Searching for Self

Episode 9

Lake Atitlan: Guatemala

Have you always resisted the office job? Do you need a life that keeps you moving, questions, and searching for yourself outside of the conventional path? David had those same questions and drives. In this episode he opens up about the struggles and exhaustion of not fitting in and the rewards he has found by stepping off the trail and walking down an unpaved route. Here is his story.

Hoogly

Episode 8

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Are you about to finish university and have a future that is unsettlingly open? Are you afraid you don’t have a clear direction and are nervous about leaving the structure of school? Are you uncertain on whether you should take a little time to go find yourself and journey to someplace new? These were all questions that were plaguing Lisa from Germany, who I met on a tiny boat late at night in Lake Atitlan Guatemala. We talk about her research, her decision to travel and be out of her comfort zone. Hear her story and reflection about choosing to travel a distance corner of the world instead of jumping right into a career- and the rewards she would have never received had she stayed in her homeland. Hear her story on Strangers Abroad!

Download and subscribe to Strangers Abroad on iTunes!

This episode was edited by Jay Dixit, sound engineered by Sean Sullivan, and music was provided by Josh Brechner.

Scavenger Hunts Coming Soon!

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I have been working on some Scavenger Hunts for different cities I explored intimately throughout Latin America.

They will not be a “here’s what to do and where to go” but more of “here are the nuances of the city; here is what the cities pulse sounds, tastes, looks, feels, smells like.”

We are not here to check items off a list; we are here to live it.

Some cities to look forward to-

  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Playa del Carmon, Mexico
  • Caye Caulker, Belize
  • San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
  • Bocas del Torro, Panama
  • Bogata, Colombia
  • Arequipa, Peru
  • ….and many more!

 

No Kids till 50 Countries

 

Tulum: Mexico
Have you ever felt that all the gadgets and things you have bought for yourself still leaves you emotionally unsatisfied? Have you ever thought of selling everything you have to hit the open road?Ed and V Noriega were having those same feelings too. They realized that they were running out of time to see the world before committing to the biggest responsibility of all:children. So they sold all they had ( profitable companies and all their tech toys) to go and explore other corners of the world. They have made a vow to not have children until they have been to 50 countries together. Listen to “ 50 Countries before Kids” and see whether the choice to abandon their stable lives to explore for a few years has paid off. Hear their story on Strangers Abroad!

Download and subscribe to Strangers Abroad on iTunes!

This episode was edited by Jay Dixit, sound engineered by Sean Sullivan, and music was provided by Josh Brechner.

We Only Know Tomorrow

Palenque: Mexico 

We now journey north through Mexico, through Chiapas to Palenque, which is where we meet Georgia and Martin. There are often times when I meet people who I have to tear away from in order to stop talking to them and I am often curious about other people’s travels. Travel is the truest test of any relationship and can make it or break it ( I ended a year long relationship after a week in Mexico with my now ex-boyfriend). Travel provides new and vastly different experiences or challenges, forcing you both out of your comfort zone and exposing different sides of each other. These two are a great example of how travel can strengthen the bond between two people. They move to an invisible rhythm that they both can only hear and dance to together, created by spending so many hours beside each other. They have spent six months of exploring the expansive continent of South America, absorbing all of it’s beauty and pain, and are finally ready to settle in at home with a nice cup of English tea. Here is their story.

Download and subscribe to Strangers Abroad on iTunes!

This episode was edited by Jay Dixit, sound engineered by Sean Sullivan, and music was provided by Josh Brechner.

Wedding Ring Tattoos

Puerto Escondido: Mexico

The Texans are the last group of people I interviewed at our surfer hostel community in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. They were the mom and dad of our volunteer community and in charge of the organic garden, always tending to both people and plants. They had decided to abandon the American dream long ago- filled with too many catches and contradictions-and aspired for a new life where they can propagate their own food and philosophies. We talk about the ways they are living their aspired alternative lifestyle:engineering their car to run on biofuel, cultivating their own superfoods, and living as DIY as possible in their sunny spot by the sea in southern Mexico.

Download and subscribe to Strangers Abroad on iTunes!

This episode was edited by Jay Dixit, sound engineered by Sean Sullivan, and music was provided by Josh Brechner.

Curiosity is like a Traveler

Puerto Escondido:Mexico

Nidhi was also working at the surfer hostel in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Though she be but little- she is fierce! and is challenging how people perceive solo female travelers in her homeland of India and around the world. We discuss the benevolent sexism we as women experience when traveling on owr own, and how frustrating it is when people question your ability to explore the world solo. We talk about what she has learned about people from leaving her home in India to receiving an education in the United States and traveling around on her own in Latin America. This girl has big plans and isn’t letting her gender or size get in the way of her aspirations.

This episode was edited by Jay Dixit, sound engineered by Sean Sullivan, and music was provided by Josh Brechner.

Jay-Living My Retirement Now-E4

Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

Jay and I met while working at a hostel in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. I would often watch him shimmy up the surrounding coconut trees, shading our little volunteer village, and together we would make coconut milk and attempt to make oil. Jay decided to pause his college career, which many people protested with the exception of an unlikely figure: his father. Jay’s father ( who also backpacked in his youth)encouraged Jay to go and explore as much of the world while he is young and able to take more risks and wreck his body. We hear about how exploration runs in the family and how Jay has decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. He is guided by the adventure in his blood, busting out of the conventional path, ready to see what the world can teach him.
This episode was edited by Jay Dixit, sound engineered by Sean Sullivan, and music was provided by Josh Brechner.

In Defense of Strangers

The word “strange” originally meant “being beyond the usual bounds or boundaries,” and evolved to mean foreign only later. The notion of foreignness eventually became personified in the word “stranger”—a new or unknown person. A person beyond the usual bounds or boundaries. Outsider, newcomer, a person who is, whatever else they may be, assuredly not one of “us.”

Humans are instinctively tribal. We have a deep drive protect our own tribe and look on all others with suspicion. Strangers represent the unknown, and the unknown can either scare us or excite us. Some of us live for newness and adventure even as some of us prefer to stay home.

But there is no doubt that we humans are born wanderers. Of course we are, or we never would be explored and settled in Easter Island, Greenland, or Argentina. And where did it get us? We learned! We discovered! We invented and we progressed.

We crossed paths with people who were different from us in body, color, and customs. We advanced, we loved, we blended, and yes, too often we killed and conquered. Because even as we wandered, too many of us continued to look upon each other with suspicion, unable to discern our similarities. In “stranger” we saw “threat,” and “threat” made us afraid, made us feel we needed to protect our homes, our families, and our egos.

Oh, the ego. The jealous, insatiable succubus inside of us that blinds us to our commonalities. The ego is why the word stranger connotes danger—because the “other” isn’t like me, and is therefore wrong and frightening. And if that’s the case, why would anyone ever want to interact with a stranger?

I’ll let Mark Twain take over on this one.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts,” Twain wrote. “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

The failure to seek out the perspectives of others is nothing but arrogance. Interacting with strangers forces us to reach deeper within ourselves and find a different way to understand how the world works. Though we are a nation of immigrants, yet we are so easily moved to xenophobia and fear. It is far too easy to press that button and reactivate that primal fear of the other, to convince us once again that what is different is threatening and must be kept out. To once again make us see each other as strangers and treat each other with suspicion.

Now more than ever we must reach out to strangers. There is so much we can learn by listening. When I traveled, I was wrench out of my comfort zone and into the unknown, not knowing my trajectory or my destination, and like the ancient wanderers thousands of years before me, I learned, I discovered, I laughed with incredible people I would have never known had I not left my home to go find them. I want to push people to see the world in all it’s color.

The picture attached is of me with three individuals from three separate countries that all met within the last 24 hours. I explored Machu Picchu with them and they gave me stories and perspectives I might not have found on my own.

I believe I have been changed for the better and live life more compassionately. Now I want to share those stories with you. I hope you will join me on my journey.

Strangers Abroad will be launching next week and I couldn’t have done it without all the wonderful strangers I met along the way.

The Germans-When there’s a will, there’s a way.

Mexico: Puerto Escondido

This episode is an interview with a German couple I met while volunteering at a surfer hostel in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Being together for five years and fed up with the city life, they booked one way tickets to Canada to see what life was like on the opposite end of the world. They let their journey take hold of them as they slowly made their way down the west coast of the United States down to Mexico. We would stay up late around a bonfire they meticulously created and nurtured, passing around coffee mescal, travel stories, advice, hand rolled cigarettes and encouragement for future travels. They have asked to remain anonymous. Here is their story.