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.

Adrianna: Que mas cabrona que bonita.

Mexico City

This is the first episode with the moi bonita Adrianna from Mexico City. She was my couchsurfing host during he first week of the journey and helped me fall in love with North America’s largest metropolis. It was a bit of a chance because she had never hosted anyone before and had no references, but we both decided to risk it. From the moment we met each other we couldn’t stop talking. We spent hours wandering around the city, late into the night, discussing conflicting facets of our experiences as women in our respective countries. We bonded over the stark similarities: the corruption, the oppression against women, but the comfortness of home and embracing the ugly and beauty of it all (especially after a few shots of mescal). A fellow history nerd and feminist, she gives us a glimpse of what it is like living in Mexico City as a woman. She explains the female experience from a personal and historical lens from the inception of feminism into Mexican culture to modern times. Adrianna is a beautiful soul and a friend I would have never met if we both didn’t risk meeting a stranger.

The audio was done via Skype and on weak wifi, so some of this episode is me reinterpreting over her. It is nonetheless interesting and informative. Disfrutar!

Introducing: Strangers Abroad

This track is a brief description of the inspiration and philosophy behind this podcast. If you are looking to take a break from the conventional life and want to find insights and how-to travel cheaply, while meeting incredible people along the way, then this is the podcast for you! This is a podcast that attempts to illustrate the importance of what we can learn from those around us or on other corners of the earth-especially in a time when the world feels stranger than ever. Throughout this podcast we come to realize that, although some of us grow up thousands of miles away from each other, we aren’t so different from one other, especially once we give ourselves the chance to learn about ourselves and the ways that the world works by interacting with strangers.