On July 3, 2020, I wrote Grapevine’s Atlas, Volume I, the article that inaugurated a series now four parts deep. In the year leading up to that first Atlas Day, I’d written twenty articles. The next year, I wrote just as many. Between 2021 and 2022, I averaged one per month for a total of twelve. This year was tough. My progress has been slower. Between July of 2022 and today, I published just three pieces. One of them, The Last Chogyal of Sikkim was broken up into six parts, but the total number of stories is three.
This year’s offerings aren’t as plentiful and they aren’t as varied. But the research, time, and editing put into each rivals the best of my previously-published works, including the podcasts. The stories are just as interesting, the roads just as meandering.
I hope you enjoy them.
- The Last Chogyal of Sikkim (🇮🇳 India) – Along the craggy spine of the Himalayan mountains, a small slice of India sits sandwiched between the landlocked, sky-high countries of Nepal and Bhutan. Half a century ago, this was the third of the Himalayan Buddhist kingdoms, one of the smallest in the world. Its final leader was the son of a goth king, the scion of a centuries-old dynasty, husband of an American college student, and the Last Chogyal of Sikkim.
- Five Hundred Years of Orange (🇳🇱 Netherlands) – To the human brain, all colors aren’t created equal. The English language has eleven core color categories (the rainbow and a few fun extras). Some languages have more. Some have less. But as diverse as they are, as languages develop more words for colors, the order they name them in is exactly the same.
- Scare Bears (🇰🇵 North Korea, 🇨🇳 China, 🐻 Northern Europe) – The brown one. The shaggy one. The honey eater. Northern European languages differ more than we might expect when tasked with naming the continent’s largest carnivore. Were they too afraid to use its real name?