nomadderwhere

Exploring the haiku with Kyoto and Kerouac

The pile of Kleenex below me is one of the few pieces of evidence in my room indicating my recent adventures. Walking around the cold old capital of Japan last week left me with sniffles that make me self-conscious in this nation of face masks.

Lindsay on a boat outside of Kyoto, JapanI met Kyoto for a second time on Monday and enjoyed five days of exploration with students and teachers, one of those five days actually allowing for my own itinerary. I always carried my backpack, much to the dismay of my vertebrae, and that bag included my favorite travel accessory: my notebook.

One afternoon in the Gion neighborhood, I sat in a smokey coffee shop, sipping on a cup of cinnamon and roasted beans, and experimented with the haiku form. It’s not my favorite. You may notice I’m a little heavy on the words from time to time to time. Maybe sometimes, dare I say, bordering on redundant. Editing my words to meet a syllabic quota is a frustrating action, but I do believe it affords an extra look at word choice and allows for the multiple interpretations that I so love.

A couple days after this experimentation, I came across a book on Jack Kerouac’s haiku work, which I found surprising knowing his near stream-of-consciousness style in On the Road. I quickly learned he, and the rest of the Beat writers, were heavily influenced by Japan, more specifically the haiku and Zen Buddhism.

Kerouac considered the beauty of the form to be in the process of painting a single moment as simply as possible in three lines of text. He often wrote in “Western haiku” form, which didn’t follow a strict 5-7-5 syllable equation. Since I’m not a fan of a creative process that includes the frequent counting of fingers, I embraced this style and experimented yet again with the haiku, this time during a TGS club session called “Word.”

Students, teachers, and I sat by the river in Hiroshima today, all writing or creating on the topic of “friends,” our randomly picked inspiration of the day. Mine took the shape of the Western haiku and haven’t been edited beyond initial creation.

Laugh with whomever is
near and forgiving.
If not, why?

Sandcastles
return to nature
without hands

Read More »

Sparked by a word and leaving it to the end

Garrett and Alexis in Aspen, ColoradoIt hurts me, pains me, but I love it. I do it too much and to such extremes. Scaling down by any measure would alleviate those directly-related pains and even those that occur as side effects…ripples.

It’s something I’ve trained for, feel born with an attitude and aptitude for, have developed strong passions for and a personality around. In its absence, I feel loss and incompleteness and greater pains than the ones it causes. It shapes the way I think about everything remotely related to it–turns me into a philosopher, a guru in a cave…in my own mind.

At times, my pursuit of it is visible, its manifestation unambiguous to all, exploration known and commented on; but not always, for its pursuit can be completely unapparent, invisible to the outsider, but the exploration can be just as strong, impactful, satiating, pain-reducing, and pain-pursuing.

I’ve made plans to pursue it forever, mostly because I’m powerless to it, the desire for it, and that feels better framed as an intentional choice than a wave that effortlessly overcomes whatever grip I have in the shifting sand. A happy surfer in pursuit of movement…

This piece was written during a creative writing session with some TGS students and teachers involved in the club called “Word.” During this weekly session, one word is chosen to spark inspiration for some form of expression. This week, the word “movement” inspired me to start at the bottom of a notebook page with the word and find my way to that conclusion without mentioning it on the way there. Read More »

Assume the world wants you to take risks, keep learning, and do what you love

My work life and personal life don’t just run in parallel; they are the same. It is as though my tree of personal life once swayed in a wind that carried with it a seed. That seed became a vine that began to wrap and envelope my tree, not in a parasitic way but in a mutually symbiotic relationship. The vine became one with my tree; they grew together and now cannot be separated without killing both.

MV Explorer in Kobe, Japan 2014The wind was Semester at Sea.

The seed was a love of travel.

The vine is now a career path stemming from travel (pun intended).

Oddly enough, when I focus on one of those elements, I forget about the other, either because they seem to be one or I have kid myself into thinking they are two. These two ponderings might seem mutually exclusive, and to be honest, I’m not sure I’m really wrangling my thoughts accurately at the moment. But this past weekend afforded me another time travel opportunity, one that kept surprising me when my professional side supplemented my personal side, and vice versa. These two elements made a stronger organism that managed to have a fulfilling journey through Japan.

The success of my past weekend was entirely depending on assumptions being true, and while I normally associate India with this kind of magic, Japan also proved it’s capable of aligning stars and turning assumptions into reality…of course, for a “slightly” larger fee.

My goodness, Shinkansen! You ‘spensive!

I assume I can get there.

Shinkansen bullet train headed to Tokyo, JapanThis past Saturday, there was an educational technology conference outside of Tokyo that I wanted to attend, even though I was not registered and not necessarily encouraged to go by all parties. I had no pre-booked trains or hotels. I had no assurance that my trip would be counted as worthwhile. Weekends are precious here, as completely free ones are few and far between.

I told my students I wasn’t going on their ski trip because I was heading home from school Friday to see if I could will a whole string of events to occur that would enrich me professionally. “I’m going on an adventchah’!” was my phrase of choice.

I might get stranded somewhere without a train ticket. I might not have a place to spend the night. I might not even leave the Hiroshima station at all!

Some colleagues (and one of the voices in my head) told me it wasn’t worth it, that potentially wasting a weekend in transit only to achieve nothing would be more pain than it’s worth. My old lady back agreed. I was also frustrated that it got to this point, that I had a conference weekend I’d known about for months for which I didn’t have confirmation.

Regardless, I listened to some encouraging impulse and put two sets of clothes and my computer in my Semester at Sea hiking backpack, stomping over to the Hiroshima train station in hopes of communicating that I wanted a ticket to Tokyo right now. No problem. Minutes later, I was shooting like a bullet through the spine of Japan. Read More »

Hours in transit are mental junk food

At the end of hours of train-dreaming, we may feel we have been returned to ourselves – that is, brought back into contact with emotions and ideas of importance to us. p56

Lake in Hyderabad, IndiaI saw creamsicle orange indicating a sunset in a day dream state, and I realized I had spent an entire day moving but stationary, interacting with the world only enough to coexist but losing myself in the thoughts of life and safari animals.

I traveled from Cape Town to an annex of Kruger National Park, and I realized I was adult enough to be so consumed with my inner state to not need a physical distraction. While my day dreams do center around real world experiences, oddly I can go without that kind of interaction for hours, days, when I have the freedom to explore them mentally…in transit.

My body hates me, both in the mornings and on long trips, but my mind feasts on the time available because we haven’t yet figured out teleportation or time travel. Who would want to, when we have the mental capacity that we do…that we don’t even know how to train to be even more satiated.

My journeys are not regular, but they are long and constant. And when I do sit in motion, I sit with all the mental junk food I can handle: visions of my future life, anticipation of the destination, potential experiences or interactions that will litter my days and be the actual influence on my happiness. If bodies could move at the speed of sound, minds can move at the speed of light. Inception made that foggily clear.

This post is a writing exercise, prompted by a quote from The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton. This was done in unison with my students at THINK Global School during a travel writing workshop. Read More »

A patchwork quilt of my Indian days

My third exploration of these Instagram collages is providing some great perspective on our time in India. Instagram images feel like highlights of daily joys, and usually a sum-up post of images from a place is a showcase of your best and most influential moments. Making a little visual quilt of the daily joys seems to weave the kind of fabric that makes sense to my mind and likely memorializes a place akin to how I will mentally.

Instagram-India-mosaic-big

(Inspiration. Click the image to view in a lightbox.) Read More »

A year of many extremes and many joys, that 2013

While my job expects me to make high quality media, I also enjoy using social media to share the daily small joys that often don’t get a glossy coating. Using Storify, I curated a story of the previous year from my various online venues, resulting in the most ground level reflection of my experiences through Bhutan, Boston, and Hyderabad.

The opinions stated in this post are mine and do not reflect the positions, strategies, or opinions of THINK Global School. Read More »

And then I became a teacher…

I don’t just mean TOEFL. 

From April to October in 2011, I went from contract work in production to holding a full blown post as a high school teacher at an international school. In that time period, I didn’t become more skilled or capable of performing this task. In fact, all I did was trek a bit in China, take some actors’ headshots, write some articles, and move to Ecuador. I accumulated no additional training; I only did frantic research and let my years of high school and university instruction resurface, willing cream to rise from freshly settled milk.

Like a good student of dance, I mirrored the teachers around me and tried my best to make our choreography match in the eyes of our pupils. Those pupils consisted of 26 international students who expected a high-quality, dynamic, innovative education in the realm of Creative Arts…from me.

Teacher? How’d that happen?

In July, after finding this new work opportunity, I signed on to document their goings-on around the world. I was to work in a similar capacity as my previous years, what I had plenty of on-the-job training and academic credentials to do. Poised with camera at eye, we headed to the Amazon rainforest on my birthday in September, after the first week of formal classes in Ecuador. When we returned to Cuenca, there was a recent opening in the no-man art department, and it was clear to me that the position would be filled internally. There were a couple moments in those first two weeks when I looked around the room of my colleagues, all of us nibbling on aji-slathered bread, and said:

You all know what’s about to happen, right? This isn’t about to be a guest lecture series or unclaimed time. You know why this is freaking me out, correct? This must be what Miss Cleo feels like.

Read More »

The time I took ten students to the
war-torn region of Kashmir
and they loved it

Autumn in Srinagar, Kashmir, IndiaTravel begets travel; it’s like a gambling habit with both immediately apparent and dormant benefits for the mind and spirit. As I’ve explained to many friends and family members, these experiences do not satiate some hungry beast that can eventually become full. Travel doesn’t get out of your system. Each experience can inspire a realization of the possibility of infinitely more experiences.

We clutch our wallets and apologize, pinch our passports and determine the need for more pages, and assure our parents that with experience comes considerable strength to handle what the world bowls our way. Travel begets travel, sometimes begrudgingly and often with too much enthusiasm to weather as a mere human being.

I know this to be true after being semi-nomadic for the better part of six years. Upon my first study abroad in Italy and a concurrent fascination with photographing trash cans, I realized I was in this for the long haul and that it wasn’t going to taper off.

I moved on from photographing the beautifully mundane to being obsessed with travel narratives and firsthand experiences of people in other parts of the world. That was my predominant reading material throughout junior and senior year of university. With Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, a seed was planted to visit a spectacular mountain range atop a country I only briefly encountered. Those 304 pages predetermined a windy road–through 13 countries in Europe and 6 in Africa–toward the disputed region of Kashmir where I got my fix of the rooftop of the world.

How I arrived in Kashmir

Kashmir, India in October 2008 during curfewIn October 2008, I was five months into a solo trip around the world as a fresh graduate of higher education. The previous location of Lusaka, Zambia treated me harshly, and I approached India with a visible distrust in others and misguided need to micro-manage my trip with a day-to-day itinerary.

Within two days of being in hot and sticky Delhi, I booked a bus ticket to Manali to escape the uncomfortable chaos. The following is a journal excerpt from the morning before my 18-hour bus ride; I was purchasing food for the journey: Read More »

A journey back to north India, a mind running in place

My former self of grade school age and oversized-shirt fashion sense would have never fathomed my first solo flight at 12 to Tallahassee would expand into a lifestyle of making the unfamiliar familiar. I remember having the realization that not everyone speaks English in this world, and I have to admit that other similar social realizations did not come that long ago.

Meeters and greeters sign in Telugu and Hindi, Hyderabad, IndiaI don’t know how life deals me these unexpected realities, but last week, for the third time, I lugged my backpack around north India in pursuit of culture, adventure, and untampered water bottles. My nomadic high school of employment booked an 8-day trip to the cities of Amritsar, Delhi, Agra, and Bhopal, and I joined half of our students on a journey of planes, trains, and auto rickshaws. This time, I was better equipped with shirts that covered my backside and the confidence necessary to tromp through traffic made by engines and animals.

On this trip, I had someone else’s experience to focus on: that of my students. This was their first big trip away from their host school for the term and debatably their first encounter with “real” India, however that can be found or defined. On Friday afternoon, after trying to squeeze 60 learners into a classroom and multiple meetings in the space for one, we loaded bags and bodies onto a bus headed for the airport. After temporarily unleashing a bunch of nomads into their natural environment – an airport terminal – and enjoying some seat back entertainment in the form of old Bollywood music videos, we landed in a dark Amritsar and arrived to a moist hotel room.

So far, all awesome. Read More »

With pocket money and a rickshaw, some kids discover Hyderabad

Dragonflies low and two more slide on the grass,
staying close to comfort as we wait for the rain.
The grass is squeaky like clean hair,
a putting green on a severe incline.
We surround architecture that implies reverence
but are given no guidelines for behavior.
So what do we do?
We talk. We eat. We laugh and revert to childlike games
as the moment represents discovery.

View from atop Charminar, Hyderabad, India

Bouncing like a pinball in an auto rickshaw,
Hyderabad is our palette and our canvas and a master copy.
One “teacher” and four more of ten years difference
make calls to pursue the grounds where people roam
and frequent in their daily grind.
Market, food, nature,
market, food, revelry.
We pursue the people who embody the culture of focus,
giving mental context to the context of history. First faces. Read More »

I want to teach under a bodhi tree.

Today, I lost my mind at lunch, blamed it on the full moon, and called myself a witch. Unfortunately, when I get frazzled, it’s clear to everyone, including those that probably nudged me into this mental state. I’m transparent, open, and too easily affected by what happens in the classroom.

Looking over David's shoulder as he crafts some #travel #writing about #IndiaI woke enthused to talk about manifestos in newMedia Lab. In the morning, I went from connected and inspired by my students from the usually reticent class to pulling teeth and begging for focus with my often conceptual class.

What was the difference? I could swear it was something as simple as the room we were in, but I hope not. That would mean our ideal isn’t the ideal.

I hope that at the school that initially prided itself on having no walls has not grown to operate most efficiently within a box of construction material. Are we too easily distracted by the world around us to develop any meaningful understandings about the world on which we can meditate?

Where are my students that can focus in the circle of shade under a bodhi tree and listen, represent authentic thought, and build on experience to some unique and productive end? A moment with that kind of class gives all this meaning.

Even if there’s an opportunity to be flexible with our learning environment, would it still be productive time? Or are we slaves to routine over creative opportunism? Why does learning happen when we put on blinders?

Or maybe that’s not the reality. Maybe the lack of engagement in that second Lab had everything to do with my delivery, my shot-in-the-dark attempt to instruct a group of global kids. Read More »

What is evidence of good travel?

Indian countrysideDreary and fresh, a serene landscape
also harbors dog fights and political types
In these stretches of land,
there’s always a market for chai,
for petrol, for John Deere tractor rentals
Through these veins flows a bus,
“White Lightning,” filled with fresh and/or
glazed perspectives, depending on attitude,
depending on where we find ourselves
in the cyclical temperament
descriptive of a traveler…

We blur past a single pink house,
sitting alone and waiting
for community expansion,
which may or may not be possible,
from the looks of these sweeping fields of crops
Owned by whom? Which feed whom? Clearly harvested by hand,
three elderly spines bend in the shadows of volcanic plateaus,
but no volcano.

Hot, seasoned woks work all day long at plastic chair cafes
Forks in roads and rivers make great meeting locations
Though seemingly far from residences and commerce, the arching awning
in front shades a resting gaggle of motorbikes in transit.

Andhra Pradesh (Telangana), Karnataka, and Maharashtra are
my regional canvases of mystery material.
Women’s faces I can not see, tightly wrapped for the motorbike journey
A multi-tone horn flutters wildly as the bedazzled truck blazes by
I’m in India, and I’m in the fetal position. Read More »

After three weeks in India, I finally feel like I’m traveling.

Sunset from Mokilla, AP, IndiaFlickers of lightning are faint but always to the left of my aim toward the horizon. They provide an additional layer of drama to my nighttime ride home from the city of Hyderabad. I booked a taxi with the help of a Hindi-speaking friend, someone whom I quickly and liberally offered my trust purely on the grounds of intuition.

Hair still wrapped from a previous motorbike ride, I hope it helps me evade any potential disturbance I’ve been warned about, regardless of how secure I feel with being in a taxi at 8pm in the countryside. My iPhone low in my lap, I text my new friend to say that my limited Hindi and our common ground of “right, left, and straight” have brought me back to where I’m living for the next four months.

The wheels of my plane hit a rainy runway on August 12th, but it was only on the first of September that I felt the sensation of travel. It coincided with when I fully accepted being completely out of my comfort zone; I was 95% vulnerable and guarded just enough to remain strong.

Three weeks of work on a remote boarding school campus have been fruitful in different ways but not for a sense of discovery. Discovery is necessary for all, and I think we often mistake it for travel as is. Discovery needs to be regularly pursued, especially when you’re merely displaced.

As I sit in the back of this taxi, I replay the events of my afternoon and attempt to identify the causes of my current emotional cocktail: gratitude, awe, and mild anxiety. Read More »

Q&A: traveling after graduation – live chat!

Send in your questions, too!

QuestionHi Lindsay,

I just wanted to drop you a line and say hello! We had chatted a bit before, but I just wanted to let you know that I admire your love for travel and your pursuit of that passion. I will be graduating from undergrad at Columbia in a couple of weeks and would love to hear your thoughts on graduating and how you thought about pursuing travel as a career/intense hobby after graduation. I know I won’t have winter and spring breaks to escape to the jungle or dazzling cities, but I would certainly hope to continue to do so somehow.

I hope you are well! Wishing you all the best for wherever you may be. -Natalia

AnswerNatalia, thanks so much for your message, and I’d be happy to chat with you about graduation and travel! I propose a Google Hangout on July 18th, 2013 at 1:00 pm EST between you and me that can air live on YouTube for anyone else to check out and participate in. We can create a hashtag like #nmwchat to enable other questions for either of us from others.

Read More »

Q&A: how to document experiences remotely

Send in your questions, too!

QuestionHey Lindsay! Wow – I just wanted to say… I come back and check out what you’ve been up to every few months or so, and I am always amazed by you. I’ve followed you from WTI, through your Fiji project, Project Explorer, and now as you continue in your amazing job that I am so jealous of (truly the coolest job in the world, and obviously a great fit for you!)

I’ve been fascinated to see the things you are working on and see how you somehow get better and better at everything you do.

Recently I started working for a nonprofit that facilitates international exchange. Sadly, I’m not quite traveling the world like you – we are based in the States and facilitate tons of professional exchange and experiential learning programs both coming into the U.S. and Americans going abroad – but I am trying to up our game in the communications and social media realms. I think the work you are doing is going to prove as a real inspiration in that area!

One thing I am hoping to do is be able to create some great videos like these you’ve made for THINK. It’s hard because I have few opportunities to capture raw footage myself – only when a program happens to be somewhere nearby like D.C., but I want to get practicing! What kind of programs and equipment do you use? ANY tips you could offer would be so great. I know you’ve spent thousands of hours perfecting your craft just in the area of filmmaking – like I said, I have watched and read about your growth! I also know you are crazy busy, but I’d greatly appreciate any insights or lessons learned you have.

Thanks and best of luck! And next time you’re in the Baltimore/DC area – let me know! :) -Rachael T.

AnswerRachael, when I receive questions like this, it makes me really happy that we’ve developed a course at my work that allows me to teach these sort of things. Thank you so much for your kind words, and I’m flattered you’ve kept up with my progression for so long! I know I put it out there on this platform, but the reminders that people are listening are always necessary in order to keep me sharp.

I love the sound of your organization! It’s a thrill to hear you think we’re doing well with social media marketing at TGS. In the same way that the school is an experiment in education, everything we are doing with social media is an experimentation based on new ways of communicating and what seems fun. I recently heard David Karp, Founder of Tumblr, say: “Don’t grasp what’s new if you’re not going to enjoy it.” I felt like that connected with my personal work as well as how we approach communication at TGS. Maybe that connects with you and your work as well.

I read your questions and interpreted the following: you want ideas for filmmaking when your work budget doesn’t allow the globe-trotting necessary to film it yourself and gear/filmmaking tips in general. Hope that’s what you were getting at. I want to approach this situation conceptually first and then reference filming tips and gear ideas. Read More »

The irony of my lifestyle, part 5

Allow me to perplex you with a seemingly disjointed introduction to a post about travel and home.

Sand castle magicThese wet rocks where the tide has been,
Barnacled white and weeded brown
And slimed beneath to a beautiful green,
These wet rocks where the tide went down
Will show again when the tide is high
Faint and perilous, far from shore,
No place to dream, but a place to die,–
The bottom of the sea once more.
There was a child that wandered through
A giant’s empty house all day,–
House full of wonderful things and new,
But no fit place for a child to play.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1921

Born a landlocked being, I am entranced by the ocean and great bodies of water, the moon’s force on their water levels, the great winds that dishevel and free, the overwhelming sense of infinity in the sand, the salt, the facets of waves, and the way the coast transforms itself twice a day with the coming of the tide. When equipped with a car and an unchained week, I follow the coast in search of nothing but more of it. When afforded time in between to refresh, I flock to a part of the Earth that makes me feel so much, so simply.

Based on my first big trips in childhood, you’d think the coast is what sparked the wanderlust that dictates my entire lifestyle to date. But I’m starting to believe there’s a more complex and …how you say, “witch-esque” connection. I hope you’re ready for this thick application of thought.

What keeps me traveling?

Golf-carting Water Island in the US Virgin IslandsIt seems implied through five years of lifestyle evidence that I first choose to be nomadic, that I prefer to live without a fixed base. And from this mental foundation, it seems I chose to snatch up this nomadic job, one that works like a perpetual travel-for-work scenario of paid transit, per diem, and accommodation. For a young professional with no immediate familial obligation, this seems like the sweetest deal.

Travel the world and get paid to do it. No roots. No obligation. No stress.

If we perceive a job to be only that which appears on the advertisement (and, for that matter, economic theory to be based on a world of rational beings), that perception is right on the money with my current living needs.

Instead of this perception being completely true, in this world we have air friction, hidden fees, ulterior motives, and conflicting forces out the wazoo. There is not only a chance of irrational thinking in the marketplace but an expectation of it for the majority of personal purchases. We do not live in a vacuum. And unfortunately in this scenario, I have a great job but also untamable human urges that can’t be ignored because I’m on the road.

In short, regardless of what makes economic sense, having no base is not ideal for me right now. Read More »

A patchwork quilt of my Boston days

I found this idea while in Buenos Aires and used it to memorialize my little life in the Argentine capital. I tried it out again with the beautiful city and experience of Boston, MA.

Instagram Boston mosaic

(Inspiration. Click the image to view in a lightbox.) Read More »

Attending my first opening night via the interwebs

Everything about my first photography exhibition was fitting.

  • It took place in my hometown.
  • It took place in the community center that could be credited for the start of my global knowledge and interest.
  • It was a digital display, the medium in which I create.
  • I displayed images in an order that reflected my life philosophy.
  • The images represented all the continents I’ve been fortunate enough to experience.
  • The gallery was named after my late grandfather.
  • I attended the opening night virtually.
  • My best friend did the technical support to help me experience the night from my apartment in Boston.

 

First photography exhibition in Wabash, Indiana attending via Skype, virtually, Honeywell Center

Image courtesy of Amy Sullivan

Thought it wasn’t my first choice to attend virtually, it was my only realistic option, as I was deeply embedded in school on May 1st, the day of the event. But this was a big moment for me, a first exhibition for an “art major” and with deep significance in location at that. I wanted to be able to absorb these factors viscerally and emerge from the experience enriched and with the sense that I had finally exhibited work always meant for others’ eyes.

After filming a long innovation meeting at work, I raced from the classrooms to my apartment in Beacon Hill. Boston Common was orange with slanting light. My friend Hayley Skyped me in about 30 minutes before the event started, to avoid any technical-bumble when it was my time to speak. In the search for a good backdrop with good lighting, I landed on the view from my apartment window: the State House at sunset. As people filed into the gallery, they could see the sun setting over Boston’s golden dome on the projector before them. Gallery manager Andrea Zwiebel began introducing the exhibition and started the 3-artist Q&A with me (while the internet was still working), and I slid into place in front of the State House image, appearing in real time but not in real life. Here is my portion as I experienced it virtually.

People looked like blobs. I could only decipher the words of the person closest to the computer. But I was thrilled the Internet made this possible, as it continues to do for my work day in, day out. Read More »

From Chelsea to Chinatown, a walk inspires words

B Bar in NYCNanny sings sweetly;
he’s got fingers in his ears.
A beautiful day outdoors brings out the
caretakers and production crews.
Bright colors, grunge with gazes,
everyone beelines, moseys, and co-exists.
Writers, poets, creators reveal that we are
here to mine ourselves for the
building materials of bridges between beings.
Bites are packed with fresh,
tea like honey sunsets.
I’m in Italy by the beach,
edging closer to the spices.
I want to bite through it all,
in one motion sink my teeth
passed layers of complementary experiences.
Vacation is when watery, oily, acidic
juices are plowed with crusty bread,
where butter comes in clumps and
goes down in littler ones, flavor bombs,
when you have time to pour the second
cup of honey with a punch of rose.
Aimless and timeless, there might be
no other method to managing a day for you. Read More »

Tweeting up a storm at an innovation conference

On April 23rd and 24th, I received the chance to attend a stellar conference by the only print magazine I have cared to look at in the last decade: Fast Company. A co-worker turned me onto Fast Co. on the flight to Bhutan, and it has since been a continuous source of inspiration for the newMedia Lab and media work at TGS in general.

Sometimes working at a school that boasts innovation as its middle name leaves me feeling stale and inadequate for my role. “I haven’t done anything new and exciting lately! I’m not ahead of the curve!” This conference looked to be the remedy and something that would benefit all facets of my job, from looking at teaching and learning differently to spreading our name like wildfire.

Wordle: UntitledThe conference failed to disappoint. They provided a printed, wire-bound agenda for note-taking, but I was simultaneously shooting great quotes from the speakers up onto Twitter. The hashtag #IUNY13 was lively and often revealed comments I missed or didn’t quite wrap my mind around the first time. In this instance, I think my experience was heightened by this digital engagement. I submitted my tweet text to Wordle and got this interesting word cloud to visualize what I reflected upon. Click on the image to see it bigger (requires Java). Read More »

What I would happily quote from Dan Pink’s A Whole New Mind

My reading habits have slowed considerably in the last couple years, and I’m not excited by this self-realization. Especially since I focus heavily on the return on investment of reading, I know that a book will likely spark life-spinning advice and ideas at which I would have otherwise never arrived.

Not only am I disappointed in my frequency of reading sessions but in the heel-dragging I’ve done about pursuing books that continue to reveal themselves as valuable and relevant. In 2008, I learned about Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind from the father at my nannying job. Not one to chase fruitless endeavors, I knew he was recommending a quality read, especially since the recommendation came after the gushing of my worldview.

Well, four and a half years and innumerable reminders later, I have finally checked this book off my “To Read” list. The following are the sections I highlighted and mused about in the margins, many of which I found to be unique sentences, others quite relevant to the constant questions I ponder at work.

In order to better grasp the context of these quotes, keep in mind that Pink considers there to be six fundamental human abilities that will make the right brainers rule the world: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning.

Excerpts worth quoting or noting

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink“All that stuff that the right hemisphere does–interpreting emotional content, intuiting answers, perceiving things holistically–is lovely. But it’s a side dish to the main course of true intelligence.” p16

“Written language, invented by the Greeks around 550 B.C.E., has helped reinforce left hemisphere dominance (at least in the West) and created what Harvard classicist Eric Havelock called ‘the alphabetic mind.’” p17

“…most developed nations have devoted considerable time and treasure to producing left-brained knowledge workers. This arrangement has been a rousing success. It has broken the stranglehold of aristocratic privilege and opened educational and professional opportunities to a diverse set of people.” p29

“Only against a backdrop of abundance could so many people seek beautiful trash cans and toilet brushes–converting mundane, utilitarian products into objects of desire.” p33 Read More »

Spring Break: the tropical one where I kept saying “What are the chances?”

I booked my ticket to St. Thomas a week prior to going, and one hour after I confirmed my flight, my friend from high school posted a photo of his current view from the same island. This friend, Merlin (the one person I always feel most likely to run into around the world), was in Boston for the weeks prior to this posting, but our schedules conflicted and resulted in never meeting.

By complete chance, we both ended up on the same flight to St. Thomas a week later (after he returned to Boston only to realize his mistake and turned right back around). Not only that, but the night before we were both staying on the same block in Boston, unaware of the other’s location beforehand.

It was a very relaxing and gorgeous “Spring Break” trip with a high school catch-up, homemade Easter brunch, and a quick jaunt to two other U.S. Virgin Islands. This is the storified version of my trip via social media.


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At the MIT Media Lab doing some learning on our slow American internet

My “Spring Break 2013″ does not yet resemble Harmony Korine’s visions of debauchery, but I’ve been enjoying this week, one unlike the usual work week. I decided that during this two-week break from school, I would relax in Boston and then use the second week to get closer to the sun.

During this Boston-based break week, I’ve been getting back in touch with this ole blog-o-mine, photography, and activities I rarely enjoy at work, like reading or going to events around the city. Though my attempt to see an advanced screening at a cool, old movie theater didn’t pan out, I was successful in attending a speaker event at MIT’s Media Lab.

You’d think I’d have done ample research already on a program/building attached to a snazzy institution that bears a similar name to my own course. Nay, I have had no time to do such frivolous, awesome things. I’ve made it into the MIT buildings, to film Noam and all, but the Media Lab was impressive…almost an operational exhibition of innovation in the making. My jealousy was raging.

I wasn’t just wandering aimlessly this afternoon in the Media Lab; I was there to see a speaker and witness an anal-retentive production team in action. Whoa, that was a meticulous sound check. They produced a webcast that ran live online, but I felt like testing out my own webcasting abilities with Ustream.tv. Check out the conversation below on regulation and access to the Internet by Susan Crawford, author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age.



Nomadderwhere’s video streaming by Ustream

New tools. New capabilities. New information. Just trying to keep up with my mini-manifesto! Read More »

A reason to re-examine the definition of Nomadderwhere

I was recently reviewing my explanation of the term “nomadderwhere”…ya know, for kicks, because that’s what I do on Spring Break. Or, more accurately, I was looking for more meaning to go behind the sequence of my images for a photo exhibition.

I began with the image I loved the most, because it’s the latest creation. The rest fell into place based on the whim of my finger at that moment. Whatever reasoning determined was reconsidered with the next pass of the eyes.

This exhibition being my first–and at a significant location for me–I have a strong desire to make all decisions with intention.

The initial definition

And so, I went to my original post on the definition of nomadderwhere. It goes a little something like this:

A nomad never stops. A nomad moves and continues to flex their idea of home and comfort. A nomad doesn’t settle on one way of thinking or one surrounding. It’s a lifestyle of adaptation and life-long learning. Read More »

Ten things my Instagram feed says about my February

1. I was able to seize a great opportunity to hear Al Gore speak (fo’ free!) at Harvard University. Always love a chance to hear troubling data about the planet in a Southern accent. That experience turned out to be the start of many great speakers in February, including two BBC World journalists, the exiled prince of Iran, and Al Gore’s former domestic policy advisor. Now to make sense of it all.

2. I’ve enjoyed using social media to mock social media with my students.

Read More »

Help me prepare for my first travel photography exhibition

Hello readers,

From May 1st to June 2nd, I will be exhibiting some of my travel photography in a location that is very special to me. Not only will this be my first photography exhibition at a gallery, but the gallery is the Clark Gallery, in honor of my late grandfather Clark, whom I never had the chance to meet.

The Clark Gallery lives inside my town’s focal point, the Honeywell Center. As I’ve mentioned in many anecdotes, without the Honeywell Center, I wouldn’t have known that other cultures and opportunities existed…and therefore wouldn’t be where I am today.

This exhibition entitled “Far, Far Away” is a chance for some people in Wabash, Indiana to see destinations and cultures they otherwise might never see. Additionally, all the images were taken by people who claim Wabash as their hometown, adding a layer of accessibility to the images. The other person sharing the space with me will be showing many images from Antarctica. Just amongst the two of us, our images will span all seven continents!

Embedded below is a Flickr set of the images I’ve selected thus far. My images will be displayed digitally on a TV screen in the gallery, which makes my selection and the cost of exhibition much easier as I work remotely. I’m also creating a printed catalog that will sit next to the TV with image thumbnails, a mini-map pointing to the location of the photo, and a QR code connecting to the back story of that image.

I’m interested in knowing which images are impactful and effective for you! Feel free to leave comments and give me direction of what I should include or exclude in this exhibition. Are you particularly curious about seeing image from any of these countries specifically? And what information could be provided in order to fulfill what you want to know about the images or moments depicted?

Read More »

A week in Washington D.C. and my notebook looks like this

Read More »

A little valentine for my dear, sweet Buenos Aires

Not only was this the longest time I’ve lived in an international city, it also happened to be a culture I fully embraced. Our impending departure pricked me in the last week, drawing up thick sentiment I could only process through creation. What could I make that would facilitate a meditation on a city that showed me a wonderful time?

Prior to our first and only asado, I splayed out on my bed in a square of warm light and began a graphic design project, one that mimicked the Ork-style posters that fit neighborhood names into their map locations. My idea was to one day to share it with our porteño friends who introduced us Fernet, cooked us asados, danced with us until 7am, and invited us into their family homes. They made us feel so welcome and entertained, and all I felt I could provide in return were some digital bits and bobs. Of course, there’s always the hope they journey to America and are in need of an enthusiastic tour guide!

Two months after leaving, I’ve finally completed this graphic project to share with all of them…and you, dear reader. Other colors and styles are likely to follow, but here are two such posters in both white and black. Click the image to download one for yourself.

Read More »

A hauntingly beautiful snowstorm blows over Boston Common

On Friday evening, I was captivated by the oncoming snowstorm called Nemo that blanketed the city of Boston. From a perch overlooking the State House and the Boston Common, I could watch the sky darken and the air become increasingly opaque.

Every 15 minutes, I captured a few seconds of the unfolding scene, ultimately mashing all the clips together. Around 9pm, my window was so coated with snow, I had to open it to get a good shot. That’s when I truly realized how beautiful this natural phenomenon was. Read More »

Sitting pensive amidst a teal river in Bumthang, Bhutan

Bhutan in the winter energizes the hunger for discovery that’s resident in children lucky enough to be young. It would take a dark closet for decades to produce this contrast anywhere else, the specialness clear with every sip of cold mountain air or gentle exchange. I can’t say this is what travel should always be, because it’s only through their unique set of occurrences that yielded such an outcome. But what they have set up, from my effortless post, has a wonderful effect. Wool is nowhere near our eyes, and we are learning individual lessons from the backgrounds we brought.

I almost feel inclined to state I’m not an affiliate, but I did not buy this experience. One should take my musings with this factor in mind. If I didn’t earn my place in this country, does that make my words as weightless and discardable as crow feathers? Certainly not as constant as a prayer flag, whose words are established and worthy of fame.

I think we’ve been reset. Winter. New starts. Distillation of enthusiasm. I wonder if we have become a group energized to learn on the road, a band of international brethren, one capable of taking an engaging experiment and making it result in great things. Maybe it’s just the rarity of Bhutan bringing the special and the beautiful out of complex beings. In the mountain air, we’ve become primal and receptive to the cleansing powers of the new.

Written in between temple visits on a hike in Bumthang, Bhutan while traveling and working.

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I tromp through Phobjikha valley in search of breath and cranes

It’s cold, and my body begs to be energized beyond the limits of my water consumption; disregarding the extreme altitude difference, abused toes, conserved clothing, or painful, chapping skin. It’s the sloping of land that begs to be traversed. It’s Scotland. Switzerland. Bhutan.

Written after hiking around Phobjikha valley in Bhutan where the rare black-necked cranes migrate in winter.

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Feasting on the specialness of visiting Bhutan

Slow feet
Slow eyes
Slow decisions with little contemplation of options
Nauseating excitement has slightly fermented into a smoother approach

With time to wander the streets of Thimphu
I mosey, no muscles or desires attempting to accelerate a slow discovery
Light, open spaces, crowds, and amusing sounds
I can’t remember but a handful of passing thoughts during the walk

There were a few moments that made me pause and take a photo
Those genuine moments are visitors from another time
When I traveled to be moved

Bhutan has loosened the muscle memory developed over years
Bambi-like, I can’t handle the opportunity presented to my present being
Luckily sentences are forming and emotions identified
Maturity has also informed my nausea awareness

It’s like I’ve actually wished away the others
The price and inaccessibility have played a major role in my value system
I know with full certainty I am in a special place and all I can do is
Move slowly, drink a tea, and take in moments like I used to…

Slowly, and bit by bit.

Written over tea in Thimphu, Bhutan while traveling and working with THINK Global School.

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This is what the last four months in Argentina looked like

This term at TGS was the longest in duration, compared to the three months each spent in Ecuador, Thailand, and Germany.

While I’ve previously written about the three-month mind cycle that makes for a great trip length, because of the adjustment and pack-up periods at TGS, that duration barely allowed for local absorption of any authentic kind. Instead, four months in Buenos Aires created a different expectation for assimilation and encouraged the development of friendships with porteños that would be a little stronger than surface level.

On top of having a beautiful apartment in a central location, I lived with an hilarious roommate/part-time caterer with a debilitating case of FOMO. Together, we worked and played in this international city that showed us both its best and worst. It was the setting for incredible discovery at school and major learning moments personally. There are nail marks across our apartment floors and airport terminals where we refused to leave.

This is my work photography from the Argentina term (plus a little trip to Uruguay).

And this is the evidence of life after the 12-hour work day.

Read More »

Closing a chapter of this fragmented life in Buenos Aires

Fallen Jacaranda blossoms squish to the sidewalk of tilting tiles,
caulked daily by the wake of a dog-walking brigade.
Golden, kaleidoscopic light treats the top of the hotel
like it’s deserving, like the whole street is.
Every day absorbed here, I felt like I wasn’t, but
I still had a door to the rare urban nature and solitude
afforded the eccentric and prosperous.

I return to the USA tonight in a metal tube that
fails to desensitize about its capabilities of magic.
Leaving one big set of kids to a pocket-sized one,
I will unravel my scheduled ways and fall Jello-like
to the ebb and flow of my family, the weather, the
approaching holidays, and any expectations I am equipped to fill.

Hopefully, I can find solace in replacing new music for
the hourly encounters with bandaneons on the breeze;
snowy afternoons struggling to operate in Gore-Tex for
walking miles over cobblestones in search of
something someone made with intention;
switching my weathered, repetitive options for new
layers of warmth and color and shape.

I’m sweeping the jpegs and stickies of my experience together
in sequence, easing them through the filter of process,
because I am almost done with this chapter.

As I float the page over my thumbnail, ready to turn,
I am slow and deliberate,
deliberate, for I may need solace.

·•·•·

There was an all-to-creepily-typical movie arc in my
connection to Argentina, to the city of Buenos Aires.
I spent an autumn in spring;
days grew before, and then they grew again.
I went from embodying story lines as a child to creating them,
extending the dramatic sense that I have my own Truman show
in the bubble that is Earth.

The slap heard ’round the restaurant was the start
of my time in country. My arms out, ready to hug in
a new home, recoiled to protect what has never felt
so threatened.
It was a textbook sequence of honeymoon and rejection,
and I was shocked I could still be shocked.

For the first time in years of this lifestyle, I felt
a kind of fear that withered my appeal for people,
the exact kind I charged at to intimidate when I
took off alone around the world. Hating
that fear and a lifestyle revolving around it,
I repeated my mechanism of defense, offense rather, and
charged at BsAs, accepting what was possible of desperation.

I did new things, explored neighborhoods at a jog,
clung tightly to my years of high school Spanish
to aid in the kind of communication that heals and forgives.

This also came with an acceptance and openness to
what I thought I had already ruled out of my interests.
I relearned and redefined to double-check my sense of self.

·•·•·

The balance I preach was the balance I struck and
was also able to reflect upon like a good model,
for those who continue to grasp for perspective.
I met chance in the middle in my reach for
emotional understanding of this passionate and
complicated American country of immigrants and
cowboys; it should have been a short reach at that.

And it was short, albeit poorly timed. Hence today,
I am upset with time, just as I’ve instructed against
for my students; it can’t be warped.
We can’t even be upset with expiration dates as this
is the lifestyle we’ve elected for ourselves,
fully cognizant of the irony of these nomadic ways.

It’s as if I lived for four months on my head
and will just as easily reorient myself
to my feet, possibly prepared and equipped for
the rush of blood, and used to reactivating
sleeping appendages without much forethought.
They still tingle though, and sometimes I falter,
like Bambi with amnesia and failing muscle memory.

We live very clear chapters that can be qualified
and measured, compared to other chapters that may
or may not build off each other.

A place with streets I couldn’t even visualize
became my next one, and hopefully one connected
to the ones for the following pages.

·•·•·

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A patchwork quilt of my Argentina days

Packing commences soon for the USA. Mental packing happens sooner. I had a little life here in Argentina. It will be remembered a little something like this.

(Inspiration. Click for a lightbox) Read More »

Have you heard about this global school of mine?

I like telling stories around the world: in written form, through snazzy visuals, and from both experiential and academic perspectives. I would do this of my own volition (ahem, Nomadderwhere), but thankfully my job allows me to do this for pay every day. From time to time though, I also make marketing videos to give more context of this visionary establishment that houses such endeavors. Here are the latest ones of note.

Would you like to see who I work with?

Or how about the environment in which the students live? Read More »

Q&A: Field trips vs. independent travel on SAS

Send in your questions, too!

QuestionHi Lindsay! I am currently preparing to go on the Semester at Sea Spring 2013 voyage! I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am. I ran across your site, and it’s been a huge help! However, I do have a few questions for you, if you can find the time to answer them.

Do you recommend going on the SAS field programs (that are overnight)? If so, how many? Or do recommend more independent travel. I would like to stay away from being too touristy, but seems how I’m going alone and I dont know anyone, I figured this might be a good way to meet some new people.

If you do recommend independent travel, any suggestions on how to do so? For example, none of the SAS programs in China appeal to me all that much. I’ve heard you can sleep on
the Great Wall, but I want to be careful of getting ripped off or scammed. Thoughts? Opinions?

I don’t know if you’ll be able to answer these questions, but I’m just looking for a little direction, so any input would greatly appreciated! -Laura Read More »

Uruguay: a new country experience with a vintage video feel

Here’s hoping border crossings are always fresh. Visiting Uruguay a few weekends ago reminded me how lucky I have been to see different countries. I wanted to reflect my appreciation for a new place with a new video technique: light leaks.

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Video is that of THINK Global School. The opinions stated in this post are mine and do not reflect the positions, strategies, or opinions of THINK Global School.

Photoblog: Sundays in Buenos Aires make the whole week

For over a month, I’ve been sinking my claws into Buenos Aires, Argentina. Within the first two weeks, I found an apartment with a new roommate/co-worker in the beautifully-located barrio called Recoleta. Its coordinates in the city as well as decor and baller terrace(s) cause me to internally chant:

I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!


Though I have encountered some really bitter parts of the city so far, the vast majority of my thoughts focus on the innumerable opportunities within reach. On fair-weathered afternoons, stalls of antique paraphernalia and sweet, sweet guitar interludes draw us to San Telmo market. If we’re hungry and less motivated, we funnel in coffee and cake, along with a full American breakfast, at a nearby cafe famous for its former literary clientele.

Read More »

What I would happily quote from Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw

In reach of a well-worn travel narrative, I’m immediately a dry sponge looking for moisture of that exact genre. Heck, that’s why I carried two backpacks in 2008, one on the front for the eleven hardbacks in tow. But since travel narratives tend to remind me of work, I aimed for a topic once or twice removed from the genre while working in Berlin. My nightly escape needed to halt the thoughts of blogging or introspection.

Instead, I went for the food industry, as told by travel TV guru himself, Anthony Bourdain. Though I thoroughly enjoyed Kitchen Confidential, it didn’t inspire the same volume of highlights as the much-later scribed Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People who Cook.

Those thousands upon thousands of words delicately trickled sequentially into my Kindle, allowing me to take both books across Germany, Sweden, and most of central Europe. The following are the sections I highlighted and mused about in the margins, many of which I found to be unique sentences, others quite relevant to the constant questions I ponder and pose daily. These being from the Kindle version, I used the percentage of the book complete instead of page numbers to cite my sources.

Excerpts worth …quoting

“I became seduced by the world–and the freedom that television had given me–to travel it as I wished. I was also drunk on a new and exciting power to manipulate images and sound in order to tell stories, to make audiences feel about places I’d been the way I wanted them to feel.” 3%

“I am not a fan of people who abuse service staff. In fact, I find it intolerable. It’s an unpardonable sin as far as I’m concerned, taking out personal business or some other kind of dissatisfaction on a waiter or busboy.” 12%

“What limited me forever were the decisions I made immediately after leaving culinary school. That was my moment as a chef, as a potential adult, and I let it pass. For better or worse, the decisions I made then about what I was going to do, whom I was going to do it with and where, set me on the course I stayed on for the next twenty years…If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel–as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook…Money borrowed at this point in your life so that you can afford to travel and gain work experience in really good kitchens will arguably be better invested than any student loan.” 19-20% Read More »

Adios, America. It’s time for new places and fresh air.

It’s time to navigate away from Indiana again. The school year is starting, and I’m about to move to a country I’ve never visited. Come Tuesday, I will have some new students, new co-workers, a new home with someone else’s furniture, and a new culture to study…thankfully in a language I’m already comfortable with.

Last year’s school locations of Ecuador, Thailand, and Germany look to be replaced by some diverse locales, all brought to you by the letter “B”.

I’ll be spending the first term in Buenos Aires, Argentina, visiting Bhutan in January, and spending the rest of the academic year in Boston, USA. I’m equally excited by all three locations for very different reasons.

Perks of BsAs

  • I can, without judgment or question, wear a massive red flower in a low bun.
  • It will be early spring when I arrive, and that means boots. Stomping around cities in big ole boots.
  • I have dreams of killing at some form of latin dance. Maybe Tango is my zone. If not, I’ll find another and put my packed dance clothes to good use.
  • Red, red wine.
  • New country of which I’ve never heard an ill word spoken.
  • Apparently, it’s easy to live like a rock star with the help of a Mr. T. Ferriss.

Read More »

Photoblog: a summertime reunion of travel friends in Vermont

One year of teaching in China and two years of Peace Corps in Malawi later, my dear friends from Semester at Sea and I finally reunited. Alexis and I flew to Burlington, Vermont within 20 hours of Garrett’s homecoming, and these are the good times we enjoyed.

When I’m not at work, I don’t want to be continuously documenting my life in high def. That’s why I played with Instagram this time around (click on the images to view in lightbox).

Read More »

When Wabash takes to the riverbanks, nature sighs with relief

I spent my childhood in Wabash (and took innumerable visits in the last twelve years), and this was one of my top ten favorite mornings in my hometown. Maybe it had something to do with flying above the trees with the wind in my hair. Remember, I’m a converted adrenaline junkie…when the wind is just right.

This is a promotional video for the clean-up efforts of the Wabash River Defenders. Read More »

Q&A: going solo on Semester at Sea and other Q’s

Send in your questions, too!

QuestionFirst of all, I want to start out by saying this is awesome you have set this up. I want to do Semester at Sea, but I just don’t know much about it to sign up quite yet! Here are some my questions: Summer or spring? Is 100 days too long?

I am from Birmingham, AL this is going to be way out of my comfort zone do you recommend finding a friend or just going alone. Is their a good floor to be on and does the inside/outside room make a difference? How many classes did you take while you were there and did studying abroad put you behind in your studies when you got back to school?

Sorry, I know that’s a lot of questions, but I am so so so interested and literally so excited and I haven’t even signed up yet!!!! -Caroline W.

AnswerHi, Caroline. Thanks for your message!

I’m happy to give you whatever advice I have about SAS, because I really believe in the concept. I can speak from my own experience, and hopefully it gives you another window into the program.

Going alone

Don’t be intimidated by attacking this experience alone. Solo travelers are never alone, anyway. You will make friends very quickly, and going alone allows you to be even more open to meeting new and diverse people. Otherwise, you bring home with you, and that may mean you’ll have a harder time immersing in the foreign.

I went alone and met these two lovely people as we embarked on day one. Five years later, I still see them at least twice a year (unless one of them is in the depths of the African continent or something). This sort of trip attracts an awesome crowd. There will be no paucity of interesting people on your voyage. Read More »

Filming the Wabash River ‘as the crow flies’

The upcoming term in Argentina will mark my 52nd country, and every once in a while I’m perplexed that this whole world obsession and world tour started from a town of 11,000 in rural Indiana. I talk about this town often–one I haven’t lived in for 12 years to the week–and it’s a weekend like my last one that confirms its hold on me.

I continue to have those awe-inspiring moments in a place I thought I’d adequately covered.

Clean Out The Banks! is an annual event in Wabash, Indiana conducted by a volunteer group known as the Wabash River Defenders. If you were at Paradise Spring at 7:00am last Saturday, eating free donuts and preparing to wade in the silt, you’re likely a member…or a donut enthusiast.

This year’s 365 participants engaged in a community event for the benefit of their environment while spending time with that environment on a beautiful day. Being a recent student on the effects of community, I was eager to witness my first River Defenders event and document it for distribution.

The river stretches 19.2 miles across Wabash County from east to west, so my fellow documentarian, Chelsea, and I didn’t have to drive far to reach the many scattered clean-up crews.

Walking along the river in Lagro, we found an ATV or mountain bike track that looked like serious muddy fun. We passed by many groups of fishermen heading to the water. One of the teams had a kayak, and its slender shape reminded me of rowing sculls torpedoing down the thin and shallow river. My imagination was probably stretching the water possibilities on this Mississippi tributary, but the flanking land offered no such limitations to outdoor enjoyment.

Courtesy of the Wabash River Defenders

After a couple hours of tracking teams’ progress, I was extended the opportunity to admire Wabash County from above on an antique open cockpit airplane from 1927. I couldn’t stop relating myself to Snoopy. It was a beautiful aircraft, and it lifted effortlessly above the forests and farms to find the snaking river. Read More »

Jobs for world travelers: make films for flight money

I know many of you amongst the Nomadderwhere readership jumped on board after seeing the World Traveler Internship. Even many years after my WTI, I still receive messages from people in search of such great opportunities in the travel world or wondering how to snag such jobs that require some online savvy and marketing know-how. Therefore, when I hear about new marketing schemes that send people on the road for free or for pay, I’m inspired to pass the info along to you, the reader. Here’s the latest one.

Here’s the write-up:

Skyscanner has launched a travel video competition in its search to find its very own Travel Reporter! Read More »

Consume & Update: making it count, making good art & making it home

I’ve finally stopped moving for a while. Want to see what I’ve found as of lately?

World travel on Nike’s dime

Nike made a new product that basically detects energy expended (a.k.a. Nike Fuel) throughout your typical, active day, and with this new product comes an intense online marketing campaign called #makeitcount. This video, created by Casey Neistat and Max Joseph, is reminiscent of the STA Travel Australia video “Move” and shows Casey plowing through his budget from Nike with 10 days of globe trotting. I just had dinner with one of the developers of this campaign. The world is small, people.

Advice for starting a creative career

This is good and giggle-worthy. Here are my favorite excerpts:

…it’s true that nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience. Usually I didn’t wind up getting the money, either.

IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.

The urge, starting out, is to copy. And that’s not a bad thing. Most of us only find our own voices after we’ve sounded like a lot of other people. But the one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.

The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right. Read More »

Photoblog: a gray day in the Swedish village of Landsort

After the Berlin trimester ended, I flew to Copenhagen to begin a wee Scandinavian tour. The best part of this week was being with friendly residents and visiting their homes. Yes, homes. Not houses, accommodations, hotels, hostels, or dorms. In both Copenhagen and Stockholm, I stayed in city homes and then visited vacation homes by the water. Both cities are impressive and relatively unknown to me, but I valued most those moments where I was experiencing someone’s place of hat-hanging. Rarely did I want to venture away.

(click on the images to see in a lightbox)

Landsort is a village on the island of Öja an hour south of Stockholm. It marks the southernmost point of the Stockholm archipelago. My new friend Kari took fellow TGS co-worker Andy and his two friends to his vacation home on the island of Öja by way of a flat-bottomed boat. The sky was gray and occasionally spitting, but we enjoyed some walks along the central road (rarely a motor in sight) and up by the lighthouse that gives the village its name.

Read More »

My global kids romp through four countries in five days

Some of my students called it “the best five days of their lives.” That kind of statement carries a good load coming from kids who visited the Galápagos, the Amazon rainforest, and the Bavarian Alps this year alone.

At the end of the academic year, my students were given the great opportunity by the school to live out their own Amazing Race through Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria.

I went along for the ride.

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This is what the last three months in Germany looked like

This title isn’t entirely accurate; it should be more like “This is what the last three months in Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, and parts of Scandinavia looked like…and other cool stuff, too.” The first two terms in Ecuador and Thailand left little time for experiencing the surrounding culture. I mostly stared in a viewfinder or at my computer screens for six months.

Then came Germany.

Freshly relieved of my Creative Art teaching responsibilities and greatly assisted with social media management, I not only had time to create videos, edit photography, and write blogs on the ground; after a 10-hour day, I regularly had hours to myself in the evening to produce work of my own volition and be in the incredible city of Berlin.

I lived with two other faculty members in a very cute apartment 4km from the students. That space gave me quiet time to crank out content and a delightful bike ride to mend the gap and feel a part of the surrounding residential community. In terms of my own satisfaction in a job well done, it was a term vastly different from the other two. Professional me and human me both had the freedom to seek their potential.

This is my work from the Germany term in a nutshell (or a Flickr set).

And this is the evidence of life after the 10-hour work day.

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