All posts tagged: culture

Confessions of a Jetsetter w/ Lili Lopez

“2013, I was traveling across West Africa with my mom visiting family. Car rapides after car rapides, making key stops here and there, rediscovering our country like we’d never been here before. We curiously roamed with a different set of eyes, with a different sense of purpose. From Mali to Senegal, a little bit of Gambia, our trip quickly turned into a month. We now had 2 weeks left and Guinea-Bissau was our last stop. I could spend 10 more hours describing the village that welcomed us, but instead I’m just going to jump straight to the ending of this trip. For 10 days, they fed us, gave us a place to sleep, shared their bed, prepared “Ataya” for us, and taught us expecting nothing in return. “Let’s buy a cow for the village before we leave,” my mom said. To tell you the truth, even 10 cows wouldn’t have been enough to make up for their level of hospitality. The chief declined our offer at first, he is not the “give to get” type …

Confessions of a Jetsetter w/ Austin Willis

“Morocco…there’s still so much I want to see of the country. It’s refreshing to get away and kinda be off the grid and fully live in the moment. The food and people are amazing as well. The people of Morocco made me feel at home. I think it’s also due to the fact they thought I was Moroccan so I got a really unique perspective when I was there. A few people allowed me into their homes to meet their families and enjoy conversations about life over some delicious mint tea.“ – Austin Willis // @visualsbywillis   Photo by Hanif Castle    

Confessions of a Jetsetter w/ Eli Fola

“I traveled to Montreal, Canada in 2014 for the first time ever with a band I used to be in. My band mates and I got to perform at a festival in Québec, Montreal, known as the Orientalys Festival. Québec is the French part of Canada and most people there don’t speak English. So, it was really difficult to communicate with the locals because I don’t understand or speak French and neither did any of my friends. Communicating with the audience we performed for was also a challenge due to the language barrier however, the trip was still an amazing experience. This particular journey was significant to me because I got to explore a city outside of my comfort zone and enjoyed so much amazing food. I tried Poutine for the first time and Oh My! Oh My! Haha, it was so delicious, I had to order more! The city was also super clean compared to New York and I got to hang out with locals and played on a big stage. The trip made …

Confessions of a Jetsetter w/ Deepa Paul

“I am a product of two very chaotic and colorful cultures: Indian and Filipino. But after living in Amsterdam for five years, I was surprised to realize while packing my summer wardrobe for a trip to Sicily, that everything in my suitcase was black, white or gray! I keep it that way so it’s easy to mix and match. But color is too deeply rooted in me, so I always accessorize with a flash of color—bright red sandals, hot pink lipstick, a glittery bag. My outfits are comfortable and unfussy, but put-together and feminine. I wear a lot of dresses and skirts. I have always struggled with my weight, but when I became a mother, I finally embraced my body. I prefer outfits that subtly show off and hug my curves, without being explicitly sexual. My culture prizes femininity and modesty, so no matter how my style evolves I feel I will always have that in me.” Deepa Paul   About Deepa Paul Deepa Paul is the wanderer behind Currystrumpet, a blog filled with stories …

Confessions of a Jetsetter w/ Raaja Nemani

“I trekked in the Himalayas for two weeks in May 2009. Normally, people do this in large tour groups, but I ended up doing this alone with a guide named Prakash. Prakash and I got to know each other very well hiking for 12 hours a day and since I was on my own, at nights he would take me into the homes of various Nepalis and Tibetans who lived in the mountains to tell stories, drink rice wine/whiskey, and laugh … a lot. I learned that Prakash and I were the exact same age at that time, 27 years old. But while I was in the middle of a trip backpacking around the world, Prakash worked in the mountains 7 days/week so he could make enough money to send home to his wife and two kids in Kathmandu. Near the end of the trip, as we were descending, Prakash mentioned to me very casually that I was lucky. I asked him what he meant, and he said that I was lucky to be doing …

The Road Home: Marching from Selma to Montgomery

One plane. Two feet. Three breaths. Four different thoughts flickering back and forth like a light bulb spiraling out of energy. Step after step after step definitions of purpose circle my brain as I move from point A to B, trepidation to resolve. I had been tapped by the State of Alabama and the National Park Service to partake in their 50th Anniversary Walking Classroom where 300 people from across all U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, would congregate and reenact the historic Selma to Montgomery March for voting rights – 54 miles for five days straight. We would learn and document firsthand experiences from some of the original foot soldiers, like Dr. Bernard Lafayette and Dr. Frederick D. Reese who walked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965, and I was afraid of debasing a legacy that made relatively cold, still gravel appear like shiny rose petals beneath my feet. This was holy ground, and I was sullied in this matrimony of thought as freedom of choice is something that I’ve tasted all my …

The Curious Case of Beauty

When it comes to the concept of beauty, I was raised from the neck up as a “smart symbol” and as a result, have always had a disjointed connection to my psychically as a point of entry to celebrate. Growing up, I found beauty in all forms of art including paintings, literature and music as well as through genuinely connecting with people and ideas outside of my general perspective. Beauty was always an experience, never quite a destination. I almost always found beauty particularly striking in two extremes – belly-aching laughter and painstaking vulnerability – expressions and emotions that could never be concealed behind any set of eyes. My confidence came from my intellectual awkwardness and although I had a brief moment during school days where I was teased because I was too tall, too skinny, my lips too big, my eyes too far apart, my gap in my teeth too wide, I never dutifully placed a value in those moments because I lived inside my head and subsequently fought back against my bullies with …

Confessions of a Jetsetter w/ Alyse Liebovich

“In 2009 I was offered an irresistible opportunity to spend a month in Tanzania photographing the grassroots beginnings of what has now evolved into Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic/WAVE, an organization aiming to build a floating hospital ship to provide ongoing medical services for the people living in the four countries that border the lake: Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Zambia. I had done a decent amount of traveling both in the U.S. and abroad, but I knew when I boarded the frighteningly small plane to transport us from Dar es Salaam to the remote lakeside sustainable organic farm we called home, I was about to embark on a whole new adventure. During that month, I celebrated World Malaria Day in Korongwe, participated in a mosquito net delivery via boat to several villages, spontaneously boarded the famous Liemba in the middle of the night, and fulfilled a lifelong dream of going on safari in Katavi National Park, where I got choked up when I first spotted giraffes in the wild amidst the …

Confessions of a Jetsetter w/ Amy Zhao

“North Korea is one of the most mysterious places on earth right now. The experience of going to North Korea has already been the best pick-up line of mine for months. Not only because it sounds intriguing in conversation, but also, it taught me a lot because I would never have believed there is still a country like this without actually getting into it. As a student who majors in politics, the concept of third wave democratization is deeply rooted in my mind. But, North Korea changed my idea and my whole concept of the world. The concept of political culture didn’t actually exist in North Korea because there is basically zero citizens’ participation in politics. Citizens accept the political facts and they are living under a relatively stable situation apart from the outside world. What they care about are their daily lives instead of political issues. As far as I could see, the life standards in North Korea are like those of the Chinese in the 1960s/1970s. But changes to their lifestyles and political systems …