll have to go more in-depth. In essence, you are adding more words to your article, but you aren’t adding fluff. You’re not keyword stuffing either. You are simply making sure to cover all aspects of the subject within your article. This is how you write in-depth articles and not waste your time (or money) on word count. And that’s how I grew NeilPatel.com without writing too many unnecessary words. Conclusion If you are writing 10,000-word articles you are wasting your time. Heck, even articles over 5,000 words could be wasting your time if you are only going after as many words as possible and adding tons of fluff along the way. You don’t know what people want to read. You’re just taking a guess. The best approach is to write content that is amazing and within the 2,000 word to 3,000-word range. Once you publish the content, give it a few months and then look at search traffic as well as social sharing data to see what people love. Take those articles and invest more resources into making them better and ultimately more in-depth (in terms of quality and information, not word count). The last thing you want to do is write in-depth articles on subjects that very few people care about. Just look at the Advanced Guide to SEO on Quick Sprout… I made an obvious mistake. I made it super in-depth on “advanced SEO”. But when you search Google for the term “SEO” and you scroll to the bottom to see related queries you see this… People are looking for the basics of SEO, not advanced SEO information. In Conclusion If you would certainly such as to check out even more short articles on search engine optimization after that feel cost-free to search our various other articles. We have many more curated write-ups from semrush as well as I wish you delight in reading them. link to original source
A Grey World | Nothing is black or white… RRS Feed link: https://agreyworld.wordpress.com/feed/ Start at the beginning Latest Chapter News: Sorry for the lack of posts. I've gotten to the point where I'm not going to force myself to write them and have something not worth reading. You can "follow" (button in the top right) to receive an email when I pick things up again. New…
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50 Communication Tactics | Killer Communication Tactis and Advice It is not an exaggeration to suggest that effective communication skills are some of the most important skills you can have in your life. Amazingly though, good communication skills are rarely worked on and many people have barriers to effective communication. If you suffer from problems concerning verbal and non verbal communication, you will find the following article very helpful as it includes 4 powerful tips on how to communicate effectively. Be Aware Of Your Body Language It is important, regardless of where you are and who you are communicating with, that you pay attention to your body language. For example, imagine your partner has asked if you will discuss something with them and while you say you are open to that discussion with your mouth; your arms are crossed and you are looking at your phone. What does this tell your partner? It certainly doesn't suggest that you are interested in speaking to them about anything. Non-written and non-verbal cues often give away more about how we are feeling and what we are thinking than you probably think. Even when you are not explicitly or directly communicating wit your mouth – remember that you are communicating with your body. A good tip is to think about your toes or use a "power" pose if you need a confidence boost before a big presentation or talk. It is also helpful to research what other people's body language can tell you, to help you respond to them more effectively. Be Specific While Being Concise Whether you are presenting a new strategy at work or speaking to your partner about your future plans together, your audience will lose interest quickly if you include too much useless information and don't stay on point and keep things brief. The word brief actually doubles as an acronym – background, reason, information, end, follow-up. Although this is normally applied to writing emails that are short but to the point, it is something you should consider applying to all forms of communication. Couple this with the 7 C's of good communication – clear, concise, courteous, complete, coherent, correct and concrete and you will be better able to get across everything you need to without being too wordy. Develop Empathy Another way to improve your communication skills is by developing empathy, by taking time to see someone else's point of view. This helps you get over much of the anxiety and difficulty you may have about communicating with others and will help you respond to others more effectively. Listen Attentively As important as all of the points above are, the most important tips for overcome problems with your communication skills is learning to listen properly; that is, listen attentively. Although you probably think of communicating from the point of view as being the one communicating; listening skills are just as crucial. Listen closely and carefully. It can be hard work but it is worth keeping in mind that any good conversation is a string of words connected elegantly with listening.
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Point of Interest – The home of SwiftCraftyMonkey! Join Susan as she obsesses about cosmetic chemistry and other things (some possibly related to monkeys). Often strange, occasionally useful, and always worth a stop as a point of interest on your journey through the Intertron.
Guiltless Getaways Getaways can lead to a life with no regrets. They can be short or long and the usual ones that come to mind are out-of-town trips, whether domestic and overseas, in tourist destinations. The unexplored, however, are those normal, local and everyday places that are so filled with information and are worth visiting in a world, even in a country, that is rich with diversity and culture. There is much to see in the place where we have lived all our lives too. This blog is aimed to take you there and everywhere. Whether the author chose to spend for some of her travels at the sky's limit or if she spent the day with a budget in mind, the experience must be worth all the money, time and effort she shelled out. Some experiences can be replicated and it is the goal of this blog to provide anybody with information, tips and insights that can guide a traveller for that extraordinary experience, be it a travel getaway, a cultural getaway, a gastronomic getaway, a culinary getaway, a relaxing getaway and so on. Finally, through this blog the author wants to remember that getaways should not be a temporary escape from a reality you don't want to be in. Getaways should be seen as an opportunities to see and understand the world.
Atlas of New England | Where the things worth loving are A website dedicated to the culture, historic sites, ecology, and recreational opportunities of the New England states. I'm just beginning the process of incorporating maps in this website, to make it more of a real atlas. Bear with me, if you would. If anyone out there reads this and can think of places I ought to…
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Lubna Somjee, PhD | Clinical & Health Psychologist + Executive Coach Welcome to Leadership Psyche - a blog on the workplace, professional dev and leadership, I'm Dr Somjee. Today I'll be talking about the importance of having a Personal Board of Directors, and how to develop one for your professional needs. When working with executive/professional coaching clients regardless of stage of career, I often encourage people to develop a BOD. Today's business landscape is incredibly competitive and it is critical for people to have support regardless of stage of career, industry, whether you own a business or work for someone else. Having a mentor is useful but having a personal 'Board of Directors' (BOD), in addition to a mentor, is one of the best investments you can make in your career. The right support can allow you to be more reflective and gain clarity, make better professional decisions, inspire you to break through psychological barriers that hold you back, and hold you accountable This is a group of people you can turn to and discuss various career or business issues, obtain advice, and gain new perspectives. I often see people benefit greatly from having such a board - both professionally and personally. While there is no one formula to creating a BOD, here are some guidelines that can be useful to start. Diverse - One of the worst things you can do is to surround yourself with people similar to you. Surrounding yourself with people who act and think differently than yourself can increase creativity and provide new perspectives. When creating your own board, try to make the board as diverse as possible in terms of age, sex, race, stage of career, and so forth. Similar to companies with diverse work forces, a diverse board fosters greater innovation and creativity which can lead to improved problem solving and insights. Champion - It is helpful to include someone who is positive and supportive of you. This is the person who helps you feel hopeful about your dreams and reminds you of your worth. This is the person you can turn to when you feel defeated or stuck. Champions, however, should not make up the majority of your board as they can lead you astray with their unfailing positivity. Candid - This board member tells it to you like it is - they are blunt. They will hear you out and be curious about your thoughts and ideas, but will not automatically agree with you just to please you. They are going to provide honest, critical feedback - even when you may not want them to! Explorer - This person pushes you to clarify thoughts, encourages different perspectives, challenges your thinking at times. They do not necessarily tell you what to do but instead push you to stretch your vantage point on yourself and career, and help you be more self aware about decisions you are making, or thoughts you are having, regarding your career or business. Finding an explorer for your board can be difficult - you may be be able to find someone you know, or may end up hiring a professional (coach). Industry - Having someone on your board who is successful and in the same industry as you is invaluable. Additionally, it is just as valuable to also include some people from completely different industries as well. They can provide fresh perspectives, and conversations with them are likely to spark new ideas. Formal/informal - Some people on your board may know they are on your board - and some may not! You can approach friends, colleagues, executive or business coaches to be on your board etc. However, some people may be on your board informally because you may not know them well enough to ask. Your board can include people whom you obtain knowledge or inspiration from. They may include professionals you may interact with from time to time or people you have never met but have read their books, follow on social media, or have heard them speak and find them inspirational, or knowledgeable. Meetings - Given your board of directors can be made up of anyone, anywhere, remember that it is not necessary to meet with everyone at once, nor do you have to meet in person. You can meet in person, call or videoconference them one at a time, or perhaps a few at a time, on an as needed basis, or at pre-determined times. It is up to you to figure out what works best for you and them. Refresh - Every year or two, re-visit your board and see if it needs to be tweaked. Adding or replacing people to keep things fresh may be necessary to help you with different stages and demands of your career. Give Back - Make sure that the people who are on your board are also getting back from you in some way. Is there a way you can help them with their career or business? Is there a perspective, information, or talent you possess that can help them on their journey? While there are many ways to populate a board, the above examples can provide a basic framework from which to start. A board is a must and can be a great source of psychological, informational, professional, and inspirational support and help you accelerate your career, business or strengthen your leadership skills.
Sancerres at Sunset | Travel. Home. Repeat. Solo travel is daring, liberating, rejuvenating. It feels a little bit naughty, like getting away with something. You go when you want to go, where you want to go. You eat when you want to eat, what you want to eat. You can sleep when you want, and get up when you want, and you get the whole bed. You can stay at a luxury hotel or a campground; it's your choice. You get to indulge your own interests, no matter how nerdy, or boring, or eclectic someone else might think them. If you want to plan your trip around seeing a historic museum, a national park, and a baseball game, you can. You don't have to convince anyone why they matter, and you don't have to compromise. You can't live this way all time, and it wouldn't be good for you anyway. It's better to have people in your life, people you want to put first. But every once in a while, it's good to get away from others, so you can restore yourself. It's rare, and that's what makes it special. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, click here. Road trips are adventurous, raw, and so intriguing they've inspired movies from It Happened One Night to Thelma & Louise. You have flexibility. You stop when there's something interesting to see or do, or when you just want a break. You stay in one place as long as you want, and you move on to the next one whenever you want. You don't have a plane to catch, and you don't have to be molested to get on board. Your car is your cocoon; you can load it with whatever you're going to want. But the trip isn't about the car; it's about you and the road and where the road takes you and where you choose to follow it, eyes wide and mind open and heart full of excitement. And when you put solo travel and road trip together, it's magic. It's a rare and nurturing oasis of freedom in our over-regulated, over-scheduled, over-intrusive, over-judgmental modern world. It's life on your terms. And good magic needs a lot of behind-the-scenes planning and preparation. After five fabulous weeks alone on the road, here's my comprehensive list of Solo Road-Trip Essentials 1) A Loose Plan Freedom and flexibility are the glory of the solo road trip. You don't want to over-plan. But you have to have some idea of where you want to go and what you want to do. Make a short list of your top things to do. Mine included: Southfork Ranch in Texas and a Salem Red Sox game in Virginia, as well as the Everything Food Conference in Utah. I also wanted to go to all five of the contiguous states I hadn't already visited (North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon). Rough draft your route. You can do this online or on a paper map or both. Plot your to-see points, and trace a route that covers them. Use it to gauge how long it should take to drive from point to point and to plan stops on the way. But remember: it's just a rough plan; adjust it continually as you go along. At the end of every driving day, after I checked in to my hotel room and cleaned out the car, I got online to figure out where to stop next and what I'd like to see on the way--a small museum, a historic site, a local park. I made reservations if it looked like rooms were filling up, but the best driving days were the ones when I knew I could go until I wanted to stop. Decide how much you want to drive daily and weekly. I settled on roughly six hours per day, five days per week. I thought this would be a fairly light schedule, especially after years of driving from northern Virginia to my parents' home outside Boston. I've seen some travel bloggers write about driving 12 hours in a day, and great for them if that's what they like. But for me, the point of the journey was the journey, and I wanted to spend more time exploring out of the car than in it. I also knew that I'd have daily and weekly blogging responsibilities, that I like wearing frequently washed clothes, and that God gave us a weekly day of rest for a reason. As it turned out, even this light and flexible schedule became pretty tiring after five weeks, and I started slowing down by the time I made it back to the southeast. Write up a nightly to-do list. When you're road tired, and possibly hungry, you don't want to keep asking yourself, "What do I need to remember to do next?" Make a fool-proof list. Mine included: Unload and tidy up car. Charge electronics.Research next stop; make reservations. Jot down notes for upcoming blog posts. Edit photographs.Check in on social media: Instagram, facebook, twitter, PinterestRespond to email. Outline a basic daily schedule. You can make day to day changes when they're called for, but having a schedule will help you stay on track. Mine looked like this: A Day in the Life of a Travel Blogger on the Road 5:15am: Alarm goes off. Hit snooze. Visualize day ahead.5:24: Alarm goes off again. Get up. Make coffee. Do crunches.5:30ish: Over coffee, go online and make sure nothing catastrophic happened overnight, e.g. the blog didn't get hacked, Trump didn't tweet the nuclear codes, etc.5:55: Don exercise clothes and go outside or to hotel gym to work out.7ish: Shower and dress for the day. Comfy casual clothes for driving. No make-up, just eye cream with sunscreen, tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, lip balm with sunscreen, curled lashes, and body lotion with sunscreen. Keep concealer, powder foundation, red lipstick, and 3-in-1 blush, highlighter, and lip tint at the ready just in case.7:45ish: Protein breakfast, no simple carbs. Grab an apple for lunch.8:15ish: Pack, load car, swap out CDs. Check out of hotel. (Even though most hotels email a receipt, I always ask for a print-out at the desk and look it over before I leave, just in case.) 8:45ish: Hit the road. Stop along the way at an interesting site or two. Eat the apple for lunch.4-5pm: Check in at next hotel. Complete task list.6ish: Dinner. Usually a low-carb charcuterie plate in the room, occasionally a juicy burger from room service, out to a local Mexican place if in the southwest.7ish: Play at casino, read, watch TV.9: Skin care: oil-based cleanser, creamy cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, neck cream, moisturizer, body lotion. Bed. Prepare for departure. An organized approach to a few simple tasks will help make your departure much smoother. Set up a packing station a few days ahead of time. The earlier you can gather up the things you'll be taking, the less stressed you'll be as departure day nears. I used my small den for this, so that the growing piles wouldn't drive me crazy. Pay your bills. Set up automatic payments. Don't forget: housing--mortgage, rent, condo feesinsurance--health, home, autocredit cardsutilities (Suspend your cable unless you'll want to access it from the road.) Clean thoroughly. You don't want to return to an untidy home (and you don't want any multi-legged squatters moving in while you're away). I set aside a full day for this. Plan for a short first day of driving. Leaving can be the most stressful part of a trip. Give your extra self time to double-check that you've packed the prescriptions and turned off all the appliances (you can even snap pictures of them if you'll want the reassurance). Make a one-night reservation at an inexpensive highway hotel; just make sure it's far enough away that you won't be tempted to turn home to get that one last thing you wish you'd packed. Prepare to come home. This is part of preparing to leave, so that it won't haunt you near the end of the journey. I brought along a re-entry folder, for some paperwork regarding things I'd need to handle upon my return. Toward the end of the trip, I also planned for a short last day of driving, so that if there were any problems at home, I'd have time and energy to cope with them. I reserved what I hoped would be a luxury hotel room for my last few days on the road, so that I'd be coming home feeling rested and so that the last stretch of the trip wouldn't seem like more of a downer than necessary. Be flexible. You know that plan I had to see five new states? I only got to three of them before I decided that the last two would just be too much for this trip. On the other hand, I visited lots of places that I would never have planned ahead, just because they looked intriguing, from the Museum of Space History in New Mexico to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Go with the road and go with your gut. 2) A Priority on Safety You matter. Your safety matters. Take it seriously. Have your car checked out before you leave. I did this a few weeks early so there'd be time for any necessary repairs. Bring: A navigation system. Make sure your maps are updated.A road atlas. Electronics fail. Books don't. Have a back-up.Coolant, oil, and jumper cables. A road safety kit.A First-Aid kit.A Swiss Army knife. Membership in an auto club.A spare key.Any needed medications. I always travel with Extra-Strength Tylenol for headaches, Advil for muscle aches, and Claritin for allergies. (I'm happy to report that I didn't need the Tylenol.)Your Passport and of course your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. Establish your safety rules. It's easy to make wrong decisions in the moment when you don't have firm rules in place. Mine were: Never let the gas tank go below 1/2 west of the Mississippi or 1/4 east.No hiking alone in large parks. Marked trails in small parks were okay. No alcohol until the car is parked for the night. I also had a soft rule of only one glass of wine per night, which I bent twice for craft cocktails. But most nights, the only thing I drank was water. No stopping on the shoulder for photographs, no matter how beautiful the scenery. Stop only at designated overlooks and turn-outs. You might notice a few places in my narratives with metaphoric descriptions of landscapes and no pictures to match; that's why. 3) Lodging that Suits Your Style Lots of travellers are comfortable at hostels and campgrounds. If you're one of them, you might want to skip this part. I prefer luxury hotels, but they're not practical for one-night stops along the road. For road trips, I like a combination of casino, casual-convenient, and extended-stay hotels. Casino Hotels Casino hotels are a great option for women travelling alone, because: They're safe. There are cameras and security personnel everywhere. In casino towns, you can even walk alone at night, because they're all lit up, and there are lots of cops around. They're inexpensive. They're not in business to make money on the rooms, so you can usually stay for cheap or even for free. They usually have reasonably priced or even complementary valet parking. The big ones have rewards credit cards without annual fees, making them a better bet than most travel credit cards, and you also earn points redeemable as cash with their player's cards. There's always something to do. There are restaurants and bars, spas and pools, and of course table games and slot machines. These casino brands have hotels in multiple locations: Caesars Caesars has properties all over the country. Along with its namesake, its brands include Horseshoe, Harrah's, Bally's, and others. Its properties range from luxury to well-at-least-it's-comped. The two nicest hotels where I stayed on my recent road trip were Caesars properties. Its rewards program is Caesars Rewards. MGM MGM is another large network, with properties concentrated in Las Vegas and then scattered primarily through the South and the mid-Atlantic. Most have unique names. They range from luxury to mid-scale. Its rewards program is MLife. Boyd Boyd Gaming has 18 midscale properties in Nevada, the South, and the midwest. Most have unique names. Its rewards program is B Connected. El Dorado El Dorado has 26 midscale properties in the South, the West, and the midwest. Along with its namesake, its affiliated brands include Tropicana, Isle, Lady Luck, and others, with independent rewards programs. As of this writing, El Dorado has announced plans to acquire Caesars next year. Casual-Convenient Hotels These properties tend to be easily accessible from the road. They're often called limited-service hotels, because they lack upscale amenities like spas and bars, valet service, and shopping esplanades. But they do have what long-term road trippers want: big open parking lots, gyms, breakfast in the morning and cookies at night and coffee and tea all day, and usually microwaves and refrigerators in the rooms. My go-to brand has long been Hampton by Hilton, because they're ubiquitous and reliably clean and comfortable and reasonably priced. Hilton's rewards program is HHonors. I did have one nice stay at the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson in Northwood, Iowa. Two big plusses for this brand are cookies all day and a wonderful lending library system whereby road trippers can take a book at one property and return it at the next. Radisson's frequent-travel program is Radisson Rewards. Extended-Stay Hotels For longer stops, I prefer extended-stay hotels. Like their casual-convenient counterparts, they offer complimentary breakfast in the morning and sometimes receptions in the evening. The rooms have fully equipped kitchens with real dishes and glassware, things you miss after weeks on the road. My favorite brand is Residence Inn by Marriott. They're reliably clean and reasonably priced. The gyms and laundry rooms are large and well equipped. The televisions are Netflix-ready for use with your own account. They have a complimentary same-day grocery-shopping service. And there's microwave popcorn in the kitchen, which I never have at home, but can't resist when I'm curling up with a Netflix flick after a long day of driving or writing or laundry or all three. Marriott's rewards program is Bonvoy. 4) Food In my vision for the trip, I thought I'd be alternately dining at local haunts and having happy-hour bites with my single glass of wine at hotel bars. In reality, more often than not, I made myself a small charcuterie board in the hotel room, washed down with water, after I'd finished the tasks on my to-do list. Here's my list of groceries to pack: bottled water half-and-halfcured meats tunacheesesdips cruditesberriesplastic platesplastic cutlerypaper napkinsZiploc bags (more than you think you'll need)a small bottle of dish detergentcold packs 5) A Wardrobe for All Seasons Be prepared for all kinds of weather. After five weeks ranging from hot sun to wet snow (including both in Salt Lake City), here's what I wish I'd packed: Footwear comfortable pumpsversatile, comfy sandalsslip-on sneakershiking bootsrunning shoes flip-flopsslippers8 pr cushy gym socks4 pr ankle socks4 pr thick slouch socks2 pr hose/tights Basics I love Talbots for inexpensive basics that are easy to notch up with the right accessories. 1 comfortable skirt1 pr comfortable cotton pants1 pr designer jeans1 pr mom jeans2 pr cropped pants or Capris3 pr modest shorts4 long-sleeved tops8 short-sleeved tops Dresses 2 day-to-evening dresses3 casual dresses, including at least one that can double as a swim cover-up Outerwear 2 cardigans1 blazer1 windbreaker1 pr winter gloves Hats 3-4 wide-brimmed hats2-3 baseball caps1 warm knit hat Accessories 3 scarves3 belts: wide, medium, thin Activewear 2 pr gym shorts1 pr sweats1 modest bathing suit1 bikini Sleepwear 1 comfy cotton nightgown1 pr cozy pajamas 1 modest silk robe Jewelry I hate worrying about losing my jewelry when I travel, so I bring only a few good pieces that I can wear together: 1 pr comfortable earrings1 simple necklace3 rings3 bracelets1 brooch Laundry Supplies lg mesh laundry bagdetergentbleach podsdryer sheets 6) Bags and Baggage 1 sm. crossbody1 med. crossbody1 lg tote1 duffel bag, for 2-3 days worth of clothes1 lg suitcase, for clothes not presently needed1 picnic basket1 sm. soft-sided cooler that fits inside the picnic basket1 laptop bag1 camera bag packing cubes: Not only do they keep your suitcase organized, but they also help you keep tidy in hotel rooms that inexplicably don't have dressers with drawers. a collapsible wagon: If you take one piece of advice from this whole long post, take this one. I bought my little blue wagon to carry wine-and-cheese picnics to outdoor concerts and the beach. I use it more to lug groceries up to my 11th-storey condo. But it was a lifesaver not only for loading and unloading the car but also for carting the wash to and from hotel laundry rooms. 7) A Fitness Plan You have to be intentional about fitness or it will be too easy to blow off. I resolved before I left to spend an hour exercising every morning before I hit the road, unless I knew I'd be doing significant movement during the day. Most days I either used a treadmill in the hotel gym or went for a long walk in the fresh air. I also did ten crunches every morning while the coffee was brewing and lifted weights once or twice each week. I brought along my favorite work-out DVDs, yoga mat, hand weights, ankle weights, and resistance bands--and didn't take them out of the car once. The good news: I hit my 10,000-step goal every day, and usually far exceeded it, according to my fitbit, and I lost eight pounds. The bad news: It wasn't enough; I lost muscle tone because I didn't do enough strength training. If I'd known then what I know now, here's what I'd do: every morning: 10 crunches and five burpees5-6 times/week: 3-4 miles jogging or brisk walking3-4 times/week: strength training when possible: climb stairs 8) Money Rewards Credit Cards There are a lot of rewards credit cards out there, and it's worth selecting a few that will help maximize what you can reap back from your travels (and put toward your next journey!). Here's the balance that worked for me: 2 cards that pay an unlimited blanket rate of at least 1.5 percent (a go-to card and a back-up). Citibank's Double Cash card pays 1 percent back when you make purchases and 1 percent when you pay your bill; it has no annual fee. 1-2 casino branded cards. Caesars offers a Visa with benefits that include Caesars Rewards Platinum status (the lowest elite tier) for $5,000 in annual spending. It has no annual fee, and even low rollers can get nice rooms comped with it. If your credit is good enough, you may qualify for a Visa Signature, with its additional travel perks, like room upgrades and late check-out. 2-3 cards that pay at least 4 percent cash back for some of your major road-trip expenses. The Discover it Card offers a blanket 1 percent cash back on most items, and 5 percent on quarterly categories, like restaurants and gas stations, on up to $1,500 in purchases. It has no annual fee and will double all the cash back you earn during your first year. Cash Some people don't feel comfortable with a lot of cash; some people only feel comfortable with a lot of cash. Bring the amount you feel comfortable with. Just make sure to carry enough $5s and $1s for tips. And bring quarters for laundry; most hotels can sell you a roll, but I wouldn't count on it. Don't forget your ATM card(s). 9) Electronics and Entertainment Your list will depend somewhat on your personal preferences, but here are my road-trip must-haves: phone and chargers: I like my iPhone SE because it's small but has a good camera.earbuds: I save the ones they give out on planes and use them to catch up with the morning news while I exercise. laptop and charger: The only laptop I want to take on the road is my MacBook Air, because it's thin and light.cameras, chargers, cables, tripod: My big camera is a Nikon D3100 DSLR, which I often use with this tripod. I use my Sony DSC-W70 when lugging a DSLR is impractical; it's lightweight and takes good videos. a variety of things to listen to: I brought around 100 CDs, from classical to Christian (which was great for singing along in praise of God's creation), and swapped them out in the mornings before I hit the road, and I still got bored with them. I would add educational CDs from the Teaching Company and some Rosetta Stone to polish up one of my rusty languages. There are also podcasts and audio books, if you enjoy them. reading material: I like to bring a lot of magazines when I travel, because I can leave them for someone else to enjoy and lighten my load as I go. On the other hand, I usually limit myself to one book, because they're heavy. journal(s)/notebook(s): It's easy to forget things on the road, whether it's how your heart soared seeing a family of deer scamper through the Black Hills or the tour hours at Southfork Ranch. Write them down. I love these notebooks. 10) The Right Mind-Set A solo road trip is a wonderful opportunity, but it can be physically and emotionally grueling. Driving hours a day for weeks is tiring, and there's no one to take the wheel when you want a break. Things will go wrong. You may get lost. I took an hour-long detour through the Mojave Desert in California because I overshot my turn to Laughlin, Nevada. You may get scared. I've developed a weird phobia of overpasses that are so high I can't see the ground. You may get lonely. I missed my late mother, with whom I took my previous cross-country road trips, and I cried from Arizona to New Mexico. You have to set your mind to accept these kinds of things before you go. You have to allow yourself to feel emotional swings without being overwhelmed by them. You have to believe that the rewards are worth the risks. (And if you can't, that's okay, and it's better to realize it; long-term solo road tripping is not for everybody, and there are lots of other ways to travel.) I never questioned. No matter how sad or scared I became, I loved being on the road, and being on my own. And I slept better than I have in years.
The Edible Computer Show Gets a Makeover! New Year .. New Look ... New Mission ... In the 8 years I''ve had the pleasure of sharing this column on the air with CBC listeners I''ve been able to test drive a lot of intrinsically cool technologies. It not only makes my job a great deal of fun, it gives me the opportunity to reinvent my own sphere of work and play. Anything worth doing is worth keeping fresh, and that means reinventing. Given this is the start of another year, it seemed like a good time to put my money where my mouth is. Call this an experiment, an adventure and an invitation to help make the time I have with you on Monday mornings last a little longer, mean a little more and truly be an example of the way that people -can- live better through computers. I''m inviting you to be a columnist with me, to step into the role of a curious, enthusiastic explorer who is passionate about sharing things that work: technology-enabled community DNA. I''ve always been drawn to the social side of technology: how people are using tools to reinvent and empower their own lives and the world around them. I''ve chosen to use a collaborative tool called a wiki in order to foster a more participatory life for this column as it approaches it''s 9th year, and I''m excited about finding new ways of pushing the limits to see how was can all tell our own stories about the ways that we are using computers to cultivate happier, healthier and more fulfilled communities and lives. I hope I''ll have the good fortune of connecting with many of you here on a more personal level, and that you''re as excited as I am about storytelling, because it''s a powerful tool for change. Confession: I don''t have it all figured out ~grins~. In fact, that''s not by accident but rather by design. I wanted to find a simple, intuitive place to start, and to invite you to join me in exploring the best tools for collaborating, working, and playing and to begin applying them here. As I said, this is an experiment and an opportunity to have a little fun. I know we''ll all have lots of stories to tell! On your radio dial: 1550 am Windsor ... 88.1 fm Chatham ... 90.3 fm Sarnia.