Q&A: teaching digital storytelling - live chat!

Q&A: teaching digital storytelling - live chat!

Semester at Sea impacts my day yet again :) Matthew Straub and I were on the S'07 voyage together, and a few years later, we discussed participation in The Nakavika Project after I returned from Fiji. I think having the common bond of SAS-hood inspires people to stay connected and communicative with other global and passionate people. Since chatting about potential collaboration on TNP, we've been in touch about ideas and our work.

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Q&A: traveling after graduation - live chat!

Q&A: traveling after graduation - live chat!

I just wanted to drop you a line and say hello! We had chatted a bit before, but I just wanted to let you know that I admire your love for travel and your pursuit of that passion. I will be graduating from undergrad at Columbia in a couple of weeks and would love to hear your thoughts on graduating and how you thought about pursuing travel as a career/intense hobby after graduation. I know I won't have winter and spring breaks to escape to the jungle or dazzling cities, but I would certainly hope to continue to do so somehow.

I hope you are well! Wishing you all the best for wherever you may be. -Natalia

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Q&A: how to document experiences remotely

Q&A: how to document experiences remotely

One thing I am hoping to do is be able to create some great videos like these you’ve made for THINK. It’s hard because I have few opportunities to capture raw footage myself – only when a program happens to be somewhere nearby like D.C., but I want to get practicing! What kind of programs and equipment do you use? ANY tips you could offer would be so great. I know you’ve spent thousands of hours perfecting your craft just in the area of filmmaking – like I said, I have watched and read about your growth! I also know you are crazy busy, but I’d greatly appreciate any insights or lessons learned you have.

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Q&A: Field trips vs. independent travel on SAS

Q&A: Field trips vs. independent travel on SAS

I think there's merit in going on a field trip (or field programs, used to be FTPs in my day) in the first location, because–as cliques form quickly–you can meet random new people and create relationships with many people from the get-go. I did a quick trip to El Yunque rainforest in Puerto Rico, and this pulled together some adventure-loving travelers who were excited to get their new hiking boots dirty.

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Q&A: going solo on Semester at Sea and other Q's

Q&A: going solo on Semester at Sea and other Q's

Q: I am from Birmingham, AL this is going to be way out of my comfort zone do you recommend finding a friend or just going alone. Is their a good floor to be on and does the inside/outside room make a difference? How many classes did you take while you were there and did studying abroad put you behind in your studies when you got back to school?

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Q&A: Dealing with cash and cards on the road

Send in your questions, too! 

Hi Lindsay, I am just wondering about money situations when you are traveling? Soon i am about to embark on a year long journey to central America and have been struggling with the whole money idea and how much i should take and what credit card or travels checks i should take. I was just wondering how you do it and did it in the past on your world travels.

I know there are fees for credit cards when you want to take money out and i do not want to travel with more than a 1,000 dollars on me in cash and i am just not sure about the whole travels checks. So if you could help me out or give me some pointers or tricks you have up your sleeve that would be great. And i would really appreciate it.

Just what ever run down you have about traveling with money and where you get it when you run out. Thanks Lindsay, i appreciate it. Have a swell day. -Pavla M.

Foreign currency, cash

Foreign currency, cash

Hi Pavla. Thanks for your message. I'd be happy to provide insight into what I did for money along my similar travels.

I haven't taken traveler's checks anywhere since 2003 as they've never proven convenient. Those might be becoming a thing of the past. Of course, I've never found myself in a situation where they would have been helpful, and I thankfully keep a good hold of my valuables.

Instead, I've always just used debit cards to withdraw money in large sums. If you're going to be in a place with the same currency for a while, just take out as much as you can every time, so as to avoid excess fees. I consider those fees ones for convenience, because I also don't like carrying around a lot of money. I take out a couple hundred at a time, slowly use it, and give my credit card/debit card for purchases as much as possible.

One important note: make sure you have both a MasterCard and a Visa card, also at least one credit card and one debit card. That worked very well for me, because some countries only have one or the other. And if you need to rent a car or something similar, a credit card is far better. That diversity should serve you well. Keep them in separate places but always in secure spots (clearly).

If you run out, have someone Western Union more to you as you get your bank account sorted out. Hopefully this doesn't happen to you on the road, and with good planning, it won't.

Was this post helpful? Have any more questions about dealing with money abroad? Any questions period? Send a video or message to me with your queries, and I'll be sure to get back to you!

Q&A: The truth about Semester at Sea

Q&A: The truth about Semester at Sea

Hi Lindsay,

I have just been accepted by SAS for the Spring 2011 voyage, and I randomly chanced upon your website. I am currently having a hard time trying to decide between a Semester at Sea program and a study abroad program in Berlin.

I know they sound very different, but I think they appeal to different parts of me, which makes it even harder to decide. Hence, I have some questions about your experience if you don't mind answering:

1. When you were traveling around the ports, did you feel they were too touristy? I don't want to limit myself to only exploring typical tourist destinations.

2. How strong were the academics? I know that the main experience comes from the ports, but I still want to learn and enjoy my classes. Did most people take classes seriously?

3. I wanted to clarify this with you. I heard that SAS had a reputation of being a "booze cruise" or a "party boat" in the past. How did you feel about that from your experience?

I just thought that it would be good to consult with someone who has been through the experience. Best, Alyssa

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Q&A: Traveling with technology

To send in your question for a Q&A post, contact me!

Should I take my MacBook to Europe? Should I invest in a NetBook instead? How do you keep your computer safe? -Eric

I say bring your MacBook if you want to fully document your travels with video and cut pieces while still traveling. Keep your technology safe by investing in the right pack and being uber-aware. I've written about the JanSport bag here, described the Alkr sleeve here, and here's a video on the Kata bags we used on location in Mexico with ProjectExplorer.org.

Hope this video response answered your questions, and feel free to send anything my way!

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.

Q&A: Easing parental worries about travel

Q&A is a series 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! This summer I was planning on doing a study abroad program, and now I'm waiting to hear back for responses.

I love how you encourage going somewhere if that's of utmost desire. I would die to do something like that, but how do parental worries factor into that?

Not to intrude, but do you happen to have lax parents who are chill with that? -Natalia

That's funny. You're funny, Natalia.

When it comes to my travels, my parents started off as anything but go-with-the-flow kind of people. It was very hard for my mom to come to terms with my travel desires, and she barely slept when I took off on my own in Vietnam (my first time solo in a foreign city).

Why All The Fear?

Saying goodbye to parents

Saying goodbye to parents

I've got all sorts of dramatic stories of parting from my parents for the road. And from the sounds of those stories, I seem like a terrible offspring - leaving my mother on her birthday for the next 187 days. I think parents really dread those moments of departure, feeling the weight of the lonely and troubled days in-between your safe arrival home. Of course, it's not without due cause - and, heck, I'm no parent - but I do think that's normal and temporary.

All parents are skeptical at first, fear the worst constantly, but eventually get used to you going solo the more you come back with reassuring statements about your experience. It's normal to want to take their fears into strong consideration, but my advice is to do your research yourself and not listen only to what your parents are concerned about from news and media exposure, as well as comments from their friends. Not everyone travels or sees the world the same way. Talk to other travelers who move and see the world the same way you do, and read books about the place; that will tell you whether you should be worried or not about your experience in a destination.

Curb Their Lack of Enthusiasm



Be sure to include your parents' concerns into your evaluation of future travels - doing otherwise will make you seem rebellious or immature - and be sure to follow it up with all the solid facts, research, and advice from experienced travelers/writers. The more they know you have your head on straight, the more they will trust your intuition as you fly solo.

It's also important to think about your track record and how it relates to your street smarts, travel savvy, and ability to take care of yourself. Your parents will probably always see you as a green 16 year-old, but as long as you've proven in the past you're not easily pushed over or taken advantage of, you can reason with them that you're prepared for what the world is ready to throw at you.

My parents still aren't cheerleaders for my non-professional travels, but at least they understand that I want to do it. When I had doubts about traveling around the world alone in 2008, my mom was surprisingly the voice that encouraged me to do what I want, which was against what she wanted for me. They tolerate my leisure travels these days, but my paid travel makes much more sense. It's a generational thing, as well.

Communication Makes the Difference

As a graduation present, my parents were kind enough to get me a World Edition Blackberry, which enabled constant communication via e-mail to my parents from wherever I was in the world - excluding Malawi, Cambodia, Kashmir, and Zambia, which weren't set up at the time for data usage.

While overlanding in Africa, I would wake up to the alarm on my phone and immediately receive an e-mail from my mom about the weather outside my tent flap. She was six hours behind me but still knew the weather I would experience that morning. This was certainly a way to placate her worries, because when I didn't respond to her e-mails for twelve days in a row (in Kashmir), nerves nearly sent my dad on a plane to find me.

It may be inconvenient to pay a phone bill or constantly find internet cafes to correspond from, but a quick e-mail affirming your happiness and safety are great ways to facilitate your parents' sleeping patterns.

A Mother's Perspective

It seemed only fitting to ask my mother her opinion on my travels, safety, and her feelings toward my independent travel lifestyle.

The summer before I entered sixth grade, I asked my parents if I could attend a military camp an hour north of our town, a camp my brother attended the previous two summers. Though his camp sessions were only two weeks at a time, I decided I wanted to experience the six week, intensive summer camp, which involved three different sessions of learning new skills, bunking with fifteen other girls in a log cabin, and all things military: general inspections, personal inspections, marching, etc. I went to this camp knowing no one previously.

Most ten year-olds don't normally ask for such experiences, and my mom noted this as major characteristic difference between myself and my peers. My independence was obvious at a young age.

Goodbyes at airports

Goodbyes at airports

When I wanted to travel alone for seven months through dangerous African cities and over-populated, crime-ridden regions in Asia, my mom was unnerved but also comforted by looking at my track record. According to her, I had proven myself, through my voluntary college responsibilities, multiple situations that exhibited my leadership, my friend choices, previous trip motivations, and a track record of wise decisions in life.

I've always been a passionate person, but that didn't stop me from analyzing my decisions carefully in the context of my life. Because I conducted myself well in high school, used my free time thoughtfully, dealt well with other people, I seemed like I could handle the road.

One thing that made my travels much easier on my parents, especially my mom, was the steady progression of my trips from easy to advanced: family trips, solo domestic trips, static study abroads, global study abroad, and finally solo global travel. I was weened slowly from my bubble life in northern Indiana and given the gift of time to slowly make mistakes and learn from them.

Mom Recommends...

To the hopeful world travelers in easing parental worries:

Showed maturity in what you do with your time and the people you chose to be with.

To the freaked out parents/mothers of world travelers:

We all want the best for our children and for them to do what makes them happy. If what they do to make themselves happy doesn't do the same for you, know the strong character they've always exhibited will carry over to the streets of India and help them deal with the world they encounter (hopefully they've researched!).

And don't believe, for one second, that one trip will get the bug out of their system. It never leaves their system. Trust your child, and don't make yourself sick. Bad things can happen anywhere. Living in fear is a choice.

The Bottom Line

We can't force our parents to feel the same way we do about the world and traveling through it. If it matters to you how your parents and family feel about your travels, approach the idea of changing their minds with as much fact, reason, and sensitivity as you can gather. Parents know better than anyone that college isn't the end of the learning experience. Hopefully we are all striving to be lifelong learners, and the fast track to learning is often located far from anyone's comfort zone.

World travelers aren't running from family, they're pulled by two worlds, both of which can't be ignored. To deny the movement impulse would be just as difficult as disregarding the friends and family that make us solid. Parents, we're going to be okay, and travelers...be sure you remain okay. People are hoping you come back home.

My Family

My Family

Was this post helpful to you as a traveler or as a parent? Do you have any comments or anything to add? Please don't hesitate to comment below or contact me personally!

Q&A: Picking up and traveling for good

Q&A is a new 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!

Hello, I would love to chat with you about my own plans since you are basically doing what I want to do.

I am leaving my job and selling my house in the spring, to travel the world and maybe never come back. I have so many questions though.

I figure I can get by on 10-15k a year on the road, but the question is: how do I go about making that? I have set up a travel blog and would love for that to generate some cash. I'm also a writer, and have published a photography/poetry book. I love writing and would like to do that for a living, while traveling the world. I'm also a pretty decent photographer.

Please give me any advice on how to make this happen. I'm a nice guy with nothing tying me down, and months away from dropping everything and seeing the world. -Sean R.

Hey Sean, I hope I can be of some assistance. Thanks for writing!

It's important to know travelers who move, think, and operate the same way you do, because getting advice from just anyone that moves could misdirect your preferred path. With that said, I know how to redirect your questions to other travelers who already do exactly what you want to do, because I can't quite relate to your travel dreams.

1. I don't have anything to leave behind. 2. I don't make money directly from my blog, writing, or photography.

Have you heard of Gary Arndt at Everything-Everywhere.com? He did what you are about to do (sold his house and traveled), and I'm sure you could learn quite a bit from his path. He's been on the road for over three years and has a huge following; however, I'm not positive whether he makes money from his blog.

Monetizing Your Blog

In order to make money from a travel blog, one has to look at their blog like a business and think:

To what end? What do I want to get out of my blog, and what valuable resource do I see it being or offering to readers?

Find your niche, and your niche market will follow, willing to pay for what you do. That's the long-term scenario. Keep in mind, however, that you don't have to have one absolutely specific focus. Your unique interests combined make for great content. And an additional note: don't claim a niche or expertise in one thing when you know you're not a real expert. The internet world doesn't need any more of those.

Get started by looking at Nomadic Matt's Secrets to Successful World Travel* ebook, as well as his Monetize Your Travel Blog ebook that has apparently been a big help for many people. I'm not so much interested in advertising as I am sponsorship and using my site as my resume and a resource for like-minded wanderlusters. I hope that gives you a better idea of what you want out of your travels and your blog.

Leaving It All Behind

AlmostFearless.com is yet another long-term traveler that started blogging after leaving her home and taking up a moving existence. I think her ebook entitled 30 Ways in 30 Days to Redesign your Life and Travel could help you out big time.

And a little hint: Subscribing to these bloggers RSS feeds and e-mails could score you these resources for free.

Getting Paid to Write and Photograph

Silvia Suarez

Silvia Suarez

What I've been doing is a little bit different.

I am not a long-term self-sustained traveler like those dudes and dudette - and presumably what you want to become. For leisure, I take shorter trips (though still around 1 to 7 months) and have very little money to my name (because I've spent it all on travel).

I'm a producer for a non-profit that makes virtual field trips for kids, but it's like business travel/film production. I don't get paid specifically for written pieces, though I'd love to and always keep my eye out for good opportunities.

Look into the Matador Network, because they pay $25 for articles.

My big thing isn't so much traveling but the expression of travel through multi-media, which could be what you're into as well. And it seems you're much more artistically minded than commercial - same as me, which means you probably like to work for your own agenda. That could either mean less marketability or more chance of you making a very distinct personal brand.

The Bottom Line

My advice is to check out the above links and see if any of those guys give you some inspiration toward your right path. Also, it wouldn't hurt to make out a little goal sheet or business plan that allows you to see where your blog could go in the future to make you some money. However, really make sure you stick to your trip's purpose, because the last thing you want is to be a slave to some commercial travel blog of yours that takes away from your time loving the city of Bogota or keeps you from lounging on the beach in Madagascar.

A last note, if you're serious about blogging and want some instant help with making it big time, check out Problogger and his 31 Days to Building a Better Blog.

Was this Question and Answer post helpful to you? Would you like me to expand on any points above? And if you're savvy to this topic, leave your own feedback and advice! Any other questions about anything? Comment below or contact me! And if you’d like to ask a question to be featured in this series, think about asking the question in a video and sending that URL to me!

*Note: There are affiliate links in this post. I've supplied the links to these resources not because I want your money shamelessly but because I know they've been valuable to many a diverse traveler. Though only some have been helpful to me, and contrary to what Whitney says, I'm not every woman, nor every traveler.

Q&A: Grooming for the World Traveler Internship

Q&A is a new 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 this series one or two Saturdays a month right here on Nomadderwhere.com. To send in your questions, contact me or send me a link to your video question on Youtube!

The videos and fun blogs posted by you and Chris this summer were wildly entertaining and made me smile as I watched each clip. Your spunkiness and energy definitely reflects on the viewers as you took us along the adventure!

To give you an idea of my foundation, I do use twitter and take travel photos everywhere I go. Since January, I have been capturing video on my digital camera for memories of being silly with friends, monologues of what is going on and practice STA Travel footage! I keep a journal on my side at all times, just in case I want to jot down specifics of something interesting that happened.

I have yet to upload videos on youtube (have videos on websites, professional interviews, promotional video used at my university, etc.), written on an online blog, or utilized flickr to post some of my favorite photographs.

Lindsay, I am willing to do anything and plan to fully prepare and engage myself in creating video montagues of all my experiences in New York, Los Angeles, everywhere I go and travel from here on out! I can send you anything your way if you would like. What should be my next step? -K

I'll start off with the obligatory disclaimer.

I am not a part of the selection process for the World Traveler Internship, nor do I know for sure what they look for each year. Instead, all I can provide is my honest opinion of what qualities help an individual prepare for and seem more suitable for the job.

On that note, let's look at the job in basic terms.

The World Traveler Interns are meant to:

- Experience a number of travel adventures and showcase their experiences daily with videos, pictures and blogs. - Describe everything they do with the ultimate goal of inspiring other students and young people to become world travelers.

Now, let's think about the job in the less obvious way.

What's a more accurate understanding of the internship?

- The interns help sell the products STA offers; therefore, this is a marketing job for a strong, global company. - The interns will be constantly changing time zones, producing a lot of work, dealing with cultural, technological, physical, mental barriers constantly, and experiencing more in 2.5 months than most do in years, if not lifetimes. This is a hard job. - And the obvious one....this is a job.

Now, let's do a mental exercise.

Imagine you are one of the judges, one of the marketing department employees at STA, looking at the hundreds of eager applicants and trying to decipher via online property who you can count on to do the best job possible. It's not about granting a prize that doesn't affect you; the interns have big shoes to fill.

You would probably want interns who:

- Know this isn't a free trip and can prove they have the work ethic to get things done well. - Can create videos, photos, and blogs that engage the STA clientele to the point of convincing the sale...not to mention have social media savvy to work the venues of the content - Exhibit the skills of an ambassador: charisma, eloquence, diplomacy, and a personable nature.

Take these points and roll with them. This is what I worked off of when preparing my application in 2009.

Planning for Next Year

If you want to hold the coveted internship for 2011 (or beyond), don't wait until the application pool opens up. Start now proving STA you're the ideal candidate. Here's how to begin:

Start a Blog

Brainstorm a title, and steer clear of something generic like Trisha's Travel Blog. Begin compiling your travel stories (or any topic pertaining to young people and living adventurously), whether you open up old e-mails to your mom while on the road, rewrite stories from your personal journal, or just start thinking back to your times abroad or stateside. You'll want to have a lot of stories in the bank to prove your commitment to documentation.

Warning: If this doesn't feel fulfilling, if it feels forced and uninspired, write about what you truly care about...and if it still feels wrong, maybe you're not meant to blog. Not everyone is a mental exhibitionist.

Tools: Start a free blog at Wordpress.com, and if you are set on a name, buy your domain through Wordpress as well for about $15.

Publish Your Photos


You're going to need visuals for your blog and proof you can click a mean shutter. Pick your best 100 shots and publish them online, linking to them on your posts about the same topic. Photos of yourself on the go are also good proof you like being active.

Tools: Start a free account at Flickr, and you can always upgrade to the premium account later (which allows you to download an unlimited amount of work). I don't direct people to my account actively. It's like a workspace or storage unit you can pull from.


Whether you already tweet or not, you'll inevitably feel weird using Twitter to self-promote and network. It will work in your advantage to have a lot of followers that are interested in your travels and personality. Fill out your profile fully, choose a good photo, befriend and follow people that do what you love in the travel field, start talking to them and RTing their good tweets. Start linking to your Flickr photos and online work, being sure to use catchy wording to inspire clicks.

Don't see Twitter and Facebook as places where you plea for people to look at your stuff and love you. See them as tools for free marketing. Think like a marketing professional.

Twitter Self-Promotion

Twitter Self-Promotion

Tools: Twitter through the web works fine, but TweetDeck is my favorite platform for organizing all my favorite tweeters and easily performing all tasks (RTing, replying, linking, etc.). Also, install the Twitter application on your Facebook page to automatically update your Facebook status when you change your Twitter status.

Showcase Your Videos

Start making them! Use Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, Final Cut - whatever you have - and start taking your raw footage and assembling great little snippits of life. In short, the creation of these videos is about trial and error. Start off making something, then take a step back and wonder:

Would I watch this whole thing over and over?

Would I watch this or like this if I wasn't my friend?

Does this video have me on the edge of my seat?

Would an 8 year-old with ADD sit through this whole thing?"

My first videos were pitiful slideshows. I've learned from my own mistakes over a long period of time.

Get started there, and let's see how you evolve into the ideal candidate!


Was this Question and Answer post helpful to you? Would you like me to expand on any points above? Any other questions about anything? Comment below or contact me by either writing a message or sending a link to your video question!

Q&A: Traveling alone

Q&A: Traveling alone

How do you travel and backpack without having a security net at all times? Is it courage? Do you need backpacking friends? Did you do it on your own? I ask because this is something I only dream of doing, and if I could receive advice or information from someone that's been there and back, I would be eternally grateful.

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