Category Archives: Uncategorized

The First Snow of the Year

snow

So, finally, on January 18th, New York City is seeing its first snow. Once again, the streets are covered in white, and it finally feels like Christmas! (be it almost an entire month late) But still, the snow is here. It’s time to find that sweater, gather in a coffee shop, and put on some Fiona Apple. Right now, I have 2 out of the 3.

I’m plotting. Dreaming. Mischiefing. A big travel event is coming up next weekend that I have to go to for work. You go to meet and mingle. To set up trips and potential articles. my goal is to fill my year with as many trips as possible.

My goal is to have at least 1 trip every single month. And yet, something in me also wants to run away. I have always wanted to run. I want to go somewhere new, unexpected, and exciting. I want to do something. I want to make something happen. 

charlie brown snow

Snowy days like these always make me want to travel. To run. I want to hop on a flight to Botswana and go volunteer at a nature sanctuary. I want to fly to Australia and help with the fires. I want to go instal solar panels in the 3rd world. I want to do something!!!!!!!

The problems we have in America are so fucking stupid. Republicans are stirring up fear, anger, and hatred against poor people, women, LGBTQ people, Jewish people, black people, muslims, Mexicans, and literally, anyone who isn’t them.

And because our country is so focused fighting for dumb things that should be obvious to everyone, we can’t work on the bigger issues. The bigger problems. The real problems. I’m bored of this country. I’m bored of the bullshit of America. I’m bored of how easily Americans were bought and sold. Of how easy it was to completely divide America and destroy it from the inside.

airplane

And so, I want to run. I want to go somewhere else. Somewhere new. Somewhere where adventure is still possible. Where making friends is still possible. Where learning something new is still possible. Where growing as a person is still possible.

And I understand that I probably sound spoiled, and that’s also the problem with America. We have this problem where, if someone can see the situation from the outside…from a different perspective…they’re labeled privileged or spoiled or uneducated. When in reality, maybe they’re not. Just because someone calls you out on bullshit doesn’t mean that they’re the problem. Maybe…. just maybe… you’re full of bullshit.

And so, I want to run. Go somewhere new. Away from Trumpism. Away from #Woke. Away from America.

I want to run.

 

~ The Dark Horse

(No, not proofread)

 

 

 

Is It Wrong To Be In Love With A Piece Of Paper?

b and red

So, in general, I’m not one of those writers who enjoys talking about how much they “just love the feel of a pen in their hand” or “the sound it makes when it hits the paper.” I think that shit is so annoying and is such a cheap way to try and describe the joy of writing.

Having said that, here is a notebook brand out there called Black n’ Red. And let me tell you, it has the most orgasmic paper I have ever felt in my life. The paper is so smooth, almost too smooth, as if I’m writing on an ice skating rink. At any second, if I cross my T’s a little too strong, my my pen could go flying off the page, careening across the room.

And I know… I just bashed people who talk like this. But you don’t understand! The feel of this paper! It’s unnatural. It’s the kind of smooth that can only come from a deal with the devil. Surely there must be evil forces behind something so glorious. Imagine touching something so pristine, so exhilarating.

When I touch the paper, I want to take all my clothes off.

o face

Do I love this paper a little too much? Well…you haven’t felt it yet. Judge me only after you’ve experienced the pure carnal bliss of your finger against a piece of notebook paper.

 

Oh god, oh yes! oooooohhhhhh!!!!!!

writing

Oh my… That was the best journaling experience I’ve ever had.

I think I need a tea now.

~ The Dark Horse

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Everything Falls Apart

cape town

So, for anyone just catching up with this blog, I’m now a travel writer, and I love it.

The holidays were great, and making them even better was that I was riding on a cloud knowing that at the start of the new year, my next assignment was to take me to South Africa. Safari, cage diving, snorkeling, biking through vineyards, hiking….all of it. It was going to be the trip of a lifetime. I have never been to Africa before and I was so excited to visit “the cradle of life.” I mean, after all, it’s where the entire human race has its origin. I think it’s an important place for everyone to visit.

But then, America (along with Israel and other countries) placed a travel advisory on the country due to high levels of violent crime. And then, everything went to shit in Iran, and now Americans are being advised to be cautious when traveling anywhere. And so South Africa was like… you know what, we’re just going to put everything on hold for right now.

So I lost that opportunity.

And the backup trip for me was to Puerto Rico, which, not as exciting as South Africa, but it’s a gorgeous island in the Caribbean, and I could be escaping winter… so, YES PLEASE!

puerto rico

But then, the earthquake happened and aftershocks are continuing still… So Puerto Rico was like… you know what, we’re just goin to put everything on hold for right now.

And granted, this isn’t the worst thing in the world. It just means that until I get the next trip lined up, I’l be writing articles from the office. Which, trust me, I fully understand that my life could be so much worse. But still, when you get excited for something and you start getting all prepared, and then it all suddenly collapses… it sucks.

And it’s weird because, you know how there’s just a different feeling when you’re getting excited for something? Like, when you’re living in anticipation, knowing that something big is about to happen, you’re just kind of living on cloud 9 the entire time… That was me this month. I was just like, anything can happen and I’ll get over it, because South Africa is in my future. 

bored

And then, you come back down to reality.

So what to do? What do we do when things fall apart? When plans fall through? When we got our hopes up for something that didn’t end up happening?

Well, here’s what I’m doing to make myself feel better. Maybe this could be helpful for you too.

~ Treat yourself: I bought myself a slice of tiramisu, because why not? 

~ Don’t give up: I immediately had a meeting with my editor to scope out new trips to replace South Africa. One setback doesn’t mean the end of the world… it’s simply a setback.

~ Spend a night being mad and dramatic: The day I found out that South Africa was cancelled, I spent the night eating Thai takeout watching a horror movie, and then did some seriously immature journaling about how much I hate the world… and you know what, it made me feel better, so fuck off.

dramatic

So there ya go, hopefully that gives you some ideas of what to do the next time your plans fall through. And who knows, maybe this was for the best?  Who know where my next trip might take me?

~ The Dark Horse

(#SoNotProofread)

 

 

 

 

 

The Joys of Flying Spirit

spirit

Spirit, America’s trashiest airline, has done it again, proving that it is truly one of the worst airlines in the history of the human race, rivaled only by Air Koryo, or Terydactal Airlines from The Flintstones.

So, here we go: First off… they charge for bags, and not just checked bags, but carry ons too. If you’re going to any destination for longer than a day or two, expect to add $55 to any ticket you book.

inflight meal

Secondly, you can’t pick your seat, and the good seats are always saved for those who purchase seat selections or those who have the Spirit credit card… Which, let me just say. WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU EVER BUY THE SPIRIT CREDIT CARD? Do you like feeling embarrassed every time you whip out your wallet? A credit card with Spirit is like a diploma from Trump University…it’s worthless. So, unless you want the middle seat, expect to pay and extra $20 for any ticket you purchase.

Then comes the fact that they serve no snacks or drinks on the plane, not even water. So, if you fly Spirit, expect to add another $20 for the overpriced water and granola bars in the airport terminal.

Also, they have no in-flight entertainment, nor do they have free wifi. So, unless you’re planning on staring at your palms for 3 hours, expect to pay another $10 per ticket on magazines, or to download a movie from iTunes or something.

flying Spirit Airlines

And if you do decide to watch a movie on your laptop…there are NO setback tray tables, so you’ll have nowhere to put your laptop, and the seat is going to be so close to you that you’ll never be able to fit a laptop on your lap anyways.

And this brings us to their delays.  Since Spirit is trash and doesn’t care about you, the passenger, at all, expect to be delayed. Prepare to sit in the airport for hours as unhelpful minimum wage desk agents do absolutely nothing. You’ll need to spend another $30 on food and drinks as you aimlessly wait for your plane to arrive.

flying Spirit

So, if your Spirit flight was $100 cheaper than another airline, like Delta… after adding up all the costs, your travel expenses are no actually more expensive, and that’s figuring that you’re not checking a bag. If you do check a bag, add another $60 to the prices listed above.

 

Was this proofread? Obviously not!

~ The Dark Horse

The Problem with America’s Growing Economy

economy

So, there’s a problem in our economic model right now that nobody seems to be aware of. And that problem is freelance, casual, and temporary employment.

Freelance is like a writer for most websites. They’re paid per-article (some websites pay fair wages, some don’t) but there is no job protection and employers aren’t required to provide any sort of benefits to them.

Casual employment is the jobs that come from apps. Think Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, or Wag (among the millions of others) and even websites such as Fiverr. These technically allow people to work “whenever they want”, but in reality, aside from the ride-share apps, you’re forced to work around other people’s schedules. Again, wages usually aren’t per-hour, they’re per-task or from bonuses.

Temporary is like Christmas jobs in retail and summer jobs at resorts. They last from 1-3 months and then they won’t exist again until the next year.

lyft

So, here’s the problem – Yes, the number of jobs in America is increasing, but a lot of those job numbers come from freelance, casual, and temporary employment.

This creates four massive problems:

The first is that while technically “a job” was created, there’s no guarantee as to how many hours a week these people can work, nor is there any guarantee as to how much money they can make even while they are working.

In the case of freelancers, someone can have a freelance contract with Forbes or a similar site, but that doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed an article everyday. And some sites pay as little as $15 per article. Imagine you spend an entire morning working on an article to wind up with $15. Even if you churned out four articles a day, that’s a before-tax take-home of just $60.

The same goes for casual and temporary. Your Christmas season job at Target probably won’t give you 40 hours a week, and and just how many hours a day do you think you’ll be spending walking people’s dogs on Wag?

Wag On-Demand Dog Walking App In Washington DC

This brings us to the second problem. Because these three types of jobs are so sporadic and unpredictable, many people are forced to take on multiple. For example, it’s extremely common for drivers to be registered with both Uber and Lyft. It’s also extremely common for freelancer writers to have freelance contracts with up to five different companies in order to be able to make as much money as possible. it’s also common for people in restaurants and retail to hold multiple jobs.

This looks great on paper. For every ride-share driver, two jobs have been created – One with Uber and one with Lyft. For every freelance writer who’s balancing five gigs, technically speaking, five jobs have been created.

But as is obvious, you can’t drive for Uber while simultaneously driving for Lyft. Similarly, if a freelancer is writing for Forbes one morning, they can’t also be simultaneously writing for another company too. People can only take on one job at a time. This means that while the freelancer has created five jobs, in reality, only one of those jobs is being actively worked at any given time. This is a problem because it’s massively altering our unemployment numbers.

Despite what conservatives think, nobody likes to be unemployed. When asked, Americans will gladly say they’re employed… even if that employment is nothing more than causal employment on an app, where they might only be working 15 hours per week. So while it seems like America is having this massive economic boom, it’s a facade for the reality, which is that a lot of the employment being created is fragile, falsified, and underpaid.

writer

Which leads us to the third problem. This kind of employment is extremely fragile and holds absolutely no security and no benefits of any kind. The biggest threat is the looming recession ahead. When people start losing jobs, they (obviously) start losing money too. And the first thing to go will be the unneeded luxuries. Paying a stranger to walk your dog through Wag, for example, will not be the highest priority on people’s minds when they’re looking to save money. Similarly, paying that person on TaskRabbit (another popular job app) to plant your flowers will also become one of the first things people cut out of their budget.

The less money there is to go around, the less demand app-employment will have. The same goes for restaurants and retail. During recessions, people cook more and buy less clothing. A lot of the jobs we’re currently creating can only be sustained in a good economy.

task rabbit

The fourth problem will make everything even worse. As more people become unemployed, more people will desperately try to find easy work through the apps and in unskilled labor like restaurants and retail. I remember growing up in Ohio during the last recession and waiting tables at a diner around grown adults with master’s degrees.

The same will happen for app employment. As people lose their stable jobs, they’ll seek employment on the apps until they can find another job. So, as demand decreases, supply will increase, only cannibalizing on people’s attempts at scoring work.

The same will happen to freelance roles. During the last recession, we saw many staff positions be phased out, with companies opting instead for freelancers who don’t need to be paid as much and who don’t need to be given benefits. Freelance work almost always occurs at a lower pay rate than staff positions, causing even more people’s wages to be lowered. An even bigger problem is that many companies never rebounded after the recession. Many staff jobs never returned, and companies, always looking to save a buck, decided to continue using freelance work over staff positions.

The question is, what to do about the precarious situation we’re in? How do we fix a problem that hasn’t even been addressed yet? How do we keep an economy built on fragile employment from toppling over like a Jenga tower? And most importantly, what will we do during the next economic downturn to prevent it from completely collapsing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Travel Is Upon Us: Let The Hunger Games Begin!

hunger games
Ok so, I absolutely love holiday travel – As I’ve stated in previous posts. And people, this shit just keeps on gettin’ better!

Now, according to weather services all around the country, massive storms will be sweeping through America, JUST IN TIME FOR THANKSGIVING TRAVEL!

And all I can say is, YES! YES! YES! 

This means delays, long lines, angry passengers! Oh, it’s all just too much fun!  And now there’s the chance of having snow on top of it?  I’M SORRY, HAVE I DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN? 

This is going to turn into a real-life Plane, Trains, and Automobiles!

planes trains and automobiles

Do you know someone on Wikipedia actually charted the route they took from in the movie?

Planes_trains_automobiles_route_map

Oh man, it’s just all way too amazing. Have I ever told you about the time I had to run through the Denver airport to make a connection on my way home for Christmas? Denver had a massive snowstorm, and all the Frontier flights coming in got delayed. And since Frontier’s passengers are almost entirely transferring, it meant that out entire plane (including me) as well as every. single. other. Frontier. plane. was going to miss our connecting flights.

So, the airline held all the departing planes back and waited for us. People, I kid you not! The flight attendants had us line up in the aisles AS THE PLANE WAS LANDING in order of whose gate was furthest from ours. (For those who don’t know, Denver airport’s B terminal is about a half-miles long) The second we hit the gate, they flung the door open and one of the flight attendants was literally yelling, “Go! Go! Go!”

home alone airport

It was a dream come true! I got to have a real-life Home Alone airport scene moment, and it was glorious!

So, what will this year hold? Perhaps I’ll watch a family have a holiday meltdown in the security line? Or disgruntled passengers like Steve Martin in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, yelling at gate agents!

steve martin

The holidays are just too much fun!

To anyone out there who wants some advice to make your trip a little easier, it’s this:

You’re fucked. Your ticket is already booked. The storms are coming. And AAA is predicting that this will be one of the busiest Thanksgiving travel seasons ever. You’re forced to deal with it now bitches! Mwuahahahahahaha!!!!!!!

Just learn to enjoy it!  I’ll be blogging my entire journey home, so feel free to touch-base here on the blog if you need some motivation to keep going!

THIS IS GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN, RIGHT?!!?!

~ The Dark Horse