Glad Topographies: Finding Abundant Optimism in the World Around Us

To find optimism, all one must do is look around. 

Over the next few days, we are really going to attempt to strengthen our Instagram game. We’ll have a big announcement early next week — a little project Nikki is putting together.

However, as for now, I think I am ready to truly introduce you to my super secret Instagram. It’s called Glad Topographies. Some of you already follow, and I really appreciate it! But for the rest of you, well, I think it’s something you’ll truly enjoy!

In the past, I had been taking direct inspiration from the legendary @sadtopographies — with their blessing, of course — and finding only super happy place names.

Alas, there are only so many Oh-be-joyful Creeks in the world — and if I kept it up for too long it would reflect insincerity. There’s so much more to life than that.

Therefore, I’ve since simplified the premise, scouring Google Maps and finding cool, pretty places that reflect optimism. Included are amazing pictures credited to Instagrammers who have visited these interesting places. Follow to receive perhaps a jolt of wanderlust without all the touristy trappings common to the emotion.

That lends itself to a new weekly feature on Normal Happenings, which I’ll be calling This Week in Glad Topographies. I’ll simply be compiling the posts for that week, and reflecting further on them here on the blog!

This week we’ve attempted to discern the mystery of Agloe:

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Agloe, New York, U.S. 🇺🇲 — Where no one has gone before. Agloe is perhaps the most famous of the "paper towns," a concept made popular by the YA novel of the same name. It's simply a cartographer's trap, designed to ensnare counterfeiters trying to take advantage of the hard work of map makers. Like a fantasy world, Agloe only exists in our imagination. — So many Instagrammers tag Agloe to be ironic, but @emmaswanders and @nickaustin7 are the real deal for making the journey to Agloe. Full photo credit goes to them. — #agloe #newyork #notreal #fiction #fantasynovel #johngreen @johngreenwritesbooks #papertowns #papertown #books #maps #map #topography #geography #nowhere #imagination #ny #upstatenewyork #glad #contentment #gladtopographies

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We’ve ridden horses across the dunes of Tolowa:

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Tolowa Dunes, California, U.S. 🇺🇲 — Perusing the satellite view of the west coast, a certain flat terrain caught my eye just south of where Oregon and California meet. Tolowa Dunes and its collision of ocean side grassy dune and wooded ridge immediately obsessed me. Turns out many visitors ride these trails on horseback — no doubt an incredible way to enjoy an otherwise ordinary day. — Full credit goes to @chrishalsted and @nicolejeanhill for these incredible photos! Thanks @north_coast_redwoods for taking care of a place like this! — #california #pacific #pacificnorthwest #dunes #park #tolowadunes #coast #westcoast #leftcoast #oceanside #horseback #trail #trails #hiking #pines #ridge #peaceful #calm #happiness #glad #gladtopographies

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We’ve hiked the mountainside trails of Gladstone:

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Gladstone Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada 🇨🇦 — Glad Topographies makes its triumphant return! We're going to do things a little different this time around. We're not so much going to focus on finding the overtly happiest place names in the world, rather we're going to venture beyond the topographies. We'll be going to amazing places and seeing the sights of these epic life explorers who adventure to them. The world is beautiful, and anything is a Glad Topography in its own way! — Images of this beautiful park on the shore of Christina Lake are fully credited to @glendularfever and @johnsoda1234! — #hiking #hike #trekking #trek #lake #christinalake #wilderness #wanderlust #scenery #scenic #forest #outdoors #landscape #canada #britishcolumbia #trail #joy #gladtopographies

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And we’ve rounded the famous cape where two oceans meet!

Where will the future take us? Only time will tell — specifically, next Friday, and the one after that, and the one after that… Go follow Glad Topographies on Instagram!


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Social Media and the Filtering of Life

– By Nikki –

I have been given a great number of blessings in this life, despite my rough start. I am finally happy, and I want people to share that happiness with me. However, there is a certain social media network that has been controlling me for too many years.

That technology is Facebook, and of it I have come to a revelation. It would be wrong of me to turn special moments in my life into preprogrammed moments for social media.

I freely admit my problem: I am obsessed with Facebook because I want people to see that I am all right. I had a tough go growing up, and at times I want to be able to share with the people that I’m fine now. I am no longer the little girl that lost her mother 14 years ago. I don’t need the sympathy of others. Thanks to God I am doing well. Continue reading “Social Media and the Filtering of Life”

UPDATES! Hyrule Collab RELEASE DATE + Upcoming Well-Red Contribution + More

Upcoming Top 7 List for Well-Red Mage


Oh Well-Red Mage, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. June 20 will see me contribute to The Well-Red Mage’s June Collaboration Project, where I will be giving my take on the Top 7 Best Nintendo DS Games. Well-Red, you do realize that’s a Wednesday, right? That’s like top-billing for bloggers, as statistically Wednesday mornings are the best day and time to post a blog according to *science.*

For real though, go subscribe, not only because I’m excited for you to read my very long list post, but also because the mages are redefining game media as we know it. No, for real, it says that in their bio. One day I shall become a mage, just as soon as they invent I organize more hours in the day for writing long-winded philosophical video game musings.

Hyrule Collaboration RELEASE DATE


Continue reading “UPDATES! Hyrule Collab RELEASE DATE + Upcoming Well-Red Contribution + More”