Destination

Consume & Update: The Go! Edition

I just felt like churning the butter for a couple awesome things this week.

Go, Remote Locations...and Disclaimers!

This article on the most extreme and isolated places to live in the world is mildly interesting, but what I found most humorous was the ending disclaimer. Gotta keep it PC!

Disclaimer: As a brand, Tripbase are accepting of all global cultures. This article is written from a Western perspective and is meant for humorous purposes only. No offense is intended.

Said about The Pitcairn Islands:

Notable also for the sexual assault trial of 2004, in which 7 men living on the island went on trial. With all but one of the defendants being found guilty of some charges, this incident had the unfortunate side effect of pretty much tying up most of the area's workforce (which consists of roughly 15 people in total). Seriously, sexual assault on an island that small? Not to mention the fact that most of them will be related...

Said about Tristan da Cunha:

Another interesting fact is that in the entire community there are only 8 surnames and 80 families, most likely leading to a horrific dating scene.

Said about Oymyakon, Siberia:

Other interesting facts include that it's so cold, that some birds can freeze solid mid-flight, plummeting to the ground like a rock. Spit will also freeze solid before it hits the ground at -50°C and a glass of water thrown into the air will freeze before it hits the ground.

Alright Undercover Reporting in North Korea! Go! Go! Go!

Even though this article was written in August of 2009, I still find it interesting. I'm enchanted by mysteries.

It took them two hours to inspect our luggage when the group entered the country and four hours to go through every picture on our cameras—and to delete the ones they deemed improper—when we left. They apparently didn't know that it is easy to switch out memory cards.

...On one occasion, I drew a banana on a piece of paper and showed it to a waitress; she had never seen one. She knew about apples, but she had never eaten one. I brought 150 Kit-Kat bars into the country, and I always took several out of my bag when I was alone with a North Korean. They would hesitate for a few seconds, look around to make sure that no one else was watching, and then stuff the Kit-Kats into their pockets.

Other Discoveries

Someone recently asked me if I saw Kevorkian's side, based on my newly appointed personal stance on pain and life. Interesting...

Can't post a Consume & Update without tips from Problogger: The Secret to Long-Term Blogging Success and Creating Facebook Landing Pages

Update on Nomadderwhere

Happy Independence Day, 'Mericans! I'm back to mental stability and a regular routine! Yesterday, I moved from my parent's home in Indianapolis to my hometown of Wabash. I'll be in a home sans TV, constant internet, and...well, furniture. It'll be Hermit-ville. It'll be lovely. Tomorrow's Video of the Week will fill in the blanks.

This week's thin herd of postings:

Things will be changing soon. The content tsunami cometh...

This year's popular posts

I'm very happy to report Nomadderwhere has come a long way since this time last year, when I moved from a simple blogspot to a bonafide domain of my own. Since that time I've changed my writing style and topics, grown a readership of surprisingly many (thanks to you), won the most amazing internship known to man, and turned this online outlet for my travel thoughts and work into something that may one day sustain me. For those of you just stopping by for the first time, this is probably the best post at which to start. According to my stats and Google analytics, these are the top posts for Nomadderwhere.

The Makings of a Travel Video

The Makings of a Travel Video

...I didn’t study telecommunications or video art in college, nor did I have a good operating system while making my application video last year. If you’re new at this, like I was, don’t worry because if you have a computer, some travel footage and a passion to produce, you can make some mean videos...Bottom line is to be aware of the story you are crafting and make sure it gives people a reason to watch beyond 10 seconds and a reason to stick around until the end. The music helps me monumentally with this step of the process.

Ten Great Ideas for Chicago

Ten Great Ideas for Chicago

...I received word from two different people that Cafe Ba-Ba-Reebas! in Lincoln Park had the greatest and most authentic tapas in the city. Since my cousin is a budding foodie and my other friend lived in Spain and learned to cook there, I took their advice as fast as I took down my sangria. Rioja short ribs with manchego mashed potatoes, house meat plate with serrano, salchichon, chorizo, chicken & artichoke paella, crispy spicy potatoes with sun-dried tomato alioli, and warm potato & onion omelette - everything tasted so flavorful, even my friends who had been here before were amazed and raving. The thrill of good food doesn’t get old...

My Friend, Evan Witty

My Friend, Evan Witty

...But he found more appeal in living with 100+ kids in a country he had no ties to. He wanted to move people and make physical and emotional necessities available to anyone. With that desire and an experience such as the one he had at Palm Tree, his life work was destined to be hugely impacting and awe-inspiring, and I'm so sorry we don't get to witness his next steps.But he passed with people who loved him and he loved in return, in his sleep on the beach in Cambodia...

Things I Didn't Know Before Coming to Greece

Things I Didn't Know Before Coming to Greece

...The Greek and Italian languages are nothing alike There’s no avoiding cigarette smoke in Greece…It’s everywhere In Greece, the party starts well after midnight and can continue into brunch time The water really is that blue...

Sometimes On the Road...You Miss Out

Sometimes On the Road...You Miss Out

...For some reason unknown to me and my surrounding web, I've decided it's okay to miss the things that matter most in order to blaze literal and personal trails towards anything from failure to success. This travel path can sound illogical and like a waste, but when I realize the passions I've acquired and the maturity I've obtained, I fear where I would be without all those 50+ flights to global destinations and potential moments of learning...

What is Nomadderwhere?

What is Nomadderwhere?

...Nomadderwhere is a philosophy: it doesn't matter where you are, it matters that you're always learning and flexing with your surroundings, whether you're traveling or stationary. To capture this idea is to capture the art of travel, to know the importance of movement and to become self-aware...because you are the only constant in your world...

Street Smarts: Transport Scams

Street Smarts: Transport Scams

...“So I know we agreed on 40 rupees to the Siliguri bus station, but I know you’re going to forget this deal, even though I wrote the fare down on my hand. I’m really hoping you’re an honest and swell guy who claims he has change when he really does.” With this sort of dialogue, it’s all about tone and appearance. Speak kindly and smile the entire time. It doesn’t work any other way. And a word from experience: the more you make them laugh, the better the fare becomes...

The Irony of my Lifestyle

The Irony of my Lifestyle

...Since I returned from a round-the-world trip on August 17th, I’ve done very little besides sit in front of screens – computer, TV, what-have-you. I seldom leave home or drive my car unless it’s purely necessary. Rarely do I step outside if not to summon my cat in at twilight, and the most exercise I get comes from group fitness classes at the gym down the street. I spent one weekend in northern Indiana with my best friends eating guacamole and floating on one long raft around Lake Tippicanoe, but that certainly can’t be all the excitement I can handle over a two month period. Why do I not carpe the diem when I’m not traveling?...

Reviewing Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild

Reviewing Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild

...What was certainly magnified by Krakauer's text was the reality that we humans harbor primordial desires, and it's on a sliding scale how much we allow these feelings to be heard and acted upon. It is my belief that travelers, adventurers, nomads and those hopeful to detach from the man-made structure of modern civilization are more responsive to those "calls of the wild." Unconventional living forces a constant reevaluation of one's life [and one's mortality], and when we are closer in mindset to our own expiration, it seems we connect closer to the motivations of our primitive ancestors...

Cruises, Destination, and the Authentic

Cruises, Destination, and the Authentic

...Within the open ocean is a sea of 60-40 couples, incredibly perky cougars on the prowl, families with seven year-old twins and recent divorcees taking back their lives, not to mention a slew of Rascals scooting about. Of course, every cruise liner caters to a different demographic, which accounts for the vast differences among the commercial cruising fleets, but what they all share is the sense of ease that, in the mind of a “bare-bones” traveler, strips the so-called adventure down to physical displacement and cognitive retirement, which is in many cases the whole point...

Interview a Traveler: The Ski-Crazy Humanitarian

Interview a Traveler: The Ski-Crazy Humanitarian

...I work in an environment where people are stuck in one mindset. The monotony of everyday life can suck you in and but also give you the comfort of stability. I want to stimulate my mind and mix things up. My entire senior year of college I saved for my trip to Europe, and everyday I think back to the crazy things I did and the knowledge that I gathered and feel proud. Being young and having a flexible (and seasonal) job is a plus. So spending my money on travel is why it’s there...

The Birth of The Nakavika Project, Part 1

The Birth of The Nakavika Project, Part 1

...L: “I found an amazing flight deal I want to look further into. If the price is right, would you consider dropping the road trip idea and heading to Fiji to live in a village? We could do our own thing there, use our skills to start some effort from scratch, and I know we’re already invited and welcome to be there. I talked to them a week ago.” G: “Wow, Linz, you’re turnin’ the tables on me! This could be such a huge opportunity. Let me think it over…(30 minutes later)...I am completely, 100% behind this idea...

Plummeting Towards Earth

Plummeting Towards Earth

...We landed perfectly, a few steps to a complete standing stop, and I yelled my amazement to all the men at the bottom who hear these exclamations every day. And that was it. I jumped out of a plane. Nuts. Simply nuts...

Cruises, Destination and the Authentic

Do travelers cruise?

Do travelers cruise?

I have very mixed emotions about cruise travel. There's the old side of me that remembers fantastic family vacations at resorts and on cruises, memories caked with the residue of absolute joy. And there's the new side, the backpacker side, which silently writhes and struggles in the wake of "money travel" and the foreign concept of the land not being of much interest.

The Perspective

Freshly disembarked from the Sapphire Princess in L.A., I will begin by saying there were great meals, belly laughs, excellent massages and very friendly crew members from whom I reaped beneficial information and fun stories.

Even though I traveled with my parents, an often rocky experience in the past decade of vacationing, the cruise atmosphere made it incredibly easy to enjoy a day without the stress and difficulty of decisions. I'm very glad I got on board for this trip.

The Annoyances

There are certain aspects of cruise ships that strike a backpacker as unsavory, commercial and completely unauthentic. What was once a battle against man and every ounce of mother nature is now a floating casino and spa with absolutely no thought to the nautical experience (aside from the slight inconvenience of the ship's roll and maintaining balance in the shower).

The term "cruise director" is synonymous with a lacquered, cheesy grin and a clipboard listing about 70 daily activities, many of which you would never consider if not marooned at sea.

Within the open ocean is a sea of 60-40 couples, incredibly perky cougars on the prowl, families with seven year-old twins and recent divorcees taking back their lives, not to mention a slew of Rascals scooting about. Of course, every cruise liner caters to a different demographic, which accounts for the vast differences among the commercial cruising fleets, but what they all share is the sense of ease that, in the mind of a "bare-bones" traveler, strips the so-called adventure down to physical displacement and cognitive retirement, which is in many cases the whole point.

Getting in touch with the open ocean

Getting in touch with the open ocean

The Difference

Not all water travel is cruise travel, however.

Many land-lovers refer to Semester at Sea as a "glorified booze cruise," a term which would never be used to sum up the voyage by an actual participant in the program.

Aside from the fact that drinking is forcefully limited, it's an experience of measuring the Earth's waistband and the notches in between, a chance to see how small the world really is and how connected we land mammals actually are to each other.

It's one with a solid emphasis on the nautical experience, which cannot be ignored when the smaller MV Explorer sends alarm clocks and water bottles flying around cabins with an extreme roll.

It's a shared journey with about 700 other college kids, and even though some of them are unfortunately disconnected to the concepts of self-awareness and cultural acceptance, one can discover amazing insights on board from fellow travelers hoping to be moved by all that movement.

The Realization

Ocean, Sky and You

Ocean, Sky and You

Every week, thousands of new suitcase-luggers board cruise ships for a trip made so often the water highways display hull marks. These are no new trails being blazed.

And it's rarely the destination that makes the difference on these journeys. In fact, the cruise is the reason why people board, not the fact that the ship ports every other day for four hours in Mexico.

But does anyone really still believe in this "off the beaten path" business? There's virtually no land or odyssey undone after these hundreds of thousands of years of human existence, and in the last millennium, such journeys have been documented in detail by the first eyes, the most enlightened eyes, the most knowledgeable eyes, and the newcomer's eyes that relates to the common denominator.

And if you are somewhere no one else has been, chances are you're not going to make it back.

Tour companies boast trips that take paying customers into the unknown - along with twenty other strangers who all have the similar delusion. There are the locations and transportation methods that the majority frequent and utilize, and there are those that self-proclaimed travelers justify as less common and, therefore, enviably adventurous.

Voyages begin every hour of the day that press the boundaries of previous limitations, and what once was a trail blazing experience will soon, if it hasn't already, become a valiant attempt at something potentially more extraordinary.

Land-lovers beware

Land-lovers beware

The Lingering Question

Water travel enabled civilization to spread, discoveries to occur and still manages to remain the most "green" method of mass, extended travel today, and somewhere in this evolution of usage, cruises became the bearers of romance novels, geriatric shoes and illegitimacy as a means to discover the world and the self.

Is it because we backpackers envy and despise those with money to spend without readjusting life plans?

Are we hurt by the devolution of water travel to its Disneyland appeal?

Or do we believe we must bleed for our passionate pursuit of world exposure?

The Authentic

I take a morsel of offense to the approach of the "authentic" often exercised by cruise-goers or unaware travelers. Tourism sustains an incredible amount of countries' economies, and I have to assume a massive proportion of this help comes from the cruise culture in ports of call.

Coastal cities with active harbors have many similarities: overpriced day tours, suave salesmen hanging out by the docks, boardwalks or shop-lined thoroughfares to facilitate the flow of traffic towards the art galleries and jewelers abroad, and manufactured local culture [where blocks away people continue to live their true lives].

To sail away from a port believing the nice man who sold you authentic tequila or Mayan-inspired jewelry was your connection with something real and authentic from that country would be to rob you of the opportunity to see past the cruise port facade and notice the way that man actually lives, the way he views his life and culture.

The Point

Authenticity. Who seeks this, and is it possible that there are those who really don't want to find it? Is this what separates the self-proclaimed traveler from the ones who take vacations or [dare I mention the ever-present debate of] tourists?

We meet multi-cultural resort and cruise workers and feel worldly for interacting in a melting pot, but to what extent have we flexed to meet their alterations of personal culture?

Is the point of a cruise the ease and only the ease, and if so, is the cruise destination the cruise itself? If so, I'm not sure I like that.

The Makings of a Travel Video

Assembling Videos

Assembling Videos

It's quite possible that in the next couple of months, I'll be approached by online strangers wanting to know the inside scoop on the World Traveler Internship. I know this will happen because I did the exact same thing for the last two years. And though I've tried to describe the application process to those interested - offering a few tips for standing out from the crowd - people may still wonder how they should tackle the less intuitive art of video-making that is crucial for this position.

I didn't study telecommunications or video art in college, nor did I have a good operating system while making my application video last year. If you're new at this, like I was, don't worry because if you have a computer, some travel footage and a passion to produce, you can make some mean videos.

The Software

If you work on a PC, chances are you have Windows Movie Maker, which can also be downloaded for free online. Allow yourself some time to get comfortable with this program by throwing together mini-videos and utilizing effects such as titles, transition and audio to get your blood pumping. Don't be lazy and press Auto Movie, and there's no substitute for just throwing yourself into the program; it's the fastest way to learn.

For those lucky ones with Macs, iMovie is the included video editing software that doesn't require a big learning curve for newbies. Also take your time in investigating this software and its capabilities by making short videos, and don't forget to utilize the online tutorials from Apple. iMovie 09 has quite a bit more to manipulate than its previous generation of 08, and iMovie HD is quite a different set-up as well. Get comfy...then get cracking.

Steer Clear of Slideshows

Some of your first creations may be more like slideshows than travel videos. Though I value the static visual quality of photographs in a video, you have to keep in mind why you're using this medium: to display motion and create a specific mood or impression with the entire compilation. In the three years I've been at this, I've thankfully learned this lesson, because videos like the following are a lot like making your friends and family suffer through a slow playback of each painful slide taken on your holiday.

Options for Beginning a Video

Hopefully you will begin to regard video-making as an art form, one you take seriously enough to hone a personal style and technique. In order to find the most conducive method to starting each new video, try these options out:

  • Write out the purpose of each video, identifying who will watch it and for how long you think their attention will last.

  • Take a look at all of your video footage, photographs, audio clips, etc. and decide on the most descriptive or entertaining morsels from your trip. If you're using Windows Movie Maker, just upload the best raw material into your work space on the program. If using iMovie, peruse the footage and use the favorite selection button with the star. Pulling the good stuff aside at the beginning could speed up the actual assembly of the video and allow you to see what crucial material needs to be included.

  • Start with a song (this is my method). Once I know what destination or experience I'm documenting and possibly the mood I want to exhibit, I browse my music to find something people would love to listen to that also has a great introduction. When I know the flow of the first ten seconds of audio, I then know how I will incorporate my video's title or introduction. I prefer to use one song instead of layering different music from (gasp) various genres. Use the climaxes, tempo changes, and character of the song(s) to your advantage in manipulating the emotions of the viewer. Make your choice of soundtrack appear deliberate.

Using Effects to your Advantage

Editing a video

Editing a video

I struggle with the following concept every time I sit down to a new video: Know when to use simplicity and when to use pizzazz

Applying ten different types of transitions to the same video is like saying "Look what I can do!" and showing how many ways your computer program can shift from one clip or photo to another. Decide upon a couple transitions you can use that tie into the mood or theme of your video and stick with them. When making a video on ziplining, I used the transition that slides the previous clip to the left in order to accentuate that act of shooting across the line.

When making a destination video of India, it was all about over-stimulation - to replicate my impression of the country. I used a flashy title, dream-like filters, harsh light effects, muted colors, half speed and double speed shots, and just about every polar-opposite effects iMovie 09 allowed. I left transitions abrupt to give the video SOME semblance of continuity, and the final product was very reflective of my actual experience, thanks to using the editing tools in the right manner.

Crafting a Story

Another technique I use in the assembly line is to throw all my quality material in the "pot" and begin lining the clips up in order and adding effects/transitions as I go. At one point, you'll have to step back and evaluate the story that is being created. Are you using your best material at the end and building the tension throughout the video's length? Are you making a statement at the beginning and supporting it with the remaining time?

In my opinion, destination videos should be statements from the start that are supported and strengthened as someone continues to watch its entirety.

Travel experiences need a slow build-up to the climax; however, pulling a Memento by using reverse (or scattered) chronological order could amplify the story and all its elements.

Bottom line is to be aware of the story you are crafting and make sure it gives people a reason to watch beyond 10 seconds and a reason to stick around until the end. The music helps me monumentally with this step of the process.

When it came to the creation of my application video, I formed it into a résumé.

0:00 - 0:04 Establish my name 0:04 - 0:11 Give people a reason to take me seriously 0:11 - 0:23 Flash back to last year's application video, accentuating my drive and familiarity with the program 0:23 - 1:00 Prove I already do this job well; there's no gamble in choosing me 1:00 - 1:12 Travel Experience 1:12 - 1:34 Skills and Interests 1:34 - 2:06 Competence and Entertainment 2:06 - 2:27 Reiterate previous points to stall for musical climax 2:27 - 2:50 Crowd appeal, entertainment, humor 2:50 - 3:21 Lasting impression of why I'm different from the rest (This is a specific type of video, but it shows how I crafted years of travel and talking shots into a cohesive unit with a universal, entertaining storyline.)

The Art of Detail

Once your video forms into a solid story with great visuals, come back through with the figurative X-Acto-knife and make sure all cuts are perfect. Make sure no syllables are cut off spoken words. Be sure that transitions don't reveal unwanted visuals or audio. If you timed your content to match your soundtrack, double check that every clip is synced perfectly. It's human nature to focus on the imperfections of an otherwise fantastic piece, so leave nothing to distract your viewers from all your hard work.

Testing for Success

If you're posting a video with music that isn't your own, test its copyright eligibility by making a private Youtube account that lacks any search terms that would identify what you're creating (for instance: I posted my application videos before the fact under the terms Raven Simone and Gaming as to not attract those searching for WTI or my videos). If you're music puts up the red flag and gets taken down, that's certainly going to be a problem for you if your video is a submission for a contest. Re-do!

video

video

Is your video really as good as you think it is? Let people who know you and people that don't take a gander at your work before you publish it mainstream. If family members love it and strangers don't, it lacks the adequate information that hooks people into what you're showing them. Give people a reason to listen to your work from the start. Family already have a reason to be engaged in what you create. If both family and strangers find it compelling and worth a second or third view, you know you've created something stimulating that exhibits skills that get people thinking. And of course, if no one likes it, it just plain sucks. Don't expect that just because you made a video with movement and audio it means people will like it. Assume everyone has ADD and far too little time to spend looking at your stuff.

Market your Great Content

Stand behind what you made and allow anyone who may be interested to access your creation. Youtube it. Vimeo it. Display it on your website. Of course if your video is for personal purposes, this obviously doesn't apply to you or that video, but be sure you give your hard work its due acknowledgement. It's awful when you spend hours or days on a video only to let it gather dust on a buried blog post. Display it for all to see and tweet about it.

And what about better programs like Final Cut Express and beyond? I'll report on those when I know more about them!

Did this post help you with your video-making needs? Comment below on anything I missed!