Evan Witty

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...

My Friend, Evan Witty

There are a couple reasons why I've chosen to live my life the way that I do. The unpredictable coming of death is a major determining factor that leaves me feeling helpless to the forces of nature. When traveling to distant lands and seeking adventure make us more vulnerable to risk and danger, but statistics claim most accidents and fatal situations happen close to home, I can't help but believe in living like you have no control over your own time; so I've stopped living a comfortable life that lends to such a mentality. By doing so, I hope to improve my quality of life to a measure that cannot be surpassed, one that doesn't stop sopping up beautiful moments while leaving nothing but good things in the wake, making my time of death a welcome occurrence when it arrives as I've deferred nothing for that non-existent future. I say all this because I lost a friend today, someone I knew 12 days in total but held dear nonetheless. And though 12 days is but an infantile blip in the timeline of my existence, this friendship began and proceeded as the best ones do: as a traveler friendship.

Arriving in July to a city, country, and continent he'd never visited, Evan Witty began his time as a long-term volunteer at the Palm Tree Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. When I met him in November, he had become a staple figure on the grounds, knew every one of the 100+ children by name (names not easily absorbed by a Western mind), understood their personalities and tendencies, and had grasped an incredible take on Cambodian culture from both an outsider's and an insider's eyes. He revealed a lot to me about a country I was ignorant of and welcomed me along in his own experiences both at Palm Tree and around town.

Though many times as a volunteer we were confused as to our part in the grand scheme of Palm Tree, it was understood that Evan was there to become inexplicably linked to the kids and make wonderful things happen, both tangible and emotional. He had goals for his fundraising efforts and knew his place there. As a result, he was deeply respected and sought after for guidance on a wide range of issues.

Evan and I

Evan and I

I needed him dearly to break the barrier that had formed around me in India. I hadn't been exposed to the familiar in so long and hadn't felt a hug from home since July, but when he told me he was a Midwestern boy, whom had experienced the wonders of Indiana University's Little 500, knew mutual friends, held leadership positions in his greek organization, and loved being away from the comfort of the United States, I felt at ease, finally. And with traveler friendships and the ever-present expiration date, we got to know each other fast and in ways that sidetracked the common small talk of two ships passing. He showed me how to call home for an hour for less than a US Dollar, enabled my experience of the  Cambodian nightlife, and acted himself in a way that compounded my sense of purpose and possibility for the things I hope to accomplish in life.

Since Evan was lousy at correspondence, and thankfully made that known to me before I left, we didn't get to speak after I left at 5:00am on the morning of November 13th, 2008. He made sure I woke him up to say goodbye, exchange contacts, and promise to meet again once we were both stateside. And honestly, I was still very much looking forward to that meeting after his summer flight back to Chicago; I thought about it many times, imagining conversations over beers or a baseball game where we discussed the kids and his future plans for probable humanitarian work (since he was meant to care for others).

I made a CD with my videos and pictures of the kids I thought he would appreciate. I wrote him a letter, hoping to help him in whatever task he was working on. Those were only just being delivered this week with the arrival of Terry Kellogg, one of the founders of Cambodia's Hope, and I'm sad I won't get the chance to further any initiatives he started or had dreamed up.

I awoke with a shock when I rolled to my side to look at my phone; one e-mail from Marvel Kellogg stating Evan had passed in his sleep. It's hard to shake that confusion off when a friend never wakes, especially at the ripe age of youth, and I am bitter that this has happened to friends of mine more than once.

There’s a certain awe I feel toward Evan Witty and his now legendary heart and determination to do good for the kids at the Palm Tree orphanage in Cambodia. As a guy with a great deal of education, charisma, and experience, he could have moved into a powerful job path and made monetary success his mission. 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. As unfair as this whole situation is, that irreversible fact has a peace that adequately reflects the dignity Evan deserves to receive.

I will continue to think of his dreams for the Palm Tree orphanage and stay a part of the children's lives, keeping in mind Evan's work and what he would want to happen for the future. If you knew Evan or were moved by his humanity, please check out his cause on my page documenting Cambodia's Hope. Those kids are deserving of more devout workers like Evan, so if you are looking for a way to impact something wonderful with your time or funds, this would be the place and the cause. And if you do decide to become a volunteer for Palm Tree, I'd love to pass on the tips I remember from Evan that will make your experience complete.