Tag Archives: Sarah

Lesson Learned from Friends on the Road

  • You should always bring some of the clothes you love and rely on (Nellie) but should also buy/bring some basic stuff you don’t mind giving away (Rhiannon)
  • Of course, don’t be “that guy” who just gives away all their broken/dirty junk: give away the things you love, and it’ll come back to you (Deirdre)
  • Just do it, magn/There’s nothing you can do about it now, so have fun/shoes are lame (unless someone steals yours)/spend your nights under the stars (Kristina)
  • There is no right way to experience a country, so just do what makes you happy in the moment, and if you enjoyed the time while you spent it you can’t look back with regret (Abby)
  • Bring a book or two, and trade them away for others when you’re done.  After all, on the road, a new story is worth more than one you already know, and can easily find again (Emma)
  • If you really are the “whatever” person (like Avi The Army Guy or Julie The Yoga Girl) trust that everyone knows that already, and let them come to you if they want to know more (Julie and Avi. Duh.)
  • Bring all-purpose items, and travel speakers (Laurel, aka Leslie)
  • Don’t lend people your Coach/Ignore all negativity (Aliesha)
  • Be unapologetically ridiculous and enthusiastic, and you’re bound to make friends.  Even if you don’t, you’re probably already having a ton of fun (Brit and Kristina)
  • Sometimes the cost of something “lent” is worth the friendship or the conversation you get in exchange (Britito)
  • Really listen, and remember people (Nellie, Laurel, Julie)
  • Sometimes being the butt of the joke is the best way to put everyone at ease, and the quickest way to gain friends (Gumby)
  • Lack of language doesn’t mean lack of communication (Mike)
  • You can sweet-talk your way into (and out of) anything (Pasha Daoud)
  • You’re always surrounded by a million memorable moments waiting to happen (Allyson)
  • Trust strangers (Dylan and Taylor)
  • Always ask the parents before you give kids something, especially candy–and make sure you have enough to go around (Lori)
  • Don’t let anyone (or anything) hold you back from what you want to see or accomplish (Falconer)
  • Just eat it (Brit, Rhiannon and Falconer)
  • Be humble; laugh at yourself; always be learning (Janine)
  • Keep an open mind and try to put things into context.  Also, always have a notebook and pen (Ilham)
  • Even if you don’t have the words, you can always make friends with your talent (Justino y Míles)
  • Laugh and smile and you will make friends (Diana)
  • Ask questions (Julie–like you don’t know which!)
  • Always have a scarf and a sweater (Marisa and Cynthia)
  • Always bring at least one or two things that make you look hot–you never know (Sarah)
  • Packing is for overachievers (Erin)
  • Relax.  When the bus breaks down, have a photoshoot! play cards! work on your tan! (Profe)
  • When you don’t have something, whether it’s an object or a skill: outsource (Kate)
  • A good friend is always there for you, no matter the distance or time difference (Alex)

What are your best lessons, from travel or otherwise?  What have the people around you showed you?

Ethics

One argument against online journalism as a legitimate means of reporting is the idea of ethics, from fact-checking to use of sources.  While many of the best blogs are essentially annotated with links, even (or rather, especially) heavy hitters like p-trunk have trouble with the intersection of their blog and their personal life.

If you are someone who posts often, and who is widely read, you will eventually have to tell the people in your life about the blog.  How does one do that, and how long should they wait?  In the meantime, what is off limits to write about?

When I first started this blog I left out all names, although anyone close to me could tell who I was talking about.  after a year or so I started getting complaints from close friends about never being in the blog, so I started putting names in.  I also found it cumbersome to refer to all 25 of the Egypt Dialoguers anonymously all the time, especially for something a benign as, “so Sarah, Alex, Janine and I went to lunch and…” especially since those sentences usually end with, “…they all said brilliant things that inspired the following post.”

If you write, has this been your experience?  Do people want shout-outs?

Where is the line when you write, almost daily, about the people in your life?  Who is off limits?  Which conversations are “off the record’?

What do you think?  Should I have strict rules for writing about other people?  What sort of advance notice can people reasonably expect if I’m going to write about them?

Regardless of whether you’re a journalism student, a fellow blogger, or just a thoughtful reader, I would love to get your thoughts on this topic.  I’ll be posting my amorphous personal philosophy on the subject later.

Coming Out Party

I’m going to Cuba.  For a semester.  Starting pretty much right after New Year’s.

Surprise!

Sorry I’ve kept this way on the dl, for reasons both personal and logical.  I didn’t know if I would be allowed to apply, I didn’t know if I would get accepted, and I didn’t know if the trip would actually happen.

Even more surprising, is that this idea has been around for a while.  A little more than a year ago I mentioned it casually to my dad, who I assumed would shoot it down.  I should have known better.  As much as dad is always getting all worked up and worried that I’ll get myself into some sort of trouble with my curious, opinionated rabble-rousing ways, I know that we’re basically the same person.  Which means that he wishes he could go to Cuba too.

Since then, the idea was in the back of my mind.  After Egypt I knew I wouldn’t be staying in this country long, but due to co-op I would have to stay at least six months.  I casually mentioned the idea to a few friends as a “someday” possibility at the end of the summer, but then I let it drop.

One Thursday, I panicked and thought the deadline for Cuba was closer than it turned out to be.  At the idea of not being able to go, I suddenly realized the myriad reasons why I absolutely NEED to go.  By that Tuesday I had applied.

Since then it’s been my bizarro little secret, with only Sarah, Alex, Marisa and my immediate family in the loop.  I saw no reason to get everyone all worked up if I didn’t get in.  But now I’m going.  So there!

I feel like this is a press conference.  But given the last sentence of the previous paragraph, a press conference for a toddler.

I want this blog to be a lot more interactive.  I love travel, politics, language and culture, but I also love education.  I love educating myself and I love the act of spreading knowledge, which is a big part of why I started this blog.  Many of you will never go to Cuba or Egypt, or any third (or second!) world country.  But I will.  So much of what we hear about these places is misunderstood, over-simplified or flat-out false.

So live vicariously through me.  Leave comments with your questions.  Do you think I’ll be safe?  Do you think I’ll be able to send/receive mail?  Do you think people will hate us there?  Do you think people will speak English?  I want your impressions of Cuba.  Does it make you think of Scarface and cigars, or Hunter S. Thompson and rum?

I promise to answer the questions, especially the safety one.  I already know answers to some of them (especially the safety one!) but I would love to hear your impressions of Cuba, whether they’re based on books and movies or our President and the news.