Matador

Q&A: Travel video soundtracks & ethics

Q&A is a series on Nomadderwhere that uses questions posed by readers and commentators to address topics of travel, alternative lifestyle design, blogging, and other interests. You can expect to see this series one or two Saturdays a month right here on Nomadderwhere.com. To send in your questions, contact me! [The following dialogue occurred on Youtube under my one year compilation video.]

jkeagle: What's the music you use in this video?

Linzer32: @jkeagle That would be a little Hood Internet and Milkman. Those are two mash-up artists. I liked their energy and figured samplers wouldn't be so stingy on copyright laws, which I'm getting much more aware of and sensitive to these days. Trying to find stock that matches the power of copyrighted good stuff.

jkeagle: @Linzer32 Good call! If you happen to have a compiled list of "best songs" or "best practices" for travel video soundtracks, I think that would be a GREAT resource to add to your site! I know I would be interested!

A very good idea, Janelle. Thank you for prompting the following post!

I make travel videos because I want others to experience what I see and feel. I started by making slideshows (with copyrighted audio) - the modern day equivalent of projecting scratchy slides on the family room wall, the clicking of the carousel and its buzzing fan the only sounds in the room, other than the snores of family members. Even when my use of dynamic video footage increased, my abilities still relied heavily on cool audio tracks. I would pair my humdrum visuals with the awesome music I listened to on that trip. Keane in Vietnam. Zeppelin in Africa. The use of powerful, recognizable music also seemed to elicit a fitting energy that matched my actual experience. Listen to what I listened to. See what I saw. And thus, the transfer of experience is complete! Right?

No. Wow, I was misled.

Here are a couple reasons why you shouldn't make travel videos like so.

#1: It Looks like Camera (and Brain) Vomit

Editing a video

Editing a video

The idea of transferring an experience to others is the basic principal of travel documentation, in my eyes. Travel is so moving, we want our people to know just how moving it is. Here's where most people fall short of truly being accurate and compelling vehicles of travel inspiration: your images rarely speak for themselves, especially in video form. Pictures say thousands of words, more or less, but not without craft and presentation. To simply make a slideshow or a chronological chain of your camera's regurgitations is not enough to transfer the experience, and attaching your favorite song to that chain is no promise of a cohesive video or a real story.

You smelt things. Your heart fluttered. The din and clamor was unbearable and perfect. Your mind took various elements from your entire experience, highlighting some mundane or monumental moments and brushing aside some arbitrary or strong-scented others, to craft the lasting effect. Thanks to a little sifting and processing, you departed from that place with a definite opinion and feeling (which subsequently fluctuates forever with time).

Our minds edit. Our minds process. Therefore, in making accurate documentation of our experiences, we must do the same, and a huge part of that is the audio pairing. We cannot streamline the timeless practice of storytelling by laying it all out there willy nilly, nor can we cut corners by laying on soundtracks like "Life is a Highway."

#2: The Music is the Attention Flypaper

I love when casting directors assemble no-name actors and actresses to help their movie themes resonate further - no George Clooneys to suck the attention away from the good stuff.

Reflecting at Angkor Wat in Cambodia

Reflecting at Angkor Wat in Cambodia

While in Cambodia, admiring the Angkor temples in Siem Reap, I sat on a rock overlooking the complex and blared Jimi Hendrix in my ears. The stunning craftsmanship all around made me think of virtuosos, and I wanted all my senses to be amidst such dexterity and divine inspiration. When I made my video displaying these photos from Angkor, I figured pairing the visuals with Neil Young would be smart (albeit very student artwork of me).

Of course, the audio was stripped not long after posting, and my video lost any element of interest, for myself included. But even if Young's Ohio continued to give my pictures a pulse, the entire video would be less about the moving virtuosity of the temple architecture and history and more about my use and interpretation of Young's music. Everyone has their own affiliations with popular songs, bad memories and good, and there's an incredibly slim chance anyone gets your intentional pairing.

In actuality, what's truly the point of letting other people know I listened to Classic Rock while surrounded by ancient rocks? In most cases, it's better to leave the Clooneys out of the equation, and tell the story more effectively via other means.

#3: It's Breaking Basic Copyright Laws

Do whatever you want in your own private sphere (I know I have), but if you plan on publishing your videos online with copyrighted content (on YouTube, perhaps), your video page will look something like this:

Youtube Audio Stripping

Youtube Audio Stripping

The majority of my videos from Semester at Sea onto The Big Journey are stripped of audio or blocked completely, due to copyright infringement. Alas, the hooks I created to make my slideshows even remotely tolerable - with a sweet song to listen to - are gone. Unless someone really enjoys a boring, silent succession of mediocre photos, these puppies are getting dusty on the Youtube virtual shelves. All that work down the cyber drain.

©

I'd be a hypocrite in the creative industry if I felt copyrights meant nothing. I'm a creator of intangible goods as well, and I know how testy I get when due credit isn't attributed. I'm still unsure about the idea of using licensed music with a credit; it's certainly the better of the two practices. The music we allow to pulse through our ears on location (or at home) is usually a catalyst or inspiration for what we create, so it seems the best work would come from pairing your visuals with a song you already love. However, it's better to cover all your bases from the get-go, and make the habit one you can be proud of as you climb the ladder of the film industry.

The Right Music Matters

Stock Music

Stock Music

My use of copyrighted music was like attaching training wheels to beginner attempts at travel videos - attempts to transfer energy and salvage bad recipes. Though I still think it'd be sweet if I magically had all the rights in the world to publish anything I cared to, I can easily adapt to a new, and more sustainable, model of video editing that will be better for building a portfolio of work and credibility.

I'm still trying to swing both my legs onto the band wagon of stock music, being only a recent convert myself, but there really are a lot of options to choose from on the internet.

In case you're unaware, stock music (or production, royalty-free, and pre-licensed music) is available for use for anything: TV commercials, travel videos, movies, etc. Music libraries commission these works and own the rights, making it much more affordable for good music to legally pair with someone's work.

If you have a Mac, Apple supplies the creative editing software with stock audio effects and jingles. Upgrading to more extensive programs like Final Cut Pro will again supply you with great audio to work into your videos. Of course, if you don't want to use the same music as everyone else with iMovie, there are more options. Searching any of the following phrases will point you in the right direction: stock music, production music, royalty-free music, free stock music, creative-commons music, etc. Here are some resources I've found useful thus far.

If you're not too sure about stock music, I'm assuming it's because you think it sounds like bad video game tunes or something a hermit-nerd with a keyboard created in his basement over the course of seven minutes. Some of the internet's selection does in fact sound like that. If you've tapped the following resources and still cannot find the right audio for you (and your serious about this game), you should upgrade.

I used Jingle Punks for World Traveler Internship, Nakavika Project, and ProjectExplorer.org videos thus far (see here), and though I used this service for free, I think it offered some easily found, thematic music for many different videos and feels.

Music is integral. Use it properly and wisely. Let the music be a driving factor in the production of your travel videos. And if you're hoping those videos will go viral or propel you into the right industry, you had better make sure your efforts are covered by the law.

If you're looking for more great video-making resources, read Joshua Johnson's 5 Reasons Your Travel Video Sucks. It's more helpful than it sounds.

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...

Consume & Update: Free Calls, Valuable Time, and Space Capone

You learn something new every day. Well today's post is going to help you make up for last night's nonsense fest...whatever it is that you did...

What's Your Travel Personality?

Thought it would be fun to poll you, the readers, to see what kind of travel personalities find themselves on Nomadderwhere! Brave New Traveler published a story this week based on the Enneagram test results describing a travel style. Go ahead and take the test if you'd like, or just tells us below: what's your travel personality?

Down With The Roaming Fees!

This is a video by AlmostFearless.com on how to make free calls from anywhere in the world (that has wifi). Real help for me and my Blackberry...hopefully that's the next episode!

Get Wealthy With Time: A Practical Guide

Rolf Potts guest posted on Tim Ferriss' blog this week, and I found it quite well-written and full of great concepts. Though it's darn near epic in length, it offers great resources at the end and quality explanations of why time is an important currency to deal in. He notes that there's a difference in living well and doing well. I've exhibited some paragraphs I though were particularly pivotal.

This notion — that material investment is somehow more important to life than personal investment — is exactly what leads so many of us to believe we could never afford to go vagabonding. The more our life options get paraded around as consumer options, the more we forget that there’s a difference between the two. Thus, having convinced ourselves that buying things is the only way to play an active role in the world, we fatalistically conclude that we’ll never be rich enough to purchase a long-term travel experience.

Fortunately, the world need not be a consumer product. As with environmental integrity, long-term travel isn’t something you buy into: it’s something you give to yourself. Indeed, the freedom to go vagabonding has never been determined by income level, but through simplicity — the conscious decision of how to use what income you have.

...Fortunately, we were all born with winning tickets – and cashing them in is a simple matter of altering our cadence as we walk through the world. Vagabonding sage Ed Buryn knew as much: “By switching to a new game, which in this case involves vagabonding, time becomes the only possession and everyone is equally rich in it by biological inheritance. Money, of course, is still needed to survive, but time is what you need to live. So, save what little money you possess to meet basic survival requirements, but spend your time lavishly in order to create the life values that make the fire worth the candle. Dig”

The Pickle Called Reverse Culture Shock

I always have issues with coming home, which is probably facilitated by the facts that my 1. trips often last over 2.5 months and 2. lifestyle is usually akin to voluntary poverty while abroad. This week at Matador, Brittany Vargas phrases some great realities on why this transition period is the way it is.

Often the wisdom we acquire during long journeys is most evident only after we’ve returned to where we began. Coming back to once-familiar territory highlights the changes that were too subtle to notice as they occurred...So there is no way of predicting how we will adjust once we’ve come “home” – or how well others will adjust to us.

Other Discoveries

Chris Guillebeau sheds some perspective on enjoying the moment while still looking forward to what's happening next.

Let's all hope Gary gets home soon.

In honor of my next destination: Insomniac City (don't people know about melatonin?)

Don't worry, U.S. Department of State. I'm not heading to any of the scary Mexican states.

Update on Nomadderwhere

5-14 Blog

I've started packing! Less than two weeks stand between me and New York City. Not sure what I'm talking about? Read up on how my blog got me a travel job that's sending me to Mexico!

Also read up on the fast-approaching completion of The Nakavika Project chronicles. I'll be wrapping up these stories in preparation for real-time reporting from Mexico, and these stories are getting to the best of the bunch...believe me.

This week at Nomadderwhere:

  • A Gracious Thank You on Mother's Day: How my mom has dealt with her traveling daughter's adventures and her recent mother's passing

  • Reviewing a Road Trip to Des Moines: Hopefully inspiring others to look at their own video work and realize where it can go from here.

  • When Your Dreams Play Hard-To-Get: A guest post from recent World Traveler Intern finalist, Annie Leroux, and her positive note to those seeking an extraordinary path without free passes to success.

  • Independence in a Communal Society: A Fijian flashback to when Garrett and I returned from our Christmas vacation to the coast with the new responsibilities of household keeping, cooking, and fitting into a foreign society.

  • Feet Don't Fail Me Now: A guest post by Garrett Russell about his traumatic foot infection and the realization of being the only person who could save himself.

  • The Addition and Subtraction of Lives: Garrett leaves the village. Garrett and Jackie arrive in the village. A man in the village suffers a fatal heart attack. This is a flashback to mid-January, when a sad turn of events took place in Nakavika.

On an unrelated but important note: May 7th marked the release of Space Capone's second volume. If you like disco, falsetto voices, fantastic boogie music, or something to play for your next retro skating rink party, he's the one to blast. Don't worry; it's on iTunes. And by the way...he's family.

Consume & Update: The Visual Edition

Prepare yourself for a very visual-centric post today. Perfect if you went to a horse race yesterday and are a wee bit feeble this morning.

Gastropalooza: Indian Style

An eclectic video on Indian street food that will either make you hungry, want to go to India, have a headache, or think a musical pig is sneaking up on you. Thank you, MatTV.

The Exciting News

I hope you followed the application process like a fox. If you did, you already know the exciting news...

The New World Traveler Interns

The New World Traveler Interns

Not only am I pumped for these two lucky individuals, but I'm so thrilled that a fellow Semester at Sea-goer won the honor! And I'm glad that Natalie whipped out the big guns with her dance moves in both videos. This summer will be a treat to watch.

Travel Your Eyes Though Tibet

Some portraits, some editorial, some snapshots of interesting moments in Tibet; this is one interesting photo essay on China's rooftop from the Matador Network. The portraits are stunning, and I personally find any mountain culture thoroughly interesting.

Naughty Volcano Dirtying the Skies

Did you hear what happened this week with the skies over Europe? This is the culprit.

Other Discoveries

How very, very true: success in blogging is made of little victories.

For those of you in my same boat: 20 Ideal Day or Seasonal Jobs for Travel Writers.

What's Jerry Seinfeld going to joke about now? The Day the Free Meals Died

Update on Nomadderwhere

I can't believe I went to Chicago last weekend and didn't meet up with former applicant and current STA World Traveler Intern, Casey Hudetz! If I happen to make it up north again before this summer, I'm certainly going to make that happen.

And where am I this week? Right about now, I should be waking up from a rowdy weekend filled with galloping horses, tweed, and 90 pound men in pretty silks. Yes, I went to Keeneland to witness all the whinnies and snorts with my childhood friends!

1 Minute or Less Moments: This week on my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan page I have published three more videos, and are they cool or what?

- The Christmas lunch in Nakavika, waiting to be served as we sit segregated in the community hall...boo

- Garrett, Mario and the twins taking a nap on our floor on Christmas day

- The awesome traditional architecture of the Fijian forts in Pacific Harbour

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Consume & Update: Football, Fishing, and Facelifts

The amount of reading and weeding I did this week compared to how much I displayed below is amazing. I spent hours on this one...you had better enjoy it. No really, enjoy :)

The Ongoing Football Debate

I think soccer is swell. American football is also a snazzy game. I think the American distaste for soccer on the ultra-popularity scale is confusing, and our "jump on the band wagon" mentality when it comes to World Cup fever makes us look all the more silly and stereotypically hard headed. AFAR magazine takes a moment to comment on this debate, but what I especially appreciated was the John Cleese rant at the end. Enjoy.

Heavy, Heavy Thoughts

I know I had issues in Fiji with communication and staying true to my belief in how humans should coexist and relay information. My friend, Amanda (see her Interview a Traveler), is struggling with similar issues in Bangladesh, a country that has real trouble in the verbal sector.

Alarmingly, what I found myself doing was adapting to another way that Bangladeshis communicate: through force...After several seconds of this “masculine” throw-down as I screamed, “Go, uncle, move on,” I raised my own hand and smacked the wallah in the back to snap him out of his red-blooded trance.

I hit another human being. I resorted to violence, the sort of violence I am trying to combat in my work. In all reality, he didn’t even respond to my hand smacking his back. He just pedaled forward, yelling at the man behind him. But was it appropriate? Though it is culturally acceptable, should I have hit him?

I admire her for vocalizing a phenomenon that surely comes up in many people's travels - probably something most try to repress. I know at one point I got caught up in a rowdy moment with the kids and thwacked my host sister with the back of my hand just as all the other kids did. She didn't flinch...she actually found it funny and smiled at me. I was silently horrified with myself.

Have you had any moments like the ones Amanda and I have had abroad?

Fire Dancing in Fiji

Nice work capturing the moment, Gary.

Sierra at Sea

Listen to this story...My friend, Sierra, is a world traveler, star documentarian, and commercial fisherwoman in Alaska. Right now, she's on board her father's boat, wrangling herring and braving an intense fishing season, one which recently put in her a whirlwind of drama. Check out this video she shot while on her father's boat, which was recently assaulted by another vessel, and then follow that with her story of how it all went down.

Other Discoveries

Help Gary Arndt plan his trip to Spain...where should he go?

I love Anthony Bourdain for his determination to get his shows RIGHT - especially after knowing what we went through in Fiji - and I'm also a big fan of his writing style...and when he writes about writing.

Schrute Farms on TripAdvisor...it's performing mighty well

The Ethical Traveler's Guidelines, in case you thought you were getting sloppy

Update on Nomadderwhere

As you may be able to tell, I've been busy this week. I hope you enjoyed my Carnival of Blogs, and thankfully no one realized I made a lingo error with the use of "Blogs" instead of the more apt title of "Posts." I said the wrong thing in my video and went with it. Eh.

A Big Thank You: I'd like to say thank you to Rusja Foster, who helped me photoshop my Carnival of Blogs icon. Yes, this is actually a picture of me circa the 1987 New Year, and I wanted to have a fun visual for the week-long event. Rusja got it done and done fast. She's also in the top 50 for UK's STA World Traveler Internship.

Potential Facelift: I'm in the process of giving my site a facelift, since my tabs above will soon not accommodate the vast array of info to come. I'd love to make this process of reformatting my site a little transparent. By that, I mean I'd like your input. Give me a little help by telling me what you like about this site, why you come back for more, and what I can do better in the future. It takes about 30 seconds...unless you're an overthinker.

Give Me Your Input

Updated This Week: You may have noticed new icons on the right sidebar that link to different topics of interest. I'm trying out some new button ideas for my future reformatting - plus, I think it's easier to navigate to what you want. What do you think about these images? Also updated this week are more of my static pages that needed a little dusting. Don't look just once and forget about them. They're always changing! Check out the following this week.

About, Garrett, Baby Steps, Travel Advice

1 Minute or Less Moments: Fiji is still unfolding before your eyes (in the form of video and written posts), which is why I'm on week five of posting raw video files onto my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan page. This week, new videos are ready for your viewing eyes. Click on the icon below to watch the view from my bedroom window of Cyclone Mick, me "reporting live from the eye of the storm," and a coffee break amidst the worst of the wind and rain. Always a good time...

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Consume & Update: Stuff, Tsunamis, and 15 Days

I found some good reads this week! Take your laptop outside, enjoy the warming breeze, and read on, my friends, read on.

Writing Wherever

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I seek location independence. I would love to be able to write and create multi-media work without a permanent anchor to my geography. Therefore, I look to those with the exact career I desire for the best advice tailored specifically for me. And though this interview about a location independent writer in Barbados didn't offer an incredible amount of sage advice, it introduced me to a few new sites that can do the trick.

Freelance Writing Jobs

The Writer's Bridge

Get Paid to Write Online

A Mission to See All Countries

I talk about this guy all the time. This week, Chris Guillebeau updates his following on the status of his mission to see every country in the world before his 35th birthday. With some quick trips here and there, he does tap into the reality of his limited exposure to the cultures he visits with this huge goal in mind. Chris relates this extreme desire to mountain climbing, justifying his goal as a triumph of the human body and spirit that connects him to the world in some sort of cosmic way.

Someone else asked if travel is “still fun” for me. This is another question that is hard to answer in a sound bite. Travel is fun, except when it’s not, and that’s perfectly fine. My theory is, if you think travel is supposed to be 100% fun all the time, I’m not sure how much you’ve actually traveled. Sometimes it’s not fun at all, and that’s OK. Most things that are worth doing aren’t always that easy, so you have to take the bitter with the sweet.

He's only got 65 countries to go in his next three years. I wonder if he'll make it...

Justice and Oil

While I was working on making a recent Nakavika Project video, I came across this animated video set to a Justice track. And judging by the comments under this one on Youtube, people had a lot to say about it. Can't deny the interesting animation style and editing (not to mention the great audio syncing). Just interested in what people think.

The Anti-Stuff Movement

Luggage full of donations

Every time I come home from a trip (or get ready to leave for one), I go about purging my closet of anything that's been sitting in there unused for far too long. That means altogether, I've probably purged my closet at least eight times, each instance taking away a large box of crap at minimum. My closet still looks pleasantly plump with things, and I don't often go shopping. How do I still have so much stuff?

It's incredibly liberating to rid yourself of sentimental knick-knacks and clothes that remind you of a different decade, especially when I'm on the road and consider my backpack's contents as my only possessions. Even when back at home, I never need as much stuff as I own, and it ticks me off. They are barnacles on my butt, sand bags tied to my ankles; my stuff seemingly weighs me down.

Matt Madeiro was robbed, and instead of mourning the loss of his unused paraphernalia, he considered it a positive disconnection from the "culture of stuff" he was being sucked into.

Cathartic? Definitely. Time spent organizing the endless mess is now time spent living, a change so simple and wonderful that the next step fell in line almost immediately: stop buying. That sounds a little extreme, I’ll admit, but putting it in practice warrants just a few tweaks – think renting versus purchasing, borrowing versus owning, and so forth.

For those of us who prefer a solitary existence, is the accumulation of things similar to the accumulation of patches on a backpack, travel scars and photographs from far reaches and amazing adventures? Does this wall of books and picture frames at my parents house signify they've lived a fulfilling (and wordy) life so far? Do we all need to collect mementos from our past in order to remember what we've done on a daily basis? Is the "culture of stuff" a biproduct of our poor long-term memories?

What do you think about the "culture of stuff?"

Crusoe and a Wall of Water

Intelligent Travel posted an interesting story about Robinson Crusoe Island off the coast of Chile and the unfortunate blast it incurred from the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami. To be short and sweet, I thought this post accentuated an interesting locale with a fantastical history, and the visual of the water wall impacting this beautiful South Pacific island was a vivid one.

Pedro Niada, Fabianna, and their two children were sound asleep, but a guest on the second-floor awoke and noticed water seeping through the floor. He looked out the window and thought he was seeing things: there was a fishing boat out the window, almost at eye level, and in the distance, a wall of water was racing toward shore. The guest woke the family and the five of them jumped into the boat, clinging to it with all their strength until the wave passed. Finally, they steered it to shore and raced up the hill just before two more giant waves hit.

Yikes.

Sporting Old Glory

Natalie Grant calls out to the American wanderers around the world: reclaim your flag.

In fact, Benjamin Franklin had a tasty little metaphor: “A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.” Our country’s reputation is easier to nibble at abroad, where there are fewer people to stick up for it.

IMG_0423

Whether or not your office is an embassy abroad, you become an ambassador the moment you board an international flight. On the road, I find myself acting very differently than I normally would, because I often feel the pressure to represent young females, 20-somethings, backpackers, Americans, etc. worldwide. I read up on world news, especially that which is occurring inside my borders, before taking off on a trip, because I inevitably become a representative for the 308 million still at home.

I collect country flag patches and sew them on my big backpack. It's a traveler cliche, and I don't care. It actually bugs me when other people do it (rational, huh?), but I've found it's an incredible way to meet people. A woman on the train to Denmark commented on my Brazilian patch, and we soon got into a conversation about her mother land and the amazing hiking experiences I had in Bahia. An old WWII refuge in Ukraine started a conversation with me about my Malaysia patch and began posing questions that opened up a dialogue between myself and history.

And in 2008, I added the American flag to the mix, partially because I've technically traveled in said country and partially because I want to be a proud American backpacker. Other than by a drunken, homeless Parisian, I've never felt hostility for being an American, and I thought it'd be a good baby step toward becoming a better ambassador for a country I often misunderstand but continue to appreciate and love.

Other Discoveries

Getting the youth discount even if you're not so "youthful"

Our village in Fiji is getting a traditional make-over...no more modern hair styles

Sadly, kids aren't reading enough great travel literature these days

Update on Nomadderwhere

I am sick, sadly, but I'm still a productivity machine! I also got some great news this week - like huge, amazing news - that I'll be sharing in the coming month! It involves my future plans, and boy are they swell!

1 Minute or Less Moments: Last week, I announced the weekly posting of raw video files from Fiji onto my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan page. This week, three new videos are ready for your viewing eyes. Click on the icon below to watch us farm with the kids, walk through the jungle, and sit at the Sunday dinner table with our host clan.

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

15 More Days: Though it's a normal day for most, I'm making it into a spectacle. My domain's "birthday" is coming in about two weeks, and I'm already knee-deep in plans to present a carnival of blogs for you, my beloved readers. Prepare yourself for a week of straight content that highlights the year's best stuff, a wide range of media, and a couple brand new ideas and series to Nomadderwhere.com. And if you're a fan of my Facebook page, don't worry; you'll receive a little reminder so you don't miss the good stuff.

Consume & Update: Greenland, Snobs and Facebook

Hey, readers! Looking for some good reading material this Sunday morning? I'll do the heavy lifting for you. Look below.

Quite a Title

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The Truth About Happiness and Travel. Well, let's here it, Christine Garvin.

Reality is what we see, think, and believe. Our thoughts are what bring us happiness, and the anticipation of something good gets those endorphins going. Can we use this knowledge in order to build in more daily escapes to look forward to, even if that’s just walking through a different neighborhood in our town, or taking ten minutes for the ultimate mind-trip meditation?

Ah, so you're saying I should mix it up at home, give my mind the idea that I'm actually getting away from that which normally stresses me out - my normal life. But why shouldn't I just really pull the plug and get away?

...According to a recent study in the Applied Research in Quality of Life, it’s the vacation planning that makes us happiest, and not the actual vacation itself.

You lie! I can't believe that. But my travels have brought undeniable pleasure and beauty in my life!

...I think there is a distinction between the mindset of those who travel for longer periods of time vs. those who are taking a short vacation, due to the fact that long-term travelers usually know they’re in for some rough patches. That’s almost a part of the purpose.

Oh, I see. Well that makes sense. Week-long trips I've taken have always seemed far too short to really bring me happiness.

Still, when we can’t get away, whether that comes from a lack of funds, time, or dealing with life issues, it’s good to be reminded that mindset is the name of the game. We have the power to get away in the here and now.

Now I getcha, Christine. Why don't I do that?

Way to Go, Greenland!

Turner on Travel Writing

IMG_0068

I really like Turner Wright's writing style and article topics, which is why it didn't come as shock to me when the new Vagabondish article I really enjoyed was written by non other than...that dude.

The travel writer's Catch-22: time spent writing on the road is time spent not gathering new content for more writing. Turner believes we should travel before we document, taking notes along the way to jog the memory later, but what about those of us who find incredible joy in the act of sitting and writing and doing something so fulfilling in a place that summons you like a drug?

Writing a good article makes me feel as though I've eaten. Of course I could always just...actually eat wherever I am at the time. But for some reason, I find working remotely, when I could be doing something else, somehow living out a romanticized version of a travel writer's lifestyle. I like the point he makes, especially the final irony that travel writing got us going in the first place; therefore, it must be written down/edited/published at some point. But maybe not while you still have the ability to add to your anthologies.

What Does Travel Teach Us?

Taking Down Travel Snobbery

World Hum featured two writers recently that had me interested: Eric Weiner with his perspective on tourism as a subsidizer of otherwise forgotten traditions and Spud Hilton with his tips on the fine art of place-dropping.

Eric brings up an idea very few self-proclaimed "real travelers" would come to terms with: without our tourism money, these "authentic cultural displays" would go forgotten or unpolished for centuries. Is that true? And by the way, who are we kidding with the traveler vs. tourist argument?

The one-upmanship in the travel community is at times hilarious, at others annoyed-sigh-inducing, and Spud laid down a humorous piece about the traveler tendency to let it be known where one's feet have been. Do you place-drop in order to get some inquiries and envious gazes from friends and strangers on your globe-trottin' life? Tell me about it.

Other Discoveries

Cori Padget guestblogs on Problogger about engaging your readers, and she does it with such flare.

In order to increase my chances of writing ever making me money, I'm going to take all the advice I can get, including this Writer's Digest article by one of my favorites, Chris Guillebeau.

Update on Nomadderwhere

1 Minute or Less Moments: I've got gigs upon gigs of great material from our journey to Fiji that I couldn't find the right venue for publishing...until now. Would you like to see some raw footage of major, and minor, benchmarks in our experience? Witness our excitement as we landed in Nadi? Join us as we learn Fijian words? Just click the icon below to see these 1 minute or less moments and more, published exclusively on Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan page. Since I won't be publishing these clips on Nomadderwhere.com, I suggest you become a fan of the fan page to receive subtle updates about new clips coming your way. New video clips will be published every Sunday!

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Updated Pages This Week: I've been doing some updating on the following Nomadderwhere pages. Be sure to keep clicking around the site because I don't leave these static sits untouched for long... As well as...World of MouthLife List and more updates are to come!

22 more days: Though my blogging experience is in its toddler years, Nomadderwhere.com as a domain is an infant. Coming up in 22 days, NMW turns 1 year old, and with that big birthday will come some great new additions to the site. Stay tuned because one of those changes will possibly benefit you, the reader and commenter (cough cough).

Consume & Update: Blogtoons, Stress-Free and Flying Home

I'm back! And some of you will be pleased to know that Consume & Update is also back and temporarily on steroids! This edition will be bursting at the seams due to the hundreds of articles I missed while in Fiji that I just browsed all in one intense sitting. Grab a Red Bull for this one...

Good vs. Evil vs. Crazy

Brave New Traveler's editor Ian MacKenzie lets this cartoon open up the age-old conversation of humanity, while then linking it to a traveler's belief in people to do and be good.

We're Getting Soft

Greek Graffiti

"Savvy traveling is all about the tentative and skilled balance between confidence and caution." Natalie Grant gives us something to think about in her article entitled "How to Defy the Definition of Dangerous." If we allow ourselves to be completely turned off a country for fear of a publicized threat, among many other great countries, America wouldn't see one tourist...and would probably lose some paranoid residents.

As someone who developed a somewhat fearful mentality of the world growing up, I feel a great deal of triumph every time I travel and overcome something that was seemingly tough and scary. Makes me feel like I'm putting my dull blade up to honing steel and becoming a "badass."

Sometimes it feels like self-induced stress, self-flagellation, or just plain unnecessary, but giving yourself the opportunity to realize most worries are unfounded is a liberating experience that allows the world to open up beyond your predetermined agenda.

This is why someone who has camped out in Burma might still fear walking alone at night in Brooklyn, or why someone can improvise à la 007 when his car breaks down in Egypt but can’t change a tire in Montana. This is why so many of us crave those hard-knock travel lessons like junkies: because that kind of traveling very easily shreds the definition of ‘dangerous’ into tiny pieces of arbitrary, amusing confetti.

Blogtooning

Problogger's Tips

Problogger's Tips

I've missed my daily readings from Problogger and how to improve upon my wobbly, self-taught skills. In this post, he uses Andertoons to explain why animating your post could be a nice way to freshen your blogs drink. Not sure if I'm interested in doing this, but I really like the idea and wanted to pass it on. Check out the post, fit with six cartoons illustrating his wise points.

Tips for Stress-Free Travel

Hey! What a title! Even if you're flying in Air Force One, getting rubbed down with coconut oil, and completely drunk, you're going to have some stress while on the road. However, Chris Guillebeau offers some good tips, some of which are fairly obvious and others that come with experience, perfect for applying to a budget backpacker's travel style. For instance:

Spend more money. I often get stressed out spending small amounts of money. Overall, this isn’t always bad—it’s led to a healthy paranoia about debt and a lifelong adherence to frugality. However, it has its downsides too, in that I can spend hours walking around trying to decide what to eat, or hours trying to figure out the public transit system somewhere instead of just flagging down a taxi.

It only took me about 100 countries—I’m a slow learner—but I finally created a $10 rule for myself that has been rocking my world. The $10 rule is that when I’m traveling, I deliberately avoid worrying about most things that cost $10 or less.

Tony's at the Keyboard

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain

Before I left for Fiji, Anthony Bourdain hadn't updated his blog in months, sadly. I felt like one lucky little girl with a stuffed stocking when I saw many a posting from Tony in my reader. His writing style is so expressive of his personality and certainly has a modern storyteller, sarcastic tone to it. Check out three of his most recent tales, including one on Bill Murray's haphazard driving skills: Backstory, Working in a Coal Mine, Crystal Blue Persuasion.

Metropolis?

Who took film history in high school? Doesn't Shanghai here look like Fritz Lang got his hands on it? Lovely shot, Vagabondish.

Other Discoveries

30 Funny Travel Quotes to Make You Smile...including #22. “I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places”. – Henny Youngman

Just heard about this...lucid dreaming and dream control

In Defense of the Introverted Traveler. Something that makes me feel better for spending so much time writing instead of clubbing.

Problogger claims to have the Best Writing Advice. Ever.

Get a discount on the new AFAR magazine, thanks to Martha.

Update on Nomadderwhere

At this moment, I'm flying over the East coast in search of my home land: Indiana. Soon, I'll revert back to "home mode," where I work online for about 16 hours a day, babysit on occasion, and plan for the next big event. I may pick up a part-time gig involving singing, dancing, and oodles of smiling, but the primary focus of this period will be reworking The Nakavika Project and preparing for what could be my ideal work situation.

I'll be making a few changes on the site in the coming weeks, including a new series inspired by readers. More updates to come!

Consume & Update: Air Traffic, Hatred and Two Days To Go

Soak it in, boys and girls. This is the last dose for a while! This week's good news...

World Air Traffic in 24 Hours

Really Going Rogue

Numbers 15 and 31 on my Life List mention an inexplicable draw towards countries not easily accessible to foreigners (or just Americans). Well, maybe not so inexplicable...

  • Pakistan = mountains

  • Afghanistan = rural landscapes

  • Cuba = culture and salsa

Digging into the archives a bit, I found Chris Guillebeau's How to Travel to Rogue States, which of course got me salivating for Cuba again. Who knows when my next new country will be blazed and if it could be one of these massive non-trail destinations. Any plans for a trip like this in your future?

When To Put The Camera Away

Visiting orphanages for 30 minutes?

Visiting orphanages for 30 minutes?

I've been checking out the Acumen Fund this week and found a compelling blurb on travel and documentation called When To Put The Camera Away. Marc Manara makes a comment on our intentions for taking photographs and how they come off to the subject of the moment.

Though the desire to snap a telling shot of reality may seem harmless for the sake of your own memories or appear a good move for the sake of informing others of what you've seen...you may be bruising someone's dignity or making them feel like a mystery species on a game drive.

There are times when I truly wish I could have secretly snapped the photo, but I also think that frequent inner turmoil - when these opportunities present themselves - has a lot of truth and validity. I think spending more time with the people/potential subject matter of the photograph(s) helps smooth over many of the worries one has with taking vulnerable photographs of others.

I get upset when people stare at me, and I get especially testy when people photograph me without my consent (e.g. in Doha, Qatar). I definitely don't want to make others feel the same way, especially when there could appear to be a socio-economic difference and a stress on personal dignity.

Travel and Hate

What has often been a companion of my culture shock is something akin to hatred, an ugly emotion that has the ability to take hold of my soul even against protest. I've come home angry at many things, and though it's not the way I actively choose to be, Joel Carrilet gives me a little comfort in knowing it's not just a massive character flaw. It happens with due cause.

Travel frequently introduces us to beauty, but it shows us other things too. As we lay eyes on situations and listen to voices in places we previously knew little about, our love for the world and its people will deepen. The flipside of this, however, is that our hatred—of attitudes, ideologies, and policies that take advantage of others and harm—will also deepen. For if we love with all our might, we will also be bound to hate some things with all our might.

Read Joel's article on How Travel Teaches Us To Hate, and let me know if you find travel's combined effects of love and hate in yourself.

Other Discoveries

Chris Guillebeau's new site for Unconventional Guides

Rolf Potts' interview with new writer and former English teacher in the Marshall Islands

Join in the conversation about Women Hitchhikers over at Vagablogging

Don't forget to have quiet time on the road

28 Things I Wish I Knew Before Traveling

Update on Nomadderwhere

In the coming months, I'm going to be a bad consumer. This will be the last weekly Consume & Update as you've know it until I return to reliable internet coverage, constant electricity and a life not centered in a remote village. However, I will still attempt to keep updates coming on a weekly basis or as often as I can.

The last steps in preparation:

Emptying out the piggy bank

Emptying out the piggy bank

1. Buy mosquito net: check. All supplies in bag: also check. Empty the piggy bank and cash in for dough: oh geez check. The village knows we're coming, and we have two days until departure! Nothing left to do but document every step and meet Garrett at LAX! Our sponsors are stacking up and sending their contributions. We're so grateful for all the people finding this project relevant.

2. I threw a Michael Jackson Dance Party in my basement to fundraise for the project. It involved Dirty Diana martinis, trivia and prizes, black and white food and a chronological ordered playlist with every great hit by MJ ever created. I also dressed up as MJ throughout the decades: the Jackson 5 era, the Bad/Thriller era...yeah, I get carried away. I'll let you know how the event went and how much was raised at a later date.

3. BJB Challenge: Remember this? I wanted to write 20,000 words in my narrative on the Big Journey. This challenge began a month ago, before I had booked the tickets for Fiji. Needless to say I was preoccupied this month to keep up with my own, self-imposed deadline for writing. It was sad, as I continue to grow away from these experiences from 2008. But among other things in Fiji, I hope to find time to write about this experience in the detail it deserves. I'll be a word machine before you know it.

Consume & Update: Global Citizenship and Geography

Ahh, back from Chicago and back to my armchair office. And here are the interesting tidbits for this week!

Being a Good Global Citizen

Brave New Traveler brought my attention to a website this week that barks right up the tree I'm climbing these days. Project Explorer makes free educational videos for school children as a non-for-profit organization, and a dialogue they've opened up to the world is on the topic of "global citizenship" and what it means to people everywhere.

Here are some of the well-known participants in this conversation I thought you'd find interesting.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu discusses how we can only be human together...

Andrew Zimmern refrains from chomping on scorpions and large intestines to talk about being a global citizen...

Russell Simmons talks about giving as a part of your job on this earth to be a global citizen...

Anthony Bourdain shares his thoughts on how travel can change your perspective...

Find more videos like this on ProjectExplorer.org's Good Global Citizen

Other Discoveries

The artist culture is returning to my old Florentine neighborhood: Oltrarno

Thanks, Intelligent Travel Blog, for reporting on the new fruit labeling technique, soon to sweep the nation.

Next week is Geography Awareness Week!

Update on Nomadderwhere

I've got a lot of things to cover, I tell you what!

Someone's gotta tell this guy he's in Chicago

Someone's gotta tell this guy he's in Chicago

1. I returned from my six day trip to Chicago and am thoroughly pleased with what I accomplished. My activities ranged from touristy to local favorite to rare and offbeat. I saw friends and family and ate great food. Chicago is a comfortable and dynamic city, and you can expect a few blogs and videos to come in the next couple weeks.

2. My writing challenge is off to a predictably slow start, especially since I wasn't at home this week and the Nakavika Project is just launching (and taking up all my time). I'm still on for the November 30th deadline of 20,000 additional words to my manuscript. Is anyone else pushing themselves on a challenge this month?

3. Many of you have been click on the Nakavika Project page above and presumably found disappointment in its password-protected status. These pages will soon be public as soon as plans are finalized with my travel partner. This should occur this following week, so stay tuned for the launch date of the NP!

Clark Gallery Photo Show

Clark Gallery Photo Show

4. I am giving a small talk at the Honeywell Center in Wabash, Indiana on Tuesday (the 17th), which will focus on some of my better travel photos and the stories behind capturing them. If you're in the area, come check out the Clark Gallery Photo Show going on right now, and then stick around on Tuesday for the reception! I'm flattered they wanted me to talk, as I am far from even pretending to be professional, but I hope to give them something to think about. The coolest part about all this is that the gallery is named after my late grandfather.

Consume & Update: Travel Quotes, Site Potential and Mexico

Hilarious Bath Time

Hilarious Bath Time

This week's RSS feeds and reading sessions resulted in some good finds. Here are the articles and book excerpts I've found relevant, as well as an update on Nomadderwhere. This must be why my hometown of Wabash, Indiana has been calling to me these past few months. For years, I felt odd when visiting the town I left, comparing it to my new city of Indianapolis and letting the occasional snotty comment change my perception of where I spent my first 15 years. But Christine, a head Matadorian, wrote about enjoying the simple pleasures (as determined by you) and how this can lead to an authentic, happy, on-track lifestyle.

Many of us can get caught up in what we see other people doing, and compare ourselves - positively or negatively - to how we perceive them. Instead, as Erica points out, it feels better (and I believe, gets us further) to remind ourselves of what we love in our life. The best part about her list is the fact that she names pretty simple things, ones most people can do pretty much anywhere in the world.

Yet another article from Brave New Traveler, this one relates travel with the art form of improv...not your obvious correlation there. This quote rings very true for me in many instances, and these are often the times when I feel I'm being ungrateful or in "grandma mode". However, just as I remember having to make my own fun in a small town, when traveling I often feel it's up to me and not the place to create the awesome experience.

Most of us can accept that going to a party is no promise of having a good time. Yet, not so obvious to many, is that simply going somewhere exotic is no guarantee of enjoyment. Likewise, most people don’t realize improv isn’t about going out on stage without a script and “being funny.”

Currently, I'm reading Lonely Planet's Travel Writing book that is already accumulating a lot of green highlighter marks and sticky notes for its stellar, yet sometimes obvious, advice. Some of the points I've found useful thus far either teach me something that seems to be a key into the industry or simply remind me of a concept I already know and need to continually relearn throughout this career.

Travel writing, more than any other kind of writing, has to transport you, has to teach you about the world, has to inform you, and, ideally, has to take you into deeper and deeper questions about yourself and the world...get the reader to see the world as a question

Writing of every kind is a way to wake oneself up and keep as alive as when one has just fallen in love.

Bad writing often comes from bad traveling - and bad travel is unimaginative, uninformed and unoriginal.

Writing about everything you did on holiday should be kept strictly between you and your diary; you need to find the theme that will interest an editor.

Update on Nomadderwhere

After an anti-laborious weekend with some of my childhood pals, the week became dedicated to identifying ways I can make money by doing what I already love and commit time/energy to. In doing so, I started brainstorming the possibilities for Nomadderwhere, including new sub-domains, ebooks, services to offer, and new ideas for blog posts. Not only am I looking at my own work but at what I can offer to others without having the foundation of multiple publications and such. And if I'm going to think about what others would pay for, I'm going to need to find out what people want to read, look for that hook to bring in readers.

And Future Travel?

I'm beginning to research the great country to the south in preparation for my Mexican Riviera trip in October. Did you know Mexico is crazy about being the best? or having the most? or making the biggest? at acquiring superlatives? Personally, I'm trying to steer away from the American obsession to use or obsess about superlatives (e.g. OMG, Becca, that was like the best Cheeto I've ever had!), but it looks like Mexico is trying to get back on the world's stage for something other than the piggy flu. I'm grateful to all the Tweeters helping me out with advice on Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, and if you've got suggestions for adventure sports, good times, and more local excitement, let me know!

Consume & Update: Bloggers on Happiness, Ambition, and Reason

I did a little reading this week, and this is what stuck from the lot. Click on the images to read the articles.

Good Investments

I've only recently come to hear of Rolf Potts, and I look forward to reading his novel "Vagablogging" in the coming months. Here on his blog, fellow writer Scott Gilbertson discusses possible reasons for unhappiness as a result of putting your money to the wrong use: stuff for yourself, and not on experiences for yourself or the people around you. I've really tried to apply this philosophy to my life in the last three years, running from buying stuff and saving for memorable experiences...maybe not with the direct goal of happiness at the front of my mind but more for the "I know I'll be a better person for doing this" reason. I've never been Miss Moneybags and have been spending my own money for quite some time, but I've known I always had enough to do the things I wanted. It may also be that I've only chosen to desire the things that are within my reach. Travel the world? Who needs twenty years of savings! Buy some drinks for people I don't know? Bottoms up, strangers! And the times I've spent money on dresses or crap for the shelves have never been as fulfilling as the money spent on a chicken dinner and dance party for kids. I'm not trying to say I'm holier and happier than thou, but it's all we can do to make the sensible, compassionate steps toward being people we're proud of. And if we're proud of who we are, we're probably pretty happy.

Shake Up Your Lazy Inertia

This the second Vagabondish article I've really liked from author Turner Wright. His piece entitled "Why it's easier to stay fat, stupid and untraveled" is pretty straightforward. It's too bad our priorities as a mass population reflect a desire to do very little and be happy with that. We never stay still when we eat, or rarely even cook with known, natural ingredients. If your trigger finger is strong and nimble, you can shoot down every online deal you spend hours on your butt searching for. I guess I fall into the sloth lifestyle upon coming home. I work online or read sixteen hours a day and drive to the gym when I need to move around. I rationalize it as time spent researching and building a foundation for those times when I'm running around the world with a mission and a desire to live out ambitions. Anyway, this is an interesting article and one I'd love to hear reflections on from fellow readers.

You're You Everywhere

Lea Woodward writes well and often about being unattached to a place and still making a living. It's called Location Independence. Look into it. Often it's easy to look at a purpose-driven life that's created from one's passions and think "That is the life!" Well, wherever you go, though, there you are. There you are doing the same things, and even though the initial thrills will please you and your travel objectives, we humans are habitual and get into routines, which often feel remarkably similar to those we once had at home...in that stable, stiffling, mundane environment. Wait a minute. Her article isn't to say creating your own lifestyle anywhere in the world is unnecessary because everything's the same everywhere, but it's a "reality check" to make sure you're not in a dream world. Travel and location independence for some is the holy grail, but romanticizing it too much will lead you astray from the realities.

Toxicity Kills the Journey

If I'm honest, I've felt very toxic for the last few months. The acid in my mind (figuratively speaking...) almost felt tangible at moments, and sometimes it takes all the energy you can muster to make those thoughts liquefy and disperse in the name of happiness. This blog from Brave New Traveler, a Matador magazine on the inner thoughts of a traveler, could have been very useful to me in preventing toxicity during my travels.

Update on Nomadderwhere

Since I've been home from the World Traveler Internship, I've begun work on my new website, researched potential projects, and connected with many people interested in my trajectory. My work week is something like 90 hours. I drink a lot of tea. It doesn't feel like work, which means it's the right path, and surprisingly I still don't feel like I have enough hours to progress as far as I'd like.

So what does all this mean for Nomadderwhere?

  1. I'm learning how to write first and write well. Objectives = great subject matter, great blogs, potentially great book material

  2. I've scheduled four different speaking engagements throughout the Northern Indiana area, some directed at photography passionates and professionals. I'm moving from online expression to that of the verbal kind.

  3. The book on my solo RTW has begun its morphing process into a complete idea. It will take many years and many sessions in front of a blank screen...but that end result will come to be.

  4. A new website will be ready and raring by September 23rd that includes more travel advice, suggestions for reading, technology and destination highlights, free city guides, and an even more exciting development for photography.

  5. I have the incredible fortune of cheap travel in the near future, which gives me the perfect chance to create new work on places I've never been or really observed. October is the Mexican Riviera. November is Chicago, Illinois. Who knows if December will hold nothing or a fantastic travel opportunity with a favorite vagabond pal...

Consume & Update: Matador and Upgrade

One thing I missed while frantically running across the globe for the STA internship was the downtime to enjoy some of my favorite reading material: The Matador Network.

Click on the images to follow the stories!

In Traveler’s Notebook

iPod

iPod

Josh says your active earbuds stand in the way of experience the audio sensations of a destination. For me it completely depends on my mood, because sometimes I’m desperate to get away from the familiar and other times I want to tie old memories music-linked association to the new place I’m experiencing. Occasionally this adds layers to the music you already love (and usually gives me audio inspiration for videos), but I’m on Josh’s side with knowing all sensory factors of the places you visit.

In Matador Goods

Traveling with a scarf (or more specifically a shawl/pashmina/whatevayacallit) is something I firmly believe in. There have been many times when a scarf has served some key purposes: keeping my neck and head from touching snow and getting frostbite, looking dressy even while wearing pajamas, and dressing modestly in conservative areas.

In Brave New Traveler

One more person that makes me think my yet-to-be-explained need to write while traveling is absolutely necessary. Christine writes a good piece on travel writing that links to an interesting book I may just check out! And I understood the following excerpt all too well on the WTI trip.

“Even when we are traveling, attempting to see all the sights - and hit all the nightclubs - keeps us disconnected from this inner knowing. And when we are at home, ideas start drying up; inspiration is, well, lacking. We get frustrated and hit a wall…then, nothing.” Photo by The Trial

Young girl in an orphanage in Chennai, India

Young girl in an orphanage in Chennai, India

Shannon tackles an issue of having compassion on the road and realities behind the impoverished asking for help. I don’t like feeling so cold when confronted on the street by a shoeless child, but I know that giving money or any offering of care isn’t usually the most helpful thing to do. Shannon makes these inner thoughts visible and explains why she appears unaffected by the poverty of her resident country. We certainly all take it in and feel assorted levels of pain and guilt for the suffering of others, but what balance must we strike between indifference and active concern in order to make through the street, the trip, the long term journey? Heavy issue…good read.

And for a Nomadderwhere Update

I've decided to take Nomadderwhere a little further into the travel blog-o-sphere by moving from Wordpress.com to Wordpress.org. For those who don't understand that lingo, I'm making my website bigger and better and in doing so hopefully tailoring it more closely to what people want to read.

It may be wishful thinking, but I plan to launch the new website on my 24th birthday...not too far away! In the meantime, enjoy the current site and feel free to make suggestions for future content! The future may even hold a Nomadderwhere photography site, but it all depends on my computer capabilities...which are a bit lacking for the internet world. I hope you stick around for the revealing of:

The New Nomadderwhere coming September 23rd, 2009!

Scouring my RSS Subscriptions

After over a week of neglecting my personal newspaper (a.k.a. beloved RSS feeds), I weeded through the hundreds of entries awaiting my perusal and found some good anecdotes and ideas to infiltrate your brain. Read on, curious ones.

  • I'm so sorry, Italy. Priceless lives and culture, all in one hit.

  • A lot of ladies have contacted me recently asking about safety troubles as a solo woman abroad, and I always report a lack thereof, besides the obvious budget travel woes. Gennaro of Enduring Wanderlust proves my point with his piece on the increasing number of lady globetrotters.

  • I surely could have used this list of factoids while rolling around in my bed in Varanasi with a nasty gastro-fiesta going on in my body. Go Green Travel Green tells us, folks, to rub lemons on a cut, eat honey in the desert, and eat horseradish to fix the damage you did to your liver the night before.

  • This makes me consider bringing along a red overcoat and wide-brimmed hat. If someone knows a good place to get such accessories, I will wear them. You can quote me on that. And that...and that.

  • Live Uncomfortably is the documentation of a guy who does the unaccustomed everyday, in order to break the cycle of routine and boredom...all in the name of personal growth and being interesting. I found his 27 Things I've Learned While Traveling worth a look, namely these two...

    • 13. There is no wrong or right course in life. It’s all about you. Don’t let anyone tell you the path you’ve taken or are taking is wrong if you’re happy.

    • 26. We are all experiencing the same thing but interpreting it differently. Those who can interpret and explain their experience in the simplest language possible will gather a crowd.

  • One Week Job sounds like it would give potential grads some much needed hope for an interesting future. Sean Aiken graduated from college and didn't know what he wanted to do for a career. So he traveled around North America, working 52 jobs in 52 weeks. I'd say its worth a look-see.

  • Two dudes hitchhiked to every state in the great US of A in 50 consecutive days. I wonder if chickens were ever involved. Hitch 50

  • This guy's goal of setting his foot in each nation on the planet in one year is laudable. Give it up for Graham Hughes and his Odyssey! Oh, and by the way, he's not allowed to fly.

  • And lastly, nuggets for thought taken from the Brave New Traveler article, "Would you be a perpetual traveler or a world citizen?"

    • A perpetual traveler is…a person who designs their life so that they’re not the legal resident of any of the countries in which they actually spend most of their time…. Whatever the reason (for becoming a perpetual traveler), it means disowning your allegiance to your home country without giving it up to another. It means becoming a citizen of your own empire.

    • While a world citizen is…someone who decides to stop seeing the world as something segmented by nation, and look at it as the home of humanity where we’re all entitled to enjoy, and mandated to be responsible for, the territory of each nation. The world citizen doesn’t see any sense in national citizenship and decides to stop seeing things through the lens of patriotism or from the perspective of the country they grew up in.