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Summer of Concerts, In Review

It's no secret that I have outdated taste in music. This summer, I indulged it.

I often check out Pollstar to see if anyone I'm interested in will be coming to town.

When I first started planning how to leave my job and take another long trip, I did the same thing in some of the first cities. I can't remember which concert I found first, but pretty soon one became a dozen. As I started looking up cities and some of my favorite artists' summer tours, things quickly snowballed. I decided that I would use concerts and music festivals to help draw my path east across Europe, to where I would finish in Finland. Since the beginning of this year, I have seen at least thirty bands perform.

I thought I'd make up some arbitrary awards for the shows I've seen. The full list of shows is at the bottom.

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News and Commentary of Note, Early August Edition

Outspoken traveler (and inspiration for my North Korea trip) Paul Karl Lukacs explains how being a digital nomad isn't without negative dangers. While he's largely right, I will comment that your employability post-travel largely depends on overall demand for your profession. During travel, unless you're already an independent worker, good luck finding someone to let you work remotely and -- inevitably -- erratically.

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Why is Amtrak so Expensive? (or, Why is BoltBus so Cheap?)

I don't have a definitive answer, but recently I was planning a trip to New York, and came across some incredible numbers. Both BoltBus and Amtrak depart from Baltimore Penn Station, and arrive at New York's Penn Station. (The bus stop is a few blocks away from each).

The Amtrak's high-speed Acela takes two hours, fifteen minutes, and costs at least $134.

The BoltBus takes three and a half hours, costing $15.

Both of these are demand-based prices, but the ratio remains effectively the same: for an extra hour of travel time, BoltBus is one-tenth the price of Amtrak. How is this possible?

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Creativity is Endless When Someone Wants Your Money

Anywhere there's a lot of foreign tourists and local unemployment, you'll find them: local people who seem smart and speak English, yet inexplicably have nothing better to do than talk to you.

I hate to paint with a broad brush, because in every country, most of the time, I've also had fantastic experiences with locals who legitimately want to talk to you, practice their English, or make some foreign friends. But it's important to always stay aware of your surroundings, and remember that context is crucial. The stories below -- my own and others' -- are illustrative of the precautions you should take, especially in tourist hubs.

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