Archives: Conceptual Travel

Why do maps still have a hold on us?

my world map

I started reading this book on my parents’ couch and ended it while sipping a freddo latte and eavesdropping on a spirited conversation in Greek, having traversed the very globe whose projections I was studying. Upon flipping to the Acknowledgements page, I returned to the start, hoping that the book magically transformed into part 2 of itself. But alas, I am only left with a deeper admiration for cartography, a better understanding of the accessories of my life, and an awareness of the things that evoke my cherished memories and imagination.

Sparked by a word and leaving it to the end

Garrett and Alexis in Aspen, Colorado

It’s something I’ve trained for, feel born with an attitude and aptitude for, have developed strong passions for and a personality around. In its absence, I feel loss and incompleteness and greater pains than the ones it causes. It shapes the way I think about everything remotely related to it–turns me into a philosopher, a guru in a cave…in my own mind.

Hours in transit are mental junk food

Lake in Hyderabad, India

This post is a writing exercise, prompted by a quote from The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton. This was done in unison with my students at THINK Global School during a travel writing workshop.

I want to teach under a bodhi tree.

Indian countryside

Regardless of the reasons why it didn’t happen, I know what I want: engaged students every step of the way. That investment in time must provide me immediate return, onto which I can bank that long term effects are plausible. I am building daily on a blueprint created many years ago, when a long trip provided me a clear life goal. Of course, I also must find ways to steady my mood and know I cannot control all the variables that allow a student to be an engaged one.

What is evidence of good travel?

Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad, India

We burn fuel, and sometimes we observe where that takes us,
hypothetically hoping it’s toward patch-covered nirvana, an open mind
Regardless of the “where to” but focusing on the “so what”
What is travel, and what is a traveler?

The irony of my lifestyle, part 5

Sand castle magic

I am an investor in the ephemeral, that which could be gone tomorrow. This could be deemed true of everyone, but I feel arguably more conscious of the inevitable with the existence of my outbound flight. This ticket away from a nest makes me anxious, makes me analyze my underlying emotions, makes me draw connections to patterns, and makes me look at how those few constants affect me. The moon signifies change; it moves me away from an even keel of emotion and routine.

A reason to re-examine the definition of Nomadderwhere

Ordering images for my digital photography exhibition in Wabash, Indiana, Flickr

I was recently reviewing my explanation of the term “nomadderwhere”…ya know, for kicks, because that’s what I do on Spring Break. Or, more accurately, I was looking for more meaning to go behind the sequence of my images for a photo exhibition. I began with the image I loved the most, because it’s the latest […]

Is it important to visit the places from which your family originates?

Grandma and Grandpa traveling

The thin line of text atop my computer screen reminded me of a birthday. It was a realization that went down like a horse pill. Today, my grandfather would have been 92. He passed away as I was frantically flying home from Thailand, my work trip cut short due to his declining health. As I […]

What Alain de Botton says about the anticipation of travel

Alain de Botton's The Art of Travel

My reading comprehension is atrocious, my tracking snail-like. The only thing I remember from high school reading is Holden Caulfield’s half-gray hair and his famous line with middle fingers extended toward his despised boarding school. I love to read, and I always have; I’m just not very good at it. And just as I would […]

Weird just happened – a unpredictable 2011 in retrospect

Family at hospital for Max's birth

Dear Internet, I’ve been horrible, saying I’m going to write and then rarely following through. And it’s not for lack of noteworthy developments; this was an unbelievably unpredictable and diverse 2011, with certain promise of continuation in 2012. Upon returning to Indiana this holiday season, to a world so different from my working one, I […]

Domestic deficiencies and my learning curve post-Ecuador

Max after baptism, family

Living in one place for a couple months – regardless of one’s experience – inevitably causes nostalgia upon leaving and for a succeeding period of time. If it was a bad time, the pleasant memories override the bad, and if it was a good time, as was Ecuador, everything habitual and endearing continues to perpetuate […]

Indy to NYC: Flying with Felines

Alli on sedatives

This is a two-pronged post – conceptual and practical – so before you hate on cats, read the first half and reap the benefits. This week officially marked my sixth month living in New York City. Spending $100+ on shipping boxes was a cost I happily incurred, in the moment and in hindsight. Transporting little […]

Neglect in a time of note-worthy experiences


I call myself a writer, but I haven’t written – really written – in two months. Since my last real musing, I traveled to three regions of Haiti, frequented my second Carnival celebration, had a random reunion with a travel friend in the middle of a street parade, hosted my best friend and travel gal […]

What a New Year Means to a Traveler

Lindsay on New Year's Eve at Uprising in Fiji, sitting beside the ocean

Do you know where we were a year ago today? This is a game my family plays. Actually, this is just a common sentence equation my parents throw around, about which my brother and I like to joke. Whether we recall where we were last month or dream of our future location a week away, […]

Andrew Zimmern and the Transformative Power of Travel

Andrew Zimmern and Lindsay Clark

I’ve been a big time fan of Big Tony B. since the No Reservations series began in 2005. His approach to travel television and subjective, experiential authenticity abroad felt so relevant amidst a sea of market-y documentation. His conceptual thread continues to be pretty darn obvious, which makes it easy to instantly jump on the […]

Indy to NYC: The Unnervingly Seamless Transition


I am 26 days fresh in New York City. Already recovered from the lower back strains of poorly lifting a 65 lb. military  trunk, I’m finding real comfort in the room that houses my first purchased mattress and this neighborhood that seems to defy the modern-day NYC paradigms. As enjoyable as this month-long transition has […]

Why I Moved to New York City

Hanging in NYC

[This post was written in the clouds between IND and LGA.] 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 […]

Reviewing Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent


Since my month of relative seclusion in northern Indiana this July, I’ve been intrigued by literature on the fly-over areas, the seemingly barren of notable culture, destinations untouched by most self-proclaimed travelers. Why on earth are there so few quality novels on small-town America? There are no tribal dances, very few original musical styles, a […]

Che and Jack Agree. It’s All About Movement.

Open book; don't judge

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. -Robert Louis Stevenson In the last two years, I read two books I found interesting (though not astounding) by two men with fetishes for movement. I found their stories ones I would only enjoy vicariously, […]

Travel Pals, China, and the Quarterlife Crisis

Alexis Tendering

A tsunami smacked me on the head last Tuesday, energy and activity in one exhausting wave, rendering me not quite unconscious but with twitching eyes and a crumbling mental capacity. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Since the dawn of this website, I’ve known a radiant being of 6’1″ stature and a […]

The Art of Reinvention, Anonymity, and Self-Discovery in Travel

Classy Wabash Friends

My mind finally smells summer. I’ve been away from Indiana for the past two summers and away from Wabash during the summertime since I moved away ten years ago. Having spent the majority of my childhood outside, I’ve been unknowingly pining for the familiar olfactory triggers, which I still can’t define well: aromatic greens of […]

As You Like (To See) It, A Traveler’s Melancholy

As You Like It

Though relatively young, and therefore jovial, and the product of a content childhood packed with humor, I’ve grown into someone that is constantly asked: Are you unhappy? Bawling at the table in my Italian family’s home, seeming a mystery to the black and white of intercontinental correspondence, being irrationally testy at home, where the bubble […]

The Irony of my Lifestyle, Part 4

Mexican woman cooking in Puerto Vallarta

Sometimes it’s a mind clarifier to point out the inaccuracies in your own life – that blend of irony and confusion that makes up your unique mindset. Bottom line: I’m all confused. You probably are too. Let’s talk amongst ourselves… There’s a phrase I often hear from cowabunga dudes or girls that fill out their […]

Am I a Cultural Imperialist?

Bonafide Fijian

I got on a bright yellow bus with “Awesome” scrolled along the side of its body. I lined up behind rolling suitcases, backpacks and wide-brimmed hats to book a ticket to the islands. I arrived to five resort employees singing a Fijian welcoming song, somewhat half-heartedly. A tourist I became after months of being on […]

Rights vs. Blame

Bummed at Uprising in Fiji and In Shock

I anticipate this topic sparking some vocalization from my normally docile reading crowd, but I want to bring it up as it bothered me during my last week in Fiji. Freshly departed from all Nakavika affiliations, I sat atop a barstool for seven hours at Uprising, telling friends and barmen my stories from the Highlands […]

Sacrificing Mentality

Garrett hanging by our view

This post was written by Garrett Russell. Every aspect of the environment in which I grew up defines who I am. My language, my customs, my values and morals all define me as a person. I am very proud of my heritage, and there are many things that I don’t want to ever forget or […]

Good Global Citizen


After running across a couple months ago, I’ve been contemplating this topic in hopes I could really tap into the depths of my beliefs. What does it mean to be a good global citizen?

The Irony of my Lifestyle, Part 3

No longer housebroken

Sometimes it’s a mind clarifier to point out the inaccuracies in your own life – that blend of irony and confusion that makes up your unique mindset. Bottom line: I’m all confused. You probably are too. Let’s talk amongst ourselves… Martha Wouldn’t Be Proud November 24th, 2008: My first day back from the Big Journey. […]

The Irony of my Lifestyle, Part 2

Budding adrenaline head

Sometimes it’s a mind clarifier to point out the inaccuracies in your own life – that blend of irony and confusion that makes up your unique mindset. Bottom line: I’m all sorts of confused. You probably are too. Let’s talk amongst ourselves… Life Polarized In the later years of my elementary school era, sitting alone […]

Cruises, Destination and the Authentic

Getting in touch with the open ocean

I have very mixed emotions about cruise travel. There’s the old side of me that remembers fantastic family vacations at resorts and on cruises, memories caked with the residue of absolute joy. And there’s the new side, the backpacker side, which silently writhes and struggles in the wake of “money travel” and the foreign concept […]

The Irony of my Lifestyle, Part 1

Carpe Lake Tippy

Sometimes it’s a mind clarifier to point out the inaccuracies in your own life – that blend of irony and confusion that makes up your unique mindset. Bottom line: I’m all confused. You probably are too. Let’s talk amongst ourselves… Carpe Dimes and Nickels Since I returned from a round-the-world trip on August 17th, I’ve […]

Finding Purpose in Culture Shock

Traveling and Going Home

I never really know how my travel experiences have affected me until I return to my starting point: home. Flying through various destinations and worrying about logistics sometimes takes away the mind’s energy to process what it’s witnessed until it’s back on familiar soil. And since each trip is different, every time I return home, […]

Sometimes while on the road…you miss out

Picture 10

Spiders with glowing orange backs crawling inches from my nose, building forts across the rock ledge where I sprawled to overlook a 30-foot waterfall. A canopy of greens I’d never see at home shading from a sun that could surely turn me crispy. One rock thrown over the edge to crash dramatically on the mammoth […]

What Culture Shock?

Whole Village a'Crazies

We anticipated wild animals or at least poisonous critters; there were only slightly famished mosquitoes. We were prepared for long drop squat toilets; we sat on flushing porcelain thrones. And we assumed we’d make many a cultural blunder within our first days, but honestly, living in the Fijian Highlands for a week was only culturally […]

My Life in a Blender: Day 11

It’s 8:00am, and I just got 12 hours of sleep. I flopped into bed around 6 or 7 in the afternoon, thinking a short nap was in order, but 10pm was the time of my first waking breath. We picked up Ian and Allison at the train station, after which we returned to the Poggio […]

Thinking of Indy in India: Day 50

Colors of India

My transformation began with the first step off the gangway. The equatorial sun toughened my already sun-kissed skin, pollution darkened my nostrils, mosquitoes feasted on my leg, and the stench of the city penetrated deep into the fibers of my clothing. Any Westerner would experience this discomfort with a visit to Chennai, but this is […] review