A hauntingly beautiful snowstorm blows over Boston Common

On Friday evening, I was captivated by the oncoming snowstorm called Nemo that blanketed the city of Boston. From a perch overlooking the State House and the Boston Common, I could watch the sky darken and the air become increasingly opaque.

Every 15 minutes, I captured a few seconds of the unfolding scene, ultimately mashing all the clips together. Around 9pm, my window was so coated with snow, I had to open it to get a good shot. That’s when I truly realized how beautiful this natural phenomenon was. Read More »

Sitting pensive amidst a teal river in Bumthang, Bhutan

Bhutan in the winter energizes the hunger for discovery that’s resident in children lucky enough to be young. It would take a dark closet for decades to produce this contrast anywhere else, the specialness clear with every sip of cold mountain air or gentle exchange. I can’t say this is what travel should always be, because it’s only through their unique set of occurrences that yielded such an outcome. But what they have set up, from my effortless post, has a wonderful effect. Wool is nowhere near our eyes, and we are learning individual lessons from the backgrounds we brought.

I almost feel inclined to state I’m not an affiliate, but I did not buy this experience. One should take my musings with this factor in mind. If I didn’t earn my place in this country, does that make my words as weightless and discardable as crow feathers? Certainly not as constant as a prayer flag, whose words are established and worthy of fame.

I think we’ve been reset. Winter. New starts. Distillation of enthusiasm. I wonder if we have become a group energized to learn on the road, a band of international brethren, one capable of taking an engaging experiment and making it result in great things. Maybe it’s just the rarity of Bhutan bringing the special and the beautiful out of complex beings. In the mountain air, we’ve become primal and receptive to the cleansing powers of the new.

Written in between temple visits on a hike in Bumthang, Bhutan while traveling and working.

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I tromp through Phobjikha valley in search of breath and cranes

It’s cold, and my body begs to be energized beyond the limits of my water consumption; disregarding the extreme altitude difference, abused toes, conserved clothing, or painful, chapping skin. It’s the sloping of land that begs to be traversed. It’s Scotland. Switzerland. Bhutan.

Written after hiking around Phobjikha valley in Bhutan where the rare black-necked cranes migrate in winter.

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Feasting on the specialness of visiting Bhutan

Slow feet
Slow eyes
Slow decisions with little contemplation of options
Nauseating excitement has slightly fermented into a smoother approach

With time to wander the streets of Thimphu
I mosey, no muscles or desires attempting to accelerate a slow discovery
Light, open spaces, crowds, and amusing sounds
I can’t remember but a handful of passing thoughts during the walk

There were a few moments that made me pause and take a photo
Those genuine moments are visitors from another time
When I traveled to be moved

Bhutan has loosened the muscle memory developed over years
Bambi-like, I can’t handle the opportunity presented to my present being
Luckily sentences are forming and emotions identified
Maturity has also informed my nausea awareness

It’s like I’ve actually wished away the others
The price and inaccessibility have played a major role in my value system
I know with full certainty I am in a special place and all I can do is
Move slowly, drink a tea, and take in moments like I used to…

Slowly, and bit by bit.

Written over tea in Thimphu, Bhutan while traveling and working with THINK Global School.

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This is what the last four months in Argentina looked like

This term at TGS was the longest in duration, compared to the three months each spent in Ecuador, Thailand, and Germany.

While I’ve previously written about the three-month mind cycle that makes for a great trip length, because of the adjustment and pack-up periods at TGS, that duration barely allowed for local absorption of any authentic kind. Instead, four months in Buenos Aires created a different expectation for assimilation and encouraged the development of friendships with porteños that would be a little stronger than surface level.

On top of having a beautiful apartment in a central location, I lived with an hilarious roommate/part-time caterer with a debilitating case of FOMO. Together, we worked and played in this international city that showed us both its best and worst. It was the setting for incredible discovery at school and major learning moments personally. There are nail marks across our apartment floors and airport terminals where we refused to leave.

This is my work photography from the Argentina term (plus a little trip to Uruguay).

And this is the evidence of life after the 12-hour work day.

Read More »

Closing a chapter of this fragmented life in Buenos Aires

Fallen Jacaranda blossoms squish to the sidewalk of tilting tiles,
caulked daily by the wake of a dog-walking brigade.
Golden, kaleidoscopic light treats the top of the hotel
like it’s deserving, like the whole street is.
Every day absorbed here, I felt like I wasn’t, but
I still had a door to the rare urban nature and solitude
afforded the eccentric and prosperous.

I return to the USA tonight in a metal tube that
fails to desensitize about its capabilities of magic.
Leaving one big set of kids to a pocket-sized one,
I will unravel my scheduled ways and fall Jello-like
to the ebb and flow of my family, the weather, the
approaching holidays, and any expectations I am equipped to fill.

Hopefully, I can find solace in replacing new music for
the hourly encounters with bandaneons on the breeze;
snowy afternoons struggling to operate in Gore-Tex for
walking miles over cobblestones in search of
something someone made with intention;
switching my weathered, repetitive options for new
layers of warmth and color and shape.

I’m sweeping the jpegs and stickies of my experience together
in sequence, easing them through the filter of process,
because I am almost done with this chapter.

As I float the page over my thumbnail, ready to turn,
I am slow and deliberate,
deliberate, for I may need solace.


There was an all-to-creepily-typical movie arc in my
connection to Argentina, to the city of Buenos Aires.
I spent an autumn in spring;
days grew before, and then they grew again.
I went from embodying story lines as a child to creating them,
extending the dramatic sense that I have my own Truman show
in the bubble that is Earth.

The slap heard ’round the restaurant was the start
of my time in country. My arms out, ready to hug in
a new home, recoiled to protect what has never felt
so threatened.
It was a textbook sequence of honeymoon and rejection,
and I was shocked I could still be shocked.

For the first time in years of this lifestyle, I felt
a kind of fear that withered my appeal for people,
the exact kind I charged at to intimidate when I
took off alone around the world. Hating
that fear and a lifestyle revolving around it,
I repeated my mechanism of defense, offense rather, and
charged at BsAs, accepting what was possible of desperation.

I did new things, explored neighborhoods at a jog,
clung tightly to my years of high school Spanish
to aid in the kind of communication that heals and forgives.

This also came with an acceptance and openness to
what I thought I had already ruled out of my interests.
I relearned and redefined to double-check my sense of self.


The balance I preach was the balance I struck and
was also able to reflect upon like a good model,
for those who continue to grasp for perspective.
I met chance in the middle in my reach for
emotional understanding of this passionate and
complicated American country of immigrants and
cowboys; it should have been a short reach at that.

And it was short, albeit poorly timed. Hence today,
I am upset with time, just as I’ve instructed against
for my students; it can’t be warped.
We can’t even be upset with expiration dates as this
is the lifestyle we’ve elected for ourselves,
fully cognizant of the irony of these nomadic ways.

It’s as if I lived for four months on my head
and will just as easily reorient myself
to my feet, possibly prepared and equipped for
the rush of blood, and used to reactivating
sleeping appendages without much forethought.
They still tingle though, and sometimes I falter,
like Bambi with amnesia and failing muscle memory.

We live very clear chapters that can be qualified
and measured, compared to other chapters that may
or may not build off each other.

A place with streets I couldn’t even visualize
became my next one, and hopefully one connected
to the ones for the following pages.


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A patchwork quilt of my Argentina days

Packing commences soon for the USA. Mental packing happens sooner. I had a little life here in Argentina. It will be remembered a little something like this.

(Inspiration. Click for a lightbox) Read More »

Have you heard about this global school of mine?

I like telling stories around the world: in written form, through snazzy visuals, and from both experiential and academic perspectives. I would do this of my own volition (ahem, Nomadderwhere), but thankfully my job allows me to do this for pay every day. From time to time though, I also make marketing videos to give more context of this visionary establishment that houses such endeavors. Here are the latest ones of note.

Would you like to see who I work with?

Or how about the environment in which the students live? Read More »

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

Send in your questions, too!

QuestionHi Lindsay! I am currently preparing to go on the Semester at Sea Spring 2013 voyage! I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am. I ran across your site, and it’s been a huge help! However, I do have a few questions for you, if you can find the time to answer them.

Do you recommend going on the SAS field programs (that are overnight)? If so, how many? Or do recommend more independent travel. I would like to stay away from being too touristy, but seems how I’m going alone and I dont know anyone, I figured this might be a good way to meet some new people.

If you do recommend independent travel, any suggestions on how to do so? For example, none of the SAS programs in China appeal to me all that much. I’ve heard you can sleep on
the Great Wall, but I want to be careful of getting ripped off or scammed. Thoughts? Opinions?

I don’t know if you’ll be able to answer these questions, but I’m just looking for a little direction, so any input would greatly appreciated! -Laura Read More »

Uruguay: a new country experience with a vintage video feel

Here’s hoping border crossings are always fresh. Visiting Uruguay a few weekends ago reminded me how lucky I have been to see different countries. I wanted to reflect my appreciation for a new place with a new video technique: light leaks.

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Video is that of THINK Global School. The opinions stated in this post are mine and do not reflect the positions, strategies, or opinions of THINK Global School.

Photoblog: Sundays in Buenos Aires make the whole week

For over a month, I’ve been sinking my claws into Buenos Aires, Argentina. Within the first two weeks, I found an apartment with a new roommate/co-worker in the beautifully-located barrio called Recoleta. Its coordinates in the city as well as decor and baller terrace(s) cause me to internally chant:

I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!

Though I have encountered some really bitter parts of the city so far, the vast majority of my thoughts focus on the innumerable opportunities within reach. On fair-weathered afternoons, stalls of antique paraphernalia and sweet, sweet guitar interludes draw us to San Telmo market. If we’re hungry and less motivated, we funnel in coffee and cake, along with a full American breakfast, at a nearby cafe famous for its former literary clientele.

Read More »

What I would happily quote from Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw

In reach of a well-worn travel narrative, I’m immediately a dry sponge looking for moisture of that exact genre. Heck, that’s why I carried two backpacks in 2008, one on the front for the eleven hardbacks in tow. But since travel narratives tend to remind me of work, I aimed for a topic once or twice removed from the genre while working in Berlin. My nightly escape needed to halt the thoughts of blogging or introspection.

Instead, I went for the food industry, as told by travel TV guru himself, Anthony Bourdain. Though I thoroughly enjoyed Kitchen Confidential, it didn’t inspire the same volume of highlights as the much-later scribed Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People who Cook.

Those thousands upon thousands of words delicately trickled sequentially into my Kindle, allowing me to take both books across Germany, Sweden, and most of central Europe. The following are the sections I highlighted and mused about in the margins, many of which I found to be unique sentences, others quite relevant to the constant questions I ponder and pose daily. These being from the Kindle version, I used the percentage of the book complete instead of page numbers to cite my sources.

Excerpts worth …quoting

“I became seduced by the world–and the freedom that television had given me–to travel it as I wished. I was also drunk on a new and exciting power to manipulate images and sound in order to tell stories, to make audiences feel about places I’d been the way I wanted them to feel.” 3%

“I am not a fan of people who abuse service staff. In fact, I find it intolerable. It’s an unpardonable sin as far as I’m concerned, taking out personal business or some other kind of dissatisfaction on a waiter or busboy.” 12%

“What limited me forever were the decisions I made immediately after leaving culinary school. That was my moment as a chef, as a potential adult, and I let it pass. For better or worse, the decisions I made then about what I was going to do, whom I was going to do it with and where, set me on the course I stayed on for the next twenty years…If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel–as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook…Money borrowed at this point in your life so that you can afford to travel and gain work experience in really good kitchens will arguably be better invested than any student loan.” 19-20% Read More »

Adios, America. It’s time for new places and fresh air.

It’s time to navigate away from Indiana again. The school year is starting, and I’m about to move to a country I’ve never visited. Come Tuesday, I will have some new students, new co-workers, a new home with someone else’s furniture, and a new culture to study…thankfully in a language I’m already comfortable with.

Last year’s school locations of Ecuador, Thailand, and Germany look to be replaced by some diverse locales, all brought to you by the letter “B”.

I’ll be spending the first term in Buenos Aires, Argentina, visiting Bhutan in January, and spending the rest of the academic year in Boston, USA. I’m equally excited by all three locations for very different reasons.

Perks of BsAs

  • I can, without judgment or question, wear a massive red flower in a low bun.
  • It will be early spring when I arrive, and that means boots. Stomping around cities in big ole boots.
  • I have dreams of killing at some form of latin dance. Maybe Tango is my zone. If not, I’ll find another and put my packed dance clothes to good use.
  • Red, red wine.
  • New country of which I’ve never heard an ill word spoken.
  • Apparently, it’s easy to live like a rock star with the help of a Mr. T. Ferriss.

Read More »

Photoblog: a summertime reunion of travel friends in Vermont

One year of teaching in China and two years of Peace Corps in Malawi later, my dear friends from Semester at Sea and I finally reunited. Alexis and I flew to Burlington, Vermont within 20 hours of Garrett’s homecoming, and these are the good times we enjoyed.

When I’m not at work, I don’t want to be continuously documenting my life in high def. That’s why I played with Instagram this time around (click on the images to view in lightbox).

Read More »

When Wabash takes to the riverbanks, nature sighs with relief

I spent my childhood in Wabash (and took innumerable visits in the last twelve years), and this was one of my top ten favorite mornings in my hometown. Maybe it had something to do with flying above the trees with the wind in my hair. Remember, I’m a converted adrenaline junkie…when the wind is just right.

This is a promotional video for the clean-up efforts of the Wabash River Defenders. Read More »

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

Send in your questions, too!

QuestionFirst of all, I want to start out by saying this is awesome you have set this up. I want to do Semester at Sea, but I just don’t know much about it to sign up quite yet! Here are some my questions: Summer or spring? Is 100 days too long?

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?

Sorry, I know that’s a lot of questions, but I am so so so interested and literally so excited and I haven’t even signed up yet!!!! -Caroline W.

AnswerHi, Caroline. Thanks for your message!

I’m happy to give you whatever advice I have about SAS, because I really believe in the concept. I can speak from my own experience, and hopefully it gives you another window into the program.

Going alone

Don’t be intimidated by attacking this experience alone. Solo travelers are never alone, anyway. You will make friends very quickly, and going alone allows you to be even more open to meeting new and diverse people. Otherwise, you bring home with you, and that may mean you’ll have a harder time immersing in the foreign.

I went alone and met these two lovely people as we embarked on day one. Five years later, I still see them at least twice a year (unless one of them is in the depths of the African continent or something). This sort of trip attracts an awesome crowd. There will be no paucity of interesting people on your voyage. Read More »

Filming the Wabash River ‘as the crow flies’

The upcoming term in Argentina will mark my 52nd country, and every once in a while I’m perplexed that this whole world obsession and world tour started from a town of 11,000 in rural Indiana. I talk about this town often–one I haven’t lived in for 12 years to the week–and it’s a weekend like my last one that confirms its hold on me.

I continue to have those awe-inspiring moments in a place I thought I’d adequately covered.

Clean Out The Banks! is an annual event in Wabash, Indiana conducted by a volunteer group known as the Wabash River Defenders. If you were at Paradise Spring at 7:00am last Saturday, eating free donuts and preparing to wade in the silt, you’re likely a member…or a donut enthusiast.

This year’s 365 participants engaged in a community event for the benefit of their environment while spending time with that environment on a beautiful day. Being a recent student on the effects of community, I was eager to witness my first River Defenders event and document it for distribution.

The river stretches 19.2 miles across Wabash County from east to west, so my fellow documentarian, Chelsea, and I didn’t have to drive far to reach the many scattered clean-up crews.

Walking along the river in Lagro, we found an ATV or mountain bike track that looked like serious muddy fun. We passed by many groups of fishermen heading to the water. One of the teams had a kayak, and its slender shape reminded me of rowing sculls torpedoing down the thin and shallow river. My imagination was probably stretching the water possibilities on this Mississippi tributary, but the flanking land offered no such limitations to outdoor enjoyment.

Courtesy of the Wabash River Defenders

After a couple hours of tracking teams’ progress, I was extended the opportunity to admire Wabash County from above on an antique open cockpit airplane from 1927. I couldn’t stop relating myself to Snoopy. It was a beautiful aircraft, and it lifted effortlessly above the forests and farms to find the snaking river. Read More »

Jobs for world travelers: make films for flight money

I know many of you amongst the Nomadderwhere readership jumped on board after seeing the World Traveler Internship. Even many years after my WTI, I still receive messages from people in search of such great opportunities in the travel world or wondering how to snag such jobs that require some online savvy and marketing know-how. Therefore, when I hear about new marketing schemes that send people on the road for free or for pay, I’m inspired to pass the info along to you, the reader. Here’s the latest one.

Here’s the write-up:

Skyscanner has launched a travel video competition in its search to find its very own Travel Reporter! Read More »

Consume & Update: making it count, making good art & making it home

I’ve finally stopped moving for a while. Want to see what I’ve found as of lately?

World travel on Nike’s dime

Nike made a new product that basically detects energy expended (a.k.a. Nike Fuel) throughout your typical, active day, and with this new product comes an intense online marketing campaign called #makeitcount. This video, created by Casey Neistat and Max Joseph, is reminiscent of the STA Travel Australia video “Move” and shows Casey plowing through his budget from Nike with 10 days of globe trotting. I just had dinner with one of the developers of this campaign. The world is small, people.

Advice for starting a creative career

This is good and giggle-worthy. Here are my favorite excerpts:

…it’s true that nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience. Usually I didn’t wind up getting the money, either.

IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.

The urge, starting out, is to copy. And that’s not a bad thing. Most of us only find our own voices after we’ve sounded like a lot of other people. But the one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.

The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right. Read More »

Photoblog: a gray day in the Swedish village of Landsort

After the Berlin trimester ended, I flew to Copenhagen to begin a wee Scandinavian tour. The best part of this week was being with friendly residents and visiting their homes. Yes, homes. Not houses, accommodations, hotels, hostels, or dorms. In both Copenhagen and Stockholm, I stayed in city homes and then visited vacation homes by the water. Both cities are impressive and relatively unknown to me, but I valued most those moments where I was experiencing someone’s place of hat-hanging. Rarely did I want to venture away.

(click on the images to see in a lightbox)

Landsort is a village on the island of Öja an hour south of Stockholm. It marks the southernmost point of the Stockholm archipelago. My new friend Kari took fellow TGS co-worker Andy and his two friends to his vacation home on the island of Öja by way of a flat-bottomed boat. The sky was gray and occasionally spitting, but we enjoyed some walks along the central road (rarely a motor in sight) and up by the lighthouse that gives the village its name.

Read More »

My global kids romp through four countries in five days

Some of my students called it “the best five days of their lives.” That kind of statement carries a good load coming from kids who visited the Galápagos, the Amazon rainforest, and the Bavarian Alps this year alone.

At the end of the academic year, my students were given the great opportunity by the school to live out their own Amazing Race through Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria.

I went along for the ride.

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This is what the last three months in Germany looked like

This title isn’t entirely accurate; it should be more like “This is what the last three months in Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, and parts of Scandinavia looked like…and other cool stuff, too.” The first two terms in Ecuador and Thailand left little time for experiencing the surrounding culture. I mostly stared in a viewfinder or at my computer screens for six months.

Then came Germany.

Freshly relieved of my Creative Art teaching responsibilities and greatly assisted with social media management, I not only had time to create videos, edit photography, and write blogs on the ground; after a 10-hour day, I regularly had hours to myself in the evening to produce work of my own volition and be in the incredible city of Berlin.

I lived with two other faculty members in a very cute apartment 4km from the students. That space gave me quiet time to crank out content and a delightful bike ride to mend the gap and feel a part of the surrounding residential community. In terms of my own satisfaction in a job well done, it was a term vastly different from the other two. Professional me and human me both had the freedom to seek their potential.

This is my work from the Germany term in a nutshell (or a Flickr set).

And this is the evidence of life after the 10-hour work day.

Read More »

What creating art in a world art capital looks like

The last three months of living in Berlin have been culture-filled indeed. One of our guest speakers this term expressed his belief that if Paris, London, NYC, and other global cities had their heydays in past decades, Berlin is having hers right now. While it’s harder to find a contributor to culture living in New York City than it is a financier or business person, in Berlin the culture contributors are the vast majority and the makers of the dough.

If you’re going to study art today, this is certainly a place to witness a present movement gaining definition.

Creative Arts teacher in Germany Cécile B. Evans explains this term’s curriculum and the students’ final project at the Berlin Biennale. Students visit the Berlin Biennale and express their impressions of various works. The culmination of Creative Arts this term is the creation of audio guides, written and recorded by TGS students, that visitors to the Biennale can use to experience this year’s very political exhibition. (L.Clark)

Read More »

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

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 was suspended above the South Pacific—poorly timing my first viewing of The Descendants—he received the rare opportunity to die at an old age, surrounded by family, with a smile on his face. I missed it, but that’s okay. I’ve been saying cautious and thoughtful goodbyes since I went on Semester at Sea, a trip on which I feared he would forget me.

I know that the date of June 4th is to blame for my vivid dreams last night, but I’ve been in the mindset of looking back since my arrival to Berlin. The corner of my eye frequently catches a replica from my grandparents’ wardrobe, which isn’t that surprising since they probably picked up those signature items on trips here. It could be me projecting their images because they recently passed or because Grandpa worked here in the 60s.

It could also be because this is the first foreign country in a while where I can feel a deeper sense of belonging. In China, Ecuador, and Thailand, I felt like a visitor and often an unwelcome one, regardless of my language acquisition or the warm hospitality received. Though I still get some awful stares for breaking j-walking and cycling unspoken norms, I don’t have the sense of being an intruder in Germany.

This weekend was especially conducive to retrospection, as I took one of our students across the country to trace her family history. We chatted a lot about genealogy and identity, organically noting this term’s focuses on memory and legacy in the humanities classes. I’ve only just found relevance in my lineage to my identity, and though I went to assist her investigation and documentation, the trip also resurfaced family thoughts of my own.

I jokingly call myself an American mutt. Thanks to my grandmother’s extensive genealogy work, I know that I’m related to a Mayflower passenger and a vast mix of European cultures: Scottish, German, English, French, etc. My cousins and I used to go on “mystery trips” with Grandma through the Midwest to trace American and family history, but I never really felt a visceral connection to the past until I went to Scotland in 2009. I melded with the many sharp, honest, and hilarious people I met. The primordial beauty of the highlands conjured a magnetic pull, making me despise the tour bus that shuttled me everywhere. I could envision a lifestyle for myself that organically intertwined with the world I was visiting. Of course, I was further encouraged to make this connection when I learned I was 41 generations from the House of Alpin, a family that ruled northern Scotland starting in 843. Read More »

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

Send in your questions, too!

QuestionHi 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.

AnswerHi 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. Read More »

Consume & Update: 1952, Berlin Tetris, and Bavaria-bound

I’ve been talking to a co-worker a lot lately about her balance of consuming and creating, and it reminded me of my old balance between absorbing what the industry is putting out and telling the industry what I’m adding to the mix. After almost two years, here’s the latest Consume & Update!

Great use of soundtrack to arc story

This Vimeo staff pick, directed by Peter Simonite & Annie Gunn, is a stunning result of great cameras handled by great cameramen. It is also a great example of a singular soundtrack lending to the arc of a story in a short film.

I’ve begun teaching a new media lab at THINK Global School, which encourages students to share and reflect their world experiences using new media. An upcoming lesson will be on the use of soundtracks to carve out, structure, or heighten the message of a video. I’m on the hunt for great examples of this, and I’m also asking filmmakers to explain their choices to the students. Read More »

What our experiences in Berlin look like thus far

Though I’m not processing my own experiences in video form as of lately (due to lack of time), I’m really please with what I’ve been able to crank out in Berlin. There are moments when what I’ve documented for work has impacted me, mostly at Wannsee Haus where the Final Solution was created.

In this great city of culture and history, cinematic moments abound. Here are the ones I’ve caught thus far.

Getting lost in Berlin

Global Studies teacher Andrew McLean sent the students on a scavenger hunt around Berlin, Germany this weekend. Though they were asked to visit points of interest like famous synagogues and the Pergamon museum, students were encouraged to discover new locations and have personal experiences with their new host city. Equipped with their iPhones, they documented each unique adventures to share with peers and reflect afterward. (L. Clark)

Read More »

Finding the fulcrum below me in Berlin

The immigration line stretched to meet me
at row 35 on the 767-200.
A strong arm could toss a tennis ball
beyond the width of TXL’s international wing.
Elbowing through the Red Rover chain
that was a Canadian tour group,
bags launched to my shoulders and bolted for fresh air.

The weather did not mirror the excitement and pleasure
of the first day and week to come.
Berlin was about to agree with us.

I immediately employed my limited German
to interact with multiple bus and taxi drivers
who appeared miserable with their lives.
Butchered ‘danke’s and ‘bitte’s soon paired
with curtsies and exaggerated pleasantries.
Three months is a long time to suffer
daily angst from miscommunication.

Students arrived and assimilated, and
the snowball started rolling, gaining unshakable width.
My right arm quivered under the heft of a Canon.

Rare disorientation, often the product of group travel,
made me a slave to GPS, moving like a duckling.
Nights in the city spurred on emotive gushing;
once again we’re individuals displaced and building
community like modge podge that dents in transit,
further evidence that humans need connection.
We run from one to another obligation.

Ein Bier, bitte, and Haribo Bären;
new habits are quickly forming under a
ridiculous guise of cultural immersion.

I left the flowery trees of Indiana to find
buds of the most delicate green across the pond.
The contrast doesn’t have to be stark for
time travel to make eyes pop open.
My body asserts the need for a range
of clothing, to shelter from the temperate climate
I associate with normalcy.

White walls tall with character and comfort
and Ikea now house all revelry and focus.
In this vacuum, I crank experience into content.

I suck chaos and uncertainty out of the
daily equation, letting three locks and 4km
create a void to be filled by me. Right now.
And when I reach a capacity that signals
others to sigh for the day, a bike and a lake and
reflective outlets become not only excusable,
cushions for my human frailty.

Like a sheet of sugar glass
my back crunches from its office chair history,
but this output is what justifies the means.

It’s not the typical unwelcome vacuum this time
but an unconventional lifestyle in context;
I know others exist and uncommon moments occur.
Still, relative pain and conflict splatter
over what pleases me, removed from comparison.
And maybe I haven’t yet reached the age for anxiety
that this isn’t the way to be, which makes me anxious.

I see that 3/4ths of my thinking is committed to the
active pursuit of sustainable humanity: live music,
organic experience, bubble-popping, connections.

There has been a shift in balance toward a very likable center.

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Photoblog: Details of the hipster haven that is Berlin

Ten days ago, I descended into a brisk, foggy day at TXL, equipped with a new currency, my crusty old travel backpack, and a vague awareness of my new home‘s coordinates. In the time since my arrival, I’ve gotten familiar with the suburb of Kleinmachnow and explored my neighborhood on foot.

Yesterday was my first wander around downtown Berlin, camera in hand. I’ve started my three-month exploration of the city at a popular hub, roughly the Williamsburg of Berlin: Rosenthaler Platz. Here are just a few moments.

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Guten tag and lederhosen and whatnot: Bound for Berlin

Today, I fly to Berlin, Germany. I’m not ready, but my bags will be in a couple hours time. And by tomorrow morning, I will have landed in my new home for the next three months. Take away this woman’s sweet safari hat, nicely-pressed dress, and hat box, replace it with yoga pants, a sweaty brow, and a cheap tote filled with laptops and this is me today.

Man, she’s classy.

This atypical post with a relative real-time update hopefully marks a shift in content on Nomadderwhere in the coming months. This blog sprouted from the internet soils as a nautical travelogue, and it has since become something I’m still proud of – with its focus on concepts and inquiries about the art of travel. But I’ve been neglectful of the actual experiences I face and consume, instead focusing my documentation energy on telling my students how valuable it is to document. Silly me. I forgot to continue my own practice, sermon after sermon.

I’m actually making lots of progress as of lately with documentation on the back end. You’ll see those fruits very soon.

It is time to move back into the realm of travel narratives, and trust that there are plenty backlogged from these last few years in travel production. Berlin is the third and final stop this academic year on the TGS world tour.

There will be beer. There will be the slow and steady apprehension of the German language (yay heritage!). And I will be learning big, powerful, life-changing lessons every week from this community of international minds. You will see more of these things in the weeks and months to come, and hopefully from the this trajectory, experiences from the past will seep through my fingertips toward cyberspace.

I tweet a lot more than I blog these days, so get a sense of what I do by following nomadderwhere on Twitter.

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Emilio Estevez inspires us all to pilgrimage through Spain

I first heard about the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in an art history course called The Medieval City. Dr. Diane Reilly made it sound rockin’ – an historic route through France, the Pyrenees, and Spain that devout Catholics took to reach one of three cathedrals with the remains of an apostle, in this case St. James. Traditionally the pilgrims trekked barefoot and penny-less through the mountains and vast expanses, accepting hospitality from churches and homes on the path.

Between the 12th and 14th centuries Santiago de Compostela grew in importance and prestige, at times even eclipsing the pilgrim routes to Jerusalem and Rome. It is remarkable that tens of thousands of pilgrims chose to suffer the hazards of this route every year during the Middle Ages. A combination of the relative accessibility of the route and the miracles associated with the relics of the Saint beneath the magnificent cathedral were certainly contributing factors in its popularity. (Camino Guides)

Sheen plays the protagonist of this story, as a mild and conservative father who finds out his son died while attempting the historic trek. In an attempt to fulfill his son’s goal and to process his own grief, Sheen treks the entire length, picking up comrads in a Wizard of Oz-esque fashion.

My parents watched this film at the Heartland Film Festival and felt it was one I needed to see. My mother reflected after our shared screening, “I got choked up on that car ride to the airport, when the son tells his dad he has to go because it’s there. That sounds like something you’ve said.”

We’ve shared many a ride reeking of the same sentiment. Read More »

Reviewing Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods

It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for years, a novel by a favorite travel writer and a recommended read from everyone, including my high school English teacher. Bill Bryson set the stage for my Australian experience in 2009 with In a Sunburned Country and had me audibly exclaiming from his brutal descriptions of small-town life. In this book, Bill attempts to charge through the over 2,100 miles of mountainous footpath called the Appalachian Trail. This is probably as close as I’ll come to tackling the trail myself, and through what vehicle would this vicarious journey be better than through the eyes of an underprepared 40+ year-old journalist and his even more underprepared, undermotivated, overweight, formerly alcoholic comrade.

The Storyline

Bryson’s curiosity for the intimidating footpath near his home in New Hampshire leads him to its southern-most mouth, alongside former travel friend Stephen Katz. Together – both ill-prepared and facing a steep physical learning curve – they begin the Appalachian Trail with the goal of measuring its entirety with their hiking boots, one pair fresh out of the box.

Sleet meets them at the starting line in Georgia in March, and cold days/nights characterize the setting of their first amusing stories. Juxtaposed with Cut-Corners Katz, Bryson has the determination of an ox, though they both struggle to get their footing under the 70 lb. of equipment on their backs. The hikers meet both section and thru-hikers along the way, and Bryson’s comparative descriptions never fail to hit that self-deprecating height of humor that makes him so endearing. Read More »

This is what the last three months in Thailand looked like

Just as in Ecuador, this is what I stared at every day of the Thailand term: my portable media HQ of two MacBook Pros, an iPad, an iPhone, and about 13 TB worth of storage power. I see pixels in my dreams.

However, what wasn’t just like Ecuador was my workload. With the addition of a co-teacher in Creative Arts, I earned days onto my work week. That meant videos were made on the ground, and (gasp!) I was able to shave off hours here and there to do things for myself. There were Thai massages to offset editing sessions slouched at the computer, bike rides to the open market down the country road to purchase cooking ingredients, and the scattered nights of salsa dancing in the city. I wasn’t ‘well-rounded’ by most working American standard, but I was improving.

I’m still finding images to process, but these are the ones that made the first cut!

This set is the evidence of Lindsay time in Thailand, and there’s still plenty more to publish.

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One meal inspires three months of memories in Thailand

Therapy in shopping and chopping

The fleshy innards of skinny and green eggplant made frequent protagonists on our plates at 6pm. Depending on who felt inspired (and hungry), Irene or I would sautée the slender tubes in bubbling coconut milk, soy sauce, and vinegar and cushion their final presentation with a pillow of noodles. Our meals didn’t resemble the table art from our favorite reality cooking shows, but those plates held evidence of our dietary independence and resurfacing domestic skills.

Whenever I could squeeze my week out for a drop of free time, I would strap on my bike helmet, mount one of our non-road-worthy cruisers, and pedal to the nearby farmer’s market, which was many kilometers away. Irene would request eggplants and bok choy for her vegetable medleys, and I complemented the cart with extremely long string beans, lemongrass, and eggs that rarely made the bumpy ride back altogether.

We are two young adults – 26 and 28 – who highly value the world travel portion of the job, but this appreciation doesn’t silence the biological drive to nest. Within the first few weeks of living in Thailand, we purchased strings of lights, photographs of lantern releases, and bowls for table decoration and our frequently rejuvenated cornucopia of fresh produce. For me, each installment of eggplant from the market indicated a new week of meals prepared by my culinary wiz of a roommate, the co-builder of our Thai nest. Ceiling fan whirling above us, we would settle into the small leather couch with bowl under mouth, often after an exhausting class or a day of constant meetings.

The eggplant provided therapy. It was our comfortable routine. Read More »

What Alain de Botton says about the anticipation 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 rather visit a new country than repeat an old one, I try not to re-read books I’ve tackled in the past.

Though plots and anecdotes don’t stick in my memory, my impression of the book always does. That’s why I remember how much I loved Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel, so much so that I want it to be a part of Creative Arts class next term (did you know I’ve been teaching?). It’s unique focus on literature and art history woven into personal travel anecdotes is seemingly undone by anyone else in this field. Alain verifies this in his book description:

Few things are as exciting as the idea of travelling somewhere else. But the reality of travel seldom matches our daydreams. The tragi-comic disappointments are well-known: the disorientation, the mid-afternoon despair, the lethargy before ancient ruins. And yet the reasons behind such disappointments are rarely explored.

We are inundated with advice on where to travel to; we hear little of why we should go and how we could be more fulfilled doing so. The Art of Travel is a philosophical look at the ubiquitous but peculiar activity of travelling ‘for pleasure’, with thoughts on airports, landscapes, museums, holiday romances, photographs, exotic carpets and the contents of hotel mini-bars. The book mixes personal thought with insights drawn from some of the great figures of the past. Unlike existing guidebooks on travel, it dares to ask what the point of travel might be – and modestly suggests how we could learn to be less silently and guiltily miserable on our journeys.

I welcomed its digestible 249 pages on this trip to Thailand, and now that I’ve finished my latest Bill Bryson adventure, I am diving back into The Art of Travel for both personal fulfillment and professional inspiration. I think this book may be the most accurate study of my constant state of mind. As I re-read this text, I will post favorite excerpts from each chapter, in hopes that this teaser turns more of you toward Alain and his brilliant musings. We don’t need more people writing about logistics and tips; we need to start asking, “To what effect?” Read More »

Weird just happened – a unpredictable 2011 in retrospect

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 managed to find only one word that adequately describes my baffled reflection on the year’s events: weird. How did I experience the myriad twists, obstacles, and accomplishments that plopped me into the role I’m in now? Did that all really just happen? And I didn’t even really get to tell you about it…

2011 was a weird year, and I don’t consider that word to be derogatory – for the most part. Here, Internet, let me fill you in on the tidbits worth noting. Read More »

Domestic deficiencies and my learning curve post-Ecuador

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 once home again.

In my case, the lingering reflexes from previous travels usually mess me up in Indiana – sometimes big time. I tend to call these the ironies of my lifestyle, but lately I feel it’s more a deficiency in domestic knowledge, exacerbated by my fondness for the last three months of international living.

I can’t live up to familial expectations

Once I knew my work dates for December, my sister-in-law planned her son’s baptism around my schedule – to make sure I could definitely attend. And there I was on the morning of his christening, coffee in hand doing the two-step warm-up dance outside in tights, watching my friend’s husband jump my borrowed car’s battery where it sat 90 miles from the church. It’s not too hard to remember to turn the headlights off in the pitch black of night the evening prior, but that’s assuming one gets those pangs of common sense.

…because I’m used to: cheap taxis and close proximity

When my school’s transportation or my feet couldn’t take me where I needed to be, I could stand on a curb in the historic center and hail a yellow car that never cost more than $5, even for a twenty minute trip. Distances traveled – in this country smaller than Nevada – were relatively miniscule compared my US of A expectations.

In my breaths between trips, I rely on my wheeling-and-dealing car salesman of a brother to have a means of getting around. Taxis in Indiana are as scattered as stars with meters that run like Michael Johnson. Not efficient, easy, or happening. Read More »

This is what the last three months in Ecuador looked like

A break from being on-location isn’t a vacation; it’s when post-production begins. The gray days of Indiana don’t make me feel guilty for holing up in my room, rubbing elbows with the likes of Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. Though I got to experience some incredible sights in my three months in Ecuador, the majority of my time was spent staring at a similar vista: a high-powered spread of Steve Jobs’ many contributions to society.

With two terabytes of content to weed through, the process is slow and deliberate. As media specialist, I have to provide the window into life and academics at the world’s first and only global, mobile high school. What my viewfinder sees is what prospective students, teachers, and interested parties see. It’s challenging, but I can be creative, innovative, and create the kind of media that organically comes out of my system.

My hands have only process a small fraction of what my eye saw in Ecuador, this being my current photographic output.

There was rarely a time when I didn’t feel the necessity to document something; it all carried the weight of potentially useful in the eyes of a one-person production crew. My schedule seemed the product of an ADHD-ridden ninja. And on those rarest of occasions, I was able to venture around the corner of my hotel home to see angles of Cuenca myself.

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Coastline and culture in New England

I’ve decided that, these days, if I can produce a blog post a month, I’m a lucky gal. Lucky to find breaths between beloved jobs to do similar work of my own volition. Lucky to be able to reflect on experiences and milk what value can be gathered. I doubt the cafe I edited in today for four hours felt lucky to have a table occupied by a one cappuccino gal, but I’m lucky I found that space this month to process my August road trip through New England.

What was meant to be a longer trek through areas of Maine and Vermont had to be cut short due to the panic surrounding Hurricane Irene. The trip had no conclusion in real time. It felt like a rush job of a trip, even more so the documentation of it, but what resulted is a video exalting the thing I studied most – the water that I feel sources so much of the grit and character of New Englanders.

I was surprisingly unfocused on my fleeting dollars being allocated to gas, the pile of money I dropped for the rental car, or my lack of accurate driving instructions or lodging reservations. The nausea I usually reserve for typical tourist activity – the expensive kind – took a vacation as well. Instead, I felt loosely propelled by the desire to consume miles of coastline and smell a breeze conceived hemispheres away.

Like gulping sweet water in the middle of the night, driving was refreshing after my nine month car-fast, a guilty binge on air, music, and speed with a known expiration. And with this limited excursion, I caught wind of what a conventional adult vacation smells like – not bad at all, in fact pleasantly normal, if infrequent and savored for its rarity.

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I’ve been through New England in a car with no plan

My entire summer was a jig-saw puzzle to assemble. Trips, subleases, weddings, births, and work were spaced out just so, as to make every two-week chunk a mystery until it was present. All flights were booked dangerously close to the week of departure, some including feline carry-ons and 12 hour durations.

On top of air chaos, I often didn’t know where I was going to be living or how to coordinate the housing of my cat (while she was still being a vagabond in New York). Newly cat-free and with a new job supplying accommodations for nine months out of the year, I decided against having a place in New York City and got a subletter lined up immediately.

There was a lapse of time between leaving my apartment and the start of work accommodations, leaving me temporarily homeless and living out of bags – something I tend to enjoy. During one of those weeks, I decided to rent a car and witness a region I’ve barely visited: New England.

Until I can whip up a fantastic video, here is a photoblog courtesy of my Blackberry.

Driving out of Queens, NY in my first rental car

Driving out of Queens in my first rental car

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How an e-mail scored me another travel gig

I’ve been vague for months about what I do now. This is the long-alluded-to explanation of my new employment and how I got it.

In this evolving career of mine, I’ve taken many different tactics to attracting and pursuing jobs. I’ve ‘dressed for the job I wanted’ by creating the content I like to make, hoping those who need that work get wind of mine. Years of shooting resumes and cover letters into the online abyss that is an HR email account has never wielded the results most Baby Boomers seem to believe in adamantly. That act feels like tweeting to zero followers, “I’m awesome! You know you want this, and you CAN get this!”

But for me, nothing proves more fruitful than re-engaging in this multi-faceted industry. I like travel, media, the digital realm, education, art, and a unique combination of all. While my involuntary immersion practices don’t allow for fully connected ‘field’ time with my peers, it’s in those months between travels that I reemerge a human with new ideas and the ability to answer e-mails. And on this particular instance, I truly realized how few degrees are in between me and something I would love – the same goes for you, too, I’m sure.

We are always a few friends and clicks away from a fantastic gig, apartment, love interest, and/or Kevin Bacon. Read More »

Is film school worth it these days?

Yet another feature came out of my fingertips this week, one that started from the seed of a simple video on pixels. Entitled ‘How to produce award-winning films without going to film school‘, this piece packs in huge amount of information from some of the most outspoken self-taught cinematographers on the net.

Film school or no?

I went to art school, a study I’m sure many people would claim needs no formality or implied success with a degree, so I expected a little retaliation by film schoolers. Surprisingly, none have surfaced yet. Just I wait.

Without belittling the certain perks of attending film school (or formally studying any specialty for that matter), I believe if you’re motivated, there’s a way to teach yourself enough to obtain a great job, gain work experience, and prosper with continued self-improvements. As many advocates for the self-taught film path cite, it’s likely your favorite filmmaker didn’t study his craft at school either.

The underlined actions to take away from the piece include:

Get schooled for free at your own pace – with Vimeo Video School and online tutorials by self-taught filmmakers such as Philip Bloom

Get fluent in the ever-changing tools – Zacuto instructional videos, cinematography guide, and getting creative with basic tools like iPhones

Position yourself for the current job market – learn how to be autonomous like Alexander Fox of Read More »

Investigating the art and evolution of the film title

I’ve managed to compile myriad jobs and hobbies that complement each other, one absorbing skills to improve the other, making me feel like I’m ascending Penrose steps.

I spent the day researching ways to improve filmmaking skills that don’t include paying for or attending film school, a theme I’m covering for Matador. While doing so, I ran across this gem of a video, which attracted me with its RJD2 soundtrack alone. Also, I’d give ‘the art of…’ anything a chance (even that horrible Art of Travel movie).

Perusing the many videos highlighting brilliant title sequences in film and TV, I’m immediately jazzed about learning animation and advanced graphics. My previous practice with titles in online video is to produce the title within ten seconds of its start. Aside from some stylistic guidelines, that’s all the thought I’ve applied. With this study spanning decades of filmmaking, I’m inspired to pay closer attention to my video introductions, more than just watching the timeline and using a provided Motion template.

Perhaps the most intriguing comparison with past and present concepts is the affinity for an aged appearance. It’s comforting and pleasantly dusty, and it gives me more ideas for vintage effects. Do you have any favorite video motif that you rely on the title sequence delivering? Read More »

A weekend in Boston

I took a vacation for myself, and it was evidence enough that the casual weekend away should be more of a priority. It was close by, surprisingly economical, and equivalent to a routine enema – a metaphorical flushing of habitual activity, not your bi-weekly bowl of Colon Blow.

Here’s a vignette of my weekend with friends in Boston, Massachusetts.

I’m overly focused on the long-term trip, when really there are far more people (especially in America) poised and prepared to go somewhere for a couple days than there are people raring for an RTW. Are there any weekend trips you’ve always wanted to take but haven’t yet? Tell me about it, and then go book your Megabus ticket. Read More »

Why do you like time lapse videos?

If you get a little tired of waiting for my posts on Nomadderwhere – which I admit have become incredibly random and sparse – I’ll give you a little supplementary material. Recently, I wrote a feature for the Matador Network entitled ‘Why the obsession with time lapse video?‘ Have you ever wondered this yourself? What’s your reasoning?

I’m reposting here some of my points, but be sure to check out the full post on MatadorTV and provide your own commentary.

Why time lapse for storytelling?

As a member of the MatadorTV triad, I appreciate the whole spectrum of travel video production, from the cinematic to the gritty. Video is an accessible vehicle for storytelling that can avoid the obstacles ever-present with language. And even though written word can facilitate a sensory experience, the combination of visual and audio elements is powerful on fleeting attention spans.

In browsing TV’s most popular posts to date, time lapse comes away a clear front-runner of stylistic and technical approaches, and these videos tend to follow a different editing pattern than most. Cuts are longer. Static shots are still dynamic. The resident audio is usually stripped from the footage and replaced by a soundtrack, and people still manage to follow a storyline and maintain focus on the evolving subject matter. Warped time appears to keep viewers engaged.

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The road called and demanded a Boston weekend

I haven’t traveled somewhere new for the sole purpose of leisure in a long time. Ironically, my mind doesn’t focus on potential trips I can take myself on without a ‘work’ angle – work being a very fuzzy concept often mistaken for hobby.

Moving to New York and the east coast was a strategic escape from the Midwest region that I’ve already traversed and learned to appreciate. In this portion of the states, aside from the city whose Indian name is Big Apple (or more accurately, Manna-hata), I’ve only meandered through Rockport, Maine. And I’m not even sure a trip centered around a daunting photojournalism course counts for leisure.

I wanted to be surrounded by unknown territory and be inspired to constantly day trip or weekend elsewhere. There were music festivals to attend, mountains on which to frolic, friends and family to visit – an abundance of excuses.

Well, the inspiration and excuses weren’t strong enough for the first eight months, but the road called me this weekend. Yes, she dialed me up – on Skype – and said: Read More »

Where do we learn best and become our best selves?

Before I publish an extensive post that dictates my next step in travel/work/life, which I’ve alluded to on Twitter, I wanted to share some videos I watched yesterday as a direct result of this recent thinking.

If you follow Nomadderwhere, you may know I’ve spent the last couple years chasing and creating educational initiatives. Having uprooted the family for high school, sought study abroad programs with fervor, developed programs in Nakavika, and obsessed over videos on global education, it’s ever-apparent I have an affinity for pursuing and cheerleading quality education, both in the traditional sense and otherwise.

Recently, I received an invitation to visit China with a group of teachers and students who were conducting a school there. And by there, I mean China. The school was China. China was the classroom, the subject, and the geographical home – at least for this trimester. And in this non-traditional learning environment, I began to wonder which experience in my own life had educated me the most: the pricey private high school, the college years that tested my application of academics in real life, or the tens of thousands of miles traveled after leaving ‘classrooms’ in my contrail. Read More »

Indy to NYC: Flying with Felines

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 things on quick trips home was a breeze, especially since I’ve already weeded through and prioritized my material things in life. But the last step in this transition and relocation was the transportation of my 10 year-old feline, Alli.

Owning a cat at this stage in the game is one of the few things that goes against my potential nomadic ease. Three years of college in dorms and sorority houses weren’t conducive to hosting her, and post-college travels only had me in her vicinity for 49% of that time. For nearly ten years, my parents were wildly flexible and tolerant to house my shedding ball of love. And when the decision to move to New York called for a serious analysis of my pet ownership, I was overwhelmed at the extent to which I couldn’t live without her.

We suburban Midwestern gals tend to grow painfully attached to our household animals, and I assume this touches on a maternal reaction to a dependent’s reliance, which we embrace with fervor. We hear and respond to ‘the call’ – whether it’s directed at us or not – to serve other beings. And it hits us with a glee/glum one-two punch; the latter only for the inevitable life choices or threat of loss an invested pet owner must face.

Though I find it a ridiculous debate and one that deserve zero airtime in any arena, I know not everyone enjoys cats, hearing about cats, justifying the existence of cats, etc. And though I am scribing and cutting video with those feline travelers in mind, Alli has been an obstacle to one half of my lifestyle and a beloved necessity to the other.

Dare I say we all have similar parallels? Read More »

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 for a week in New York City, and traveled across the world to Thailand for production. I should have many a post on my site by now regarding all the previously mentioned events and experiences. Instead, I am a chicken sans head with too many things to say and not enough time to process them.

And you know what else is sad? I wrote the previous paragraph in the middle of March. I call this type of article a ‘Frankenstein’.

I’ve read others discussing this interesting phenomenon – the travel writer’s Catch 22 – and I know I’ve dealt with it using various methods in the past. Even though I’ve been based out of home between these escapades, there is still the delicate balance between experience and reflection, one that I usually miss due to overindulgence of one.

Sadly, my mind is a sieve. Without documentation and over-processing of real-life experiences, I tend to forget or reconstruct my life. Therefore, the neglect of noting certain meaningful experiences seems dangerous and irresponsible for someone mortal wanting simply to thrive on memories in the end. Read More »

Déjà vu in Ha Long Bay and a simple vacation in Luang Prabang

After a 3-week, 3-city production schedule full of up to 20 hour days, Vijaya and I departed Thailand on the wings of Vietnam Airlines to Hanoi. Curled like a jumbo shrimp over my tray table, I finally collapsed and gave in to the sweet release of vacation time. Since we were already in Southeast Asia for work, we extended our trip to include two more countries and a hole lotta nothing.


Equipped with little more information than I had four years prior, we went from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay via mini-bus with dangling conductors. Rice fields flanked the road for three hours until we were dropped by the side of the road. I quickly introduced Vijaya to her first motorbike experience with a couple strangers roadside, and we proceeded to the hotel room I had on my first trip in 2007.

Two days on a Ha Long Bay junk boat provided the same cave and floating village thrills with some added kayaking ones in the better-conserved waters. We anticipated and avoided the inevitable schemes of logistics by strongly enforcing arrival times in Hanoi, using hand-drawn maps of our route and the airport to imply we’d like dropped off on the side of the highway. In our last hour in country, we were stalked by motorbikes, involved in a cabbie war, pulled over by the cops, and delivered to our terminal within 20 minutes of departure. We slid into home base with sighs of relief and amazement.

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