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5 classic Christmas films
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5 classic Christmas films

THERE IS SNOW on the streets today, and chocolate shops near my house are decorated with sleigh bells, assorted chocolate snowmen and reindeer. Friends here in England are celebrating with glasses of mulled wine and mince pies. Every Christmas tree is lit up and decorated, and I can’t wait for Christmas Day.

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Playlist for Saturday at Coachella

SATURDAYMy picks: Phoenix | The XX | The Postal Service | Sigur Ros | New Order | Grizzly Bear | Knife Party | Benny Benassi | Two Door Cinema Club | Franz Ferdinand | Violent Femmes | Simian Mobile Disco | Portugal. the Man | Bat for Lashes | Major Lazer | Dropkick Murphys | Janelle Monae | Bingo Players | Allen Stone | Kill the Noise | The Wombats | Guards | Savages | Shovels & RopeWith a lineup as stacked as Saturday’s, there are going to be conflicts galore, so ready your disappointment glands, people, because today is gonna hurt.
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Introducing the Matador Store

Pick up a t-shirt and send us shots of you exploring the world in your Matador swag.BNT editor Ian Mackenzie rocking his Matador tee in Plaza del Bolivar, Colombia.You asked us for a store, and now we’ve opened one up.Matador Apparel is a collection of original designs that reflect the lifestyles of our members and values of our community.
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On ending up in an obscure corner of France

…a kind of memory that tells usthat what we’re now striving for was oncenearer and truer and attached to uswith infinite tenderness. Here all is distance,there it was breath. After the first home,the second one seems draughtyAnd strangely sexed.– from “Duino Elegies,” Rainer Maria RilkeWe’ve had our three days of snow in the Perche this week.
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Why you should stop traveling alone

You should stop traveling alone.Not because it’s dangerous. Your level of danger when you’re out in the wind has little to do with the number of travelers in the group and a lot to do with where you go and the choices you make.Not because it’s lonely. Solitary travelers meet other solitary travelers easily.
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3 portraits of failed long-distance relationships

Charleston / Florence“I’ll be back around Christmas,” he tells me over the phone.Sean is in a cab, on his way to the airport. He’s leaving the United States to live in Florence, Italy, for one year. My boyfriend is an artist, and where better to develop his incredible talent for painting than in one of the most aesthetically inspiring cities in the world?
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Where to drink wine in Connecticut

THE STATE of Connecticut is home two American Viticultural Areas (AVAs): Western Connecticut Highlands and Southeastern New England. AVA is wine-nerd speak for a government-designated grape-growing region in the United States with specific geographical features (soil, climate, elevation). For comparison purposes, California is home to 107 of the 188 established AVAs in the United States.
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MatadorU student wins Guardian photography contest

We’re super-stoked for this nugget of great news to pass along!A FEW WEEKS ago we were excited to report that Laura Cook — Matador community member and student of the MatadorU travel photography program — won The Guardian’s contest for November with her entry seen above, titled Solitude.We were also pumped to see that a couple of other MatadorU students — Genevieve Hathaway and Stephen Chapman — had their photos short-listed in the contest.
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A brief history of my relationship with Starbucks

When India’s first Starbucks opened in Mumbai, the line was so long that the local chai-wallahs made a killing selling tea and coffee to those waiting on line for tea and coffee.I did not find it strange that people in India would wait that long for Starbucks. The glamour of Starbucks was the glamour of abroad, and as a child growing up in India, Starbucks coffee was as legendary to me as the mermaid featured in its logo.
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On couchsurfing with the Taliban

An informal interview with a young world traveler.Nenad is a 29-year-old self-described “couchsurfing drifter” who recently completed a five-month, 25,000km hitchhiking odyssey from his home in Serbia to China. An official Couchsurfing Ambassador, he has hosted 182 guests and surfed 253 couches on three continents.
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23 laws from other countries the US should adopt

Traveling is a great way to learn about other cultures and ways of thinking. While most of our encounters with a host country’s legal system usually revolve around visas and Customs offices, there is a much broader and underlying set of laws that guides the flow of daily routines and reflects a people’s values and beliefs.
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From goat’s head soup to skink flesh: Aphrodisiacs around the world [pics]

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I’ve already purchased the chocolate-dipped strawberries, a plate full of oysters, and a bowl of green M&Ms. In the event you’re looking for something stronger, try one of these aphrodisiacs borrowed from cultures around the world. 1Piranha soup - BrazilDuring the wet season in the Pantanal, piranhas are obnoxiously common in rivers, lakes, and ponds and frequently make it onto the plates of humans in the area.
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11 snapshots of one Alaskan valley

THE KUGRAK IS ONE DRAMATIC VALLEY among thousands. The river is an upper tributary to the Noatak, and runs through the mountains of the Western Brooks Range of Alaska, in Gates of the Arctic National Park. Objectively speaking, the Kugrak warrants no more attention than any of the hundreds of glacially carved valleys that surround it.
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20 of the world’s strangest hotel rooms [pics]

1Pelirocco Hotel, Brighton, England2Madonna Inn Resort and Spa, San Luis Obispo, CAYou could sleep in a different room at this hotel for 110 nights and never have the same experience. The Caveman Room is a room of solid rock. Hotel literature promises that “a waterfall spills from overhead in the stone shower and water flows from the rocks into a stone sink basin in the cavern-style bathroom.
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The hardest journey home: Caring for ailing family

My grandmother had a stroke the evening before I flew down to Florida to spend a quick visit with her. Since then my quick visit has turned into 13 days and counting. I have played the role of caretaker, steadying my arm and my heart in order to help her and her husband, Carter.My grandmother, an 87-year-old rock star who still steals cigarette breaks on the side balcony overlooking the bay in Clearwater, Florida.
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Playlist for Friday at Coachella

FRIDAYMy picks: Blur | Yeah Yeah Yeahs | Modest Mouse | Jurassic 5 | Bassnectar | Dog Blood | Band of Horses | Beach House | Metric | Local Natives | Of Monsters and Men | Infected Mushrooms | Stars | Wolfgang Gartner | Aesop Rock | alt-J | Youth Lagoon | The NeighborhoodThe first day of Coachella this year is like a love song to your favorite bands in middle school.
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In Herzliya with the survivor of a suicide bombing

I kept pestering him. When you say Indian-Israeli Jews are mostly “right of center,” what do you mean? When you say you are “left of center,” what does that mean? Israel, I reminded him, is a turbulent soup of political parties, some palatable, some indigestible. Hit me with something meaningful.Yitzhak Ashkenazy, an Israeli businessman from Calcutta, set aside his tuna fish salad and looked at me as if I had just landed at his table.
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An expat rite of passage in Guatemala

“Man, I got broken into again.”About a week prior, Eric — a new expat, part-time musician, and mescal distributor — was robbed: guitar, laptop, drum kit, and so on. The landlord had tightened security around the place, but Eric was moving anyway. He’d just done it a little too slowly.He usually zooms by on his tiny motorcycle.
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One night in the Kalahari Desert

MatadorU travel writing student Alexandra Orford spends a night in the Kalahari.To me the Kalahari is horizontal lines. Wide, blue sky and a flat, endless horizon lined with waist-high veldt grass and khaki shrubs. Occasionally acacia trees break the lines, but even their tops are stretched wide.Night comes and the cooling plants release their fragrances.
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Tea, cigarettes, and Kalashnikovs: Welcome to Syria

Camera technology has been advancing at such an accelerated rate recently that I’m continually amazed at the size and quality of the devices available — presently and most notably, my iPhone 5. The ability to produce high-quality photos and video at a moment’s notice, then store it all comfortably in my pocket, is fantastic, without even mentioning the fact that I can upload said photos to my social media accounts instantly.
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