Show Notes

Conclusion- In Defense of Strangers 

E25- Home is Where You Recharge for the World

I met Doron at the beginning of his journey and in my last days of traveling. Although we were at the opposite ends of travel, we still shared one striking commonality: home. Where he had been walking around just hours earlier, was a place I hadn’t stood on in months and while he was ready to jump out into the big wide world, I was ready to cozy up in a familiar bed.

Doron is a social and geographical mountain climber. He sets large goals and aspires to reach a physical or metaphorical apex, but knows how to pace himself and enjoy the ride- something that travel has taught him. His travels have grounded him from the insanity and often superficial aspects of his home city and have helped him focus on self-care and how to not waste the rare opportunity of being alive.

Our conversation happens when we are back in New York and we discuss the relationship between home and the world and how leaving home can help you discover who you are when it isn’t coddling you. In this episode, we reflect on the benefits of long-term backpacking, why he feels connected when he is alone in nature, and why home tastes sweeter when you have been gone for a while.

In this episode, we discuss

  • Why he doesn’t feel alone isolated in a forest or on a mountain.
  • Why nature puts him at ease and he feels like he is in his element and connected to the larger universe and physical limits/bounds.
  • Discuss all the hikes he went on in Latin America.
  • Discusses his favorite mountains to climb in Latin America.
  • Why he hiked the Salcantay Route instead of the Inca Trail to get to Machu Picchu.
  • Why he avoids the tourist traps and loves the off-beaten path.
  • Traveling alone vs. with people
  • Traveling with you family vs. traveling alone.
  • What it is like to leave home.
  • Why traveling the world is important, and why it is important to get out of your comfort zone and meeting new people.
  • His stories about the rewards of taking risks with strangers.
  • What it feels like to have food poisoning while traveling.
  • How long-term backpacking ruins you for shorter trips.
  • How he only wants to fully enjoy a country.
  • How skydiving and mountain climbing is similar and different.
  • The complex you have when you live in New York.
  • Why he structures his life to be in the moment
  • Why he feels he can connect with himself by leaving everything he knows.
  • What are friendships abroad like.
  • Why traveling makes you appreciate what you have.

If you want to hike an alternative route to Machu Picchu here is a link to the Salcantay Route

 

E24-I Find Home in Weird Places

Blanca, from Spain, and I met at the top of a mountain overlooking Machu Picchu. I know how that sounds. As we walked around the town of Machu Picchu, I was immediately captivated not only by her reenactments of the ancient man-made feat we were walking through together but all of the stories about her adventures around the world. At the time, her and her partner, Heiko, from Germany were traveling for a year, dividing their time between Latin America and Asia. She tells us all the countries that surprised her, how traveling long distance has influenced her relationship with her partner, and how the world still has lessons to teach her.

In this episode, we discuss

  • Why they decided to do long-term backpacking
  • Why they chose to travel for a year
  • How they decided to choose the countries they traveled to
  • What it is like to travel long-term with your romantic partner and what she has learned about their relationship
  • What are the differences between traveling alone vs. with someone
  • What it is like to be Spanish and travel throughout Latin America.  
  • What communication is like between Spanish tourists and Latin American locals.
  • What were cultural differences between Latin America and Spain that surprised her
  • Which countries were the largest adjustment
  • How she maintain self-care while backpacking long term
  • How was traveling through Latin America different from Asia
  • What it was like to communicate in Asia without knowing the local languages
  • What places surprised them the most
  • What travel has taught her about herself
  • How she found kindness and generosity across cultures

 

E23.5 The Lost City & The Last Soul 

Machu Picchu is a mountainous citadel hidden deep in the Andes. A citadel is a “little city” with a fortified area situated as it’s core. Anthropologists believe that it was originally a place where the ruler of the Incas would take vacations but was repurposed once the Conquistadors arrived. It is rumored that Machu Picchu became a hideout for the Incas from the bearded men on horses who arrived from the sea because the Spanish left no written record of Machu Picchu. There has always been the omnipresent myth of the lost city of the Incas, but the Spanish never got there. It is still not considered the lost city of the Incas- that is another place, Choquequirao, which is even deeper in the jungle that is STILL difficult to get to. The Inca’s ability to live in such hidden places is evidence of human endurance and adaptability.

Machu Picchu slowly deflated in population after being exposed to western diseases and the Conquistadors plundering their land and people; however, the jungle continued to protect this sacred space from outsiders as it remained isolated from the rest of the world for hundreds of years, tended only by a few remaining families and llamas.

It was discovered by the Western World almost 100 years ago and since then it has become a place of spiritual refuge and inspiration. In 1911, American historian and explorer Hiram Bingham traveled the region looking for the old Inca capital and was shown to Machu Picchu by a local farmer. Bingham brought Machu Picchu to international attention and organized another expedition in 1912 to undertake major clearing and excavation. He returned in 1914 and 1915 to continue with excavation. It has since then been overtaken by tourists, trekkers, and explorers from every corner of the planet.

E23-Be Like Water

Matt and I met under extreme circumstances one evening when we were trapped inside of the chocolate shop due to aggressive protests in the streets of Arequipa, Peru. We were stuck in the cafe for a few hours, and being the only Americans, it was an opportunity for Matt and me to reflect upon our culture and country. We continued the conversation once it was safe to leave the cafe, and Matt and I found a restaurant still open and our conversation floated between our country, traveling to less developed countries, and why he was in Peru in the first place. He was doing a motorcycle trip around the “Gringo trail”, which is a path in Peru in the shape of a triangle from Arequipa, Cusco, and Lima, which hits all the big tourist attractions of the country but allows him to ride along the often unseen corners of the country. Matt uses motorcycling, not as a way to see all of the landscape quickly but to explore the topography of himself.

In this episode, we discuss

  • What it is like to work in Hollywood
  • Why he chooses to motorcycle around instead of drive
  • What some of the best motorcycling rides have been for him
  • How motorcycling is a form of meditation
  • Why he chooses to visit remote areas of the world
  • Why and how he tries to submerge himself into a different culture
  • Why he avoids tourist traps and what kind of traveling he prefers doing
  • Why he finds it important to balance the craziness of Hollywood with traveling to developing nations
  • How he tries to stay humble in a superficial career field
  • What he has learned in his time in Peru
  • Why he believes travel is important for self-growth

Information on things we discussed

The Gingo Trail 

Coca leaves

E22- Teach the Heart to Inspire the Mind

Cindy was my Spanish tutor whom I met through Thomas ( from the previous episode) who worked with him through HOOP- the non-for-profit that provides lower-income students with opportunities for higher learning. Cindy’s primary job was to teach English to children living in lower socioeconomic areas and provide them with the tools to learn English and other languages.

I needed a teacher who wouldn’t judge me for the eclectic Spanish I had learned over my months of traveling throughout different Spanish speaking countries and inconsistent studying.

As my Spanish improved, Cindy’s story became clearer and I she taught me more than just her language- the history and problems of her country, the gender inequality, and the day to day musings of living in Peru, which is what we discuss here in this episode. Forgive the screeching of cars and the shouts of Spanish in the background- you are getting the live action soundtrack to Arequipa Peru. Here is her story.

In this episode, we discuss

  • How she decided to learn and teach English
  • What it is like to be a teacher
  • What makes her happiest when teaching
  • What it is like to teach English
  • What it is like to teach Spanish
  • Why she believes learning other languages is important
  • Why she believes learning English is important
  • What teaching English and Spanish provides her
  • What affect her social work has had on her community
  • Why she enjoys social work
  • What it is like being a woman in Peru
  • How gender roles are changing in Peru

 

E21-Your Mountain is Waiting

Thomas, from England, and I met at my first “hangover ceviche” which was always the Sunday morning after a late night of dancing and drinking around Arequipa. He mentioned to the table that a wonderful coworker was teaching him Spanish, and it was refreshing to hear another English speaker find it important to learn the countries language, while so many refuse to put in the effort.  Shouting over clinking plates, in between bites of octopus in chimichurri and lime soaked fish, I asked what he was doing in Arequipa and he mentioned that he was working for a non-for profit called HOOP that focused on afterschool programs for underprivileged children in the outskirts of the city. I loved his straight-forward sensibility about social justice, as if it should be a logical default for everyone to practice. Together, we discuss why he chose to leave his corporate job to work for an NGO Abroad, how living in Peru had changed him, and how he had translated his privilege in the world and chooses to use it for the benefit of others.

In this episode, we discuss

  • Why he left his corporate job to travel and work in social justice
  • Why he decided to travel the world and what that provided him with
  • Why he decided to unite work and travel
  • Why he decided to work in Peru
  • His thoughts on the “white savior” complex
  • His thoughts on working in an NGO vs a corporation
  • The costs and benefits of NGOs in developing countries
  • What is HOOP and their social justice focus
  • What it is like to work and teach children
  • What it is like to work with people from other cultures
  • How living in Peru has changed him
  • Why he decided to create a blog about feminism
  • How to use your privilege for the benefit of others

 

Here is the link to his wonderful blog BoyFeminist

Here is more information on HOOP– they are always looking for open-hearted volunteers and employees from all over the world

E20-Oh The Places You’ll Go

Rodrigo was a local Peruvian teen who worked at Chaq Chau. While working together, we would do our own twist on language exchange: he helped me with my Spanish slang and I helped him create clever DJ names in English. He was always wonderful to talk to about Peruvian culture, identity, and history. But as much as he loves his home country, working in a community of travelers has fed a growing desire to go out and travel around the world. In this episode, we discuss what it is like to grow up in Peru, how working in an expat community has influenced his identity, perception of his own culture, and future goals to explore the world. We get the chance to talk to someone who is still untouched from the changes of travel, but I admire Rodrigo’s ambitions to see what lies beyond his homeland and hope his desire to learn never leaves him.

In this episode, we discuss

  • What growing up in Peru is like
  • What growing up in a machismo culture is like
  • Why he wanted to learn English
  • The insecurities around speaking a new language
  • What had learning English provided him
  • Why he wants to go to school in an English speaking country
  • If he finds it respectful to talk in Spanish when visiting Spanish speaking countries
  • What it is like to work with travelers and has provided him
  • Why he enjoys talking to foreigners
  • Why he enjoys sharing his culture with foreigners
  • What it is like to share your culture with foreigners
  • How gender roles are changing in Peru
  • What it is like being a teenager in Peru
  • Feminism in Peru
  • Homosexuality in Peru
  • What is on his destination bucket list
  • Why he wants to travel alone vs. with his family

E18- The Heart is a Lonely Traveler

Michelle danced into the chocolate shop, radiating with youthful enthusiasm.

I was a little overwhelmed with I first met her.

I think one of the reasons I was threatened by Michelle, in the beginning, was because I saw parts of who I had been when I was her age: filled with optimism, babyfaced, and thrust out the nurturing warm womb of my homeland. So, towards the end of my second backpacking journey, with Latin America being a bit rougher around the edges, I was getting a little tired and a little jaded. But, I think the universe put Michelle and me together so I was reminded to not lose sight of travel’s splendor and why I choose to dedicate my youth to it. So, once I got over my own insecurities and began connecting with Michelle- we became a powerhouse.

Which is why we both thrive off of travel. It gives us a direction and each turn holds unlimited possibilities, and every choice is ours to make that knocks down the domino paved path of new people, foods, and ideas around the corner. We are our truest selves when we are traveling because it satisfies the goats that we are. I once met an old woman, who I believe was me 50 years into the future, more than just because we shared the same name and horoscope, and she told me that I was a goat. Goats run around mountain tops, whereas cows stay in one spot and eat their grass.  I need to stop and eat my grass. Since our brief clairvoyant interaction, I have tried somewhat to take her advice, but have often failed. And I saw that in Michelle, me 4 years earlier which is why I was thrown off initially. Maybe I wanted to warn her about life as a goat, how the endless list of what you need to learn, do, love, and explore never ends.

In this episode, we discuss

  • why she quit school to travel
  • what she has learned because of travel
  • if she will return back to education after her travels
  • what types of people she has met on the road
  • why she chooses to backpack
  • what it is like to be a solo-female traveler
  • how she creates relationships with new friends
  • how she defines old relationships with friends
  • what travel provides her
  • what travel provides her
  • how she has grown and changed because of travel
  • what it is like to be a woman abroad

 

E18- Will Travel for Chocolate 

Until I met Rachel from Milan, I have never seen someone who has such an intrinsic understanding of food. Kind of like how children just pick up languages; they don’t question the mechanics of it, it just becomes part of their being.  Like most Italians, food goes beyond the gastronomic basics and is a deeper experience, she doesn’t just make food, it is the essence of her being. And like most Italians, family has also shaped who she is, being raised by a mother who didn’t like to cook and a father whose blood is wine, she told me how at a young age she gained independence in the kitchen, while able to question the traditional roles of women in Italian society.

In this episode, we discuss

  • why she chose to move to Peru to study chocolate
  • why education wasn’t what she wanted to pursue
  • why she became a chocolatier
  • how she unites work and travel
  • why she works and travels
  • what her favorite place on earth is
  • what it is like to be a woman abroad
  • what it is like to defy Italian norms and culture
  • what her inspiration is for food
  • why she chooses to backpack
  • what it is like to be a solo-female traveler
  • how she creates relationships with new friends
  • how she defines old relationships with friends
  • what travel provides her
  • what travel provides her
  • how she has grown and changed because of travel

 

E17- When I Travel, I Can Breath Again

Jen was my roommate in Peru while working at the chocolate shop and we quickly became close. The friends you meet on the road are a special breed- they see you at your most uncomfortable, your most scrappy and sometimes desperate because of the extremeness of living life abroad. While we were living together, Jen got her backpack stolen and I got painfully sick; we experienced each other at more overwhelming points that not even our own mothers would have known how to handle.

When you are abroad, you open yourself up to the curveballs of the world-testing your resourcefulness and perseverance. You don’t even know who you are in these situations or how you will respond. So, when you make friends who witness you at this simultaneously euphoric and tumultuous point in your life- and they still like you afterward- it is a bond like no other. These microwave moments weather your relationship because of experiencing each other in extremes. She understands a part of me that my oldest friends don’t.

In the episode, we discuss

  • how she unites work and travel
  • why she works and travels
  • what it is like to work and live on a cruise ship
  • what she likes about backpacking vs. cruise ships
  • how she was able to travel to six continents before the age of 25
  • what is on her travel bucket list
  • how she teaches English abroad
  • why she chooses to backpack
  • what it is like to be a solo-female traveler
  • how she creates relationships with new friends
  • how she defines old relationships with friends
  • why she chose to live and work in Hawaii
  • what her favorite place on earth is
  • what it is like to be a woman abroad
  • what her inspiration is with food
  • what travel provides her
  • how she has grown and changed because of travel

 

~*Bonus Episode*~

As someone who was prepared to go out and travel to every country, Graham knew that it wasn’t always going to be drinks on the beach and clubbing, but that he would be experiencing some severe social and economic disparities right at his feet and seeing that throughout the world. But there were things that not even he was prepared to expect, which is where we leave off.

In this mini-episode, we discuss

  • Is the world as dangerous as the news portrays it?
  • How the news makes people hysterical and skews perceptions about reality.
  • What is the true/original purpose of the news.
  • Why people are afraid to travel?
  • What kind of people do best when traveling
  • Is there a personality type for traveling?
  • What he learned while traveling the world.
  • Psychological terrorism

E16- Graham Hughes and the Four Year Odyssey

This episode touched upon EVERY country in the world with the man who has been to EVERY country in the world WITHOUT FLYING. We talk to Graham Hughes who has crossed every border, tasted every cuisine, and said hello in every language without ever getting on a plane.

He holds the Guinness World Record for visiting every United Nation recognized country by traveling by land and sea. Like a turtle, Graham carried his home on his back for the better part of four years over every sanctioned United Nations country.

In this episode, we discuss

  • What is it like to travel to every country in the world?
  • How was he able to travel to every country in the world?
  • Why did he choose to travel to every country in the world?
  • Is there a personality type for long distance traveling?
  • What has he learned about the world?
  • What has he learned about himself?
  • What country surprised him the most?
  • What are other travelers that inspire him?
  • Does travel augment one’s perception of time?
  • Does travel irradicate prejudice?
  • Why it is important to support women travelers.
  • What it is like to travel abroad.
  • How travel inspires his creative process.
  • How travel inspires his writing.

 

If you want to read all about his adventures you can check out his blog but if you want to hold the stories, adventures, and close encounters in your very own hands then you can pre-order his newest book “ Man of the World” through his website. I can’t wait to get mine!

E15- Life Made of Good Mistakes 

What would you do if everything you worked for- successful company, healthy body, living in a great city-was suddenly taken away from you? Many survive the setbacks of unpredictable chaos and unpleasant events and are able to return to a normal life. But what about those who not only get back to where they were at but grow even more? Who sees life for the fleeting opportunity that it is and take these setbacks as a challenge to grow? We call those people antifragile. Deano’s story is the quintessential example of being antifragile- living in LA, having a budding tech company, being at physical peak and then all of that was taken away when he got into a horrible accident.

After a year of physical therapy, instead of returning to the grind, he packed his bags and took full advantage of his newfound strength and the opportunity to do what he was never able to before. Deano bought a one-way ticket to Central America, lived abroad, learned Spanish, hiked erupting volcanos, jumped over waterfalls and experienced the robustness life has to offer.

In this episode, we discuss,

  • How he became an entrepreneur
  • How he got into a motorcycle accident
  • Why he chose to travel to Latin America
  • What it was like to hike volcanoes
  • What he learned from his accident
  • How he perceives his body- post accident
  • Why he wanted to learn spanish
  • What it was like to travel to Latin America
  • What it was like to live in Latin America
  • What his travels taught him
  • Listen to his stories and adventures while traveling through Latin America
  • His perspective on how the universe tests him

 

E14- “Beyond Langauge” 

I met Gaby while I was volunteering in a hostel in Costa Rica.  Born and raised in San Jose, Gaby thought she was going to go down the traditional path of education right into a career. However, her choice to work in a hostel, just to get some dinero on the side, has unintentionally challenged the way she thinks about her future.

 She has formed a new perspective on homeland by seeing it through the eyes of people who are experiencing it for the first time. She has become endlessly inspired by the travelers who wander in and out of her hostel who are far from home and perceive her normal to be vastly different. She strikes up a conversation with everyone, whether it is asking them questions about their explorations or native soil, guiding them to the bus station to their next destination, or cluing them in on where to get the best cup of coffee in San Jose. We would spend hours during the quiet afternoons of the hostel having little music jams while doing the daily chores. She would create a warm and welcoming space for every weary traveler who walked through the doors of Hostel Beku.

This seemingly innocuous job choice has forced her to question everything about what she was doing with her life. She has been given a hidden perspective of the ways travelers live and move on a day to day basis and has inspired her to get out of her comfort zone.   And with the help of her American beau, whom she met through pure random and romantic chance, she now has the motivation and ability to go and reach some of the places that once seemed untouchable.

Since I last spoke with Gaby she has been living up to her dreams. She quit her job and has been flying to and fro between America, Costa Rica and now parts of Europe where she’s always wanted to experience. I emailed her asking how she has enjoyed it and she says

Well to me is not traveling just for traveling, this a dream that I have had forever and it’s changing me as a person and teaching me so many different things about the world and myself. My expectations are living up to my dreams, especially the smallest and most simple moments give me the feeling I was looking for, walking down the streets of Rome and touching the walls with your fingers and taking it all in. I love it.

She currently has no plans for the future and is happy living her life day by day, or whenever the next fly benefits kick in.

In this episode, we discuss

  • How she met her American boyfriend
  • How she is able to maintain a long distance relationship
  • The cultural differences between dating someone from America
  • What she went to school for
  • What working at the hostel has taught her
  • Why she wants to travel
  • What it is like to date someone from another country
  • How she gets fly benefits
  • How she learned English
  • What life is like growing up in Costa Rica

E13- “What’s Meant for You Won’t Pass You By”

Sara and I also met at the hostel in San Jose, Costa Rica where she was working at a program that teaches English to locals.  Sara says exactly what’s on her mind and has a specific pep about her that is emulated by the bounce in her curly red hair.

Although far from Scotland, Costa Rica was not her first rodeo. As a well-traveled woman, she is attuned to the complexities and subtleties of new places and is thrilled by how vastly different locations in the world can share so many similarities, exposing the elegant simplicity of our earth. This love of learning combined with a travel competition she has with her brothers keeps her on the move. She strives for a genuine travel experience and is not interested in seeing a new terrain through a window, she wants to get her feet on the ground, breath the air, and chat up anyone that comes her way. Here is her story.

In this podcast episode, we discuss

  • What it is like to work abroad
  • What it is like to teach English abroad
  • Why she took a CELTA Course to teach English
  • What it is like to live in Costa Rica
  • What it is like to live abroad  
  • What it is like to live in a different culture
  • What it is like to have a travel competition with her brothers
  • What it is like and what she has learned to have traveled to 40+ countries
  • What are the similarities and differences between humans she has found by traveling to 40+countries
  • What it is like to travel through the Middle East as a solo female traveler
  • What it is like to be a solo female traveler
  • What it is like to travel far from home

 

If you are interested in teaching English aborad and are from the UK, here is the program Sara did so she can teach English anywhere in the world!

http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/teaching-english/teaching-qualifications/celta/

 

E12- “The Dive Master”

Since we parted in Costa Rica she has continued to bounce around the world, going from teaching in New Zealand to being a Divemaster on a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, where she was residing when we had this conversation.

It reminds me of the planet the Little Prince lives on, taking only 15 minutes to walk around the entire floating piece of land, gently bobbing in the middle of the sea. She has become enamored with the discoveries of the underwater world, one that mirrors the great depth she finding within herself.

In this episode, we discuss

  • How she chose to live in Costa Rica
  • Why she left London to travel the world
  • Why she abandoned a publishing career to start her own business
  • What friendship is like when you are away
  • How families handle long distance travel
  • Defining moments of friendship
  • How it is like to make friends abroad
  • How to live abroad for years
  • How she got turned onto diving
  • How she finds community abroad
  • What it is like to explore the ocean
  • How it is like to have your own online business
  • What it is like to live out of the conventional life
  • What it is like to live around the world
  • What it is like to work around the world
  • What it is like to be location independent
  • What it is like to teach English abroad
  • What it is like to be a solo female traveler

 

 

Episode 11 “Life Without Laughter Is Not Worth Living”

Caryn and I bumped paths while still working in a hostel in Costa Rica. She is hard to miss between her immeasurable height, voice, and personality to match. As boisterous as her presence is, she is attracted to the relaxed, Caribbean sway that is hard to come by in frigid Minnesota. I bring her on initially to tell a regional American joke that I had never heard before. This is a little snapshot of the energy and playfulness that is bouncing out of her and I will let it speak for itself.

In this podcast episode, we discuss
-What it is like to live in Minnesota
-Why she travels to Costa Rica
-What the Pura Vida life provides her
-Her favorite food in Costa Rica
-What are Lina and Oli jokes?
-Where did Lina and Oli jokes originate?
-Why are these jokes so damn weird?

Lena and Ole jokes became popularized around the 1940’s in the Northern Midwestern states of America. They are born from the Norwegian and Swedish immigrants who landed in the US, playfully making fun of their cultural misunderstandings in their new homes and cooling tensions between the immigrants and locals. I loved that I had to go all the way to Costa Rica to discover these jokes that are coveted by an entire group of people who share my nationality.

By meeting Caryn you can understand how these innocuous, teetering between raunchy and wholesome jokes have molded her springy light on life, I didn’t get to spend too much time with her, yet her laugh is still vibrating within me.

 

Episode 10 ” A Year Filled with Sun”

I met Tina, from Finland, while making breakfast for the travelers at hostel Beku in Costa Rica.

My main job while volunteering at the hostel was to make breakfast for all of the guests and other volunteers, which was nice to be creative and cook in the quiet puts vida mornings- alone with my thoughts as I sliced pineapple and mixed generic pancake mix in water.

A slender girl about my age, always wearing tights and a loose fitting prismatic tee shirt would typically be the first to come in and make tea. She was cute with bobbed brown hair and eyelashes that fluttered off of her eyes like that naturally framed and darkened her eyes without mascara. Now I usually hate talking in the mornings, but with her conversations came naturally.

When I’m in the place I live in, I’m typically an introvert and desire silence, but I would force myself to wake up and interact with this girl.

“What are you doing up so early? I hate being up at this hour.”

“ I have started doing yoga, it helps my back.”

Of course, you do, I thought to myself. Every white girl comes to Costa Rica to yoga.

But it was nice to have some company as I whipped up the pineapple juice off the counter and added cinnamon to the pancake batter.

“Where are you from?” I asked unable to specifically identify her accent.

“Finland.” She replied

After emerging from my introverted turtle shell I said, “Omg, you are far from home!” and couldn’t stop asking her questions about her homelife.

She was the first person I had ever met from Finland, and I was fascinated with why she chose and what it was like to be in an environment so far from one that completely contradicted her home life.

Tina needed to find a place that was a 180 from her 9 months of snow, before becoming complacent with her beautifully simplistic life above the arctic circle. She decided to go and explore a climate and people on the other end of the world away from her reindeer eating folks men. Flying in with a come what may attitude, Tina has not been disappointed with the challenges she has faced and exposure to new perspectives that have blossomed within her in a warmer world without snow. This trip has generated great reflection and better understanding about who she is fundamentally, and how she wants to construct the scaffolding of her future.  

In this podcast episode, we discuss

  • What it is like to live above the arctic circle.
  • The psychological and social aspects of being in darkness.
  • Why she chose to travel to Costa Rica.
  • What she has learned about herself while traveling.
  • What life in Finland is like.
  • What it is like to live in a world dominated by snow.
  • How to socialize with Finnish people.
  • How to cook reindeer.
  • The self-growth she has experience from travel.
  • How to tell really bad jokes in Finish- spoiler alert- they hate talking.

 

Episode 9 “Searching for Self”

This interview chose to stay nameless so we will call him David. I met David while visiting Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. He was working as a yoga instructor at a beautiful hostel overlooking the edge of the lake.

I haggardly arrived late at night after a 3-hour whiplash of a ride through the Guatemalan mountains and then nearly missing the last boat out to the lake. I unexpectedly walked into a rambunctious game of trivia, employees vs guests, which I thought I would skip out of. But I somehow got roped onto the employee team, and David’s kinetic energy picked me right back up as we ruthlessly played against the other teams.

I was immediately taken aback by his next level trivia and memory skills. Ostensibly, David comes off with this bouncy, warm energy, like he’s running on 14 cups of coffee. However, meditation and yoga seem to be the perfect activity to channel and ground his ebullience. David has had quite the journey traveling the world, which is lead by his desire to deepen his yoga practice.

I think the part that made me feel so comfortable so quickly with David was the fact that he also didn’t really know what he was doing, and I felt comfortable enough to speak very openly about my lack of direction with him.

In our interview, he talks about how he has always had an aversion to office jobs, like entering the conventional work force would be his modern day Sisyphus, it being a means to an end. To push up the proverbial rock would have crushed the creativity inside of him.

He searched for different forms of creativity and expression but began to take a toll on his body

So he said fuck it.

I participated in a few of his outside classes, his lesson seemed to absorb the sceneries elements, through motion, we channeled the energy of the volcanos around us, while he simultaneously pushed us to find inner stillness as calm and deep as the lake. As a socially silly person, he takes his yoga classes very seriously.

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