Lessons Learned in Bogotá, Colombia

“Colombia? Like, the country?”

This was a question I received countless times in the months leading up to my trip to Bogotá, Colombia. While there were friends who were incredibly supportive of my trip, many people seemed absolutely baffled by my admission that my first experience abroad would be to a country few people associated with tourism. These offerings were disheartening, but regardless, I packed my bags and began the trip to the country that was such a mystery to me.

Nearing the Finish Line

“Hey, Dan? Calm it with the sports references.” I know, this is my third sports-referenced blog post title in the past few months, so I guess you could say I’m one overtly-masculine grunt away from being a full-blown athlete. But let’s save the conversation about my transition into a sports icon for another day so we can get on to the actual matters at hand.

About a Brain on Fire

Having recently made my way back into the world of academia, I decided to take a stroll down memory lane by leafing through some of the papers I wrote during my time as an undergraduate student. One that stood out to me was a book summary I wrote about Susan Cahalan’s bestselling memoir Brain on Fire.

My Time as a Hard-Nosed Reporter

My second year of college found me doing everything I could to be involved on campus. I wanted to have the quintessential college experience of rushing from activity to activity as a student, but the only “activities” I rushed to and from were ice cream and pop tarts. It wasn’t my best year. So after some soul-searching, I decided to apply to write for the school paper.

Creating a Book Club

My goal to “join a group” has hung over my head throughout the past year. This is primarily because I would go back and forth on which group to join. I initially considered joining a running club, but I decided against this after straining my knee and observing how unnecessarily energetic those in athletic clubs tend to be. So after the dream of joining a weekly running club ended, I began to set my sights on something much more sedentary. And that was when I decided to join a book club.

Crossing Borders, Bathing in a Great Lake, and Calculating Kilometers (Canada Part I)

“Do Something Crazy”

That phrase has haunted me ever since I set it as a goal I wanted to complete as a 23-year-old. Looking back, I can see that I wanted to do something that would shake me out of my incredibly comfortable zone, but I have spent the months since then struggling to find an activity that would be considered “crazy.” I had almost given up finding something creative when an idea hit me. What if I did a spur of the moment weekend trip to Canada? I thought about it a bit more and was soon raring to begin what I was sure would be an unforgettable weekend.

A Guy with a Fear of Raw Meat Makes Sushi

Oh, hello there! I didn’t notice you come into my kitchen. But since you’re already here, why don’t you grab a seat and join me while I prepare some delicious food!

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how I imagine I would start my cooking show if the Food Network would ever get around to greenlighting my pilot. And yes, I would feign surprise at my guest’s arrival every single episode. Anyway, on to the matter at hand.