Moving apartments in Berlin, unpacking our backpacks, and a blogging meme called My 7 Links. How’s it all connected? Bear with us.
View from our balcony in Neukölln, Berlin for the next couple of months.
Yesterday was moving day for us. (“Ha!” you’re saying. “Isn’t every day moving day for you guys?” Well yes, but…)
Anyhow, the bulk of any traditional moving process is pretty much dreadful. Except, that is, when you happen only to be slinging backpacks and moving imperceptibly from one side of Berlin’s Neukölln neighborhood to the other.
The whole process –- this time — was painless, almost pleasant. Also, for the first time in ages, we fully unpacked our backpacks. Out of nooks and crannies, we rediscovered items we’d resigned to loss. We ogled at other bits and wondered, “Why on earth do we still have this?”
Periodic unpacking — we recommend it highly. What better way to take stock of what you’re carrying around with you literally and figuratively?
A Virtual Unpacking
So the timing was just about right when Keith from Velvet Escape tagged us to participate in something called the “My 7 Links” project from Tripbase. Once you’re tagged, you offer up seven links from your own blog that fit various categories — from an article that you believe to be your best to one that you feel is your most underappreciated.
So it is that we unpacked our blog and looked back over the last four years.
Our Approach: She Said, He Said
As we may have already made you aware, traveling and working with your partner 24-7-365 is not always a smooth and easy affair. In recognition of our differing opinions and stubborn constitutions, we decided to do this “she said, he said” style. So you get a double dose of opinion. (“Ugh.” We know what you’re thinking.)
So you get to see where our opinions differ. And we get to carve out a few more moments of marital bliss. Without further ado, to the seven categories.
Most Beautiful Post
Audrey: A Surprising Feast in Zugdidi
You may read this post and think, “This isn’t particularly beautiful, Audrey.” Perhaps it isn’t in terms of prose or physical beauty, but each time I consider why we’re on this journey, this is the story that comes to mind. It grounds me in the beauty of humanity and the kindness of strangers. Also, I love the way Dan tells this story when we give presentations about our journey. It makes me want to cry.
Dan: Honest Antarctica: Gray Skies, Blue Ice
Hard to argue with Audrey. I will never forget those women and what they symbolize.
I’ll go with imagery and prose. Landing day south of the Antarctic circle literally left me speechless. In this post, I tried the best I could to describe what it was like. I get chills of that place — and not just because of the temperature.
Most Popular Post
No argument or discussion here. This post took off when it was first published and it continues to make the rounds today. If one post summarizes who we are, how we approach things, and how practical travel lessons can be applied to the “real world,” this is it.
This is also the post that set off our Travel and Personal Growth Series.
Most Controversial Post
Tough category. For better or worse, we really don’t do a lot of controversy here on Uncornered Market.
Audrey: Are you a Stuff Junkie or Experience Junkie?
Although most commenters echoed from the “experience junkie” camp, it was the offline feedback that surprised me. Emails and back-channel communication suggested there were more than a few frustrated and unsettled “stuff” people who were not comfortable commenting.
Dan: Argentine Food: Steak, Empanadas, Pizza, Pasta, Repeat
I always thought food could bring us together. That is, until we wrote this and began to digest and respond to the comments.
Most Helpful Post
Audrey: Capturing Humanity: 10 Tips for Great Street and Market Photos
What’s the secret to photographing people? Photoshop? Number of megapixels? Nope.
Photography experts tend to approach their how-to’s with the technical. When it comes to photographing people (and having fun with it), there’s the relationship with your subject. With so little time, how do you get to zero in on something personal shared in the moment. This post explains our approach.
Dan: How to Travel Without Hugging the Bowl
Delhi belly. Turkey tummy. Stomach problems are one of the world’s greatest travel fears. Nothing like a good bug or parasite to leave you hugging the toilet and barfing away your vacation.
For us, the trick is how to balance diving into local authentic eating experiences and street food while maintaining digestive system integrity.
This is our attempt at a practical, balanced approach. We hope a few more people have experimented successfully with street food thanks to this piece.
A Post Whose Success Surprised Us
Audrey: Travel Snobbery and a Tour to Bali
I scribbled this post in my notebook a couple of days into our tour of Bali. I felt strongly about the message, but I really didn’t expect this to get 5,000 hits on the first day. Travel snobbery amongst those in the travel community? Apparently it resonates.
Dan: Nibbles That Give Me the Shivers (or, Sh*t I Wouldn’t Eat Again)
I should have known. This post was suggested by a very astute friend as we shared a good laugh (at dinner no less) over these food experiences one night. “You know, you should write about this.”
Eating guinea pig in Ecuador. Not our favorite meal.
She was right. I had great fun writing it. Perhaps that was its greatest success.
A Post that Didn’t Get the Attention We Felt It Deserved
Audrey: The Berlin Street Artist: A Parable of Passion and Practice
I received quite a bit of email about this article, too. One reader even suggested we write a book packed with similar vignettes. The article, however, never took off.
The message still resonates with me, and I’m looking for that juggler again now that we’re back in Berlin.
Dan: Unspoken Patagonia
While this post got the attention of Pauline Frommer and landed me an interview on her weekly radio travel program, it never got any broader traction. It’s relevant, it’s poignant, it’s sad – and perhaps too serious a topic for a region that is often idolized in the travel world.
Post We’re Most Proud Of
Audrey: Saying Goodbye, Celebrating Life
I still tear up when I read this post about the death of my grandmother. I’m proud of this not only because I think she would have enjoyed what I wrote about her, but her practical side would have appreciated that I took the opportunity to share practical advice about dealing with end-of-life issues.
Dan: Climbing Kilimanjaro: Life Lessons from the Top of Africa
This is really difficult. I’m proud of a good chunk on this website. (Very frankly, I’m not proud of everything, but that’s the nature of the creative process.)
What we experienced on Kilimanjaro is relevant to challenges, personal and professional. Life is a fragile balance of joy and fear, and will and circumstances. On that mountain, something came together that still moves me.
I also find it really difficult to write about other people, especially ones that I call friends. (Sounds odd coming from someone who writes, I know.) But to deal with difficult and emotional situations in a way that does so fairly and fully to the people, the circumstances, and the lessons is not easy. But I felt I did it here. From the emails and comments we received, others seem to have taken inspiration and motivation from it as well.
Now it’s time to ask you, our readers. What did we miss? Is there a better answer for any of these?
Five More Bloggers to Participate
The 7 Links meme also suggests we tag five other bloggers to carry the torch. We’re tagging bloggers who we admire as people, writers and storytellers. Actually, we’re acting selfishly here. Given their experience and talent, we’re just plain curious — what would they choose, especially in the categories of “didn’t get success it deserved” and “most proud.”