What’s the best way to respond to not being able to travel? To plan a trip.

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

This approach is not sadistic but scientific. Dutch researchers discovered in 2010 that planning a trip makes you happier than actually taking it. These benefits were backed up last year by by an Institute of Applied Positive Research survey, with 97% of respondents saying that having a trip planned made them feel better.

You might think that you’d be better off planning something you can actually have now, like the delivery of a major purchase. …


“How do you address a Christmas card to the Queen?” Of all the things I’ve Googled in this most surreal of search years, this was perhaps the most unusual yet. Even the Queen will be lonely this Christmas, and for this reason she had made my Christmas card list, along with 99 others.

Normally, I don’t write a single Christmas card but if ever it felt fitting to send end-of-year tidings then it was in 2020. In a year that’s been so unclear, I decided to set myself a nice round target of 100 cards. Writing to whoever came to…


A strategy for getting through the dark days ahead

Three young women sit close together, a tea kettle nestled in the front with seasonal items.
Three young women sit close together, a tea kettle nestled in the front with seasonal items.
Photo: fotostorm/Getty Images

Winter is coming. And this year, even before the temperature drops, it’s feeling frostier.

More than ever, it seems set to be a season of survival for those of us who have already been through some form of quarantine. What we need — right now, long before what could be the most testing of times — is a strategy borrowed from those perplexing people who don’t just survive but thrive during the winter: the Norwegians.

And not just any Norwegians. The coldest ones.

Stanford psychologist Kari Leibowitz discovered in her pioneering study on winter mindset that the further north people…


In a time of social distancing, I’ve never felt more urban closeness. When out and about on rationed runs and supermarket sweeps, the city provides a metropolitan hug through its reassuring temporality, its knowing smiles that it’s seen it all before. As ever, its landscape offers memories by the metre but it’s only moment by moment in motion that you find out what’s going to be on today’s memory menu.

Only just shifting my body from cooped up to cardio, I dip left, following my shoulder’s preferential pulling for a more tranquil backstreet. With the seamless segue of a dream…

James Ware

James is a world wandering writer living in London, with a particular interest in mindfulness, travel and eggs.

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