A traveler’s tale of facing a ghost I thought was long gone.

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Author standing on a train platform in Ipoh, Malaysia. Image Credit: somaticstills.com, by John Hannon

The cliche, leaving your comfort zone, it resonated with me. And it did so deeply enough for me to take it literally. I cooked one last veggie-laden meal upon the gas stove before scraping the pan, rinsing it as metaphorically as I could and being so very on my way.

So I left. I ditched everything I knew, albeit with a tender bid adieu. A modest home, a slanted kitchen, a place to dump my menstrual cup in private — it all stayed put as I watched it go by, as if viewing it from a halide-crystal lens. …


This is home, for now.

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Photo by Hans Eiskonen on Unsplash

I was 17, pretty fuckin’ sad, and had good insurance. So they put me away for a month.

The place was Rockford; I heard about it on the news recently. Someone killed themselves on their lawn after having just been released. I guess his insurance was up.

Not everyone was there because they were sad. Some were 15-year-olds who were addicted to Percocet. Some were bi-polar. Some were sociopaths. We exchanged diagnoses like candy on a playground, except the sociopaths usually lied about theirs.

There was group therapy every night. When the therapists tried to teach me how to be…


Just because you’re not eating animals doesn’t mean your food doesn’t contribute to their exploitation

A macaque looking at the camera.
A macaque looking at the camera.
Photo: Slav Den via Unsplash

Two teenage boys meandered below a coconut grove in Sri Thanu, Koh Phangan, Thailand. Just past the local Buddhist temple, they worked on the property of a local man who bred chickens and owned a water buffalo named Salami.

As they worked, the boys held the end of a rope in their hands; the rope slung upward into the trees, along with their gaze. They were relaxed but alert, waiting for heavy coconuts to collide with the sandy ground.

Attached to each of their ropes was a monkey who was working furiously to retrieve coconuts and toss them down. When…


And why it matters to have them.

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Photo by Drop the Label Movement on Unsplash

We’ve all heard of the pay gap. That whole 82-cents-to-the-white-man’s-dollar thing has been around for many an International Women’s Day. But what’s more striking — aside from the fact that this $0.82 is actually only relevant to white women’s earnings, and people of color make even less on average — is the gender wealth gap.

In a report from Insight, the Center for Community and Economic Development,women own an average of $0.32 to the white man’s dollar. For Black women, that number is even lower: a single penny. (Hot take: if these numbers shock you, you haven’t been paying attention.)


A little synchronicity and a lot of agency.

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Photo by Jeremy Vessey on Unsplash

There are those weird phases of life that don’t feel real at all. You know, the ones where you’re young and drifting out to sea just as uncertain as you are determined.

At the age of 18, this was one of those times. The only one of my friends who didn’t go to college out of state, I needed to decide what kind of freshman year experience I was going to have, and quick.

I was at my college’s satellite campus and I checked a book out of the library. It was a piece on synchronicity, though the author’s name…


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Photos: Rachel Lewis Curry

The work of PACS (Phangan Animal Care for Strays) is never done

I have two rescue dogs, and they’re both from a place called Koh Phangan. Sisters who lived outside until they were nine months old, Luna and Muna have a freckled past. Beachfront dog fights, sand crab hunts, ear infections from swimming too much — even with their woes, these dogs lived the life. When my partner and I took them as our own, we vowed to make their life as adventurous as possible, without sacrificing security.

When Luna lived on the beach, she wound up running into the road and getting hit by someone on a motorbike. Friends took her…


While living more simply, you’re also being more sustainable — which is good for you, and good for the planet

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Photo: Charles Deluvio via Unsplash

Let’s get one thing straight. Social distancing is not fun. A global pandemic is anything but peachy. Still, there’s nothing wrong with finding a silver lining in the clouds. As an environmental advocate who’s slowing down for the sake of all of us, sustainability is it. As it turns out, sustainability and social distancing interact in some compelling ways.

Using what we have

When we think about what’s really essential and what’s just nice to have, we tend to shop less and use what we have more. This goes for the can of vegetables in the dark recesses of the pantry just as much…


Is this what it’s like on the other side?

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Photo by Rashtravardhan Kataria on Unsplash

It’s a classic motif. The disgruntled outcast groans at the sparkling extrovert preaching her fave self help manual, written by some neurotypical, generally attractive career coach with a freckled past. The outcast finds it disturbing, maybe even downright ignorant of the extrovert to demand that our life is in our control and we have the capacity to change what we don’t like.

“If I could do that,” the outcast thinks, “I’d already be happy.”

The outcast thinks it’s malarkey.

The outcast is me, but not today.

First, a desire to understand money


Here’s why it might do the same for you.

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Photo by Bruce Christianson on Unsplash

Keeping track of anything is bound to help you link patterns and find meaning. It’s the basics of analysis. Numbers, criminals, dreams, it’s all the same. The more you pay attention — the more you value every move — the likelier you are to view secrets that lie below the surface.

I mean, haven’t you seen National Treasure?

After I started keeping a dream journal, I did find pretty obvious patterns in my dreams. …


You know what happens when you assume…

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Photo: Camylla Battani/Unsplash

If you’re a new freelancer — whatever your specialty may be — I desperately hope that I can keep you from making the same mistakes I have. Failing to ask the right questions before taking on a project can lead to sticky situations that are best when avoided. This is true when working with fresh clients or taking on new types of projects from existing clients.

Think about it: you don’t have anyone above you to absorb responsibility, and you’re the only person your work reflects back on. …

Rachel Lewis Curry

working on words at writingsofrachel.com | the environment, digital mktg, finance | twitter @writingsofrach

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