This site contains the archives of my travel blogs from 2010-2016.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend Roundup


Interesting articles and other specimens abound online this week; here's a taste of what caught my eye.
There's something for everyone here!

1. Trial of former Guatemalan president for genocide >> For the first time in history, a former head of state has been put on trial - and then convicted - of genocide by his own country's court system.  This op-ed in The Globalist was written by Laura Myers of Limitless Horizons Ixil. Laura was our guide and an ambassador from the Ixil community when I traveled to Guatemala with Belmont University in March 2012. Having lived for over a year and a half with the Ixil people in the remote highlands of central Guatemala, Laura's knowledge, experience, and empathy inform her unique perspective on this remarkable event in local, national, and world history.

photo credit: Eric Johansson

Swedish Photoshop expert creates mind-bending images

French-Namibian girl grows up napping with cheetahs, riding ostriches - incredible photos!

4. Finland's contribution to online shopping: Buy anything you see online! - Cool Helsinki-based company Kiosked makes advertising less annoying and more enjoyable for shoppers.  Read about it in the Huffington Post.

5. "Struggle is progress" - A young mother bares her heart as she chronicles the joys and challenges of raising her two small children.  The genuine emotion and thoughts she shares are a beautiful part of the human experience.

6. "The unbearable beauty of Finnish grammar".  Believe it or not, after living here for 8 months, I've actually started speaking Finnish - real conversations!  Even arguments.  I had to aggressively defend American cuisine the other day when some guy tried to blanket-statement American food is bad ... because he ate bad Mexican-style food from an "American" restaurant in Helsinki (where Finns manager and cook).  The parent company might actually have ties to America.  And I had all the words to set him straight in Finnish!

For all the warnings that you get about this being the most difficult language in the world, it's really not that bad.   I have found Russian most challenging so far.  

7. '13 Bankers', Financialization, and the Economy.  This was posted about 3 years ago, but the message is still incredibly relevant!  Let this be a foreshadowing of one of my newest and most exciting projects.  If you find this topic interesting, stay tuned!

photo: Cata Portin
8.  Philosophy of life: Insight & Inspiration with one of Finland's most loved philosophers. He also happens to be a researcher and lecturer at my university.  I had lunch with Esa one day; he's a brilliant and lovely man.  He's also my neighbor, and by some funny coincidence, I now live in the apartment he used to own - where he raised his kids.  Here's a paper on elevated reflection that serves as a great introduction to his work and passion!
If you've ever been to Finland, you understand how brilliantly Esa stands out!

9. What the World Eats in a Week. This is a super neat photograph collection of families around the world, surrounded by everything they eat in a typical week.  Highlights: I was astounded by the volume of what the German family drinks compared to all others.  I was also horrified by the minuscule 1/12th of the British table that contained unprocessed, fresh edibles.  Mexico appears to adore Coca-Cola; Guatemalans have insanely red tomatoes; bananas / plantains must be in every Ecuadorian dish.  Based on this table analysis, I should probably move to Turkey or Italy.  
Bhutan - photo: Peter Menzel

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

"The internet is where people are."


"One year ago I left the internet. I thought it was making me unproductive. I thought it lacked meaning. I thought it was 'corrupting my soul.' It's a been a year now since I "surfed the web" or "checked my email" or "liked" anything with a figurative rather than literal thumbs up. I've managed to stay disconnected, just like I planned. I'm internet free. And now I'm supposed to tell you how it solved all my problems. I'm supposed to be enlightened. I'm supposed to be more 'real,' now. More perfect.  But instead ..."  - Paul Miller

If you’re like me, you’ve found that constantly updated web content is the archenemy of productivity. You may have struggled through the past decade of an increasingly web-based lifestyle, trying to find the right balance between living in the real and virtual worlds.  As a perpetual traveler, I go through phases of intensive internet usage in an attempt to maintain relationships with family and friends on the other side of the globe.  At other times, I disappear from the net completely, leaving loved ones to ponder my e-footprints while I’m off cavorting with indigenous peoples in the depths of yet-to-be-networked hinterlands.

These profound changes of environment have turned me into an "all or nothing" internet user.  It's either completely absent and irrelevant to my lifestyle - or I'm constantly connected.  And I've been all too connected during my past eight months in grad school.

When I read Paul Miller’s story, a lot of his motivation to leave the internet resonated with me.  But by the end of his odyssey-like essay, I was convinced that my presence and interactions online are a largely positive force in my life and for others.  The internet is where people are.  I have a passion for encouraging people; if I hope to make the most of this gift, I need to be where people are.
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