A Thesis on Coffee on Australia

As many of you know, I recently returned from a month long working holiday in Australia, where my main base of operations was the city of Sydney. Contrary to the popular notion of Australia, with its pleasant climate, sunny beaches and clear waters, Sydney was everything from chilly and grey to downright wet, with a day of rain that seemed to top the downpours in Bombay too. Only towards the end of my trip, as luck (or lack thereof) would have it, did the skies clear up and let out some of that cliched Australian sun shine, just as I was bidding adieu to the land down under. Still, I can’t complain – erratic weather aside, I’d have to say my first true working holiday was an absolute blast.

image1

The Sydney Harbor Bridge, and yours truly

One of the great aspects of remote working is that you get to work from diverse locations, and experience a variety of new things. For me in Australia, this meant that I got to work from tons of different cafes and casually (albeit superficially) interact with many baristas. Considering Australia’s coffee scene should be placed on a pedestal, this really was a wonderful perk. So today, I’m going to tell you a little about my caffeine adventures in Aussie land, and the new vocab I learned along the way.

It probably comes as no surprise that Australians are *picky* about their coffee. Even the average coffee is tasty, as compared to what you get in most run of the mill coffee shops in Bombay. And apparently, with superior coffee comes various ways of ordering. Maybe it’s because Australia is so far away from the rest of the world, but coffee is defined so differently down under. Here’s a snippet of a conversation I had with a barista on one of my working-from-cafe days that illustrated my point:

Me: can I get a coffee?

Hipster-looking barista: Sure, what would you like?

Me: Black coffee, cream on the side?

Hipster-looking barista *raises eyebrows* : So a long black? Or short black? If you want the cream you may as well get a flat white.

Me *starts stressing*: Err…What’s a flat white? Sure… *looks down and starts to mumble*… I’m new here..

So after this little incident, I did some research – both via the Internet and via ingesting various coffee “titles” over my trip, and came to certain conclusions.

Flat whites for the win!

My favorite coffee type in Australia was a flat white. One espresso shot with milk, but not the overbearing foam of a traditional cappuccino. The Aussie cafes do a flat white perfectly, and even though there isn’t “foam”, the milk is frothier to a perfect creamy consistency, complementing the coffee in a perfect duo. This is the iconic Aussie coffee in my opinion, and with “one” sugar ( most cafes here use raw sugar only) is the best pick me up, one I already miss dearly, as flat-whites, which seem to be up and coming in Bombay don’t even come close to the ones I’ve tried this far.

A little about lattes

At an Aussie cafe, a latte is served in a glass. Really. Like the cutting chai glasses we see on the streets in Mumbai, but slightly wider. While it tastes pretty similar to a regular latte (coffee, a good amount of milk) the whole glass presentation is confusing if not inconvenient. I’m not sure about the logic behind this one, but serving hot coffee filled to the brim in a thin glass makes it pretty hard to drink – think: palms on fire!

Elusive espressos

Even though, I’m not much of an espresso drinker, I did try some through my cafe explorations, for the sake of “truly appreciating a good roast”. Down under, an espresso goes by the aptly descriptive name of “short black”, because why not. I had some memorable short blacks over a weekend in Melbourne, and they were the best way to kickstart a day after a night out! A particularly tasty espresso was at Baba Brother Budan (where I tried a flat white as well) an eccentric hole-in-the-wall cafe with a ceiling that was really an art installation of suspended chairs. To describe this cafe as “alternative”, would be putting it mildly! For anyone that’s traveling to Melbourne soon, I highly recommend this joint. Sydney short blacks didn’t disappoint either, though my stomach couldn’t handle drinking them every working day.

For coffee, size matters

Obviously, if the short black exists, then the long black must as well. A long black is Aussie speak for what I’ve always known as black coffee – a single or double shot with hot water. I usually drink “long blacks” with a splash of milk (which is what I was trying to order through that aforementioned hipster-barista). But boy, am I glad that barista introduced me to the Aussie flat whites. In my opinion, a long black with “cream on the side” could be considered a deconstructed flat white. I tried mixing the separate elements together myself, only to find that it didn’t even yield an ounce of that same creamy frothy satisfaction that a properly made flat white did. Yep, it seems I’m taken!

 

FullSizeRender

Clever cups delivering much-needed pick-me-ups

Turns out, there’s more!

Seriously, these 4 types of coffee are just the start of it. From picolos to cold  brews and more, a boutique Australian cafe is any coffee-lovers oasis. While these 4 coffees are the ones that any cafe will surely serve up, don’t let them fool you into thinking there is a dearth of coffee options – because it’s quite the contrary! In fact, the increasing options of amazing coffee even at neighborhood corner cafes is one of the reasons why generic giants like Starbucks had to close down so many of their outlets in Australia, and are still unable to crack the Aussie coffee market. Jackie Chan* apparently said “coffee is a language in itself”, and after my Aussie coffee experiences, I can’t help but think that Australia indeed speaks this language beautifully.

Stay tuned for my next few posts in the upcoming weeks about overall impressions of the land down under, and my diving adventure on the Great Barrier Reef! Oh, and before I forget – I made some DELICIOUS healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies a few days ago, check them out in the Recipes section!

 

*In case you’re wondering why I quoted Jackie Chan here, I watched Skip Trace this afternoon with my dad, and he’s been on my mind since!

Advertisements

Recently Recovered Musings

I recently returned from United States after touring the Puget Sound region, Las Vegas, and the San Juan Islands. In true Las Vegas fashion, not only did I lose money but also managed to get my phone stolen. Why is this relevant? Well, while I was in Seattle (the city that claims to be the coffee capital of the world, also famous for being the birthplace of Starbucks), I frequented many cafes and continuously discovered the wonder of micro-roasters and freshly brewed caffeine fixes, almost every day. Embracing this lone-traveler-late-morning-coffee-drinker persona on my café excursions, I’d sometimes feel the urge to ponder and write (rather type) and would often churn out some words, typing away on my phone while sipping a cuppa’.

And then, alas, Vegas, that consuming city of sin, took from me my beloved phone and with it, my many little musings.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there – yes, there is hope! Today, as I was browsing through various online forums for some work research I came across a thread that outlines very simply (and in retrospect, extremely obvious) steps on how to restore notes online. I tried it, and it turns out that my phone had automatically backed up a couple of my older notes to the cloud. So even though majority of my ponderings are now roaming freely in the Las Vegas ether, I was able to recover some of my mini reflections, which at this point I’m pretty thrilled about. Here’s a slightly edited version of something I wrote specifically for the blog, while thinking about Pondicherry on one of my aforementioned café jaunts.

“I’ve been gone from Pondicherry a while ago now, and sadly, haven’t put up an update on what was one of the most exciting phases of my life.

I think the reason for this is simply that Pondicherry allowed me to be so many different people, that I didn’t know which “me” to really write about. Let me explain. As things stood, on the one hand, I was the ultimate working hippie (if that’s a thing) – chilling on rooftop cafes with cane chairs, in palazzo pants and able to work from wherever my heart desired. On the weekends, I was a scuba diver, learning things about India’s marine ecosystem and feeling one with the ocean like never before. And my third avatar was that of the female solo traveler – a part time typical tourist, outsider in some ways but an Insider in others, exploring the cuisines, people and overall culture of the Pondicherry and it’s surrounding areas.

As I sit in this quaint Seattle café, surrounded by black and white portraits of mean and women, their eyes all somehow unintentionally converging on me and sipping on my perfectly made café au lait, I can’t help but introspect about the past few months of my life. My time in Pondicherry was transformative, to say the least. Something about the city ignited a creative spark in me – a spark that was raw and simple. I think this was one of the reasons that my writings in Pondicherry took the form of pen to paper, rather than keyboard to blog. The physical act of being able to write, draw, doodle, sketch, (whatever you call it) yields a different (and in my opinion, more fulfilling) sense of satisfaction, one that I wasn’t able to find through blogging.

And so, in my selfish interest – I scribed and scribbled little notes and anecdotes on scraps of paper, napkins and my handy travel journal, rather than on here. I’m still in the process of deciding what to do with my musings: whether they should remain randomly strewn about as they are, whether they are blog worthy, or whether they could potentially synergize into something more – a memoir to make up #ThePondiPages? What happens is yet to be decided, and maybe these morning coffee sessions, world away from Pondicherry, will give me clarity on which path to take. Right now, all I know is that there is much to reconcile in terms of my experiences in Pondicherry, and with time, I’m hoping my reflections come together into something more, something that is beautifully whole.”

—-

P.S. After almost 7 years, I’m back in Bombay for mango season, and have been cooking with these juicy comfort fruits. I put a delicious Mango Rum Tart recipe in the Recipes section (with pictures of course), so if you need some mango motivation, head over and take a look.

 

 

Bombay Nostalgia // Sailing the Arabian Sea

The air was fresh that morning, tinged with a salty zest, different from the smoggy heaviness that is rather typical to Bombay air. It was a Sunday morning, 6:45am to be precise and probably the earliest I’ve left the house in a while. Generally, I’d be averse to this early of a start, but the call of the ocean was too much to resist. I was finally going sailing, into the waters of the Arabian Sea just a few minutes before I’d be able to witness a breathtaking Mumbai Sunrise.

I’d never been sailing in Bombay before, and so I didn’t have a lot of expectations. In fact, I honestly expected to be disappointed based on my experience swimming a race in the Arabian Sea waters (which seems almost a lifetime ago). Back when I was 15, I took part in a 5 km Sea Swim Race amongst many others. We were taken out to sea on a boat we boarded from the Gateway of India. 5 kilometers in, the boat stopped, and we had to dive into the water, swimming with the current back to Gateway of India arch, where families eagerly waited to pull us out of the water. The minimum goal was to finish under 1 hour – I did, barely scraping though, and I still have the certificate to prove it. My memories of this race aren’t very pleasant. Sure, it was an achievement at the time, and maybe still is. But the ambience (or lack of it) of the Arabian Sea left much to be desired. I remember diving in only to see a screen of brown, and having to immediately pop my head out of the water to orient myself. Dirt, mud and debris were everywhere, making me ever so grateful was the oil that had been slathered over my body by my mother to save my skin from the pollutants around. At one point, I remember my hand got stuck in something. The muddy Waters made it impossible to see, and I had to stop swimming and raise my hand up to get said object off of me. It was and old plastic bag, that had decided to take my hand captive till I managed to pry it off whilst being violently swayed by the waves and current. All in all, it’s fair to say that my image of the immediate sea surrounding Bombay wasn’t too pleasant. So when I went sailing, I really didn’t expect to be blown away.

That morning though, I was in complete awe. The sun slowly rose spreading hues of orange and yellow across a clear sky. The sea was shimmering, as the gentle waves danced in reflected colours of the sun. The nights tide seemed to have washed away the debris that marks the Arabian Sea, leaving it rather clean, it’s usual murky waters disguised by the powerful rays if the sun that penetrated through. As we ventured into the sea, and further away from the city, the rhythmic sound of the wind hitting the sail filled the air around us. Flap, flap, – it played like a comforting lullaby. The silhouettes of other sailboats, and much larger container ships erratically lined the horizon, and the occasional seagull was seen desperately seeking into the waters. As I absorbed my surroundings in a space of tranquility and peace, I looked back to see the majestic structures of the Gateway of India and the Old Taj Mahal Hotel lining the shore, tinged with golden sunshine. I’ve always been a water baby – but really, I could have stayed out on that sailboat (an appropriate goodbye before I left for Pondicherry), gazing into the distant waters for just about forever.

 

 

Of Diyas and Rangoli –  #The Mussoorie Diaries

Diwali 2015 was full of firsts. After seven Diwalis away from home, this year, I was able to spend the festival of lights with my family and close friends. And obviously, I went all out. Mom and I created a stunning (if I do say so myself) Rangoli, a modern-art-gradient-esque Ganesh complete with some jhataak gold and silver glitter. I threw a party for all my old school friends,  a mini-reunion of sorts,  that turned into a night of watermelon mimosas, wine, gossip and lots of laughter.IMG_20151106_183152

By the time the Wednesday of Diwali finally rolled around, I’d already watched a firecracker show, eaten probably half my weight in desserts and mithai (there goes my diet) and dressed up in varieties of Indian attire. The day I was anxiously waiting for though, was New Year’s Day, the Thursday I would fly out for a four-day vacation in the beautiful town of Mussoorie.

Mussoorie is two flights and a three-hour driving trip away from Bombay. It’s definitely far up North, but the journey is more than worth the destination. Nestled in the Garhwal mountains, part of the Himalayan range in Uttarakhand, Mussoorie is a picturesque little town, that was initially a retreat for the Britishers during colonial times. The winding roads are lined with stalls that are almost hanging off the mountain faces, all promising a wonderful view and a bowl of hot Maggi.

There are many people that criticize the overwhelming amount of urbanization that has taken place in some of India’s most rural and scenic areas. While some may say Mussoorie is a victim of the same, the impression I left with was slightly different. Mussoorie has indeed been modernized, but arguably to a point of necessity. My three days showed me that Mussoorie is one of those places that perfectly balances the onset of urbanization with its abundance in untouched natural beauty. In short, one of the masks of Mussoorie could be described as “classy traditionalist”, what with it’s modern day conveniences melded seamlessly into its rustic core.1447496205606

I was fortunate enough to go for a 3-hour trek on Day 2 of my trip. We climbed up a narrow forest path, our guide frequently stopping to point out the healing properties of various leaves and berries. As we climbed higher and higher, the green waters of Kempty lake faded away into the distance, and the smell of fresh earth and clean air thoroughly enveloped us. I’ve only gone trekking in the North once as a child and back then, my sole goal was to “win the race”, and reach the destination faster than the rest of the group. So really, this was my first trek in the North India where I enjoyed the journey and was able to fully take in the beauty my surroundings. After an hour and a half, we reached an area of flat land, a platform that was surrounded by pine trees in every imaginable direction. A lone cow stood on our right, oblivious to the loud family that had so intentionally stumbled into this abode. My pictures don’t do the views justice, as it was more than just sight that made this made this place wondrous. An experience for the senses, it was the smell of purity, the feel of a breeze, light but powerfully cold, and the sounds of silence punctuated by the soft gossip of villagers from huts on the mountainside that resonated up to where we stood – it was all this combined that made the little opening in the trees perfectly mesmeric. Very modestly called, “The Pine Forest Trek”, I would recommended this expedition that is really so much more to anyone that makes it up to Mussoorie.

1447496217273

It’s safe to say the magic of Mussoorie left quite an impression, further stoking the fire of wanderlust that seems to perpetually course through me. I’ve added a couple of pictures here, but more can be seen in entirety on the new “Memories of Travel” section on this blog. Considering my return to India has led to multiple weekend (and longer) “adventures” if you will, I thought it only fitting to start a section to display the beauty of the places I visit. On that note, I’m thrilled to announce that come January 10th, I will be spending around two months in the coastal city of Pondicherry! I’ll be scuba diving every weekend, completing my PADI Divemaster certification, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m going to try and document my time in this quaint city – my Pondicherry Ponderings – somewhere on this blog, so keep reading!

 

Transitions

Once again, I haven’t updated this blog for a while. I’ve been on a hiatus of sorts, due to the many unexpected turns my life has taken. For those of you who don’t know, in what can only be described as bittersweet, I’ve moved from Boise, Idaho back to my hometown of Mumbai, India. I’ve spend the past month taking some last minute trips around the U.S., finally getting to visit Yellowstone, and packing up 5 years worth of stuff. It’s been hectic to say the least.
Currently, I’m working remotely which essentially means I’m doing exactly what I used to do, just from my new office in Mumbai – my room. It’s only been two weeks, but I can already sense that working from home is going to be extremely different from working in an office. I’m crossing my fingers to hope it goes well! What this means for the blog is that the Haikus On-the-Go will now be mostly closed, since I technically don’t have to walk to work anymore. If I do come up with some haikus at other points in time though, I’ll be sure to put them out.
In other news, I’ve become a contributor for the wonderful website Not Now Mom’s Busy. No, I’m not a mom, but that’s the beauty of this website – it’s so much more than a “mom blog”. Considering my background in political economy, I’ll be writing about finance and money matters, on a monthly basis. If you get the chance, do check it out!
Finally, due to the long Labor Day weekend, I got to take a family vacation with my parents after many years. A quick getaway type holiday, my four days in beautiful Bekal were exactly what I needed. Here are a couple of pictures from my trip! Stay tuned for more 🙂

Backwaters, and the sea in the distance

Backwaters, and the sea in the distance

Bekal Beach at Susnset

Bekal Beach at Susnset

The Architect’s Apprentice: A Review

Warning: Contains Spoilers!

After a short internal debate with myself, I decided to buy an approximately $14 e-book – the much awaited “The Architect’s Apprentice”. Normally, I would wait till the price went down by a little bit, but with this Elif Shafak March 2015 release, I knewI wouldn’t be able to wait. So I debated with myself only for a short amount of time, mostly because of the ritual of doing so and not because I needed convincing, and with the click of a button had Shafak’s book sent to my Kindle.

Two days later, I definitively knew that this was one of the best $14 buys ever. “The Architect’s Apprentice” is a magical novel that follows the story of Jahan, a mahout or elephant tamer in the Sultan’s palace, who soon becomes one of revered architect Sinan’s apprentices. Historically, Sinan was the Chief Architect serving under Sultan Süleyman (the Magnificent), Selim II, and Murad III. Sinan was the mastermind behind the famous Süleymaniye mosque in Istanbul, and Shafak details its construction process with mystique and wonder, appealing to any sort of reader, well acquainted with architectural terminology or not. While Jahan, the 12 year old elephant tamer is fictional, a vast majority of Shafak’s story is not, the proof of which can be seen in the beauty of the Ottoman mosques that dot the Istanbul skyline. She successfully combines the real and the somewhat twisted histories of Istanbul into one fascinating, fast-paced and dramatic read.

While other characters develop on the periphery, the novel is a bildungsroman for Jahan, who starts off as an impressionable, naïve and insecure young lad. His closest friend is his elephant Chota, though soon, in clichéd fairytale fashion, he develops romantic feelings for the Turkish princess Mirihmah. Shafak manages to incorporate love, death, unlikely friendships and ultimate betrayal without being overly pretentious, in a manner that is intriguing but not outlandish. All the while, the dynamism in both beauty and harsh inequalities of the Ottoman capital is constantly adhered to, showing how easy it is to have an obsessive, intense love-hate relationship with Istanbul.

The Süleymaniye Mosque, completed in 1558

The Süleymaniye Mosque, completed in 1558

On a more personal note, Shafak’s story reminded me of my wonderful “Tryst with Turkey”, back in 2012, when spent a semester in Istanbul. I loved the expressions of similarities between Turkish and Indian culture and traditions that I too noticed during my stint in Turkey. This book is special as the premise of Jahan’s placement in the Sultan’s court is that he is an elephant tamer from India (even though we later learn this is a lie). He pretends to be Indian until he is much older, when with a twist of fate, he boards a ship to truly travel to Agra, eventually helping to build the Taj Mahal. Shafak clearly did her research, and I (being Indian and having experienced Istanbul firsthand) was immensely pleased with the result of this Indian-Turkish combination.

As you know, my purchase was just based off the fact that I love Shafak’s work and I hadn’t read any reviews of the book prior to reading. So, as I dove in to the book, I remember feeling a bubble of excitement to see that the opening was in the form of a letter by Jahan, with his signature including the words “Agra, India”. I thought “India and Istanbul, this will surely be a somewhat nostalgic read.” And I was right. As I read the Architect’s Apprentice I could see images of Istanbul, its mosques and minarets, its bazaars and hawkers, its food and desserts, swimming before my eyes. Much like “The Forty Rules of Love” (the first Elif Shafak novel I read), this book ignited my wanderlust that is often suppressed because of the realities of work life, and reaffirmed my desire to once again visit Turkey. Even for those with no knowledge of Istanbul, this book is sure to give you a glimpse into wonder and mystique of the Ottoman Empire. Shafak’s words jump off the page to create imagery that is both intricate and majestic, and expansive in its coverage of historical events and figures. I know I am quite biased, but if you are looking for a book that will inspire and enchant you, then get started on The Architect’s Apprentice – you won’t regret it!

The Shortest Update Ever

It’s been quite a while since I wrote here. I assure you, it’s not because I have nothing to say- quite the opposite. The last few weeks have been interesting, exciting and full of new experiences. The thing is, I’ve been writing so much at work that I come home burnt out and not in the mood to write anymore. My job responsibilities have been slightly re-aligned – I’m creating way more content than I was previously. I can’t really complain – more often than not, I’m getting paid to write about things I care about, and learning how to write for a different type of audience. Making money while letting my imagination flow and kindle my creative fires is pretty ideal, but after a 10 hour day (starting at 7 AM) it’s just hard to gather up enough motivation to physically type up a somewhat witty post while staring at another computer screen. It really is. So instead of writing, I’ve been spending my time reading, redecorating, and enjoying 36 C/97 F summer weather by floating in pool.  By this weekend though, I promise I’ll have a couple of book reviews of two very inspiring reads up on this blog, and maybe even an innovative new recipe, so stay tuned! For now, here is a very awkward picture of me in a very pretty place:

Camels Back Park - wild hair, squinting at the sun, rocking my  safari shorts (I hope)

Camel’s Back Park, Boise – wild hair, squinting at the sun, rocking my safari shorts (I hope)!

Magic, Temptations and Walks

These past two weeks I’ve been trying what is known as “Temptation Bundling”. The first time I heard of Temptation Bundling was while I was listening to a Freakonomics podcast at work. Temptation Bundling is a term coined by Katharine Milkman, and falls within the field of Behavioral Economics. Now I didn’t study Behavioral Economics as part of my International Political Economy major but this is in fact a very interesting field, especially when it comes to analyzing particular habits, not only at the state level it but also at the personal level. Here I’ve written briefly about my little experiment with Temptation Bundling, mostly to have some sort of record of it. My experience might not be the most interesting, but if this concept does interest you, I recommend reading Milkman’s paper (or it’s summary) “Holding the Hunger Games Hostage at the Gym: An Evaluation of Temptation Bundling.”

The Concept

The Freakonomics podcast (in the form of a conversation between Steven Dubner and Katharine Milkman) explains temptation bundling as “a method for simultaneously tackling two types of self-control problems by harnessing consumption complementarities.” In simple words this is “the idea of tying together two activities — one you should do but may avoid; and one you love to do but isn’t necessarily productive”. The idea of using a “temptation”  to motivate oneself into doing something one wouldn’t always do isn’t genius, but surprisingly few people use this sort of motivational technique in everyday lives. Milkman explored this concept through an experiment that involved going to the gym and listening to the Hunger Games on audiobook.  The experiment group was only allowed to listen to the audiobook at the gym, essentially forcing them to go to the gym if they wanted to know what happened next in the Hunger Games. Milkman found that this greatly increased gym attendance in the sample group where this rule was enforced, as opposed to the control group who were allowed to listen to the audiobook at any time or place (given only the suggestion that they should listen to it while at the gym). In theory, temptation bundling of this sort can lead to the development of better habits (such as going to the gym) and also spending less time on the so-called “temptation” (if you watch copious amounts of TV for instance, this could be a good way to cut down on it!)

My Experience

I’m one of those people who isn’t too fond of exercising. The only types of exercising I enjoy are dancing at a club and swimming (both of which are not something I can work into my daily schedule). So I decided to try using temptation bundling, in an effort to make myself more active. My “temptation”, just like in Milkman’s experiment was listening to an audiobook. This only made sense considering my  love for reading, so I downloaded an audiobook that I’ve been meaning to check out for a while – The Magicians by Lev Grossman, approximately 18 hours of fantasy, magic and alternate worlds (once I’m done listening to it, I’ll be sure to put up a review). I also created a playlist of some of my favorite upbeat happy workout music on Spotify. My goal was to increase the number of steps I took throughout the day.  I use the app Pacer to track my steps; it has neat features like the ability to challenge your friends, graph tracking and a clean interface. I decided (with as much willpower I could muster) that I would only listen to my playlist or the Audiobook when I went on a 30-45 minute walk. Now anyone who knows how I get when it comes to reading is probably thinking “There’s no way she would put a a really good book down in accordance with her ‘rule’.” Sadly, they were correct – at first, I had no control when it came only listening to the audiobook while walking (Don’t judge, it’s an enthralling book). I’d listen to The Magicians even while lying in bed, staying up later than I should have, probably not moving more than an inch, and unfortunately I didn’t have Milkman to enforce otherwise.

Then, I discovered that Pacer allows you to pair up with friends and see how many steps they’ve walked. Now this was something that could motivate me! With this added piece of information, my competitive nature kicked in, and I wanted to make sure I was beating my Pacer buddies in this “steps competition” I had created in my head. Since I discovered the added incentive of “winning” (sort of), I got pretty good about only listening to my audiobook/special playlist when I walked. In turn, and as predicted, I started going on walks more frequently, increasing the number of steps I average every week. I’ve started to find that I actually enjoy going on walks now, and having some time cut out of my day to mindlessly just “BE”. All in all, I think Temptation Bundling can work very well, though you have to have the willpower to enforce the rules you create (or have someone do it for you). Otherwise, you might need some sort of added incentive besides just wanting something to happen. For me, the added nature of competition perfectly complemented my initial strategy. And as an added bonus, I’m getting to listen to a wonderful book while exploring the beautiful Greenbelt. As Idaho slowly opens its eyes to summer, I can only hope that my daily walks become a force of habit.