I love Findery as source of daydreamy travel inspiration and my favourite discoveries have been the smallest details from places around the world that show little slices of regular, everyday life: a family wearing Kurdish clothes, the view of rainclouds from a bridge in Lagos, the snails spotted on a walk in Liverpool … I learn so much from you all!
In that vein, here are three of the many favourite notemaps that capture random, delightful moments around the world:
Listen In: Japan by Greg Friedman | @gregapan – Delightful sounds of every day life in Japan: here is the sweet potato vendor’s call, here is the friendly security guard’s morning greetings to office workers, here is the grocery store checkout clerk.
Saltillo by Oscar Falcon | @oscarfalcon – Our guide shows us many snapshots of daily life in the state capital of Coahuila, Mexico: what the sky looks on a foggy morning, a beautiful mosaic frog fountain, and even the highway crews hard at work painting the road.
Pemilu 2014 by Caroline Zenia Ivana | @caroline_z – Fascinating to read Caroline’s first-hand perspectives and emotions during the election in Indonesia.
Jennifer Jamieson is a Canadian expat, who recently lived in Dubai, but now lives and works in London, England. She is one of Findery’s oldest contributing members.
Follow her on Findery: @ECWC
Remember when you were a child and there were stories that kept you up at night? For instance: Bloody Mary will appear in the mirror when you say her name three times. Teenagers in a parked car heard scratching on the door… Here is a collection of spooky stories to raise the hair on the back of your neck, and to tell others as you’re driving down a remote country road late at night. Some are based on real-life events, and others are tales of uncertain origin.
Many ghost stories feature the screams of a woman. Raven Rock, a key location in Ichabod Crane’s Sleepy Hollow is home to a specter who shrieks before a snowstorm, having died in one herself. Fort Mifflin has another such haunting. And on the outskirts of San Diego, there is a certain tree at the end of a dirt road. Legend says if you drive your car as close as you can and honk three times, the ghost of a girl will scream at the top of her lungs.
Such a lovely architecture, such a bloody past. At least 100 people have committed suicide by jumping off this bridge. The most famous story tells of a construction worker who fell off…and landed head-first in wet concrete at bottom. Assumed dead, he was left entombed in the cement below. Listen for his cries! But he is not alone. In the 1930s, a woman jumped off the bridge with her baby in arms. The baby miraculously survived by landing in a tree branch. The mother did not. She spends eternity searching for her baby. Some have seen a woman in a flowing robe jump off, disappearing into thin air, again and again.
On a rainy night in 1867, a flagman named Joe Baldwin was in the rear car of a train in North Carolina. The train suddenly jolted, and Joe realized that the car had become detached from the rest of the train. Terrified, Joe knew that a train was following close behind. He began waving his lantern back and forth to signal the oncoming train. Despite his efforts, the engineer did not see the stranded car in time. Joe was decapitated in the collision. Not long after the tragedy, people began seeing a light near the tracks even though no train was scheduled. Some say he was still warning the next train. Others say he was looking for his head. The tracks were removed in 1977, and the Ghost Light has not been seen since.
Zona Heaster Shue, a woman who lived in the house pictured with her husband, Erasmus Stribbling Trout Shue (what a name!), died in 1897. The surrounding community presumed her death natural, and she was given a proper burial. Four months later, Zona’s mother stepped forward, claiming that her daughter’s spirit had appeared to her. Zona told her mom the truth about her death: Erasmus had murdered her. He was put on trial, and Zona’s body exhumed. Her neck had been broken. Erasmus was convicted. It is the only known case in which testimony from a ghost convicted a murderer. And all this in the little unassuming county of Greenbrier, West Virginia.
In this ghost story, you drive your car to a gravity hill, put it in neutral, and…it will roll uphill. Sprinkle baby powder on the hood and trunk of your car, and start it again. Get out and there may be dozens of handprints on the surface. Those are from the ghosts of the schoolchildren, guiding your car to safety. On some unknown date, their school bus driver lost control of the bus. It crashed and everyone aboard died. Now, these ghosts guide others from the same fate. There are several iterations of this story, occurring in different parts of the country.
On a wintry night in 1927 a young couple at the Oh Henry Ballroom in Justice, Illinois got into an argument. The woman, named Mary, stormed out and started walking home in the bitter cold. She was heading up Archer Avenue when she was suddenly struck by a car and left on the roadside to die. If you drive by Archer Avenue, stay on the lookout for a hitchhiker in a white formal dress with blond hair and blue eyes. Many drivers have picked her up. She sits quietly until the car approaches Resurrection Cemetery, where she asks to be let out and disappears.
Sarah Winchester built the Winchester Mystery House when she was widowed. Her husband, William Wirt Winchester, who died in 1881, was born into the famous Winchester family, of the rifle with the same name. Distraught from the loss of her husband, and their only child fifteen years previously, Sarah consulted a medium. She was told that she was cursed by the many souls who had died by the firearms her husband manufactured. And she would soon befall the same fate. The medium advised her to build a house where she could appease the angry spirits. With no master plan in hand, Sarah oversaw the construction of the Winchester Mystery House, continuously for 38 years. Around the clock. These numbers will help you understand: There are 160 rooms, 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms, 47 fireplaces, and 10,000 window panes.
One of the worst train disasters in commuter history occurred on September 12, 2008. The train engineer was busy texting, and missed a red signal. A minute later he looked up and saw a freight train heading straight at him. The damage: 25 people dead, 135 severely injured. Among the dead was a man named Charles Peck. His family, not sure whether he was alive or not, gathered together. As they were waiting for news, one by one, each family member started receiving phone calls from Charles’s cell phone. When they picked up, all they heard was static. When they called back, it went directly to voicemail. His phone made 35 calls that night. The rescue crew traced the calls to the car Peck had been riding. He had died on impact.
In the small town of Lurgan, Ireland, a woman named Margorie McCall died of a fever in 1705. As it was a time when widespread illness was greatly feared, she was buried swiftly. And because so, her husband could not remove a valuable ring from her swollen finger. The next night, her body was dug up by robbers. They tried to get the ring off her finger, but finding it impossible, decided to cut her finger off. As the knife cut into her flesh, Margorie suddenly awoke, sat straight up and screamed. The terrified robbers fled. A weak Margorie managed to pull herself out of her grave and made her way home.
For more spooky stories, enter here if you dare.
Lately I am finding that whether I’m designing a graphic at work, taking a photograph to post on Instagram, or doodling a sketch, the viewer is increasingly drawn to one thing: a source of light. And, I too, am finding myself gravitating to light sources in all places. And most recently, on Findery.
“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
Neon Signs by @OnTheRoad
The entire point of neon lights on a storefront is to get your attention. The broader purpose is to pull you in. We can all agree though that their 21st century beauty is based largely the sense of history that they provide. After all, modern neon is sort of an oxymoron. Whether lighting the sky with fluorescent light or dressing a quiet sidewalk with a throwback to a different way of marketing, the design and function of neon tubes are a story in and of themselves. And I am always fascinated.
As a designer, this notemap reminds me to consider longevity when I am designing anything.
Sunsets Sunrises and Moons by @Jessica
If there is a sunset, a sunrise, a moon or a supermoon, a bright star, a milky way or a galaxy, an Earth shot of the space station or a meteor shower, or if there is any other cosmic wonder remotely in my vicinity, you can bet that I am finding a way to photograph (or gaze at) it. I work in human space exploration, so this is kind of always on my mind already.
…but never recreated exactly is our sky – like snowflakes, or line drawings, or sand castles – each moment beyond Earth’s horizon is totally unique.
This collection reminds me not to be greedy and not to squander the wonder of our skies and galaxies, always visible from Earth. And when the sky is really special, I don’t even bother with a camera, I just watch.
Lighthouses by @parksandrec
What I love about this notemap and lighthouses in general is that they have one purpose and that is to provide light to sea vessels trying to venture safely to shore. Yet on land, we photograph them incessantly giving off no light at all. We capture them and their beautiful construction in the daytime and at dusk, with a sunset behind or cast down upon them, but so rare it is to capture a lighthouse in its intended state: giving off light.
This collection reminds me that while a lighthouse is a truly beautiful construction in its basic form, a lighthouse providing light into the seas is miraculous. And so now, I shall look for that.
Stefanie is a writer, traveler, and photographer based in Washington, DC. Also: she’s a professional outer space geek.
Follow her on Findery: @stefanie
Image via Explore Asheville
When an area boasts over a 100 different types of deciduous trees and claims to have the longest and most beautiful fall foliage season, you know it has to be a colorful and amazing place to visit. When it comes to Asheville, NC you wouldn’t be wrong at all.
Asheville, set in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountain range, is known far and wide as the Paris of the South (Paris, France that is, not Paris, Texas, an entirely different kind of Paris of the South all together!) because of the unique feel of the town featuring many art deco accents and the incredibly diverse culture that it offers to both residents and the countless tourists that stop by every year.
I first fell for Asheville over a plate of organic, locally sourced shrimp and grits at the Early Girl Eatery and quickly discovered all the other amazing things that keep making people fall in love with this utterly unique town.
Photo by Kelby Carr
First and foremost, at least in my mind, is the food. Asheville offers up an amazing assortment of restaurants like the aforementioned Early Girl Eatery, Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack, and Pack’s Tavern that feature incredible locally sourced fresh foods, many of which happen to be organic. You’ll be hard pressed to find any chain restaurants around and feel constantly torn between going back to an instant favorite or trying something new.
Once your bellies are full and your mouths happy, let your feet get in on the fun. Asheville is both an artist’s haven and an historic hub, meaning there’s something worth seeing on almost every street corner. The River Arts District is home to countless working art studios, many of which are open to the visiting public. It’s always a treat to quietly observe an artist at work, one of the most zen things I’ve ever had the luck of experiencing. Even more studios open their doors to visitors during the bi-annual studio strolls which take place in June and November.
Or you could stop by and visit Thomas Wolfe’s home, now a memorial open to the public. While you’re there, take a minute to wonder why Asheville is home to so many authors. Is it the water? The incredible fall foliage? The many breweries? (The town is home to no fewer than 11!) Whatever it is, it’s working for the local authors who are all featured in their very own section of the infamous local indie bookstore, Malaprops.
Photo by Kelly Whalen
After you’ve gotten your fill of arts and culture, maybe it’ll be time for a little shopping. Good news! You’re going to find few chain stores here. Most of the shops are local, unique and definitely worth a browse. Stop by the renowned Mast General Store to pick up some artisanal jewelry, a neat cookbook, or even some tasty candy or swing by the quirky Purl’s Yarn Emporium to check out their awesome display windows and get some gorgeous yarn.
Photo by Kelby Carr
Sometimes what makes Asheville special seeps out into the streets. If you’re into music, it’s a warm evening, and you happen to be in town on a Friday, under no circumstance should you miss the Asheville drum circle. It’s truly something to behold. Dozens of people, drums in hand, gather to create impromptu music. A crowd gathers to watch, listen, clap, and even dance, and in no time at all, it’s a full on party.
Photo by Jessica Rosenberg
And last, but most definitely not least, a trip to Asheville isn’t complete until you’ve taken an afternoon to really soak in the marvel that is the Biltmore Estate. This Vanderbilt residence is the biggest home in America and is definitely worth the price of admission. Other than the majestic main building, the estate boasts an incredible winery, some delectable restaurants, and breathtaking views. It’s an unforgettable place to witness the infamous fall foliage.
Asheville, NC isn’t the easiest place to get to, but it’s well worth the time it takes to get there. Once you’ve arrived, odds are high that, like me, you’ll understand why so many people choose to come back time and time again, and often eventually decide to make it home. It’s the kind of place that works its way into your heart and never leaves.
If you’re not thinking of Chicago as a fall destination, you are really missing out. Sure, leaf-peeping in New England, apple picking in Michigan and laughing at the rest of the country from California are all fine fall traditions that you should go ahead and try, but don’t discount Chicago.
From architectural tours to tons of haunted places, fall in Chicago has a lot to offer.
Chicago’s architecture is internationally celebrated for great reasons. We have The Sears Tower, The Tribune Tower, The Hancock Center, The Wrigley Building, the twin corn cob buildings (aka Marina City) and tons and tons of others that are totally worth a look and some learning.
For the most informative guides, see the sites with docents from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The group offers boat trips through October 14, as well as walking tours and L train tours (which is apparently a great way to travel if you’d like to avoid zombies). Many people visit the city and miss seeing the loop on the train, which is actually super fun.
Chicago’s scary history took center stage a few years back when everyone was reading Devil In the White City, which is about, among other things, the serial killer H.H. Holmes. And Harold Ramis, of Ghostbusters fame, also hails from Chicago if that’s more your speed.
Head to the suburbs to be terrorized at a haunted house or celebrate neighborhood style. On the north side, hit the epic Northalsted Halloween Parade and Costume Contest, which has been going strong for 18 years in boystown. Expect lots of drag and tons of fun!
On the south side, thousands of people turn up on South Harper Avenue between East 57th and 58th Streets. The neighborhood has been welcoming trick-or-treaters in droves since the 1970s when, as the story goes, neighbors started going all out in defiance of the razorblade-in-the-candy scares.
This year, Critical Mass (a giant group bike ride that is 100% sure to feature costumed bikes and riders) falls on Halloween. The exact route is unknown, but it kicks off at The Daley Center and, if I had to guess, will wind through Wicker Park and Logan Square.
Image: Greg Pietras
Okay, well, you don’t have to get drunk. But, many people in this city do like to have some beer and watch football. Luckily, there are a number of bars dedicated to just this activity!
Because the city is really big and welcomes transplants, we have bars dedicated to tons of different college teams and teams from other cities. However, we love The Bears the most. And no, we won’t stop talking about how we won the Superbowl in 1985. For the full-on college bar experience, head to Lincoln Park, River North or Lakeview and go… well, kind of anyplace. If you’re looking for a less overtly sporty crowd but still want decent TVs, try High Dive in West Town.
You might also enjoy taking in a game at Soldier Field. Be sure to bundle up because there’s no dome and plenty of cold breeze off of Lake Michigan to remind you why fall is awesome and winter… well. We’ll see you in the spring.
Image: Tuolomne Meadows in Yosemite
I found this great lifehack where you can slow down time. It’s simple. To make time slow down, just avoid routine and fill your days with new experiences. These new events take more time to process, making time appear to last longer. Personally, I have Findery has been a great way to break out of routine and find new things nearby.
State Parks by Parks and Rec
National Parks are gift to our children and grand-children. I’m looking for more places to talk my kids now that they are old enough.
Tokyo Zoo Project by Stay Curious
Combining whimsy and exercise, the Tokyo Zoo Project drew out gigantic animal geoglyphs all over Tokyo using waypoints from your smartphone.
Mauiii by Amanda Law
Maui no ka ‘oi = Maui the best. I love this little island. The best part of getting away is coming back.
Ben Ward is a Back-end Engineer at Findery. He lives on the island of Maui with his wife and kids. Check out his notes – his photography is eye candy for the soul.
Follow him on Findery: @benj
Taking a jaunt around the marvels that can be found on Findery.com can be very much like wandering around a town you’ve never explored before. Sure, you can do the traditional thing and use the search option to find exactly what you need. But there are other fun ways to come across great notes!
One of the easiest ways to discover awesome Findery finds is to begin your journey on the home page. At the top you have the carefully selected Featured Notes – always a good place to start! Scroll until you find one that catches your fancy. Click on it and get ready to travel!
For instance, let’s click on Sleep in a Wigwam! because, really, who hasn’t always wanted to sleep in one?
If you loved the style of the person leaving the note you clicked on, then you can easily click on other notes that person left. They’re listed to the right of the note you’re currently reading.
If you’re more interested in exploring the subject of the note rather than what the note leaver has to say, you can click on any of the notemaps the note belongs to. You’ll find these at the bottom of the note. In this case you get to discover all the awesome places Jessica (another great Findery user!) wants to visit!
Personally, my favorite way to travel via Findery, is a little different. I use my computer mouse to meander all around the map!
I think of a place I’d love to visit. Say, New York City. From there I zooooooom in and “travel” around by moving the map around and clicking on profile bubbles that pop up. Inevitably I discover things I never knew and find new Finders I desperately want to follow.
Depending on the area you’re exploring, you can zoom in onto city blocks and discover countless historical facts, personal anecdotes, or even places you absolutely must visit when you go in person. Sometimes though, notes are tiny treasures that you’ll stumble upon while scrolling around large uncharted areas of the map. I think those are my favorites, the ones that feel like little secrets only shared by the note leaver and myself.
Of course, there are as many ways to discover amazing content on Findery as there are things worth discovering. Part of what makes it a wondrous place is the fact that there’s no “right” way to go about your virtual travels, just lots of fun ways to do so.
Sacramento is not known as a destination city. I get it. It’s small, quiet, and mostly suburban. But I am here to tell you that there’s plenty to do and see. Albeit most activities may be those belonging to a Capital City – the Capitol Building, Governor’s Mansion, and Old Town – there are a few surprises. Stick with Downtown and Midtown. The restaurants are hip and lovers of “farm-to-table,” the coffee shops and bars are plenty, and most sights are walkable. Here’s what I did in Sacramento – a.k.a. The City of Trees – on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
The best way to start the weekend is with a leisurely brunch. My favorite spot is located in midtown: Magpie. The menu is influenced by seasonal ingredients produced in the region. My Eggs Benedict came with grilled fall veggies, making me feel a little less guilty about my choice. Sit on the patio, should the weather be nice. And the mimosa? Oh yeah.
From Magpie, I walked to the Capitol Building. This area of town is lovely, with its tree-lined streets and old architecture. And the Capitol grounds are even lovelier. There are many species of trees (including a Redwood that went to the Moon), a trout pond, and sculpture galore. The Capitol Building is open to visitors 7 days a week (free admission). Be sure to check out all levels, including the 3rd, where visitors can pop into the California State Senate and Assembly Chambers, even when they are in session.
I could visit The California State Railroad Museum over and over again. There are 21 gorgeous, restored steam locomotives, which further reveal the utter banality of Amtrak. It’s no coincidence that the museum is in Sacramento. Three of the major railroad giants, Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford and Charles Crocker came to Sacramento to make their fortunes. A personal favorite: the simulator train. If train excursions are your thing, they have those too. Including the Polar Express, come wintertime.
By now I’m a little sleepy. Coffee time. Sacramento has a number of alleyways that have received special treatment in recent years. One of them is the L Street alley, where Old Soul Co. does its coffee roasting. It’s also a cafe, and their iced coffee is my jam. Next door is Edible Pedal, a bicycle shop and delivery service. They deliver food from a number of midtown restaurants, including Magpie. How do you like them apples?
While there aren’t many clothing boutiques to be had in Sacramento, this area of town has several. Heart offers the latest trends at an affordable price. Sugar Shack, sister to Krazy Mary’s, is another local favorite. The staff at both are very friendly and helpful, which is something you don’t always find at department stores. Long live the boutique!
What makes City Cemetery worth the trip is the beautiful grounds and the history it holds. Opening in 1849, a number of politicians and well-known businessmen are buried here – Sacramento founder and city planner John Sutter Jr., the entire Crocker family (of railroad and art-collecting fame), and Mark Hopkins (another of the Big Four railroad pioneers). The cemetery is more lovely than I remembered, due to the number of volunteers who garden the grouds. Sounds macabre, but the Adopt-a-Plot program is paying off. And thanks to Findery, I discovered a grave with an interesting story.
Just up the street is Tower Theatre and Tower Cafe. This is the spot to do dinner and a movie. Of course, the movie is going to be of an independent persuasion, and the food is international fusion (whatever that is). It’s required (at least once) of all natives and visitors.
Been there, done that? Try Hot Italian. The minimalist, black and white interior and simple menu embodies the fresh and cutting edge. Owned by an Italian ex-pat, you’ll see well-dressed Italians here often, giving the place even more cred. Order: the ligabue – a thin-crust, pesto pizza. And save room for dessert! Gelato is at hand.
Also: there is some great public art in Sactown. I love this mural of Ishi, the last known Yahi Indian, who lived most of his life hiding from European-American civilization. And make sure to stop and walk around the colorful Fuller Poles, located just across the street from Hot Italian. The poles were a standing advertisement for the now defunct Fuller Paint Store. There is more to the history, which you can read about here.
Image via Sac Bee Blog
The best way to end this day is with a libation. For an old, timey saloon with a young, hip crowd there is The Shady Lady, complete with live music. Pour House is another local favorite, featuring 50 beers and whiskeys, live events, and as it is situated next to the train tracks – $2 shots when the train goes by! If you’re the pub-loving sort, try De Vere’s. But for something unexpected, there’s Dive Bar. A mermaid swims in a giant aquarium above the bar after 9pm. I was both entranced and repelled, but I’m glad I went. Hello?! A live mermaid!
Almost all of us grow up and get a job. Not as many of us grow up and get 11 of them. Yes. That’s the number of real, full-time, benefits-providing jobs that I have had and quit since graduating from college 14 years ago.
It will surprise no one that I finally decided to be a freelance writer, a career that by definition means you have at least eight jobs at once. Here are three notemaps that I love because they allow me to live vicariously and explore careers that might have been: designer, vet and puka shell salesperson.
It’s a Sign
As a kid, I loved letters. I would regularly try to copy cool fonts (though I didn’t know that word) from my dad’s Communication Arts magazines and write the alphabet using all-cap bubble letters or letters with dots on the ends or what have you. While I never became a designer, I still love fonts, especially on signs. My neighborhood is home to my favorite endangered sign: For Me & Ladie.
I adore the Goatmap! I loved animals when I was a kid and thought I’d like to be a vet or a dolphin trainer. I didn’t know about the sciencey parts of these careers. This map appeals to the part of me that still wants to believe that vets just hang out and pet animals all day (which is kind of what I do some days as a freelancer, if we’re being honest).
If it’s a beach, I love it. When I am frustrated with work or life, I threaten to run away to live on a beach and set up a stand selling puka shell necklaces. The reality is that I would probably hate talking to tourists all day—and if I wanted to make a living, I would probably have to learn to write a name on a grain of rice, too. I am not interested in that.
Follow her on Findery: @Chicagoing
Pierce Lewis in his “Axioms” claims that “all human landscape has cultural meaning” and that we can “read the landscape as we might read a book.” He goes on to say, “To be sure, reading landscapes is not as easy as reading books, and for two reasons. First, ordinary landscape seems messy and disorganized, like a book with pages missing, torn, and smudged; a book whose copy has been edited and re-edited by people with illegible handwriting. Like books, landscapes can be read, but unlike books, they were not meant to be read.” (Axioms, 1-2)
Findery partnered with the California College of the Arts on “Landmarks, Memory, Mobile Media” taught by Michael Epstein. This interdisciplinary course immerses students in the question of what makes a landmark and how smartphone media can be used to tell the story of such landmarks. The class works in the field – observing landmarks, using mobile apps, and exploring the area with experts and residents. The first assignment, used the “Axioms” of Pierce Lewis as a lens to view the neighborhood in San Francisco known as The Tenderloin. The class created Findery notes of sites on Jones St. between Market and California that served as a “correction” to something incongruous in the built environment.
Last week, The Findery team, the professors and the students met at Jones and Market. We had 16 projects spaced over 6 blocks, so we spent only 5 minutes critiquing each note. We arrived at a site, took two minutes to read the Findery note out loud in front of the actual landmark. Then we gave feedback on the power of the surprise of the site and the impact of the explanation.
From a Airstream Camper mysteriously parked on a roof, to a tailor shop (that is really an art gallery) to the hidden bar with the “Anti-Saloon League” signage- we rediscovered our beloved city through new eyes. The Findery team enjoyed being out with the students as much as we did learning histories behind the Tenderloin neighborhood.