Q&A: teaching digital storytelling - live chat!

Q&A: teaching digital storytelling - live chat!

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.

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Northeast Japan still hurts from the 3/11 disaster...and you knowing that actually helps

Northeast Japan still hurts from the 3/11 disaster...and you knowing that actually helps

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.

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An earthquake challenges my understanding of reality

An earthquake challenges my understanding of reality

From a state of unconsciousness to complete lucidity in three seconds, I sped to the realization that an earthquake challenges what I know to be true about my reality. A building trembling and swaying, a bathroom vibrating bottles off the counter, a need to brace myself between two beds …and none of this occurring on a ship, as I’ve experienced before. I was not at sea; I was very much on land.

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Exploring the haiku with Kyoto and Kerouac

Exploring the haiku with Kyoto and Kerouac

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 on my fingers, I embraced this style and experimented yet again with the haiku, this time during a TGS club session called "Word."

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Sparked by a word and leaving it to the end

Sparked by a word and leaving it to the end

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.

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

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

Arriving at the bus terminal, I turned right back around and got on the Portliner train to try and get as close to the ship as possible. Having not traveled with my passport, and knowing the insanely tight restrictions on boarding, I knew there was no chance of talking my way on as a nostalgic alumna. As I rolled closer, I snapped pic after pic of increasingly higher quality until I found myself face-to-bow with my former nautical home. There are many reasons why SASers develop a lifelong love of the program and the vessel. For me, Semester at Sea changed the whole course of my life. I don’t know who I would have become without my round-the-world voyage in 2007. I certainly wouldn’t have met Garrett and Alexis, wouldn’t have felt strong enough to take my Big Journey, wouldn’t have aspired for the STA internship, and wouldn’t have landed in Japan today with my job at THINK Global School.

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A year of many extremes and many joys, that 2013

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.

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And then I became a teacher...

And then I became a teacher...

I started writing this blog post in February of 2012. Nearly two years later, I am able to look clearly at the progression of my job and see it within the larger context of my career and life. After applying for a job as a "Videographer," I am now a teacher, producer, and temporarily wearing the shoes of an ed tech coordinator. I've always believed that travel expedites growth and maturation, and if that wasn't clear to me in a professional sense before, it definitely is now.

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

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

Have you ever been on a trip that you knew was so special: every detail seemed divinely delivered, every moment one to journal about, every vision worthy of an Instagram? This was the sentiment possessed by all involved in our trip. Lazy nights spent huddled around the fire were coupled with songs or thoughtful talks about travel. Even in moments where the students were out of their element, up before dawn, freezing, or pushed to their physical limits on hikes, they were still so engaged. The usual shyness of students in need of filtering questions through their teachers to the guides dissolved after a half hour on the ground. The students loved Ashika.

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With pocket money and a rickshaw, some kids discover Hyderabad

With pocket money and a rickshaw, some kids discover Hyderabad

Open blocks to explore hundreds more, we feel strongmoving into a space we somewhat know, a city we sheepishly call our home, from our hostel for the homeless. Bulk home goods to crispy street food, we were happy. Dirty lake walks to all-star city specialities, we were happy. We were happy by choice, equipped with freedom and company that subscribed to the daily magazine of discovery.

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I want to teach under a bodhi tree.

I want to teach under a bodhi tree.

Regardless of the reasons why it didn't happen, I know what I want: engaged students every step of the way. That investment in time must provide me immediate return, onto which I can bank that long term effects are plausible. I am building daily on a blueprint created many years ago, when a long trip provided me a clear life goal. Of course, I also must find ways to steady my mood and know I cannot control all the variables that allow a student to be an engaged one.

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

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

Flickers 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.

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Q&A: traveling after graduation - live chat!

Q&A: traveling after graduation - live chat!

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

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Q&A: how to document experiences remotely

Q&A: how to document experiences remotely

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.

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