New York City

Tweeting up a storm at an innovation conference

Tweeting up a storm at an innovation conference

Sometimes working at a school that boasts innovation as its middle name leaves me feeling stale and inadequate for my role. "I haven't done anything new and exciting lately! I'm not ahead of the curve!" This conference looked to be the remedy and something that would benefit all facets of my job, from looking at teaching and learning differently to spreading our name like wildfire.

The conference failed to disappoint. They provided a printed, wire-bound agenda for note-taking, but I was simultaneously shooting great quotes from the speakers up onto Twitter. The hashtag #IUNY13 was lively and often revealed comments I missed or didn't quite wrap my mind around the first time. In this instance, I think my experience was heightened by this digital engagement.

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Why I Moved to New York City

Why I Moved to New York City

Composing somewhere around 30,000 feet, I'm completely immersed in the inevitable pool of realization. After a childhood in rural Indiana, an academic pilgrimage throughout the state, and 50 countries of exploration later, I'm finally settling on my first independent living situation.

I chose out of a sea of laudable contenders a city that for years seemed too self-praising for my tastes. I've never encountered anyone who feels as conflicted about New York City's energy as me, but emerging from the self-made pit of doubt and prejudice, I came to the exciting conclusion that this massive metropolis is where I'm supposed to be. It's safe to say I no longer roll my eyes at the "cool girl" city in the classroom of America.

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Journeys of a Lifetime in July

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month - thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration for 365 days from now. Read the brief description to whet your appetite, and click on the trip name for further information (links provided by National Geographic...of course you could be a gritty backpacker and make it on your own).

Across Water

The Sepik River: Let's start off with a trip for the hairy-chested and callused travelers. Say hello to Papua New Guinea! Coast along one of the least spoiled and greatest river systems in the world, flanked by jungle and indigenous cultures with multiple languages and gruesome stories from village rivalries. Skip the capital city and board a cruise boat for four days. Sounds extreme…

Turkey's Turquoise Coast: I read "anchor at night in isolated coves" and got a little giddy. How does sailing the southwest coast of Turkey, admiring relics of 4,000 year-old civilizations, and enjoying Turkish breakfasts while watching flying fish go by sound? Sounds like a trip to convert any land-lover.

By Road

Route 12 in the Outer Banks: Windsurfers, I'm talking to you now…and hang gliders…and people who like beaches. There's a stretch of 80 miles on the coast of North Carolina called the Outer Banks that would entice all of you. Rocky seas slap the shores and create the perfect climate for wind sports. Route 12 runs the length of the barrier islands and can be driven in three hours.

Ireland

Ireland

Connemara's Sky Road: Ireland already pulls you in with its lovely people and tendency to indulge in some tasty brews, and while you're enjoying the emerald green of her landscapes and primordial beauty, take a drive through the Connemara peninsula for some added visual pleasures. White-sand beaches and high cliffs both make up its rugged perimeter, where the intense wild mingles with pub-filled towns and wild ponies.

By Rail

The Inland Railway: Board in Mora, head to Lapland. See one of Europe's last great wildernesses along the way. If you're into grand travel landmarks, you may enjoy getting the certificate upon crossing the Arctic Circle. Don't rush your week in Sweden, awaiting brown bears outside your train car window. And remember that touring in summertime allows for some awesome vistas with the 24-hour daylight.

Scotland

Scotland

Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh: If you've never seen a hairy cow, now's your chance. Honestly, if you don't know what the Scottish Highlands look like, you're in for an awakening. You've probably dreamt about them without even knowing such land truly exists. I was enchanted by the simple beauty of the lakes and mountains. The landscape is haunting and hopeful at the same time. This train takes three hours and can show you the magic.

On Foot

Climbing Mount Fuji: No snow. No massive festival lines to the top. July is a great time to love on Japan's famous peak. From the looks of Japanese toilets, the rest stops on the way to the summit have got to be elaborate and…kush. Whether you start in the middle for the pre-dawn trek to the sunrise or do the whole darn thing all day long, allow yourself to think about the dormant volcano below you, not all the knick-knacks and novelty items you could get while up there.

Lake Issyk-Kul: I know you don't often find yourself crossing the Kyrgyzstani/Kazakhstani borders often, but you may want to tack this trip onto your pre-existing Stan tour (or your bucket list journey). What do you imagine a lake "cradled in the Mountains of Heven" looks like? You better bet it's not only picturesque but surrounded by incredible hikes through herb meadows and colorful vistas. I never knew the Stans were coated in natural splendor. Serves me right for watching Borat.

In Search of Culture

Amish Country: Do you hang with the Amish often? What gives? Maybe you should. Take off right now for Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania and find yourself some Old Order Amish folk to admire. Take the backroads, stop for some crafts and delicious food goods, and if you're around for a Saturday, try attending an auction. Don't ask me what they auction off; I want to be surprised when I hit that up.

The Painted Monasteries of Moldavia: Illuminated manuscripts are immaculate to begin with, but seeing a similar effect covering the walls of a quaint monastery in Romania's countryside would be time travel-esque. There are as many as fifteen monasteries with similar artistry on display, one of which earned the title of "the Sistine Chapel of the East." You won't have to search very hard to find the culture here in Romania.

In Gourmet Heaven

New York Deli Tour: There's an overwhelming amount of things to do and see in Manhattan, which is why fueling up is essential. Enter the New York deli scene. You've got your classic Katz's Delicatessen, your staple Carnegie Deli, and a slew of others both well-known and lower key. Go with friends and split sandwiches to save room for some cheesecake and other delicious goods.

Wine Route Through Hungary: Allow me to write a wine route haiku:

Ancient golden wines Aged in musty, moldy caves What could be sweeter

Since when have you needed to be persuaded to visit a wine country? You just needed to know it was there. And now you do. So go.

Into the Action

Horse Treks in the Andes: The choice isn't horse, foot, car, or plane. It's obvious you'll be traversing the Andes on horseback, but the question is where: through the grasslands and volcanoes of Ecuador or along old smugglers' routes in Patagonia. Since the Andes are the longest mountain range in the world, it seems the choices are virtually limitless. Regardless, to be that connected with the glory of nature would be a thrill for the masses…and the sole individual that feels real isolation and fresh air in their nostrils. Can you tell I pine for Patagonia?

The Big Five

The Big Five

Stalking the "Big Five": Who are the "Big Five?" They were classified as so for being the most difficult to hunt: lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhinos. Chobe National Park in Botswana will satiate your desires to see these bad boys and stalk them with your newly purchased sniper (a.k.a. telephoto) lens. Don't expect to sleep in on this sort of safari, but you can expect an awesome mid-day nap when the rest of the animals snooze as well.

Up and Away

Over British Columbia: Vancouver is one of those cities that can be done by foot, bike, car, etc. but what shouldn't be neglected is the aerial view from the windows of a float plane. Sunset flights could be majestic, but daytime jaunts can bring you into view of eagles, seals, and porpoises going nuts in nature.

Buzzing over Kruger National Park: Nothing feels more like a defiance of all natural instincts and laws that flying over man-eating animals in a kite strapped to a lawn mower engine. And at the same moment, nothing is cooler than taking a microlight on a mini-safari over reserves like Kruger. It's certainly a new and interesting way to move about this earth and a surreal way to observe animals in their natural habitats.

In Their Footsteps

Across the Continental Divide with Lewis and Clark: I have no idea how Lewis and Clark could do it. But thank goodness they did; otherwise, who knows if I'd be alive (that'd be funny and make sense if I were actually related to William Clark, which I don't believe I was). It is, however, possible to see for yourself what the wild continental divide was like 200 years ago when they made their famed trek. Montana looks monumental in size, and it's always a trip worth taking to be amidst mass beauty.

Blues Pilgrimage in Clarksdale: It's the birthplace of the blues and chillin' in the Mississippi Delta, waiting to be explored by you. Morgan Freeman has certainly invested a lot in this region, which is decidedly understated but top notch in musical quality and food choices, among many other things, I would assume. You could also take Highway 61, also known as the Blues Highway, and make Clarksdale one stop among many on your musical pilgrimage.

How's that brain? Spinning with innumerable desires to traverse continents and climates? Pull out a pen and prioritize your life by putting one or more of these trips at the top of the list. And by planning a year in advance, you'll be quite able to save, prepare, and anticipate the rigors of your adventure in every way. Check back in August for the Journeys of a Lifetime you could partake in next year!

Where are you inspired to travel to next year? Leave a comment and be my new friend.

Video of the Week: Preparing for Mexico (Webcam)

Hanging in NYC

Hanging in NYC

I finally dipped into the world of webcam, vlog-style videos, for both the sake of practicality/timing and in order to stay current with my website postings. As I embark on this trip to Mexico with ProjectExplorer, I am telling myself, "Stay current and create dynamic content with timing." Also, I wanted to thank the awesome tweeters this week that have offered their great encouragement and stellar commentary.

Therefore, enjoy the first webcam special, in all it's shotty, pixelated glory, followed by some lovely tweets!

@backpackingmatt After dinner check out Jimmy's Corner! Epic pub! 44th ann broadway...Tweet a photo if you get there. And do. Go there. Cheapest pint in NYC I reckon! Hopefully Jimmy is there!

@nfisher01: Are you still in NYC? If so, head over to Brooklyn to Dumont burgers. Sooo good! Get the mac&cheese if you go. Happy travels!

@mytravelogue good luck in Mexico! Can't wait to read all about it!

@justinspired ProjectExplorer.org -- look forward to seeing more videos from them around the world (via @nomadderwhere)

@rtwdave steak au poivre + fries [in response to asking for suggestions at Les Halles]

Also thank you, tweeters, for your input on an impromptu poll: Does briefly visiting an airport en route to a new state qualify being in that state? Same with countries. What qualifies visiting?

@LandLopers It counts for state IMHO, countries eh, I usually go with passport stamp

@janelleeagle I've often wondered that. I don't think it counts technically unless you leave an airport (a la Tom Hanks in "The Terminal")

@MattBoggie yes, at least how the Century Club counts ur first 100 countries. Remind me to tell u story of 4 us time zones in 1 day.

@justinspired POLL Response: I wouldn't count it if I stayed inside but a quick layover out&about 2 get a feel for the place then why not?

@a_rachel I only count a visit as leaving the airport, either state-wise, or internationally.

Consume & Update: Lovable Haters, Epiphanies, and Vimeo

I'm at my Grandpa's 90th birthday today. It's a good day. Now let's learn about what's new in the travel and blog worlds.

Learning to Love the Digital Haters

I don't think I'm evolved enough to truly love those that go after my passionate pursuits, but Tim Ferriss makes some solid points on reactions, time efficiency, and dealing with criticism - both logical and rant-asical. Check out the following speech below (it's long but I watched it all and enjoyed it) or browse his ideas below:

The following list is paraphrased from Mashable's Tim Ferriss: 7 Great Principles for Dealing with Haters

1. It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. What matters is how many people do. “It’s critical in social media, as in life, to have a clear objective and not to lose sight of that,” Ferriss says. He argues that if your objective is to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people or to change the world in some small way (be it through a product or service), you only need to pick your first 1,000 fans — and carefully. “As long as you’re accomplishing your objectives, that 1,000 will lead to a cascading effect,” Ferriss explains. “The 10 million that don’t get it don’t matter.”

2. 10% of people will find a way to take anything personally. Expect it. “Online I see people committing ’social media suicide’ all the time by one of two ways. Firstly by responding to all criticism, meaning you’re never going to find time to complete important milestones of your own, and by responding to things that don’t warrant a response.”

3. “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” - Colin Powell “That guarantees you’ll get more behavior you don’t want and less you do.”

4. “If you are really effective at what you do, 95% of the things said about you will be negative.” - Scott Boras The bigger your impact and the larger the ambition and scale of your project, the more negativity you’ll encounter.

5. “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” - Epictetus "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

6. “Living well is the best revenge.” - George Herbert “The best way to counter-attack a hater is to make it blatantly obvious that their attack has had no impact on you."

7. Keep calm and carry on. “Focus on impact, not approval. If you believe you can change the world, which I hope you do, do what you believe is right and expect resistance and expect attackers.”

The Frustration Epiphanies

Lake Nakuru Flamingo Viewing

Evan has a good point. We travel with the expectation that the huge events we schedule reveal the most, move us to the climax of our emotions.

When we travel, we literally become different people. Stripped of our habits, routines and safe places, we are forced to meet the world as we are. The more we travel, the more accustomed we become to participating and thriving in the world because travel, by design, brings an openness of heart and a clarity of self. Some travelers have a spiritual fantasy of this new life, and it can include the clichéd vision that, despite all our cultural differences, we’re really “all one”...Unfortunately, when you’re traveling, this naïve view results in a lot of stolen wallets. But, more importantly, that’s not how the traveler’s transformation of consciousness really goes down.

In actuality, I feel the times I experience the iconic and stereotypically "awe-inspiring" are the times I'm less inspired. Riding 18 hours in an Indian sleeper car with the stomach flu, walking across Lusaka in the summer sun because I'm out of money for a taxi (or a hostel), mourning a separation with friends on the beach in Malawi - these moments are the ones when the most is revealed about myself and my displaced existence.

At what point in your travels do you experience the little epiphanies? When do you learn the most about yourself and the purpose of your movement? Do those moments of self-discovery usually occur simultaneously with itinerary highlights or when the frustrations take the limelight? Comment below and tell me what you think!

Traveling is Seeing

Joel scribed a great piece at Vagabonding this week, which felt more like inspired prose than a simple post on an impression of travel.

We travel also to see things that are not easy to see. The Egyptian man in Alexandria, for example, who walks past your cafe table selling kleenexes, his skeletal frame so disfigured that he walks with his torso almost parallel to the ground. His eyes meet yours and you exchange a smile, suddenly conscious of the dollar’s worth of lemon juice in your hand and the relatively great health along your own spine...

And sometimes we may even travel to catch our own reflection in a cracked and dirty mirror, not entirely sure for a moment what it is — or rather who it is — that we’re looking at. And perhaps later in the day, when we see our reflection not in glass but in the eyes and faces of our neighbors, we will have a moment of clarity about what and who we are.

Hiking Alps

This week, I've been especially aware of my own reasons for traveling, and Joel made me realize yet another on my list. I love being humbled by the constant stimulation while traveling. The exchange, the "you're on" sense from a live TV broadcast, the challenge to the self from the self and the world - it's all in the attempt to solidify your own essence and self-knowledge. I'm a fan of travel because it helps me see myself in a way that could only be alternately achieved by rapid time lapse into my future.

Other Discoveries

For your reading pleasure: The 11 Foreigners You Meet in China

An interesting viewpoint on Arizona's new immigration law: Que Lástima...

Makes you hungry and a little disgusted at the same time: Seven Essential Breakfasts for the World Traveler

Update on Nomadderwhere

05-23 Snapshot

05-23 Snapshot

This weekend I headed up to the Northern Indiana lakes for some friend time before my first ProjectExplorer adventure! Of all the things that I enjoy about the Midwest, it is this lake culture I miss the most when abroad and away from the comforts and rituals of home.

This week at Nomadderwhere (big week for Fiji narratives):

Hardcore Brain Expansion: I'm happy to say I finished my read on Mexico City (which I recommend - review coming soon) in time for the big trip and am now working on The Lost Girls, the first and recently released narrative put out by the girls in charge of LostGirlsWorld.com. Hope I finish it before Saturday, because this bad boy is one thick travel read.

T minus 6 Days: On May 29th, I'll be on my way to New York City to meet my new boss for the first time. For a couple days, photo shoots and training sessions will be on the agenda, alongside meet-ups with my great friend, Garrett, before he heads to Malawi on his Peace Corps assignment! If you're in the NYC area next weekend and want to meet up, DM me on twitter or use my contact form!

Video/Online Property Update: You'll notice in the near future that I'm testing out a little Vimeo action. I've exclusively used Youtube for all my travel videos thus far, and even though I enjoy using that platform, I'd like to join the Vimeo community to see what works best for my work. Which video platform do you prefer, and why?

1 Minute or Less Moments: This week on my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan Page, I've published raw video clips of some intimate funeral footage (because I think these are meaningful moments to give some perspective) and one of the children early on a school morning.

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

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.