Greetings from the Finnish Olympic Ski Jump Team. 😂

LOVE YOU, FINLAND. Never change! #löyly

No Passport or Ticket: How a Woman Evaded Airport Security and Flew to London

Let’s not kid ourselves — being white is about 90% of why she was able to sneak onto these flights in the first place.

One year later — another BEAUTIFUL day for the Women’s March of 2018.

Bike Lane Hero. New Years Day.

The first time I went to Berlin back in 2013, I nearly got knocked over in the bike lane several times. We’re just not used to biking culture in the States!

Since then, I’ve tried to be hyper-aware of bike lanes in cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Never stand there, not even for a moment!

This video from the Brooklyn Bridge made me laugh. It’s pretty much the worst place to bike in NYC because crowds of tourists block all the lanes. “Bike lane, you’re in the BIKE lane!”

What is the country that you can keep going back to again and again without getting bored?

For me, it's Italy. So diverse and varied, but with such cohesive beauty.

Photos from Adventurous Kate's post

Things have been a bit quiet and will continue to be quiet this week. The reason? I moved into my new place!

Here are a few pics of the VERY much unpacked apartment, and because I always feel awkward in selfies, here are some extra awkward shots of the top of my head.

This place is great. It’s a lateral move, more or less, so some things are better (much bigger, gut-renovated) and some things are worse (slanty floors, darker) but it’s more or less the same quality that I had in my last apartment. Manhattan apartments tend to be tiny, but Harlem and further uptown have much larger units.

I can’t wait to decorate and give you the full tour with professional, non-awkward photos.

By the way, those green crates are from Bin-It, and if you’re in a city that they serve, I can’t recommend them enough for moving. Renting crates is do much easier than buying and putting together a million cardboard boxes!

North and South Korea will 'march together under unified flag' at Winter Olympics

Are you an Olympics fan? I love the Olympics, but somehow I always forget the dates and book travel during them! (Then again, I'll be in Japan...I'll be in the right time zone! Yay!)

This is a huge story. North and South Korea marching together and competing together. Wow.

Kate McCulley - The Shorty Awards

You guys! I got nominated for a Shorty! I've never been nominated for a Shorty before!

I'm nominated for Best Travel Influencer. I'd love your vote! There are tons of categories to vote for across so many industries!

I feel like Brian on that episode of Family Guy... "I've been nominated for a Woody!"

A Place to Lay My Heart - Modern Love

This piece has been popping up in my Facebook memories since it was published in 2012. The crazy thing is that back in 2012 I thought it represented my life -- more than a year into full-time travel, getting ready to settle down. Ha. I didn't know the half of it.

But as time went on, my life began to reflect this piece more. When it was published I had no idea I would end up moving to New York -- and I did, just like the author. Like her, I became the one to say, "Come visit, you can stay in my apartment."

I hope you enjoy this cozy Sunday read.

Off the Beaten Path in Italy — A Tour by Vespa!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the idea of this trip. Imagine getting to ride a Vespa through the Italian countryside for a week -- you have a route, your hotels are book, and your luggage even gets transported for you can just enjoy the ride!

The Vespa Trip does tours through Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, even Sicily! I would so love to do one of them.

Now, get me a ride buddy who looked like Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley and we'll be talking...

The New York Times Travel Show

Who's coming to the New York Times Travel Show this year? I'm going to be there!

And I can now share that I will be speaking on Saturday the 27th at 12:00 PM with Quark Expeditions. We're going to be talking all about Antarctica travel and doing a preview of my upcoming trip in March.

Media/blogger people, I'm also speaking on Friday morning (which is open to media only) on the "How to Be a Travel Influencer" panel.

Hope to see you there!

These Insane Photos Show Alligators Stuck in Frozen Swamps Surviving The Winter

How cold was it in North Carolina last week? So cold, these alligators were hanging out in frozen swamps, their snouts sticking through the ice for air!

Don’t worry; they survived just fine. And one day they will rise up and KILL US ALL.

52 Places to Go in 2018

They're here! The New York Times's annual 52 Places to Go in 2018. This year, I can't help but think about whoever got that job to visit all 52 in a year. What an adventure that's going to be!

I'm VERY happy to see the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy on the list, and I know it's due in part to the excellent work their tourism board has done to promote the region over the years. Part of that promotion has been hiring travel bloggers to visit and create content. I was on Emilia-Romagna's first-ever press trip back in 2011 and since then I've returned to work on bigger promotional campaigns.

That's travel marketing for you! The ROI isn't instant, but it compounds slowly and then pays off for decades. Since my first trip to Bologna and the Emilia-Romagna region, I've sent dozens of you guys there as well. And now it's on the New York Times's list of top 52 destinations. That is AWESOME.

Let's talk cheap travel. What are some of your favorite destinations?

In Central America, I found Nicaragua and especially Guatemala to be high value destinations for a VERY low cost.

In Southeast Asia, Cambodia and Laos are generally the cheapest, but I think you get better value in Vietnam and northern Thailand.

In Europe, I was shocked at how cheap Ukraine was. Not quite as cheap, but still excellent value, are Albania and Macedonia.

What are your favorite spots?

The Biggest Mistakes New York Tourists Make

You know what's surprising? So many travelers, from novices to experts, make the SAME EXACT MISTAKES in New York over and over! It drives me crazy and I feel bad for them...so I wrote this guide to help you plan an even better trip!

What would you add to the list?

What’s it Like to Travel in Albania?

Looking for an off the beaten path destination in Europe? I really love Albania! It's beautiful, it's strange, it's cheap, and it's mysterious. A great combination. Have you been?

Folks, if you happen to be in New York before January 14, get thyself to Miss Saigon - Broadway. This has been my favorite musical that I hadn’t seen in real life for the past 20 years.

Why did I wait until its final few weeks?? It was SO SO GOOD. And one of the highlights was seeing Jon Jon Briones play the Engineer. He was in the original ensemble 28 years ago and now he’s playing the lead!

If you’re a Broadway fan, you probably know that the original Engineer was played by Jonathan Pryce, a white actor. As magnificent as his performance was, it was problematic. The only roles for Asian men in the classic Broadway canon are in Miss Saigon and The King and I. That’s it. So to use yellowface casting is both racist and unfair to all the talented Asian male Broadway actors seeing one of few roles explicitly for them going to yet another white actor.

There was an uproar when Miss Saigon, starring Pryce, first came to Broadway. And thankfully that put the conversation about inclusive casting front and center. Since then, every actor playing the Engineer has been ethnically Asian. And Broadway is the only place where you see people of color cast in white roles on a regular basis.

(That’s not to say that there’s animosity against Pryce. For the 25th anniversary celebration in London, Pryce came out to perform The American Dream onstage with Briones, two Engineers side by side!)

In this cast, so many of the actors were similar to the originals in terms of looks and voice. Except for Briones. Tiny and conniving, he was a world away from Pryce’s original big, grand character. Briones’s Engineer was like Iago the parrot brought to life.

One last thing — it was particularly moving to see this show after traveling to Saigon and seeing the war scars firsthand, and after traveling to Bangkok and realizing the set literally recreated signs from Soi Cowboy today. It was much more brutal than when I listened to the soundtrack as a teenager.

I loved this show. Go see it if you can. Also, if you use the TodayTix app (which I always use) for the first time, you can get $10 off any show with the code AELAA.

A reward for you and me!

Happy Friday! Here's a gift for you. $30 off your next hotel booking from Booking.com, no strings attached. And they've got all kinds of places to rent on Booking -- apartments, B&Bs, even the occasional boat!

Once you stay, they'll give me $30 off a hotel booking too. Enjoy!

AK Monthly Recap: December 2017

Here's everything I got up to in December -- including some Vegas trip tidbits, a Scientology memoir, and how this move (10 days away) is the biggest thing in my life right now...

Met Changes 50-Year Admissions Policy: Non-New Yorkers Must Pay

Wow, this is major news for New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has had a pay-what-you-wish policy for 50 years. Now, everyone will have to pay the $25 admission, excluding New York State residents and students in Connecticut and New Jersey, who can continue to pay as they wish.

--On one hand, I feel that art should be as accessible as possible to all people, regardless of economic status. On that level, this is hurtful, particularly to low-income people from New Jersey who live so close but won't get the benefits.

--On the other hand, this is the same policy that many museums and sites do around the world, from the Louvre to Angkor Wat. It's a policy that makes sense, especially for a museum as magnificent as the Met. As New York State residents, we are the ones who subsidize the museum with our taxes; we are the ones who should benefit from reduced admission.

--Kids under 12 still go for free. Seniors go for $17 and students go for $12.

--Also, if you pay for full-priced tickets, you get admission for three full days. That is worth a ton and will make it easier for you to see sites like The Cloisters, which come with Met admission but are far from the Met itself.

--Memberships are still fantastic value. $100 per year (or $80 if you live 200 miles outside New York), which is less than $10 per month. Family memberships are $200 per year. AND you get to bring a free guest on every visit if you're a member.

--The greatest tragedy is that our government is slashing funds for the arts in the first place. Not to mention slashing funds for everything so they can give a giant tax break to their richest donors. It's 2018, motherfuckers. Get ready to be voted out.

What do you think?

Visit Savannah

It snowed in Savannah today — something that almost never happens! Love these photos.

Nine Travel Resolutions You Can Actually Keep This Year

I wrote this four years ago, and almost all of it still holds true!

With the exception of one. Staying in an Airbnb. They create housing crises around the world (landlords make more money renting the out short-term to tourists rather than long-term to locals), and many cities have banned them in some form, including NYC. In NYC, for example, Airbnb is only legal if you're taking a room while the owner is also staying in the house, or if you're staying in an apartment on your own for 30+ days.

But Airbnb refuses to stop showing illegal apartments on their site, so people end up booking them, hurting the neighborhoods they think they're helping, and breaking the law without even realizing it.

Go Behind the Scenes of a Travel Blogger/Influencer Trip

When I was in Vail this past August, I ran into my friend Sherry from Ottsworld Travel and Life Experiences, one of those blogger friends I run into all over the world. We grabbed some wine, gabbed about our upcoming travels, and she told me she was going to do a 19-day campaign in California with three other bloggers.

"NINETEEN DAYS?!" I said incredulously. "HOW?!"

Blog trips, a.k.a. press trips or influencer marketing campaigns, look like they're all fun and games, but they're actually super-long days filled with endless activities, lots of multi-course meals with booze, meeting lots of people and listening to their spiels, and you have to be "on" socially 24/7, which is exhausting for introverts (and most bloggers are introverts). Top it off with taking constant notes for the posts you will write later, having to update all your social media platforms in real time with professional content that you know will be scrutinized by your client, and getting maybe four hours of sleep each night if you're lucky, and you've got a blog trip!

This is a behind-the-scenes look at what those trips are actually like. To be fair, this is an extreme AND long trip -- I've never done one quite this intense and doubt I would ever want to -- but this shows just how much work it can be.

There's nothing like sleeping four hours before having an early kayaking session (no shower after), a meet-and-greet with the local tourism board, a two-hour drive to another town, a four-course lunch with wine refilled throughout, another meet-and-greet with tourism people, a historic town tour, and you're about to fall asleep and you'd kill for a coffee but you're running late and it's time for another activity, scheduled RIGHT when the colors of sunset are at their brightest and it's killing you that you can't photograph it but you smile and nod and ask more questions of the latest tourism people you're meeting. (This is why I almost always do solo campaigns these days. I get better results when I plan my own schedule.)

Still, as I always say, travel blogging isn't heart surgery and it isn't coal mining. To do this for a living is a luxury and a privilege.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse behind the curtain.

This Year, Join Me in a 12-Book Reading Challenge

This year, I want YOU to join me in a reading challenge! A very achievable 12-book challenge, one per month.

The twist: these twelve books need to have a theme. Here are some suggestions of themes and the theme I chose for 2018!

Happy New Year! What kind of place do you want to visit in 2018? Tell me what you like and I'll give you a destination.

Barack Obama

Proud to share that Barack Obama and I chose four of the same books as our favorites of the year! (Does this mean we’re best friends now?)

The Power by Naomi Alderman.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

Have you read any of them?

Restaurant Review: Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square

Dear Guy Fieri,

Why is your restaurant closing tomorrow when my waitress today told me it was one of the most profitable restaurants in Manhattan?

Who on Earth decided a "pumpkin spice cocktail" should contain cinnamon whiskey and coffee-flavored tequila, together? Do you know what I should take for this mid-afternoon hangover?

What happened that every batch of fries was markedly more tepid than anything else on the menu? Do you pass them through a refrigerator on their way out?

Why even bother to call them the "'Awesome' Pretzel Chicken Tenders" when their only pretzel content appears to be a few nubs thrown on haphazardly at the end?

Why does your Meyer lemon vinaigrette taste of nothing but vague garlic? How is it that the occasional olive brings more flavor than the rest of the meal put together?

How was the chocolate cake "with chunks of cake" the best thing on the menu, yet rudimentarily average?

After five years, how is your menu still riddled with spelling and punctuation errors?

Do you realize the irony in your giant FLAVOR TOWN sign when everything -- yes, everything -- on the menu is devoid of taste?

Why did you only give four days' notice to your waitstaff that they were losing their jobs, at the time of year when most people are short on cash, with no additional payment or severance, and only offering a few workers new jobs at your associated brewery?

How did my friends and I visit you today with the lowest expectations and still somehow end up disappointed?

Are we masochists?

Let me know.

---------------------------------------------
Today three of my friends and I decided to go to Guy's American Kitchen & Bar and experience it before it closes forever tomorrow night. We expected to have an awesomely bad and entertaining meal.

This restaurant received the most DELICIOUSLY SCATHING review of all time, phrased entirely in questions (hence the structure of this post). You MUST read it if you haven't: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/dining/reviews/restaurant-review-guys-american-kitchen-bar-in-times-square.html

Guy Fieri, as much as the internet mocks him, does a lot for charity and small American businesses. This restaurant, by contrast, bastardizes the values he holds dearly. Nothing about this is great or even mediocre American cuisine. There is so much better and cheaper food in New York, even within a three-block radius.

Am I glad it's gone? I'm sad for the workers who lost their jobs with only four days' notice. Other than that, this is no tragedy. New York is a better city without this restaurant.

I am sharing an important post today from my friend Diana at DTravelsRound: http://www.dtravelsround.com/safe/

Diana was preyed on by a hostel worker in Bruges, Belgium. She kept the hostel anonymous in the post, but as soon as she published it, another woman emailed her to say that the same thing happened to her -- and she named the hostel AND the worker.

Diana is looking for more women. If this has happened to you, please contact her through her website.

Beyond that, this is a post worth sharing. So often people hear about terrible incidents like this and say, "Well, you should have known that Belgian beers are stronger. It's your own fault that you ended up blacked out and in bed with a stranger."

No. How about that man behind the bar shouldn't have been feeding you high alcohol content beers as you got drunker and drunker to the point of blacking out?

I came across a long-lost necklace when home for Christmas. I bought this at the end of my semester in Florence, on the Ponte Vecchio, home to jewelry shops.

Florence is one of the best places in the world to shop for gold. Everything is high quality (they only consider 18k+ gold to be real gold) and the pieces are lovely.

So toward the end of my semester, I walked over to the bridge, greeted the shopkeeper in Italian, picked out the necklace I had been eyeing for weeks, and paid my seventy-eight euros. I now owned a heart necklace with a tiny diamond chip.

I BOUGHT MYSELF A DIAMOND, I remember marveling at the time. I'M TWENTY YEARS OLD AND I ACTUALLY BOUGHT MYSELF A DIAMOND. I had spent the previous summer waitressing like crazy to save enough money for my semester abroad; it felt surreal to buy something so valuable.

It's funny that I found the necklace now, because I'm feeling similarly. Two and a half weeks from now, I move out of my beautiful brownstone apartment. And as I gaze at the walls, snug with a cup of tea on my purple couch, I'm feeling similar gratitude and awe.

"I lived here. Alone. For two years. I paid my rent on time, every month. I lived here by myself, every month. I bought all this furniture by myself. I alone was responsible for it. I made it work. In Manhattan."

When I first realized that I had potential to make travel blogging my full-time job, I just wanted to make $1000 per month so I could live in Southeast Asia. Today my rent alone costs more than double that.

I'm overwhelmed with gratitude -- and a bit of incredulity, to be honest. How did I get here in eight years?! Sometimes it feels like it passed in a blink.

I'm not moving far -- I'm literally moving one block away, which is kind of amusing. And once again, I'm planning to live there alone. But that doesn't mean that I will ALWAYS live there alone. I made sure to choose an apartment where two people could live comfortably. Just in case my life moves in that direction.

Either way, my first New York apartment will always hold a dear place in my diamond-stamped heart. For two years, I lived here alone. It might be the only place I ever live alone. I made it work. In New York City.

Rick Steves

Real talk from Rick Steves. If you go to Europe and it seems like everyone's being rude, chances are YOU are the problem, not them.

Make an effort. Travel simply. Converse with people who aren't like you. Keep an open mind.

Happy Holidays from me and Rob the chicken!

(His name stands for Roasted Or Baked.)

Whether Christmas is a special day for you or not -- or especially if it's a more difficult day for you -- I wish you lots of joy and peace today and through the new year.

Nothing makes me feel like a baller like spending an extra $7 for a front row seat on the bus to Boston! Love those views!

To everyone traveling for the holidays -- I wish you safe journeys! Please be cautious if you're driving through snow!

Let's talk 2018 travel! What's one trip that you think will LIKELY happen and one trip that is VERY UNLIKELY but would be awesome if it happened?

I'm likely going to make it to Cyprus (my final European country!) this spring. Less likely, I think it would be awesome to visit the Arctic during the summer, especially Greenland. We'll see!

My Worst Travel Moments of 2017

And now it's time for the WORST moments of the year!

Every year, I put together a list of my worst travel moments. This year includes a piece of my rental car falling off in the Keys, almost not making it back to the cruise ship before departure, and getting swept up in a borderline cult.

Earlier this fall I was shocked to find out I was named to the Irish America Business 100 -- the top 100 Irish-American business leaders. ME. Amongst CEOs.

The gala was last week. Here I am with Irish America editor-in-chief Patricia Harty, who not only remembered who I was, she remembered my Irish ancestors' origins, that I was fifth generation Irish with roots in County Laois! Impressive!

We were asked to share a quote about what our Irish ancestry means to us. Truthfully, I've always felt more in touch with my French and Italian ancestry than my Irish roots, but as I thought about it, here's what I had to say:

"At one point the Irish were among the most reviled in America. Today we are seeing history repeat itself as similar scorn is heaped upon Latin American immigrants. As
Irish Americans, I believe it is our duty to speak up for the immigrants of today. We must protect the people who came here to create a better life for their families, just as millions of Irish did before them."

Patricia read my quote out during dinner. I was touched.

Backpackr

Wow, I think they got most of the stereotypes here! The Chang beer and Chang beer tank...the road rash injury from motorbiking...the buckets...the bamboo tattoo.

I won't lie, I wore plenty of hippie pants back in my Southeast Asia backpacking days. Though I'm glad I never got that Thai tattoo I was considering ("Adventurous" in Thai on my side beneath my bra -- SO EDGY GUYS). There was a time for those kinds of trips, and that time has passed for me.

Friendly reminder: NEVER ride an elephant and NEVER go somewhere where you play and take photos with tigers. Both activities are animal abuse.

"Foodsplaining" needs to be a thing, because I saw it happen tonight.

I was at Joe's Pizza in the West Village today -- arguably one of the best slices in NYC -- standing at a counter and chowing down next to a couple who were around 60 or so. Then I overhear the lady say to the guys behind the counter, "I'm not a pizza maker, but..." and launched into a lecture on how their pizza could have been better.

I was speechless. The bloody AUDACITY.

Don't do that, people. Ever. It's rude as hell and serves no purpose whatsoever to tell some excellent pizza makers why you didn't like their slices. THEY KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

Happy Shortest Day of the Year to my fellow northern hemisphere dwellers! The light is BEAUTIFUL in New York today! But damn, it's cold!

My Favorite Reads of 2017

I read 70 books in 2017. 70! That must be a new record! Here are my absolute favorites.

Shout-out to authors Min Jin Lee, Angie Thomas, Kathleen Rooney, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Naomi Alderman, Celeste Ng, Jesmyn Ward, Nell Stevens and George Saunders.

The 10 Best Places to Spend the Holidays, According to Travel Experts

Pretty cool to be quoted in TIME! Several travel experts, myself included, give their top tips for where to travel during the holiday season.

My big tip for traveling in New York during Christmas? Don't spend all your time in midtown. Midtown is crazy busy, filled with tourists, and extremely gray.

I used to not like New York -- then I realized I was spending all my time in midtown.

Take yourself out to Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, to see the craziest Christmas decorations. It's a bit of a journey but so worth it. Pretty much everyone who goes there is a New Yorker.

Oh, and my other Christmas tip: don't skate at the rink in Central Park. It's owned by Trump. Go to Bryant Park instead; it's free to skate (you pay for skate rentals) and you're not subsidizing Trump in the process.

Found my (bone marrow) match! - GQ trippin

Two years ago, Gerard of the blog GQ trippin donated bone marrow to a donor whose identity was kept private. Now they've finally found each other -- and she made it!

What a great thing to do -- and it's something that most of us can do, too. It's super easy to become a donor in the States-- go to BeTheMatch.org and they'll send you a kit to swab your cheek.

Someone out there might be very sick and waiting for your donation. Consider getting yourself registered.

The Queen’s unusual jet lag remedy and 13 more of her fascinating travel habits

This is a fascinating read on how the Queen travels. I should totally follow her lead and travel with a bag of my own blood! Does that count as carry-on?

My Best Travel Moments of 2017

Every year, I name my favorite travel moments of the year. Here's what made the cut for 2017 -- including hanging out with Hemingway lookalikes in Key West!

Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster Too

I'm sharing this because it's not just another Harvey Weinstein story -- it's representative of all the women whose work and art were kept from the world because of lecherous men who thought they could get whatever they wanted.

How much art has our world we been denied? How many advancements have been kept away? How many women have decided it was safer to abandon their ambitions than to face evil, day after day?

All women who create for a living need to read this.

I love the movie Frida, but I appreciate it even more now for what Salma Hayek Pinault went through. I always heard she worked really hard to get it made, but we had no idea what really went on.

Today I got to see a woman win a Caribbean cruise out of the blue. She was so excited! Carnival Cruise Line was giving away entries to win a free cruise here in New York, and you would enter by taking a personality quiz. You would receive a can full of air from the Caribbean -- it could be guavaberry from St. Maarten, coconuts from Cozumel, or just fresh Caribbean sea air. It was fun! Ten people won free cruises today!

There's still a chance to win a cruise if you couldn't come down to New York today. Go on Instagram and tag a vacation photo with #OpenFun and #sweepstakes and you could win a cruise yourself! It's that time of year when it would be LOVELY to escape the cold to the Caribbean...

#ad #carnivalcruise #carnivalpartner

Photos from Adventurous Kate's post

Today I visited the most delightful New York attraction -- Gulliver's Gate! This is an enormous collection of teeny tiny models from around the world. Stonehenge, Taj Mahal, Venice, New England, St. Petersburg, tons of places in New York. You could spend hours picking out the details.

And for Christmas they have tons of hidden additions! 50 gingerbread men! The Jackson 5 singing on a balcony! The grinch (he's in Scotland)! The Griswold family home!

Such a cool place -- I recommend it! Thanks to my bud Cailin from Travel Yourself for bringing me in, and the Gulliver's Gate team for getting me a comped pass. (Also, Cailin is currently visiting so check out my Instagram Stories for our New York adventures -- @adventurouskate!)

In my last monthly recap, I wrote that I got some bad news at the end of the month (not anything serious or alarming, but still bad) and couldn't talk about it yet. Now that it's been resolved, I can.

A few hours before I flew to Vegas, my landlady told me she was selling the building and I had to move out when my lease was up on February 1. I was upset, as I adore my apartment and wanted to stay for longer, but I was also worried, as it's very difficult to get an apartment in New York when you're self-employed.

I got to work right away, jumped through the dozens of requisite financial hoops, and yesterday I signed a new lease. On January 15, I'm moving just one block away into a bigger, gut-renovated apartment with closets for DAYS. And it costs about the same as what I pay now! I'm giving up an in-unit washing machine but I feel like I'm getting a lot more in return.

I'm feeling very grateful that I was able to get a place, and thankful to all those who helped me. Finding a place in New York is no joke. Tenants have a lot of rights here, so landlords make it harder to get approved. You have to earn 40x the monthly rent in a year, for example.

And a bit of advice, since I don't like to update without giving you advice or tips somehow: living in a brownstone is AWESOME, but it's a lot easier for a brownstone to be sold from under you, especially if you live in a neighborhood where property values have risen sharply in recent years. Keep that in mind. As much as I loved the brownstone life, I feel more secure moving to a larger building.

My Favorite New Destinations of 2017

I've named my favorite new destinations of 2017! This year I named my #1 destination of 2017, a runner-up, and seven other destinations. Before clicking on this, what do you think is my #1?

I'm out at an anti-holiday bar in NYC. Sorry, Rudolph! 😮

This place is called Jingle Hells. I found out about it on Reddit. Sadly this is the last night! There is a really creepy Santa and a pianist singing rude Christmas carols and stockings that read "Fuck Off."

I made a change to the site today -- now all new commenters will have to have their first comment manually approved by me. If you have a previous comment approved, you should have no trouble seeing your comments appear immediately.

I'm doing this to combat the spam. As many filters as I have up, a lot of spam comments still make their way through. Nobody wants to read through crappy spam comments when they're looking for an intelligent discussion! I think this is a happy medium -- regular commenters will be rewarded with instant postings, while new commenters will have to wait a bit.

I'll do my best to get new, legitimate commenters approved in a timely manner, so please don't despair if it takes some time for your comment to appear.

UK Vacation Exchange