How to Stay for Free Anywhere in the World

Author Article

Thanks to the plummeting prices of long-haul plane tickets, traveling is easier and cheaper than ever before. That said, the second biggest expenditure when heading to a new place is, of course, a place to stay. Airbnb may have revolutionized the way we travel, with homey accommodations available at a fraction of the price of a hotel room, but those costs still add up.

Luckily for the impecunious among us, it’s totally possible to stay around the world for free, and I don’t mean just by crashing on a friend’s couch or pitching a tent behind a McDonald’s. A number of house-sitting services have popped up in recent years, pairing travelers in need of a cozy bed (or sweeping ocean view) with homeowners in need of a guardian for their pets and plants.

Travel the globe

This system has worked extremely well for people like like Gabrielle Yetter, who, along with her husband, spent around four years house-sitting around the world. The two had been living in Cambodia, but decided upon leaving that they wanted to keep traveling. They signed up for the site TrustedHousesitters, which they thought “might be a good way of just putting out feelers to find out what kind of opportunities there were for house sitting,” Yetter said.

Gabrielle Yetter with her charges in Ireland
Image: Gabrielle Yetter

Turns out, the opportunities were limitless. They made their first foray into house-sitting in England, where Yetter’s family lives, and from there, just decided to keep going. Their travels took them everywhere from New Zealand to Italy to Nicaragua, an experience Yetter said was pretty much as good as it sounds. “The whole idea was to go places. We didn’t have anything to tie us down or to hold us back,” she said. “Basically, we just thought this would be a great way to see the world.”

Things to consider before you go

While house-sitting can be pretty ideal, keep in mind that it can also be quite competitive—after all, there are a lot of other people out there looking to stay in that spectacular cliffside Moorish mansion on the Irish coast. To maximize your options, you’ll want to not only look at house-sitting opportunities, but pet-sitting ones as well, since that’s where the majority of listings are

Yetter suggests making a very thorough profile that really speaks to how well you’re going to care for someone’s prized crocuses or, more importantly, their beloved cats and dogs. Are you a pet owner yourself? Have you volunteered or worked with animals? Don’t be shy about singing your own praises in your profile.

“It’s really about the person wanting you to take care of the pet. It’s not about them wanting you to take care of the house,” Yetter said. She added that it’s also a good idea to use profile photos of yourself with animals, which “you would think is self-explanatory, but not everybody does.”

The view in France
Photo: TrustedHousesitters

Yetter also recommends that when a listing comes through that you want, jump on it immediately. “The place that we went to in Cyprus? They said they had 67 people apply for it,” she said. She tends to have a form response ready to go that she can quickly customize when a listing pops up that she wants. And in that response, “you don’t just say hello, I want to come and house sit for you because I liked the look of your animal,” she clarified. You want to point out why you, specifically, would make the optimal sitter, preferably pointing to concrete examples citing your successes—maybe you’ve owned a home (and it didn’t burn down!) had a pet (and it lived a long and happy life!), or are already experienced at taking care of people’s homes and animals while they’re away.

Jennifer Ambrose, a yoga teacher and writer who has house-sat nearly a dozen house times, agreed that personalizing responses to listings is essential. “I’ve heard some homeowners say that when they put up a posting, they get letters that they can just tell are a copy-and-paste form letter,” she said. This method is not only ineffective, but it actually doesn’t serve sitters, either, since a careful reading of a homeowner’s post is the best way to ensure that there aren’t any surprises when you actually arrive to the property.

Neither Yetter nor Ambrose had any negative experiences to report—aside from an unfortunate incident in Tucson in which a dog for which Ambrose was sitting got bit by a rattlesnake. (Don’t worry, she got the dog to the vet and everything turned out fine!) But both emphasized that it’s important to feel comfortable with a homeowner before showing up. Make sure they have prior reviews, and that their profile is thoroughly fleshed-out, including detailed photos. Oftentimes, a homeowner will request a Skype session to get a better sense of who, exactly, will be living in their home. But if they don’t, sitters can also request one themselves.

“Asking as many questions as possible when you’re having the phone conversation or email conversation with somebody is really important, because then there aren’t as many surprises,” Yetter said.

Now that you know what to expect when you take your first house sitting assignment, it’s time to take a look at some of the most popular services out there.

TrustedHousesitters

A listing in San Francisco, California
Image: TrustedHousesitters

TrustedHousesitters is the biggest name in house-sitting, which means it’s got by far the most options for potential house- and pet-sitters. While the highest concentration of homes is across the UK, the US and Australia, there are also listings in places like Cape Town, South Africa and Chiang Mai, Thailand. The site gets up to 300 new listings each month, and a notification service alerting sitters to new assignments makes it easy to jump on a good catch the moment it’s available.

TrustedHousesitters charges both homeowners and sitters an annual fee of $119, which makes it steeper than other sites by a fairly wide margin. But it also delivers the most options, meaning that once you start to build a reputation on the site, you’ll have a competitive advantage when it comes to traveling anywhere across the globe.

MindMyHouse

A listing in Argentina
Image: MindMyHouse

MindMyHouse is perhaps the second most popular option for house-sitting. While it only has a fraction of the listings boasted by TrustedHousesitters, at $20 per year for sitters, it’s also much cheaper. The low fee, paired with the site’s good reputation, makes MindMyHouse a great option for people just looking to dip their toes into the house-sitting waters without having to make a larger financial commitment upfront.

Nomador

A listing in Marbella, Spain
Image: Nomador

Nomador has a heavy Europe-focus, particularly in France, where it started. But since its launch in 2014, it’s definitely become a global service. Nomador is $89 per year for both sitters and homeowners, though it does offer a “Discovery Option” that lets you try out the platform before you commit.

The company’s ethos places heavy emphasis on building connections and creating community, so in that spirit, Nomador also has a cool stopover feature that allows homeowners to offer accommodations to sitters for a night or two if they’re on their way somewhere else. Think Couchsurfing, but…not!

HouseCarers

A listing in Fes, Morocco
Image: HouseCarers

Australia-based HouseCarers has been in the house-sitting game since 2000, making it the longest running service out there. In that time, it has amassed a sizable number of available sits, primarily in Australia, New Zealand and North America. It runs $50 per year, but with around 300 new house sits popping up per month, HouseCarers offers an excellent cross-section of affordability and available opportunities.

Expat Facebook Groups

Though not a house-sitting service itself, Facebook is home to a number of expat Facebook groups in nearly every city where there are expats. In addition to social gatherings, advice and items for sale, members of these Facebook groups regularly post house-sitting opportunities. (In some popular expat spots, there are actually pages dedicated exclusively to house-sitting.) It’s worth searching around if you are interested in house-sitting in a certain place but don’t want to pay a fee or otherwise go through a service. 

8 Bizarre Sleep Habits Around The World

Author Article

Research via the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) suggests that lack of sleep can have a negative impact on emotion. But in some countries, it’s totally accepted to take a 20-30 minute nap during the day – even if it means going outside. Here we find how some sleep habits in different cultures can be so fascinating (and tempting!)

In Norway, it’s completely normal to see children outside in temperatures as low as -5, as parents believe it’s good for their health. Not to mention, in Botswana you aren’t expected to go to bed in the evening, with the country’s natives only sleeping when they genuinely feel tired – regardless of the time of day. 

Following the findings that loss of sleep could be costing the UK £40bn a year, is it time to make a change to our sleeping habits? To find out, Brother UK investigated eight sleeping customs from around the world, and explored how they could have a positive impact on performance and mood.

China – Bring your bedroom to work

In factories and offices across China, the lines between bedroom and workspace are becoming increasingly blurred. Due to longer working hours, many employers now advocate a short nap after lunchtime to increase concentration. Certain offices have even installed temporary or permanent sleeping and washing facilities in their office spaces to encourage employees to stay round the clock.

sleep chinese market

Japan – Inemuri

Taking a nap at work could well be perceived as a sign of laziness or a poor attitude, but not in Japan. The hectic lifestyle of Japan’s city dwellers has led to the wide-scale uptake of “inemuri”, or “sleeping whilst present”. Thanks to inemuri, Japanese workers can nap on public transport, at their desk or even during meetings – and it’s commonly seen as a sign of hard work.

Spain – Siesta

Originating in Spain and parts of Latin America, the siesta is perhaps one of the most well-known daytime snoozing traditions across the globe. This practice might be under threat, however, with new business laws introduced in 2016 limiting how late employees can work, and effectively reducing the time they have to squeeze in an afternoon nap.

Italy – Riposo

Where the Spanish have a siesta, the Italians have “riposo”. Commonly taking place after lunch, riposo can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. Frustratingly for tourists, this means that many attractions are closed throughout the day. Unfortunately, the non-stop pace of modern industry means that fewer and fewer office workers are able to benefit from a midday snooze.

Norway – Napping outside

Take a stroll through Oslo, Helsinki or another Nordic town, and you might well see some infants taking a nap in temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celsius. Don’t worry – they haven’t been abandoned; sleeping outdoors in the daytime is actually believed to be very good for their health. Could local office workers take some inspiration to increase their productivity? 

sleep park bench

Indonesia – Fear sleep

Stresses of work getting you down? The ominously named ‘fear sleep’ might be the solution. Locally referred to as “todoet poeles” – the practice of fear sleep enables people to nod off instantly to avoid feelings of excessive anxiety and stress. Nodding off when your boss walks in might not be the best solution, but regular naps could well help avoid work-related worry.

Botswana – Sleeping on your own schedule

You should sleep when it’s dark, correct? Not quite. At least, not in Botswana. The country’s native Kung hunter-gatherer tribe are well known for sleeping only when tired, regardless of the time of day. With an increased uptake of flexi-time, rise in self-chosen hours and growth of contract-based work, could businesses be embracing the way of the Kung sooner than we think?

woman sleeping

USA – Silicon Valley sleepers

Though it’s not a national custom just yet, sleeping on the job is widely being embraced by some of the USA’s biggest employers. Technology and software companies are leading the napping revolution, with firms like Google going so far as to have purpose-built sleeping pods installed in their offices to help employees rest and refresh.

These sleep habits prove one thing – there’s nothing quite like the miracle of catching up on those zzzs!

These Are The 10 Healthiest Countries In The World

Author Article

SEVILLE BY JOE LIN

A cursory check of the factors utilized by Bloomberg’s Healthiest Country Index, make it hard to be bemused by America not quite making the cut.  Obesity, tobacco use and life expectancy were just some of the contributory things that officially crowned Spain as the healthiest country in the world.The U.S. came in at 35th, down one spot from 2017. Here were the other top contenders:

The Top 10 healthiest nations

    1. Spain
    2. Italy
    3. Iceland
    4. Japan
    5. Switzerlan
    6. Sweden
    7. Australia
    8. Singapore
    9. Norway
    10. Israel

This comes as little surprise, considering how much of a new life the Mediterranean diet experienced this year. In addition to the already documented benefits to heart healthweight loss, and cognitive decline prevention,  Ladders recently reported on the effect the diet has on mental health and cancer prevention. The study found that incidences of cancer are much lower in Mediterranean counties compared to the U.S.

Among European countries, Spain has the highest life expectancy at birth. The fact that primary care is both focused on preventive measures and typically administered by public providers is suspected to play a part in steadily declining instances of cardiovascular disease and fatal cancer diagnosis. The medical Journal Lancet predicts Spain’s life expectancy to rise to 85.8 years by the year 2040.

So why didn’t the U.S. make the cut? Life expectancy has dropped quite a bit due to an increase in “deaths of despair” (defined as suicides, drug and alcohol overdoses, and diseases from chronic alcoholism.) Plus the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that close to 40% of American adults are obese.

Check out the rest of the rankings below.

Roughly 93.3 million adults are currently obese in America, which costs us some serious penalty points. Moreover, our emphasis on treating and diagnosing as opposed to preemptive tactics has negatively impacted our mortality rates.

Italy, which ranked just below Spain, on balance adheres to very similar dietary traditions. Lots of fruits, vegetables, poultry, grains, with very little red meat. A large bulk of the items mentioned have been independently linked to lower fatality rates for many chronic illnesses.

Iceland which previously ranked number two, secured the third spot this year. Still, clean water, low levels of smoking and a great healthcare system, soars its health index score to 91.21.

Japan was named the healthiest Asian nation, coming in at number four overall. The country boasts an obesity rate of 3.5% and is ranked 48th in cancer rates.  Smaller portions and a national obsession with walking certainly didn’t hurt.

Switzerland, which rounds at the top five, can likely thank the disparity of fast food chains, markets that don’t remain open for twenty-four hours and a general shunning of the concept of snacking.

The World’s Healthiest Countries, Ranked

Author Article

Spain just surpassed Italy as the world’s healthiest nation. That’s according to this year’s edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, which ranks 169 countries based on factors that contribute to overall health.

Six of the top 10 countries were in Europe, with Italy ranking second. In contrast, the United States didn’t even break into the top 30, ranking at number 35, one notch worse than last year.

The top 10 healthiest nations, according to the report, were:

  1. Spain
  2. Italy
  3. Iceland
  4. Japan
  5. Switzerland
  6. Sweden
  7. Australia
  8. Singapore
  9. Norway
  10. Israel

To come up with the rankings, Bloomberg researchers graded nations based on several factors including life expectancy, while giving penalties for health risks such as obesity and tobacco use. Environmental factors like access to clean water and sanitation were also taken into account.

The results mirror other research that came out last fall looking at future life expectancies in 195 countries and territories around the world. In that study, published in the international medical journal The Lancet, Spain also ranked first, with a projected life expectancy of 85.8 years by 2040. The United States ranked 64th.

Experts say the eating habits of the Mediterranean diet may provide clues for why Spain and Italy enjoy such good health. This heart-healthy diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, along with healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and avocados.

A number of studies have shown the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and may have numerous other health benefits, including reduction of LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, as well as a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s diseaseParkinson’s disease and cancer. One study published in British Journal of Nutrition found that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a 25 percent lower chance of death from any cause.

People in Spain also benefit from a national health system focused on preventative care, according to a review by The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, which praised its “principles of universality, free access, equity and financial fairness.”

One of the main reasons the U.S. ranks so poorly compared to other developed nations is the obesity epidemic, which shows little sign of letting up. The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate nearly 40 percent of American adults — equivalent to 93.3 million people — are obese.

Life expectancy in the U.S. has also been driven down in recent years due to so-called deaths of despair, including suicide and drug overdoses. For the first time, Americans were even more likely to die from opioid overdoses than car accidents.

Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 27 of the 30 unhealthiest nations in the Bloomberg rankings. Haiti, Afghanistan and Yemen were also in the bottom 30.

Love throughout History and across Lifetimes

Author Article/

Love throughout History and across Lifetimes
Photo by Louri Goussev | https://flic.kr/p/72KkXM

It can be very hard, especially for a Westerner, to imagine spiritual wisdom and carnal pleasure peacefully coexisting (blame it on our Puritan roots). This Valentine’s Day, learn about the rich, beautiful, and sensual poetry of ancient India—and be prepared to rethink the separation of faith and love.

House Hunting in … Italy

Author Article

Andrea Wyner for The New York Times

By Alison Gregor

This three-bedroom home is just outside San Vito dei Normanni, a rural town in the southeastern Italian region of Apulia, about 15 miles west of the coastal city of Brindisi and the shores of the Adriatic Sea.

Completed in 2017, the 2,691-square-foot home includes a contemporary one-story villa with two bedrooms and a cluster of traditional structures with conical roofs known as trullimade from Apulian dry stone.

Set on nearly four acres, the property has landscaped gardens, fruit trees, an olive grove and a swimming pool.

The five attached trulli have been refurbished and include a single bedroom, dressing room, living room with open kitchen, and bathroom. The trulli complex is linked by a glass hallway to the contemporary portion of the stone-and-concrete home, also painted white, which has barrel-vaulted ceilings made from a volcanic stone called tuff. The living area has an open kitchen with a four-burner induction cooker and professional oven, among other appliances. The two bedrooms in the contemporary structure each have an en suite bath.

All of the main rooms in the home open to a patio area with a barbecue, anchored by a 50-by-16-foot rectangular pool. The contemporary wing is topped by a roughly 1,000-square-foot roof deck.

The property functions as a single-family home, but could also be rented to tourists, as many renovated trulli complexes in the Apulia region are.

A large kitchen in the home’s contemporary wing has a dining table and barrel-vaulted ceilings made from a volcanic stone called tuff.CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times

 

Image
A large kitchen in the home’s contemporary wing has a dining table and barrel-vaulted ceilings made from a volcanic stone called tuff.CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times

“This project was born from a completely renovated period village of trulli, to create a luxury residential and tourist facility equipped with every comfort,” said Francesco Cavallo, a founding partner of PROF.IM. Real Estate Agency, which has the listing.

Specific to Apulia and dating back several centuries, trulli are built from stone, without mortar. They were originally used as temporary field shelters or dwellings for agricultural laborers that could be disassembled easily. This home’s trulliwhich date to the early 19th century, were rebuilt with an eye to retaining their historic authenticity, Mr. Cavallo said. One of the structures had partly collapsed and had to be rebuilt by local artisans, known as trullistos,who specialize in the regional architectural style, he said.

The furniture, which is included in the asking price, was handmade by a local cabinetmaker in keeping with the home’s design.

The pool terrace has an outdoor shower, a large barbecue and a wood-fired pizza oven. Several dozen lemon, orange and other fruit trees have been added to the property’s centuries-old olive grove. There is also a large English-style garden, an irrigation system, parking for four cars, a security system and an automatic vehicle gate at the entrance.

The town of San Vito dei Normanni, with a population of about 20,000, dates to the Middle Ages and is notable for its religious architecture. San Michele Salentino, a small community with shops, is about a mile from the property, Mr. Cavallo said, and Ostuni, known by tourists as the White City because of its whitewashed old town, is 10 miles north. The beaches of Alto Salento and the Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve are about 20 minutes away. Brindisi’s international airport is about 25 minutes by car, while Bari, a city of more than 300,000 with an international airport and a cruise port terminal, is just over an hour up the coast.

In the past decade, Apulia, a scenic region encompassing Italy’s “boot heel” and bordering the Adriatic and Ionian seas, has become a destination for those seeking second or vacation homes, said Huw Beaugié, the founder of the Thinking Traveler, a company specializing in Mediterranean villa rentals.

Image

The conical structures, or trulli, have a dining area adjacent to a small kitchen.CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times

Image

A lounge area is set beneath a small window and arched stone ceilings.CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times

“It’s part of a general increase in desirability of a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle,” he said. “Apulia appeals to a desire to return to basics.”

A 2018 report by Gate-away.com, an Italian property portal for overseas buyers, ranked Apulia second among Italian regions (after Tuscany) for the volume of inquiries from potential investors, said Simone Rossi, the company’s managing director.

The area’s traditional properties, which typically sit on the Adriatic coast or in inland fields shaded by olive groves, are “very much in demand among investors who renovate them and bring them to their ancient splendor,” Mr. Rossi said. “In many cases, they turn them into B&Bs.”

Properties that attract vacation-home buyers have increased in price over the past decade, although it is difficult to say exactly how much, Mr. Beaugié said. “It’s still possible to pick up pieces of land with a few tumbledown stones for a few tens of thousand euros,” he said, while a large feudal farmstead, or masseria, “will cost a few million to buy and restore to a good standard.”

Apulia has become a destination for celebrities in recent years, with lavish weddings and parties, said Marta Calligaro, a property researcher with the brokerage Homes and Villas Abroad. “The global recession just over a decade ago saw prices fall,” Ms. Calligaro said. “But the past two to three years have seen renewed growth, with the market for second homes being its driving force.”

A bedroom in the contemporary structure overlooks the patio area and a 50-by-16-foot swimming pool.CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times

 

Image

A bedroom in the contemporary structure overlooks the patio area and a 50-by-16-foot swimming pool.CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times

The average price of a home in Apulia is about 1,300 euros a square meter ($136 a square foot), with the city of Bari being the most expensive area and Taranto the most affordable, although prices can vary widely, Mr. Rossi said.

A country house or seaside villa might cost about 150,000 to 300,000 euros ($170,000 to $340,000), and a masseria could run from 400,000 euros ($450,000) into the millions of euros, Ms. Calligaro said.

Many buyers plan to rent out their properties when they are not in residence, Mr. Cavallo said. Rental prices range from about 1,500 to 2,000 euros a week ($1,700 to $2,260) to 4,000 or 5,000 euros a week ($4,500 or $5,700), he said.

A decade ago, Northern Italians were the first to seek deals on vacation homes in Apulia, back when a trullo in need of work could be had for as little as 20,000 euros ($22,600), Mr. Beaugié said. But now more buyers are foreign, from Britain, the United States and Australia, as well as Germany, France and other European countries, brokers said.

The ongoing Brexit turmoil and the most recent American presidential election may be responsible for driving the “huge growth in the interest of both Brits and Americans,” Mr. Rossi said.

There are no restrictions on American or Canadian buyers in Italy, although citizens of some countries face obstacles, making it easier to buy through a company, Ms. Calligaro said.

Buyers may hire a real estate agency to assist them, typically for a fee of 3 percent of the sale price, Mr. Rossi said.

The closing of home sales is handled by a notary, for a fee of 2,000 to 3,000 euros ($2,260 to $3,400) paid by the buyer, Ms. Calligaro said.

The home is in the Apulian countryside, near the town of San Vito dei Normanni, which has about 20,000 residents.CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times

 

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The home is in the Apulian countryside, near the town of San Vito dei Normanni, which has about 20,000 residents.CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times

A personal lawyer can provide legal advice throughout the process, for a fee of about 1 to 2 percent of the sale price, she said.

In all, buyers should budget 10 to 20 percent of the sale price for closing costs, Mr. Rossi said, including a 9 percent tax on the assessed value of the home if it is being used as a part-time or vacation home. Those buying a home as a primary residence pay only 2 percent, he said.

Italian; euro (1 euro = $1.13)

The annual property tax on this home is about 1,450 euros ($1,640).

Francesco Cavallo, PROF.IM. Real Estate Agency, 011-39-08-3199-1613; immobiliareprofim.com

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

Correction: 

An earlier version of this article misstated Apulia’s classification in Italy. It is a region, not a province.

8 Bizarre Sleep Habits From Around The World

Author Article

Would you sleep on the job?

Are your sleep habits ruining your daily life? It might be worth taking a nap on the job!

To celebrate World Sleep Day on March 15, Brother UK has taken an in-depth look at the most bizarre sleep habits from countries around the world to see if they could have an impact on productivity.

Research via the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) suggests that lack of sleep can have a negative impact on emotion. Could naps of 20-30 minutes make for a more productive workforce, and have a positive impact on mood, concentration and attention?

Struggling to sleep? READ: How to sleep better – simple ways to get a good night’s rest

Sleep habits

1. China – Bring your bedroom to work

In factories and offices across China, the lines between bedroom and workspace are becoming increasingly blurred. Due to longer working hours, many employers now advocate a short nap after lunchtime to increase concentration. Certain offices have even installed temporary or permanent sleeping and washing facilities in their office spaces to encourage employees to stay round the clock.

2. Japan – Inemuri

Taking a nap at work could well be perceived as a sign of laziness, but not in Japan. The hectic lifestyle of Japan’s city dwellers has led to the wide-scale uptake of “inemuri”, or “sleeping whilst present”. Thanks to inemuri, Japanese workers can nap on public transport, at their desk or even during meetings – and it’s commonly seen as a sign of hard work.

Sleep habits

3. Spain – Siesta

Originating in Spain and parts of Latin America, the siesta is perhaps one of the most well-known daytime snoozing traditions across the globe. This practice might be under threat, however, with new business laws introduced in 2016 limiting how late employees can work, and effectively reducing the time they have to squeeze in an afternoon nap.

4. Italy – Riposo

Where the Spanish have a siesta, the Italians have “riposo”. Commonly taking place after lunch, riposo can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. Get us to Italy now! Frustratingly for tourists, this means that many attractions are closed throughout the day.

5. Norway – Napping outside

Take a stroll through Oslo, Helsinki or another Nordic town, and you might well see some infants taking a nap in temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celsius. Don’t worry – they haven’t been abandoned; sleeping outdoors in the daytime is actually believed to be very good for their health.

Sleep habits

6. Indonesia – Fear sleep

Stresses of work getting you down? The ominously named ‘fear sleep’ might be the solution. Locally referred to as “todoet poeles” – the practice of fear sleep enables people to nod off instantly to avoid feelings of excessive anxiety and stress. Nodding off when your boss walks in might not be the best solution, but regular naps could well help avoid work-related worry.

7. Botswana – Sleeping on your own schedule

You should sleep when it’s dark, correct? Not quite. At least, not in Botswana. The country’s native Kung hunter-gatherer tribe are well known for sleeping only when tired, regardless of the time of day. With an increased uptake of flexi-time, rise in self-chosen hours and growth of contract-based work, could businesses be embracing the way of the Kung sooner than we think?

Sleep habits

8. USA – Silicon Valley sleepers

Though it’s not a national custom just yet, sleeping on the job is widely being embraced by some of the USA’s biggest employers. Technology and software companies are leading the napping revolution, with firms like Google going so far as to have purpose-built sleeping pods installed in their offices to help employees rest and refresh.

– by Wes Colton, Introvert Unbound Those of us interested in doing “inner work” have two conflicting schools of thought to choose from. The Self Help school teaches us to tackle our weaknesses while the Self Love school wants us to accept ourselves for who we are, flaws and all. Pretty much all of us […]

via The Paradox of Self Love and Self Help — Introvert Unbound

Free Three-Month Trip to Italy from Airbnb

Author Article

Hi, hello, ciao, there’s someone I’d like to introduce you to. It’s future-you—more specifically, it’s five-months-in-the-future you.

Five-months-in-the-future you lives in a charming countryside village in Southern Italy called Grottole. (It’s in the part right between the sole and the heel of the boot.) You start every day with a cappuccino and a lesson in Italian language, before moving over to the vegetable garden to get acquainted with local produce. Next up is a cooking lesson, and a homemade lunch (fingers crossed that it’s pasta). Save some room for a sundown aperitivo, though.

One quick clarification: This could be be five-months-in-the-future you—if you apply for, and win!—one of four spots in the Airbnb Italian Sabbatical program. According to the company:

“Airbnb is sponsoring a unique opportunity for four people to move to the small village of Grottole for three months and experience authentic rural life in Italy. Selected candidates will become temporary citizens of the village and will volunteer for a local non-profit organization called “Wonder Grottole” whose aim is to revitalize the town’s historical center. The small village of Grottole, with only 300 inhabitants and more than 600 empty homes, is at risk of disappearing and is asking for your help!”

I mean, you really don’t have to twist our arms on this one. Hang on, what’s that, it’s all-expenses paid? And a €900 monthly expense stipend? Okay, we’re double in. Make that triple.

Join The Conversation

TOP COMMENT:
“I would love this opportunity to learn and live in Southern Italy with others that share love of food, travel, and culture. Pretty please!!”
— Gail B.

COMMENT

And now that we’ve reeled you in with that video, we’d like to present the following stream of daydream-inducing photos of Grottole, in an effort to distract you all until you miss the application deadline (Feb. 17). Meanwhile, we’ll be racing to get our essay submissions in! (And pondering how to answer the application question, “Why would you like to take a sabbatical in Grottole?” Forced choice response options do not include photos of our tiny, drafty New York apartments.)

Allora:

To learn more about the program or (ugh! If you must) apply, check out Airbnb’s Italian Sabbatical page.

From Our Shop
Sfoglini Seasonal Pasta Subscription

Sfoglini Seasonal Pasta Subscription $65–$225

Marcato Italian Pasta Machine

Marcato Italian Pasta Machine$99–$129


Do you ever daydream about taking a sabbatical to Italy? Let us know in the comments!

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