Mountaineer Rick Ridgeway on Chasing a Life of Adventure

Mountaineer Rick Ridgeway spent five decades traveling to uncharted regions, conquering the world’s most treacherous mountains, sometimes before anyone else. Here are his keys to achieving peak performance. — As told to Charles Thorp

Seek Inspiration

I’ve always had a passion for books, and I’ve been a big reader since I was a boy. It’s had a profound effect on my life on multiple occasions and initially inspired me to become a climber. I read a National Geographic story about the first American to climb Mount Everest and wanted to be like him. That guy was Jim Whittaker, and little did I know he’d be the leader of our first American ascent of K2 in ’78. It was around the time of my own K2 ascent when another book came out called The Snow Leopard. The naturalist George Schaller, who’s the main character, become my mentor and one of my best friends. I set up an expedition with Galen Rowell, Conrad Anker, and Jimmy Chin to find the birthing ground of the chiru, an endangered Tibetan antelope, to supported George’s research and help protect the animal. It was the most meaningful trip of my life. My home has a room where I’m completely surrounded by books, including the first one I bought when learning to climb called Freedom of the Hills. That room is one of my favorite places to be.

Redefine Peak Condition

I don’t remember any of my friends who were climbing back in the ‘60s or ‘70s ever going to a gym. None of us had a training regimen. We just climbed all the time and went on long hikes to get to the mountains before expeditions. The on-foot approaches to the landmark climbs people are familiar with were a lot longer than they are

Read the rest
Read more

How To Plan for Parental Leave if Your Company Does Not Offer It

Portra / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Portra / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Despite more than 100 years of activism calling for paid parental leave, millions of parents in the United States still have to choose between having children and earning a living. According to the World Policy Center, the U.S. is one of just eight countries on Earth that don’t allow new mothers — and in many cases, fathers — to collect at least a portion of their paychecks while caring for and bonding with their newborns.

Student Loan Forgiveness: Mark These 4 Dates on Your Calendar Now
Also: States Whose Economies Are Failing vs. States Whose Economies Are Thriving

In guaranteeing nothing at all, the wealthiest country in the world joins only Papua New Guinea, Suriname and five tiny Pacific island nations that most people couldn’t point to on a map — Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tonga.

Iran gives new parents 26-51.9 weeks of paid leave. In Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Somalia, Colombia and Turkey it’s 14-25.9 weeks. Russia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and most of Europe give new parents 52 weeks or more.

The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees 12 weeks of family leave, but the leave is unpaid and it applies only to public agencies and companies with more than 50 employees — and days you take off during pregnancy count against your 12 weeks.

If you decide to have children in the United States, you’re mostly on your own — unless you’re one of the lucky 23% of workers who the BLS says has access to paid family leave.

For the other 77%, here’s how you can plan, prepare and try to find a balance between work and life.

Hoard the Paid Days Off You Do Have

In a perfect world, American workers

Read the rest
Read more

New York Hotels New And Old Set For The Holidays

There are few places as romantic as New York at holiday time. The ice rink at Rockefeller Center, the lights of Broadway, the carriages in Central Park, the chill in the air as muffled-up strangers exchange glances on the street. It sounds like the stuff of romantic comedy, but it’s as real as the steam coming out of the subway grates.

If you go to New York this fall, where will you stay? There are many choices, so let’s look at something new, something old, and a mainstay with a deal.

That mainstay is the 51-story, 1966-room New York Marriott Marquis. The Marriott Marquis is in the heart of Times Square. One of the largest hotels in New York, it has a special offer for families this year.

Their Family Connector Rooms sleep up to seven guests, so the pack can rest after a long day of sightseeing. The suites consist of two rooms complete with one king-size bed, two doubles, two bathrooms, a pullout sofa, and other amenities. Guests who stay between now and December 31 get up to 10% off connecting rooms with Mariott’s Family Fun package.

The view form high atop the Marriott Marquis can be amazing. If you can tear yourself away, the restaurant Le Petit Chef delivers an immersive dining experience for the family, with the “world’s smallest animated French chef” preparing a 4-course meal right in front of you.

Read the rest
Read more

How to travel to complicated places. A journey to Lebanon. | Features

KADISHA VALLEY, LEBANON — First, we wait for the wind. We sat down on the edge of a mountaintop. The air was still. We were harnessed in to a large parasail wing, spread out on the rock behind us. It would be first time running off the side of a mountain in the belief that a sail would carry me. I expected to be afraid and I sat there looking out over the valley waiting for the fear to come in.

Instead, I saw below me the olive trees and apple orchards. I saw large patches of purple wildflowers spilling down the valley. And I saw the Cedars of God — the oldest cedars in the world, some of them thousands of years distant and mentioned in the Bible.

Without warning, the wind came. It grabbed the sail and everyone around me started yelling, “Run! Run!” Something about the yelling, the whoosh of the sail, the disorientation of being 6,000 of miles from home, there was no time to think or feel. I ran. One, two, three steps and suddenly there was no ground below me for a fourth footfall.

There was a moment of shock and then a deep exhale into the quiet of flying. The weight of Lebanon fell away — all the suffering we had witnessed, all the heaviness of history in this place that has always been inhabited, all of it let go of me for a moment as I looked down at the cedars.

Over the years, I’ve been to so many places that are the object of famous photographs. And as you stand there, looking up at the famous trees of Madagascar or the bears catching salmon over the waterfall in Alaska, you notice the angle of the photos. And you see the things

Read the rest
Read more

Friends on group vacation decides last minute to not to split trip costs evenly: ‘Not acceptable’

A woman is upset that the friends she and her husband usually vacation with don’t want to pay their fair share.

She asked Reddit’s “Am I the A******? (AITA)” forum for advice. They usually vacation with two other couples and leave their kids at home. This year, one couple wanted to bring their 12-year-old daughter along. Everyone agreed that was fine.

The issue was the housing arrangement. The three couples usually split the housing three ways. So they found a home with three rooms. However, the couple with the 12-year-old said it was “not acceptable” because they wanted privacy.

So they found a home with four rooms. However, the couple with the child still expected that things would be split three ways. The Reddit poster thinks the couple should subsidize the difference.

Watch this bland Brooklyn bedroom become a mid-century modern escape in just one day:

“Now they are upset with us for burdening them financially because they want to give their daughter an experience,” she wrote.

Redditors thought the poster was in the right here.

“Stick to your guns. If they want to split it evenly they can stick with one room,” someone wrote.

“They need more space they have to pay more,” another commented.

“Asking them to pay for an extra room is reasonable,” a person said.

See this tiny New York apartment get an impressive redesign in one day with a $1,000 budget:

In The Know is now available on Apple News — follow us here!

The post Friends on group vacation decides last minute to not to split trip costs evenly: ‘Not acceptable’ appeared first on In The Know.

More from In The Know:

Customer criticizes ‘weird’ automatic tipping system on Disney Cruise Lines


Read the rest
Read more

Hundreds of hotels are closing as energy crisis hits home | Travel

Hotels, pubs and restaurants are facing the biggest crisis in living memory, according to the UK Hospitality trade association, with one in ten properties at risk of closure over the winter, partly as a result of the energy crisis.

The latest Hospitality Market Monitor from the market researchers CGA and the management consultants AlixPartners shows that 2,230 licensed premises closed down between June and September, which translates to an average of 24 per day.

Recent casualties include Crockers in Henley, Surrey; the popular Fox Hall Inn in Richmond, North Yorkshire; the Great House hotel in Lavenham, Suffolk; and the art deco Aberdeen Northern Hotel. In Chester the Bridge Street Townhouse hotel has been mothballed for a year in an attempt to save the business, with its owner, Steve Hesketh, blaming the continuing staffing crisis, rising energy and service costs and the impact of Brexit.

Crockers at Henley, which was included in the Sunday Times’ Best Places to Stay list for 2020, has been forced to close

Crockers at Henley, which was included in the Sunday Times’ Best Places to Stay list for 2020, has been forced to close

“Energy prices rose by up to 200 per cent in the first quarter and by up to 400 per cent in the second,” said the UK Hospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls. But even though gas prices have seen sharp falls — from £6.70 per therm in August to £1.80 last week — some analysts say that the pressure on operating costs is unlikely to ease before 2024.

“Room rates rose by around 10 per cent in June,” Nicholls said, “but with overall costs now up by around 18 per cent and rising, half of our members are not breaking even, and that’s not sustainable. We will inevitably see more closures — potentially one in ten — in the independent sector this winter.”

Survival strategies include taking rooms or entire floors off sale, reducing

Read the rest
Read more

Valpo council to go over redistricting proposals Monday

Valparaiso’s proposal for redistricting the City Council and proposals by six community members are up for consideration when the council meets Monday to go over how to set the boundaries for the next 10 years.

Council President Casey Schmidt, R-3rd District, and Council Vice President Diana Reed, D-1st District, put together the city’s proposal with the assistance of Republican Brian Bosma, the former speaker of the Indiana House who is now working as a consultant with Kroger Gardis & Regis. The city paid $40,000 for the work.

Schmidt said Bosma met with all of the council members about how their districts should be.

“They had input as well because they represent their districts and their constituents,” Schmidt said.

Basic guidelines for the city’s map included doing their best to keep council members in their districts, which was achieved; not splitting any precincts unless there were extraordinary circumstances; and keeping each district within a 5% deviation from 6,830 people, the ideal number based on the 2020 Census.

Another goal was for each district to be bipartisan, Schmidt said, which was something they tried to make clear from the beginning, adding he and Reed met multiple times throughout the process.

“You’re never going to make everyone happy. You do what’s best for Valpo,” he said.

While some of the citizen proposals that were submitted accounted for the city’s future growth, Schmidt said the guidance he and Reed received suggested they use the current census rather than anticipating where or how the city might grow.

“That’s why we do it every 10 years,” he said of the redistricting.

He also was impressed by the civic engagement and the resulting six proposals from the community.

That included one from Valparaiso resident Joe Dauginas, who found out about the opportunity to submit a proposal

Read the rest
Read more

Is long service leave the key to retention?

Employee retention is a key concern for many employers. Organizations continue to bemoan the high turnover rate of employees and the “Great Resignation” where dangling fruits of more money, added benefits and promises of work-life balance lure away trained employees to what seems to them like greener pastures.

Turnover and lack of trained staff has led to insecurity for business priorities and initiatives and calls into question an organization’s ability to plan for current sustainability and future growth.

Years ago, employees remained loyal with the promise of a pension at the end of a decades-long commitment. These are largely gone or diminishing.

A possible solution — Long Service Leave.

While traveling in Australia recently, I met a woman who was on an extended Long Service Leave from her employer — a children’s hospital where she is a teacher. After losing her 18-month-old granddaughter to cancer in the last year, this extended fully paid time off was the break she needed after working for the hospital for over two decades.

People are also reading…

In Australia, employees working for the same employer for 10 years earn Long Service Leave, the amount of which can vary from six weeks to longer. This leave is in addition to the customary sick leave, vacation, etc. It’s a bonus of sorts for the employee’s loyalty.

What is unique about this leave is that it is fully paid and taken during a time in a person’s career and life that would bring an important refresh. Rarely do Americans have the opportunity to take an extended paid leave of absence. Taking a long-term sick leave or maternity/paternity leave is certainly no vacation, but that’s about the only time Americans are paid when they are away from work for an extended period

Read the rest
Read more