I recently came across an Instagram account called @nowhitesaviors, run by a collection of people from Uganda, Kenya, USA, and possibly more locales (some are anonymous). I spent the following two hours browsing their content and comments and going down the rabbit holes of articles they referenced, accounts they hope to educate for their wrongdoings, as well as accounts they support for their ethical storytelling and advocacy.Read More
Semester at Sea impacts my day yet again :) Matthew Straub and I were on the S'07 voyage together, and a few years later, we discussed participation in The Nakavika Project after I returned from Fiji. I think having the common bond of SAS-hood inspires people to stay connected and communicative with other global and passionate people. Since chatting about potential collaboration on TNP, we've been in touch about ideas and our work.Read More
The more wonderful people and places I encounter, the more difficult choosing causes becomes for me, and I can understand that you might as well find difficulty in extending much of yourself to this cause with so many other things begging for your support. That's why I hope it feels entirely doable to you to simply follow them on Facebook and begin your engagement there. A message, a photo, or a "like" could be just the encouragement they needed for the next step.Read More
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. -NataliaRead More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Q: 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?Read More
I've been talking to a co-worker a lot lately about her balance of consuming and creating, and it reminded me of my old balance between absorbing what the industry is putting out and telling the industry what I'm adding to the mix. After almost two years, here's the latest Consume & Update!
Great use of soundtrack to arc story
This Vimeo staff pick, directed by Peter Simonite & Annie Gunn, is a stunning result of great cameras handled by great cameramen. It is also a great example of a singular soundtrack lending to the arc of a story in a short film.
I've begun teaching a new media lab at THINK Global School, which encourages students to share and reflect their world experiences using new media. An upcoming lesson will be on the use of soundtracks to carve out, structure, or heighten the message of a video. I'm on the hunt for great examples of this, and I'm also asking filmmakers to explain their choices to the students.
What Berlin looks and feels like to Berliners
Christian Andersen makes the second video in his series on the street aesthetic of a city, this one "capturing the culture and everyday life of native Berliners. In this short film, I also tried to capture the special urban vibe Berlin has and visualize the aesthetic of Berlin's street corners, parks, buildings and structure." I think the coloration and rack focusing fit really well to the soundtrack by Aphex Twin.
East Berlin architecture in game form
This video by Sergej Hein does what we all wandering East Berlin want to do with our telekinetic powers:
The idea is based on a kind of parody of the former Socialist building style. They used to build whole cities where each house was designed identically to create cheap housing for workers. These ‘blocks’ were so similar that in Soviet times, you could easily wake up at a friends place in another city and still feel like you are in your flat. Even the furniture was the same.
The Love Competition: A range of people are interviewed about love and then receive MRIs to measure their brains as they ponder love. The arc of the story is compelling, and the music is powerfully linked to the sentiment of the short film. Berlin Dynamic: A timelapse video of Berlin's many vistas and defining aspects, including the TV tower skyline, bright yellow subway, and famous buildings Little Big Berlin: A tilt-shift timelapse of Berlin set to Franz Liszt, if you're looking for a calming sensation.
Update on Nomadderwhere
For the last month, I've been feeling incredibly confident in my role as media specialist for this world-touring school, TGS. I can't tell if it's the homey accommodation we have, the energy of Berlin, the enthusiasm of the students, or something else. I've created a rhythm of working and playing that feels solid and sustainable, which is harder than it seems to create structure in a fluid, ever-changing environment. It's been so successful that I've been able to document for myself.
This weekend marked our first school trip out of Berlin. We hit up Bavaria for a look at Munich, a nearby concentration camp, the Alps, and the Champions League final game between Bayern München and Chelsea. Details to follow.
Here's that work from the last month in Berlin:
Guten tag and lederhosen and whatnot: bound for Berlin: I let ya'll know I'm going to Berlin...and planning on real-time blogging er'thang.
Photoblog: details of the hipster haven that is Berlin: I wondered around Mitte (the city center) with my camera, finding and having moments.
Finding the fulcrum below me in Berlin: A prose poem on the flight to, initial settling experience in, and eventual comfort found in Berlin, Germany while working for TGS.
What our experiences in Berlin look like thus far: A run-through of three Berlin-based and Berlin-focused films I've made so far for TGS.
The opinions stated in this post are mine and do not reflect the positions, strategies, or opinions of THINK Global School.
I've managed to compile myriad jobs and hobbies that complement each other, one absorbing skills to improve the other, making me feel like I'm ascending Penrose steps. I spent the day researching ways to improve filmmaking skills that don't include paying for or attending film school, a theme I'm covering for Matador. While doing so, I ran across this gem of a video, which attracted me with its RJD2 soundtrack alone. Also, I'd give 'the art of...' anything a chance (even that horrible Art of Travel movie).
Perusing the many videos highlighting brilliant title sequences in film and TV, I'm immediately jazzed about learning animation and advanced graphics. My previous practice with titles in online video is to produce the title within ten seconds of its start. Aside from some stylistic guidelines, that's all the thought I've applied. With this study spanning decades of filmmaking, I'm inspired to pay closer attention to my video introductions, more than just watching the timeline and using a provided Motion template.
Perhaps the most intriguing comparison with past and present concepts is the affinity for an aged appearance. It's comforting and pleasantly dusty, and it gives me more ideas for vintage effects. Do you have any favorite video motif that you rely on the title sequence delivering?
If you like or produce film, I encourage you to find some of your favorite movies and title sequences on Art of the Title and read the thoughtful copy and interviews below them. The post on the 2011 Emmy nods for best title is especially great.
Empire of Illusion came into my hands over a long dinner in Astoria. The carcass of a quality tapas spread and octopus massacre lay in between myself, a New York City civil servant, and an emergency room doctor. The combination of my background and recent experience prompt many big city people to ask questions about potential conflicts of thought, action, norms, etc. They are usually on point.Read More
I'm such a sorry case for a writer that I'm actually stalling the publication of a post on how I haven't written anything in a while! 2011 for Nomadderwhere is a Catch 22 kind of year. If that's not clear, then stick around for the explanation coming whenever I get my act together. In the meantime, my interview with the Black Informant found its way onto the internet for your listening pleasure! Prior to this, I'd never done a radio interview before. I thought for sure my charming stutter would shine through, but it turns out radio is just about the easiest kind of interview there is (aside from letting the publicist type your answers while you're busy getting a pedicure and playing Xbox, so I would imagine).
In this podcast, Duane Brayboy and I discuss:
the genesis of my travel obsession.
how travel transformed my personality, my learning, and the way I expressed myself.
storytelling and the power of descriptive detail with words, photos, or video.
documentary and editorial photography while on the road.
the most meaningful photographs I've ever taken.
impressions of Haiti and the apocalyptic media uproar.
where to next.
I enjoyed chatting with Duane and also hope this little update post whips me back into content cranking gear.
What did you think of the podcast? Now, I didn't do this interview just to hear myself talk. Please do share your own insight on what we discussed: Haiti's media coverage, your own travel obsession genesis, the most meaningful photos you've taken, and anything else.
This weekend came and went, and I never left my couch. My camera bag - meticulously packed for three hectic days across three cities - lies useless on the bedroom floor; memory cards untouched and road snacks un-nibbled. For the second time in a row, our assignment in Haiti has been postponed due to civil unrest and political instability. I don't really know what's going on there at the moment, and with the one-track mind of sensationalist mass media focused solely on Egypt (and the Super Bowl, I guess), I'm finding it hard to understand this new situation, which has red alerts and closings already resulting from the anticipated nation-wide chaos.Read More
With every assignment, my job is gaining more meaning and thrill, becoming increasing moving and educative. From researching Frida Kahlo to cutting videos on Nelson Mandela, I've been diving further into pivotal, global issues. And though - technically - our upcoming trip to Haiti is a freelance assignment to document a medical non-profit, I'm going in the capacity of a filmmaker and an indirect educator. For the past month, I've been taking in knowledge of old Saint-Domingue like a sponge, and I'm hoping to include you, my ever-enlightening audience, in this pursuit of awareness.Read More
I've been a big time fan of Big Tony B. since the No Reservations series began in 2005. His approach to travel television and subjective, experiential authenticity abroad felt so relevant amidst a sea of market-y documentation. His conceptual thread continues to be pretty darn obvious, which makes it easy to instantly jump on the Bourdain train. But for his fellow Travel Channel host (and our Creative Council member), Andrew Zimmern, I had a harder time identifying what truly made him tick and drove him to produce what he does. Thankfully, I had a recent opportunity to hear Zimmern clarify his concept in an illuminating way. Poised and ready with my notepad, I asked my mom sitting next to me at the IUPUI convention center what she knew of Zimmern.Read More
I have just been accepted by SAS for the Spring 2011 voyage, and I randomly chanced upon your website. I am currently having a hard time trying to decide between a Semester at Sea program and a study abroad program in Berlin.
I know they sound very different, but I think they appeal to different parts of me, which makes it even harder to decide. Hence, I have some questions about your experience if you don't mind answering:
1. When you were traveling around the ports, did you feel they were too touristy? I don't want to limit myself to only exploring typical tourist destinations.
2. How strong were the academics? I know that the main experience comes from the ports, but I still want to learn and enjoy my classes. Did most people take classes seriously?
3. I wanted to clarify this with you. I heard that SAS had a reputation of being a "booze cruise" or a "party boat" in the past. How did you feel about that from your experience?
I just thought that it would be good to consult with someone who has been through the experience. Best, AlyssaRead More
A self-starting, world traveling, commercial fishing, supremely athletic, go-getter. That's a whole lot of epithets. For those of you who haven't yet read up on Sierra, be sure to check out Part 1 of this series before reading on to learn more about her new project in Alaska!
Sierra Anderson and I have only met through google chats and phone conversations, but being on such similar paths led us to becoming friends and collaborators. This series of Interview a Traveler continues to give kudos where they are due...to fellow travelers doing some very cool things.
You've recently just started a new venture called The Real Alaska. What's the premise behind it, and how do you hope to generate revenue from this?
The Real Alaska, founded by Brett Veerhusen and myself, is a blog and reality web-show documenting our "re-admittance" into the commercial fishing scene this past summer. Brett spent his summer captaining for the first time in Bristol Bay, Alaska, while I worked as the “skiff-wo-man” for my dad in Chignik off the peninsula. We both grew up in the commercial fishing scene. In fact, Brett and I refer to it as our second lives, one that most of our friends don’t even know about.
Alaska is virtually its own country. It's a completely different element up there with very different people doing risky business around the clock. Through our own personal journeys, we hope to educate, entertain, and provide insight into what this industry is all about. Eventually, we'll broaden our scope to encompass all things Alaskan and bring in contributors.
Being that we both are entrepreneurs, we hope to pitch this to investors, get better equipment, and turn this into something more. We have a vision, but right now we're building credibility, a portfolio, and letting it develop organically, in order to have something to pitch down the road.
How do you deal with the ever-nagging issue of money, and what advice would you give my budget-minded readers?
I'd recommend developing a skill you can use on the road, something you can barter with to help you save money. This was the case with the SMU Travel Bug and hotels/adventure companies, because we had a marketable outlet for companies to use. It doesn't have to be a website or video editing skills. Photography, though, is a big one, and I just recently took this hobby up myself. Multimedia is huge in marketing businesses these days. If you can add to that or help a business out, they can help you in return.
Do some extra work for a family. Be an au pair. Apply for the Peace Corps. Networking is huge. There are plenty of WWOOFs along the way where you can trade work for rent, too.
Why do you personally find travel documentation important, and what would be your ideal job/lifestyle in five years?
I'm a bit of a dreamer and very inspired by what I see. Documentation has become my portfolio, but more than that, it's like therapy. It’s a way for me to hopefully inspire others to hop off the bandwagon and experience a world outside of their own. Although I don’t have a degree in journalism or multimedia, I am building credibility based on the experiences I document now. I’ve always enjoyed entertaining, so documenting allows me to do that and also educate.
If The Real Alaska takes off in the future, I can see myself taking people on adventures and documenting their experiences on camera. Anything having to do with multimedia and journalism would be my niche - where I can share my passion with others. To be a host and take people around the world, or in this case, Alaska, would be a dream job.
How to do you reason the unconventional and daring life you lead? I know many people would love to have their lives revolve around travel.
A professor of mine once told me:
In your 20s, always choose the option that you'll learn from the most and wait till your 30s to choose the option that pays the most.
Regardless of what I do, I want this time in my life to be about building valuable experiences, not possessions. I don’t understand how everyone pushes us to spend the "now" getting ahead, jump starting careers immediately out of college, finding the perfect someone, and ‘settling down’ only to later question it all.
In my opinion, there are two types of people in this world: those who talk about traveling and those who actually do it. Many say they want to or wish they could but come up with a million reasons not to, money being the biggest excuse.
If I wasn’t doing what I am now, I would take off to Haiti and go work there for a year. They could use that help right now. Join the Peace Corps, Volunteer Abroad, etc. It doesn't necessarily take money to do that, nor does it mean you have to be single either. Two of my best friends who are newly married and tight on finances have still found ways to travel and work in different countries. Traveling is like jumping off the high dive in the swimming pool. You just have to take that first step, then you're in.
It's important to be practical, too. If you really want to travel like you talk, your going to have to give up and sacrifice other things. I gave up having a car for about three years to lessen my expenses.
How do you know when a travel or work experience is right for you?
That really comes down to your personal goals and motivation. Sometimes work opportunities come a lot sooner than we anticipate, and we're afraid to jump in knowing we might be tied down. Everything we do is a learning experience; however, don't let money be the main motivator. Trust your instincts.
Being well-cultured and having a diverse portfolio of work experiences are very important in today’s world, so traveling in my opinion helps you go far no matter what career choices you make. If you can think in "bigger picture” terms, you’re already setting yourself up for success in the future.
Be sure to check out the first half of this interview. UPDATE: Sierra has a new TV show on TLC, Hook, Line & Sisters. Do you have any questions for Sierra about her future travels, The Real Alaska, or her experiences throughout 40+ countries? Leave a comment, and I'll make sure she gets the question!
She self-created her own World Traveler Internship. She knows the ins and outs of commercial fishing. She's a star athlete with an extreme passion for satiating her wanderlust. Let's check her out.
Sierra Anderson and I have only met through google chats and phone conversations, but being on such similar paths led us to becoming friends and collaborators. I've been amazed by her tenacity ever since. This series - Interview a Traveler - continues to give kudos where they are due; to fellow travelers doing some very cool things.
Her Bio: I am an Alaskan native, a local of Breckenridge Colorado, and a daughter of a commercial fisherman and world traveler. I grew up in the remote bush of Alaska, and when I wasn’t traveling, my summers were spent fishing off the Alaska Peninsula. Through university and travel, my zest for the outdoors and thrills increased exponentially. I'm a self-proclaimed "Curious George."
So you're a self-proclaimed "travel bug." How did you acquire this fantastic disease?
I’m a genetic byproduct of my mother, the globetrotter. Having traveled to 87 countries herself, I was fortunate during my formative middle school years to join her in many of these exotic adventures. Since then, traveling has been in my blood. My mother made each experience as authentic and educational as possible. That meant reading up on everything, never traveled in tour groups, renting cars and traveling cross-country through the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
My dad is the same way. This was the start of an impacting theme of my life. I learned what it meant to push myself to the limits each day and it carried over to how I live my life now.
Tell us about the SMU Travel Bug and how you went about creating your own school-sponsored travel program.
It was a team effort. Without Shelley, Cody and our new "bug" Tyler, none of it would have happened. I was motivated to try something new. I took a risk in doing it, and I made some valuable relationships that helped make it all a reality.
I was inspired by STA’s World Travel Internship in December 2009. I applied right away, but after finding out in March that I didn’t make the cut, I wasn’t ready to give up. I discovered that the competition was a great learning experience and opportunity to meet some very cool and knowledgeable people in the field, not to mention meeting this awesome chick interviewing me right now.
Motivation: I thought to myself, "What if the World Travel Internship could be sponsored by SMU instead?" I wanted the challenge of making it happen for myself and to use my travels to inspire others with the spirit of adventure. I knew the intrinsic benefits of travel, and I wanted everyone else in my school bubble to see it, too.
Risk: Fortunately, I came out of college debt free but also with little to no money in hand. I needed the funding. In a matter of two months, I met my travel buddies, Shelley, Cody, and Tyler, then planned the journey to Europe with out really knowing whether or not it was actually going to happen.
Networking: After concocting a sponsorship proposal with our itinerary, budget, purpose and everything the SMU Travel Bug would do and provide, we presented these things to a number of teachers and faculty, including the International Department in hopes of gathering support. As an advocate for world travel himself, and mentor to me, Dean Niemi, of the Cox Business School, was on board and personally sent a letter to the International Department proclaiming his support and financial backing for the SMU Travel Bug. His support was fundamental.
Come May 1st, we got the approval of the Study Abroad and received enough funding to pay for my half of the journey (as a business school alumna). Halfway through our trip, Outdoor Interlaken, a prestigious outdoor adventure company in Switzerland, offered to sponsor that portion of our trip. The famous Hostel in Interlaken, Balmers Herberge, also hosted us for the week.
Where were you expecting the SMU TB to propel you, and what has actually come from the whole experience?
I’ve always wanted to start my own business, specifically in the adventure travel industry, and I thought this might be a means of working towards that. Unfortunately for the SMU TB, it ended up being too much too soon. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with it, but in the meantime, it's a resource and portfolio of experience. Now I take more a journalist and multimedia approach to things. I have developed different skills that will propel me further down this path.
In your opinion, what are some essential characteristics of a compatible travel buddy?
Adventurous: It helps if they're a little crazy. But really, it's all about balance. Differences can be a positive thing, as long as they bring out the best and propel each other forward.
Positive: Find a team player that can make it through the grime with little fuss. My travel partner, Shelley, is a great example of this. When we were traveling from Romania to Greece on a stinky train, Shelley was incredibly sick. She had every reason to be miserable but managed to find some sense of humor in the situation and make the best of it. Attitude is everything, and it’s quite contagious.
Physically fit: Most people don’t consider this as that important, but it is. You never know when you might have to walk five miles with 40 pounds of luggage on your back. Yeah, it happens.
Flexible: If you’re on the hunt to find the perfect travel companion, remember you have to first be that person to them. You have to be able to make adjustments and sacrifices yourself. You’re not only living together but having to make quick, sound decisions every day.
What has this post-trip, post-graduation, “limbo” time been like for you, and how have you been deciding the next steps throughout this time?
The transition out of college is not often an easy adjustment. College is seriously a bubble. The SMU Travel Bug propelled me toward what I want to do, and since then, I’ve been working as a ski coach in Breckenridge, herring fishing in Sitka in the Spring, and salmon fishing in the summer. I’ve managed to deal with being ‘limbo’ from living in a resort town with varying seasons.
Presently, I am living in my hometown of Breckenridge, Colorado. Having just returned from 3 months commercial salmon fishing in Alaska, I am embracing the freedom of now before starting my job as a ski coach and instructor. These next couple months are about documenting my story of commercial fishing in Alaska. As of right now, I am traveling in Turkey and taking advantage of my downtime to hone in on video editing and writing.
What is The Real Alaska? Be sure to check out the second half of this interview with Sierra. Do you have any questions for her about the SMU Travel Bug, travel-centric entrepreneurship, or her experiences throughout 40+ countries? Leave a comment, and I'll make sure she gets the question!
Bryson writes the book, not for foreigners hoping to learn about rural America, but for those Americans themselves who are open to ambiguous sarcasm poking fun and awareness at their familiar lifestyles. He takes massive swings to the extreme, describing an acidic inner monologue at times, but successfully remains open to and enamored with the eccentricities of the American people and this vast land. As much as he finds certain aspects of small towns laughable, he finds the same things endearing. He's an outsider looking in, while remembering his insider mentality from the days of yore. He holds these memories dear. Sounds familiar.Read More
To send in your question for a Q&A post, contact me!
Should I take my MacBook to Europe? Should I invest in a NetBook instead? How do you keep your computer safe? -Eric
I say bring your MacBook if you want to fully document your travels with video and cut pieces while still traveling. Keep your technology safe by investing in the right pack and being uber-aware. I've written about the JanSport bag here, described the Alkr sleeve here, and here's a video on the Kata bags we used on location in Mexico with ProjectExplorer.org.
Hope this video response answered your questions, and feel free to send anything my way!