Cusco, Peru How often does what we desperately wish for come true? Ojalá has always been one of my favorite Spanish words, perhaps precisely for the magic and the possibility that it holds. Although it is directly translated to “hopefully,” ojalá actually derives from an Arabic expression: “ma sha allah,” which means “should God will…

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A Japanese Encounter in Nepal Think of all the people you meet in your lifetime. What if you recognized each of those encounters as irreplicable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and gave them your utmost presence and attention? Literally translated into ichi (one) go (time) ichi (one) e (meeting/encounter), ichi-go ichi-e is an old Japanese proverb that means…

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A look into Olas Verdes, a Costa Rican hotel that is pioneering the sustainability movement in Nosara.

Throughout my travels, I’m constantly on the lookout for businesses that can balance financial success with a consciousness of how their development affects the world around them. My recent visit to the developing beach town of Nosara, Costa Rica, revealed that it is indeed possible for a business to change and evolve to meet market…

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When I think of a reunion, I imagine two long-lost lovers running towards one another, limbs akimbo as fireworks play in the background. But in reality, encounters between loved ones are much simpler and meaningful than that. Rooted in the word “retrouver,” which literally means “to find something again,” the French word retrouvailles is a…

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Lazio, Italy Vale la pena is an Italian expression that has a direct translation but, as a native Italian speaker, I can tell you that it’s not quite the same. Vale la pena means “it’s worth it,” yet there is a keyword in the Italian phrase that is lost in the English version: pena, punishment. In Italian,…

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Skinnskatteberg, Sweden The Swedes are well-known for their minimalist, functional, and sustainable approach to living, and this is reflected in the untranslatable word lagom. Lagom means not too much and not too little: it’s just the right amount, and as the Swedish proverb goes, “the right amount is best.” Lagom asks us to create balance in…

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No one had to teach me the meaning of saudade, because I’ve intimately understood it since I could speak. Saudade is a famous Portuguese word: countless articles have been written trying to capture its essence, but none of them have quite explained how it makes me feel. Saudade is a feeling of longing, melancholy, desire,…

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I experienced kefi before I even knew it was a word. Kefi accurately captures Greek culture as I’ve experienced it. The word roughly translates to: the spirit of joy, passion, euphoria, enthusiasm, exuberance, frenzy. It’s that overpowering emotion you have when you completely let go in the moment, release inhibitions, and allow yourself to joyfully feel…

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JAVA, INDONESIA As a writer and a traveler, I scavenge the world for words that carry far more meaning than their direct translation. Laden with context, multifaceted, and tailored to culture, these words can only be understood when we experience them. During my visit to Java, I serendipitously found myself in front of a small,…

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I have a love affair with Colombia that’s lasted eight years and counting. I still remember my first visit to Cartagena, a magical Caribbean town on the northern coast, when I was 19. I was instantly enamored by the quaint, romantic Spanish colonial architecture. There was a certain allure in how puddles of flower petals…

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One year ago, I sat down to write an article about love. After countless hours spent blankly staring at a computer screen, I accepted the reality of why I couldn’t write the piece: I didn’t know enough about love outside of my own personal experience. So, I decided to do the next best thing. Over…

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Cuba is much more than a time capsule for visitors to gawk at: during my time there, I learned that it is a country still deeply entrenched in a complex political situation, a struggle for financial stability, and teetering on the brink of a collective craving for a better life.

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We find in Nature the same qualities that we find in our creative, instinctual selves – the inexplicable, the limitless, the part that is unapologetic and determined to express itself to the world in full force. 

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