Good reads: Taking leaps, avoiding processed food, climbing Half Dome

For your weekend reading pleasure, here are links to three articles I’ve found thought-proving this week.

  • How many times have you dreamed about escaping your real life and responsibilities to, I don’t know, travel around the world and climb rocks?

On her blog The Traveling Writer, Alexis Grant provides some tough-love advice on how to make following your dream financially viable.

“If it was easy to make a living doing what you love, everyone would do it,” she writes.

She doesn’t dissuade seekers and schemers from following their dreams. She just encourages them to think hard and creatively about ways they can make money, while pursuing their dream.

“Having the determination and ingenuity to find the intersection of your passion and your income is where most people fail,” she writes. Or, she writes, it’s always a work in progress.

If there’s a leap you’ve been meaning to take in your life, sign up for Grant’s e-mails. They seem to arrive in my in-box every time I need a gentle kick in the pants.

  • I eat mostly vegetarian and I shop the perimeter of the grocery store. In terms of avoiding processed foods, I thought I was doing pretty well.

That is, until I read this Grist article, which lists five packaged foods you never need to buy again. Right now, three out of five of those items are staples in my kitchen.

I’ll take the challenge to stop buying vegetable broth, canned beans, and hummus, and prepare my own. What changes are you making to eat healthier and support the environment?

  • If climbing Half Dome in Yosemite National Park is on your Bucket List, don’t miss this: The Fresno Bee reports that a new lottery system should make the process of obtaining permits to climb the granite peak more fair.

Here’s an excerpt from The Bee:

One online lottery will be held in early April at to acquire permits for the 2012 season, scheduled for May 25 to Oct. 8. (Those dates could change depending on conditions.)

The lottery replaces a first-come, first-served system that was plagued by scalpers who created automated programs to snap up permits the instant they became available, then sold them on the Internet for several times their value.

Lottery applications will be accepted during March at or by phone at (877) 444-6777. Applicants will then receive an email in early April notifying them of the lottery results, or they can get them online or by phone.

What are you reading this weekend?