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WINTER 2015

On the cover: Guests marvel at the brilliant aurora borealis near Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. Photo courtesy of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

92 95 96

Happenings: Painting the Town Red Escapades: Underground Cities Staff Essay: Seven Million Lights Parting Shot: Payson Canyon, Utah

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10

12 14 16

20 Rest, Recharge, and Rejuvenate Exploring the “American Riveria” River Cruising, Viking Style Sledding through a Finnish Wonderland

Features

  6

Editor’s Note: One More Thing

Getaways

  5

28 34 40

Hidden Treasures: An Archaelogical Adventure Migrations throughout Texas Navigating to the Northern Lights Tying the Knot: Weddings around the World


58 60

Living Free in NYC

Burning Man Four Corners of the Kitchen: Saffron

Biblioparadise Found: Hay-on-Wye, Wales

The Purrrfect Catmosphere

66 68

Chasing Che

70

Megan Nelson: Dreaming to Africa

74 77 79

Dingle Peninsula: The Slea Head Drive

Days for Girls Photo Contest Tales from the Trip

Insider

Dîner en Blanc

Field Notes

Culture

Photo by Veikko Wahlroos

48 51 54

64

82

Travel Networking from Your Phone

83 84

Backpacking Your Way

86

Traveling Without the Kitchen Sink

88

The Expanding World of Languages in Slovakia

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Frugal Flying: Working the Airline Ticket System

War No More

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 3


Natalie Cherie Campbell

Aimee Robbins

Natalie Browning

Hannah Vinchur

Amanda Seeley

Associate Editor

Copyeditor

Madeline Greenhalgh

Managing Editor

Assistant Managing Editor

Katie Cutler

Rebecca Hamson

Amelia Wallace

Ashley Holmes

Weston Goggins

Rosalyn Helps

Senior Editor

Senior Editor

Art Director

Assistant Art Director

Advertising Director

Senior Designer

Jessica Reschke

Amanda Smith

Erin Willder

Marvin Gardner

Design Advisor

Editorial Advisor

Editor in Chief

Publisher

Assistant Managing Editor

Copyeditor

Web Team: *Rosalyn Helps, Katie Cutler, Natalie Browning Social Media Team: *Hannah Vinchur, Madeline Greenhalgh, Amelia Wallace, Ashley Holmes, Aimee Robbins Advertising Team: *Weston Goggins, Amanda Seeley, Rebecca Hamson *Team Leader Web Advisor: Jarom McDonald

© 2014 Marvin K. Gardner 4045 JFSB, Brigham Young University Provo, Utah 84602 Printed by Brigham Young University Press

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Stowaway is produced as a project for English Language 430R, Editing for Publication, the capstone class of the editing minor at Brigham Young University. All staff m ​ embers contributed to planning, writing, editing, designing, and advertising. The views expressed in this publication are solely the views of the authors and do not represent the views or opinions of BYU. Stowaway takes inspiration from the words of Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Photography by Kenyon Brook Photography

Social Media Advisor: Laura Jackson-Nava


editor’s note

One More Thing Still jetlagged from my flight home from Paris, I sat down on the couch to read a book. My five-year-old brother, Jason, quickly crawled into my lap and opened up a thin purple book he had checked out from the library. It was titled Miss Rumphius. I began reading about Alice, who lived in a harbor town dotted with snow-covered brick buildings. Alice’s grandfather was an artist in the town, and she loved listening to his stories as they painted in his basement shop. Jason, intently focused on the words, flipped the page and I read, “In the evening Alice sat on her grandfather’s knee and listened to his stories of faraway places. When he finished, Alice would say, ‘when I grow up, I too will go to faraway places, and when I grow old, I too will live beside the sea.’ ‘That is all very well, little Alice,’ said her grandfather, ‘but there is a third thing you must do.’ ‘What is that?’ asked Alice. ‘You must do something to make the world more beautiful,’ said her grandfather. ‘All right,’ said Alice. But she did not know what that could be.” Like Alice, it was a story that made me broaden my horizons. I was reading Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery when Katherine Brooke, an orphan and poor teacher, remembered an old picture from her childhood saying, “It was a picture of

palms around a spring in the desert, with a string of camels marching away in the distance. It literally fascinated me. I’ve always wanted to go and find it . . . I want to see the Southern Cross and the Taj Mahal and the pillars of Karnak. I want to know . . . not just believe . . . that the world is round.” Since first reading those words as a child, I have dreamt of faraway places and saved my pennies until I could board a plane for the first time. Deplaning 13 hours later, each step was the impetus of a new adventure, including being chased by a goat on England’s Scafell Pike, skinny-dipping in the English Channel off the Isle of Wight, and dancing to Parisian bands on the Rue Saint-Antoine. Another trip brought me face to face with a sea turtle in Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay and the reverent resting place of almost 1,000 souls at Pearl Harbor. Yet, it was upon coming home and reading Miss Rumphius to my little brother that I finally realized that seeing the world and returning home were only two-thirds of the story. As I continued reading to Jason, I read that Alice, now known as Miss Rumphius, took her adventures to faraway places, finally returning to a little house by the sea. “Miss Rumphius was almost perfectly happy,” I read. “‘But there is still one more thing I have to do,’ she said. But what? ‘The

world already is pretty nice . . .’” Being a part of Stowaway, I have had the unique chance to make my adventures come to life on the written page. By recording the intricacies of culture and travel, the Stowaway staff is attempting to take our experiences and create a more whole and lovely world picture for others. And whether you’re at home waiting to begin your adventure, traveling to your own faraway places, or home again having just returned, this issue of Stowaway hopes to inspire you to dream bigger, go farther, and dig deeper. In this issue you’ll read about Megan Nelson’s dream-come-true adventure working in Africa with Jane Goodall (page 70) and how Alexis Jensen found her perfect collection of stories in a town nearly made of books (page 60). You’ll be transported to places you haven’t yet dreamed of, like the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland (page 16) or the cat cafés that invite the quirky and cuddly adventurer (page 63). You’ll learn how to dig for extraordinary experiences like Juan Pinto who became an archaeologist in Petra (page 20) or by simply moving underground to what lies beneath the typical tourist radar (page 92). But above all, here at Stowaway we hope that our stories will not only inspire new dreams and adventures, but also move you to “do something to make the world more beautiful” when you return home again.

Natalie Cherie Campbell Managing Editor

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Red

Painting the Town Chinese New Year Celebrations around the World Chinese New Year, a holiday steeped in folklore and tradition, originated from an ancient Chinese legend. As the story goes, the beginning of each New Year brought the Nian, a terrible beast that preyed on livestock and villagers alike. After much suffering, the villagers discovered that the Nian feared loud noises and the color red, so on the first day of the New Year, they lit firecrackers and red lanterns, and hung red paper throughout their village. From that day on, the Nian never plagued the villagers again. To this day, red lanterns line the streets of China and fireworks light the night sky every New Year as people celebrate the triumph over the terrible Nian. Friends and family greet each other with traditional adages, such as “Kung hei fat choy,” which literally means, “Congratulations, make money” or “May you always be prosperous.” These celebratory conventions, however, have been supplemented with newer, unique traditions as people around the world put their own twist on Chinese New Year.

—Katie Cutler

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Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Vancouver, British Columbia As the Chinese are gathering around the dinner table to celebrate the New Year, the Scots are celebrating the birth of the heralded Scottish poet Robert Burns with a traditional Scottish supper. These two distinctive cultures blend together in Vancouver, giving birth to this city’s own unique holiday: Gung Haggis Fat Choy. Instigated by ChineseCanadian Todd Wong (known by his friends as Toddish McWong), this immensely popular event includes the customary Scottish feast and show with a Chinese twist: haggis spring rolls and kilted lion dancers are distinguishing features at this event.

Ms. Chinatown Pageant San Francisco, California

San Francisco is home to the largest Chinese New Year parade outside of the Asian continent. But in addition to this stunning display, viewers can attend the annual Ms. Chinatown Pageant. Girls of Chinese descent from around the nation compete for the privilege of being ambassadors for the Chinese community throughout the coming new year. Participants blend traditional Chinese and American folk dances and music for a night of multicultural celebration.

Photo by Kronis

happenings


happenings

London, England

Compartmentalized Break Dance Group

During the Chinese New Year, London takes on an oriental feel as many of its world-renowned landmarks are transformed in honor of the holiday. Trafalgar Square is home to a dazzling stage show, while Madame Tussauds Wax Museum lights up London with statues of Chinese stars like Jackie Chan. But the city’s brightest sight might be the London Eye, the famed Ferris wheel, which towers 443 feet (135 meters) above the River Thames. During the Chinese New Year it is decked in red and gold lights, colors that traditionally symbolize joy and prosperity.

The Chinese word for break dancing is 霹靂舞 pīlìwu, literally meaning “thunder dancing.” During the Chinese New Year, thunder strikes Sydney in the form of Compartmentalized, a break dance group composed of some of the best dancers from Australia and China. Dancing is an essential aspect of Chinese celebrations, but augments tradition with its own unique flair. In Sydney’s Stalker Theatre, these dancers celebrate through their inventive movements and a high-energy atmosphere.

London Eye

Sydney, Australia

Underwater Lion Dances Sentosa, Singapore

No Chinese New Year celebration would be complete without the vibrant and raucous lion dance. Traditionally, the loud drums and deafening cymbals were used to chase away evil spirits. The S.E.A. Aquarium in Sentosa, Singapore, has put an aquatic spin on this ancient tradition—a team of divers dazzle spectators with graceful underwater lion dances.

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Getaways 10

Rest, Recharge, and Rejuvenate

12

Exploring the “American Riviera”

14

River Cruising, Viking Style

16

Sledding through a Finnish Wonderland

Make the most of your next weekend getaway in one of Utah’s trendiest cities. Whether by sea, by foot, or by wheel, adventure awaits in Santa Barbara, California. Explore towns all over the world in a unique and fun way by taking a river cruise.

Sick of the cold? You won’t be after this enchanting getaway in Kakslauttanen, Finland.

Skiers can enjoy the great fells of Saariselkä just minutes from the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. Photo courtesy of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

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10 â–ś winter 2015

Photo by Eric R. Ward. All rights reserved.


getaways

Rest, Recharge, and Rejuvenate This winter, experience a more relaxing side of Park City. It’s been a long day shredding powder on Park City’s world-famous ski slopes, and you’re exhausted from just one too many runs. You take off your skis and stumble back to your hotel, trying not to wince from sore calves and triceps. You’re too exhausted to think of anything but relaxing—and you’re in luck. In addition to its renowned indie film screenings and star-studded parties, Park City is the perfect place for a winter recharge full of high-end spa treatments, massages, yoga, and healthy eating. Next time you need a vacation from your vacation, consider any of the following options to help you return home feeling rejuvenated.

Massage and Spa

Park City is home to dozens of spas and massage companies, and there is something for everyone. If you can’t handle any more time in a cramped hotel room, the luxury spa at the Stein Eriksen Lodge is a legendary splurge and is one of only 30 spas in the world to receive a Forbes Five-Star rating. If you’re looking for something slightly less expensive, try a deep

tissue or Native American hot stone massage at Aura Spa and Boutique, an eco-friendly spa located on historic Main Street. Or if you would rather have your massage come to you, there are reputable home massage businesses, like Now and Zen Massage, that can send a massage therapist straight to your door.

Yoga

Yoga has long been touted for its restorative benefits, and Park City yogis can hold their own with the best practitioners. The Yoga Kula Project, located at the Westgate Park City Resort & Spa at the Canyons Ski Resort, offers a variety of highlyrecommended yoga classes. Classes include everything from beginnerlevel flows to Bikram-style hot yoga, which is taught in a room heated between 90 and 110° F. According to proponents of hot yoga, this increases flexibility and allows the body to sweat out as many toxins as possible. Park City Yoga Adventures, a separate company, offers yoga expeditions for the more adventurous vacationer—you can practice your poses on paddleboards in the

10,000-year-old Homestead Crater or snowshoe through the wilderness to a yoga yurt.

Healthy Eating

No winter recharge would be complete without delicious and nutritious food to fuel the difficult work of relaxation. At Booster Juice (located on Bonanza Drive), you can get your fit on with a veggie juice or wheatgrass shot. Or whet your sweet tooth with a delectable fruit smoothie and vegan pastry. If you feel that your nutrition and fitness regimens need a bigger boost, the Westgate Park City Resort & Spa hosts an all-inclusive fitness retreat. The retreat includes nutrition education and award-winning weight loss camps for those who want to stick around for more than a few days. Whatever your reasons for visiting Park City, taking time to recharge while there is a worthwhile investment. Make time for a massage, a little yoga, and some scrumptious healthy snacks, and you just might return home a happier, healthier version of yourself.

—Amanda Seeley

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Exploring the

“American Riviera”

By Sea

The miles of coastline whet the appetite for water but also offer plenty of activities to satisfy that appetite. Activities include kayaking, paddle boarding, and walking along the beaches, which all offer great ways to explore the beautiful coastline. For more of a treat, head to Channel Islands National Park, which is known as the Galapagos of North America because of the unique animals, plants, and archeological resources there. Guided kayak excursions as well as swimming, snorkeling, and diving allow visitors to discover the kelp forests, sea caves, and coves amidst the abundance of

See wildlife on a sea lion cruise.

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marine life, including thousands of sea lions and seals. Boat tours offer prime seats to see waterfront marine life. The Double Dolphin is one of the most favored water crafts for tourists. This boat provides sunset cruises, whale-watching cruises, coastal cruises, and daytime cruises.

By Foot

If having the ocean underfoot isn’t appealing, there are many activities to do on land. No trip to Santa Barbara is complete without a visit to the historic Stearns Wharf, the oldest and longest

Hike around the beautiful San Miguel Island.

working wooden wharf in California. Several tourist shops, a palm reader, a candy store, and an aquarium line the pier. Sample seafood at the Moby Dick and the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, but leave room for dessert at the Great Pacific Ice Cream Company. Fishing is allowed at the end of the dock, which is also an ideal place for pictures. To really experience Santa Barbara life, take a stroll down State Street’s seven miles of shops, museums, restaurants, theaters, and more. Be sure to catch a bite at the oldest restaurant in Santa Barbara: Joe’s Café, a celebrated steakhouse and bar. Just off State Street is the Santa Barbara

From left: photography courtesy of Heal the Bay, Todd Clark, and Aimee Robbins

When Spanish missionaries came to Santa Barbara, they didn’t realize they had stumbled into a palm-tree-ridden, beauty-soaked paradise that would someday be known as the “American Riviera.” This nickname aptly describes the quaint, red-tilespeckled city surrounded by alluring mountains and sunny beaches, all wrapped in a Mediterranean climate. The water, vistas, and culture of this Californian city can be enjoyed no matter the mode of exploration.

Visit the Santa Barbara Courthouse.


Top: photo by Gary Crabbe of Enlightened Images Photography; From bottom center: photography by Jay Sinclair and Raymond Shobe

getaways

Enjoy good food, good fishing, and a great view of the ocean at Stearns Wharf.

Country Courthouse, which features architecture based on Spanish castles. Hundreds of handmade tiles adorn the inside of the still-functioning courthouse. Ride the elevator to the top of the courthouse clock tower for an unmatched view of Santa Barbara. The lush landscape of the courthouse is an attractive place for picnics and pictures.

By Wheel

To add a little zip to your trip, there are a variety of vehicles that make sightseeing easy and fun. Rent a standard or tandem bike to have an adventure and see the sights.

The Los Padres National Forest has great mountain biking trails for all levels. The vantage points from the mountains provide expansive views of the red-tiled homes, swaying palm trees, and sandy beaches. In the city, Cabrillo Bikeway is the most popular bike path, stretching from the harbor to East Beach. There are also attractive scenic routes along the Andree Clark Bird Refuge. For unique forms of transportation, try renting a surrey (a four-wheeled, two- to four-person bike) or a Segway to tour the “American Riviera.” Find a truly unique experience by taking a horsedrawn carriage tour of Solvang

(Danish for “sunny field”), a nearby Danish village. During the tour you can eat authentic Danish pastries, shop, and visit museums.

Tour the city on a surrey with the whole family aboard.

Visit a Danish-inspired mill in Slovang.

Since the Spanish settled in the area, thousands of tourists have flocked to Santa Barbara to boat, walk, and wheel around a true gem of a coastline. Visitors who come to Santa Barbara find that they need at least a week to sample the coastal city and discover the charm that makes Santa Barbara the “American Riviera.”

—Aimee Robbins

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Photo by Rolf Heinrich and Kรถln

River Cruising Viking Style

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Photo by Peter Moore

Are you looking for a new way to explore new places? Whether viewing historical Irish sites on the Viking-styled ship Athlone or vacationing aboard a modern Viking River Cruise ship while traveling through China, travelers agree that river cruises provide a unique and fun way to explore historical inland towns. Michael McDonnell, or “Viking Mike,” has been operating as a captain and tour guide of a portion of the River Shannon around Westmeath, Ireland, for 16 years. “I was living in Athlone [Ireland] for two years and recognized that tourism and the river and lake were a great asset to the town but were underutilized. I always had an interest in history, geography, and the environment at school, so it was a perfect fit.” McDonnell takes the opportunity to educate guests about the rich Viking history of the area. Infamous Viking warrior Turgesius charged his longships up the River Shannon to invade Clonmacnois in 842 AD. In 936 AD, another Viking king set up base on Lough Ree and plundered the countryside. Each day, McDonnell sets forth from the Quay at Athlone Castle for a 45-minute ride up to Lough Ree, the “Lake of the Kings,” with a stop at the historic monastery of Clonmacnois. Tours cost $20 per adult and $6.50 per child—a bargain for a unique look at Viking history in Ireland. But river rides are not all about actual Vikings. The Viking River Cruise company is Viking in name only; rather than focusing on sites of Viking significance, it offers 26 tours across Europe, China, Russia, and Egypt. These river cruises allow passengers to explore the history and culture of many countries without the hassle and the crowds that come with ocean cruises. Randy and Kathy Wade experienced a river voyage around Europe. Of the experience Randy says, “We’ve

Viking toursists float down the scenic River Shannon.

enjoyed all the cruises we’ve gone on, but [the Viking River Cruise] was just phenomenal.” The Wades say that river tours are less crowded than the ocean ships they have sailed on, with about 180 people per ship instead of 1,500 to 3,000. The tours also cost less because they omit some luxuries, such as spas and all-night buffets. Kathy comments, “People go on these [cruises] for the scenery, for the cities, for the towns.” And Viking River Cruises allow patrons plenty of time to explore and experience history along the river. As Kathy says, “In Europe, they had to build by the river in order to get their goods from point A to point B. A lot of their old towns—which I loved—are

right there by the river. It’s really fun. You could go out after dinner and walk the streets—be with the people.” Viking River Cruises start at $1,356 for eight days in Paris, France, and range up to $8,167 for twentythree days traveling from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Bucharest, Romania. Annual offers for buy-one-get-onefree airfare-inclusive packages also draw many travelers. In short, Viking river tours— whether Viking in name or in subject—offer unique cultural and historical experiences unavailable via other modes of travel.

— Rosalyn Helps

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Sledding through a

Finnish Wonderland When someone mentions winter, we often think of poor driving conditions, snowplows, and never leaving the house. It’s easy to forget the magical side of the season—the crispness of freshly fallen snow, adventures in the chilly night air, and evenings spent sharing stories with loved ones at home around the fire. to remind anyone of the beauty of winter, Kakslauttanen is complete with frosty snow caves to sleep in and even glass igloos where visitors can watch the swaying northern lights as they drift off to sleep.

Hidden away in the frozen tundra of Finland, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort provides a unique experience for anyone looking for an enchanting getaway in the dead of winter. Accommodations range from

Photo by Veikko Wahlroos

Jussi Eiramo, owner and founder of Finland’s Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, hasn’t forgotten about this magic. He has created a wonderland based on the mystical essence of those cold nights. The perfect getaway location

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getaways

Top and middle: photography courtesy of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort; Bottom: photo by Veikko Wahlroos

Known for their glass igloos, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort provides an enchanting night’s stay under the stars.

The honeymoon suite creates the perfect getaway for newlyweds.

Adrenaline junkies can enjoy the thrill of adventure on the snowmobile safari.

modernized glass igloos and snug, timbered prospector cabins to Santa Claus’s own bedroom, which glitters with twinkling lights and smells of pine. But don’t expect to spend all day inside one of these quaint rooms. Though open year-round, Kakslauttanen is best known for its variety of winter safaris. Options include a reindeer or husky safari, each of which gives anyone a chance to drive a sleigh through the snowsoaked landscape as they are pulled by his or her very own reindeer or dogsled team. From December to April, Kakslauttanen also provides a cruise known as the Icebreaker Sampo. During this cruise, guests have the chance to go on a nautical daytrip which explores the large Sampo Kemi ship just outside of Kemi (one of Finland’s most visited tourist towns). You’ll even have the chance to take a dip in the freezing water! Don’t worry, they provide impermeable dry suits to keep you warm. Thrill seekers don’t need to worry, either; Kakslauttanen is just a 15-minute drive from two of

Finland’s best skiing and snowboarding peaks. Not quite the best skier in town? No need to worry—just pop over to the ski school for a refresher course before heading out to the slopes. Adrenaline junkies should also be sure to check out the Snowmobile Safari. The resort offers the safari as a two-hour, four-hour, or overnight trip, so those who are more daring can experience the beauty of the Northern Hemisphere at a faster pace. The resort truly caters to those looking for an enchanting experience. From cozy rooms with inviting hearths to igloos in which travelers can watch the stars from the comfort of their own beds, Kakslauttanen is the place to rekindle the love for all things winter. So forget about bundling up in front of your space heater this winter. Instead, wander over to Kakslauttanen for a wonderful reminder of the beauty and magic that winter holds. —Amelia Wallace

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Features 20

Hidden Treasures: An Archaeological Adventure

Learn about the archaeologist’s way of life, hidden treasures in Petra, and the ways you can dig into culture as you travel like an archaeologist.

28

Migrations throughout Texas

34

Navigating to the Northern Lights

40

Tying the Knot: Weddings around the World

Texas is well-known for its Great Plains, but it should also be known for its great skies—home to some of the largest animal migrations in North America.

Discover where in the world you should travel to have an unforgettable experience viewing the northern lights.

Weddings are an international tradition, but specific traditions vary from culture to culture.

Step into the ethereal magic of the northern lights. Photo courtesy of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

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Hidden

20 â–ś winter 2015


Treasures An ArchaeologicalByAdventure Natalie Cherie Campbell

www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 21


O

ut in the open, the ground is unprinted and unfamiliar. Juan Pinto and his companions follow a Bedouin woman as she leads them under an overhanging ledge of carved rock to the wall beyond. As Pinto’s eyes adjust, he is stunned. The wall is covered in inscriptions, etchings of the long-dead providing a living layer on every surface. Pinto quickly pulls out his notebook to copy down the inscriptions. The ancient Nabataeans were trying to speak, and Pinto wants to remember every word.

Local Secrets

Indiana Jones Makes an Impression

Archaeology—the study of human history through ancient sites, manuscripts, artifacts, and other physical remains—broke ground in the early 1600s when Stonehenge began to be

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A Bedouin man, in traditional Jordanian garb, playing in “Little Petra.”

excavated for the first time. In 1748 Pompeii was excavated. Then the study of the Great Pyramids began in the 1880s. Almost one hundred years later, archaeology became massively popular with the debut of Indiana Jones, leaving a permanent impression on society. Pinto, a student archaeologist, says, “I don’t think there is a single archaeologist who doesn’t love Indiana Jones.” But the cultural adventurer who digs up historical secrets has captivated general traveling audiences as well. A long-time

goal of travelers involves becoming the tourist who doesn’t stick out, finding hidden cultural experiences, and becoming a part of the local scene: essentially, traveling Indiana Jones–style. And Pinto achieved the dream by following Indiana Jones into Petra for a six-week archaeology adventure.

Let’s Excavate!

Only 2% of Petra has been excavated, so as tourists walk the Siq, visit Al Khazneh, and run up to Ad Deir, only

Photography by Juan Pinto

Pinto describes this experience as “a spiritual connection,” explaining that his archaeology team had been living in the Bedouin village while excavating part of Petra, when one day a woman decided to share a local secret. The Bedouin woman said she had something to show them, something no one—not tourists, archaeologists, or even most locals—had seen. She guided the group through an unknown path toward the Ad Deir plateau. Slowly, the travelers realized that this area was untraveled and unexcavated. And waiting for them were untouched tombs and hidden inscriptions that few had ever seen.


to pause at the stunning view known as the End of the World, they seldom realize the immense potential that lies under the red dust. But Pinto felt this potential and decided to return to Petra. He recalls, “When I went to Petra previously, we were there for just one day. And it was very much run up to Ad Deir, check it out, run back, ride a camel if you want. And I loved it. But I said I want to come back here someday because this place rocks, and one day is not enough.” Though Pinto studies Ancient Near Eastern Studies and has a passion for ancient texts, about two years after first seeing Petra, he found himself waking up in a Bedouin village to begin his first day as an archaeologist. Pinto will tell you firsthand that the day of an archaeologist can be quite different from that of a traveler, but there are some enlightening similarities. While digging in Petra, he worked with two different site directors who showed him two styles of archaeology and two different ways to experience culture as well.

Digging through Backfill Pinto began his first dig with Dr. Finlayson on the Ad Deir plateau. He explains that with Dr. Finlayson, “we were excavating in two separate squares out in the open. We laid out a bigger grid, worked a little faster, and took an overview of and identified each strata, or layer, of earth. We didn’t really know what to expect at all. With Dr. Finlayson it was much more of an exploratory, what’s-here-we-don’t-really-know, we’re-trying-to-figure-it-out experience.” Finlayson’s style of archaeology was also influenced by the fact that the area had been backfilled (essentially filled and refilled with backwash from rain and flash floods) for a couple hundred years, making the strata a conglomeration of everything. Thus their archeological mission became simply to dig it all out and identify anything possible. Like Finlayson’s broad and wide-ranged project, travelers can also explore with a “what’s here? We-don’t-really-know, we’re-tryingto-figure-it-out” attitude. Similar to

Top: Juan standing in front of Ad Deir, also known as “The Monastery.” Middle: Dr. Finlayson’s crew sifting sand for pottery and coins on Ad Deir plateau. Bottom: Juan digging in a Nabataean tomb loculus.

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the backfilled hole on the Ad Deir plateau, this style of “cultural digging” results in sampling many experiences, cultures, time periods, and life-styles. This broad, take-it-all-in approach to both traveling and archaeology is perfect for discovering everything, but it is still wise to have a purpose in mind. For example, Dr. Finlayson’s purpose was to understand the Nabataean aqueduct system. Built in the desert, Petra essentially survived off of infrequent rainfall, “so every drop of water matters” Pinto explains. “The Nabataeans became masters of capturing as much rainfall as possible.” While walking through Petra, the Nabataean’s mastery of controlling and storing water is apparent because their aqueduct systems are carved into almost every rock wall. So even though Finlayson’s project was a broad sweep of a few sections of the Ad Deir plateau, she was still searching for understanding. But why water control? Because, Pinto explains, “the way they captured the water allowed for the water to flow away from the monuments, thereby preserving them. And the rain and wind have been eroding these monuments more and more quickly ever since the Nabataeans left. So understanding their aqueduct system will help us preserve Petra and maybe show us what we can learn from them ourselves.” Whether you are a traveler or an archaeologist, a broad cultural experience can still give you understanding. And when you excavate with a purpose, you may learn something influential in preserving the past against the erosion of time.

could excavate at a time. And because these are extremely fragile, 2,000 year old bones, we had to work much slower and more cautiously,” says Pinto. Whereas the strata could be a few feet deep in Dr. Finlayson’s site, the strata in Dr. Johnson’s site could be as small as six inches, once again making the excavation process much slower and more detailed. Pinto believes that “for Dr. Johnson, his purpose was to try and understand the culture better and what else he could learn from the Nabataeans.” Though the purpose to learn and come away with greater understanding is common to both Dr. Finlayson and Dr. Johnson, as well as most travelers, a detailed approach, or specific focus is another style we can choose in our own cultural digging.

Diagnostics

While excavation can be exciting, it was participating in diagnostics that helped Pinto discover a way to connect to the ancient inhabitants of Petra. Diagnostics are the processes through which archaeologists contextualize a find. By identifying marks and running tests, archaeologists can place an object within a historical reference. And it was during diagnostics that Pinto was assigned to read coins. Because he had taken both ancient

and modern Hebrew, as well as a little Aramaic (the Nabataean’s written language), he was a perfect candidate to attempt to decipher and date the Nabataean coins. Pinto explains, “I love inscriptions and the language aspect of it all—that’s what fascinates me the most, so they put me in charge of coins, so I could have more exposure to more writing.” Of coins, writings, and inscriptions Pinto says, “For me, the writings were something that brought the Nabataeans back to life. Some people are into the architecture or the geology. But for me, the writing allowed me to connect with the Nabataeans. These were real people who had problems just like I do; they have desires just like I do; they asked for blessings just like I do. It was very moving at times.” But reading coins wasn’t a walk in the park for Pinto, requiring a lot of analysis and study on his part. The Nabataeans’ earliest known coins were minted in 110 BC. The Nabataeans minted coins until their last king, Rabbel II, died in 106 AD. This same year Nabataea was subsumed into the Roman province Arabia Petraea. With this in mind, Pinto knew that the coins should theoretically fit in this window of time. But how were they to be placed and identified? Mostly through names. Pinto lets us in on the difficulty of relying on names, saying,

Digging for the Details Pinto’s second dig was in the tombs and was directed by Dr. Johnson. The main differences between Dr. Finlayson’s and Dr. Johnson’s archaeological digging styles were mostly due to where they were digging. “With Dr. Johnson, we dug inside of a tomb, inside two specific loculi, or slots. We knew what this was—a place of burial—so we were expecting bodies. The loculi were very narrow and closed in, so only one person

24 ▶ winter 2015

The crew running bone analysis in their kitchen-turned-lab.


Juan reading at Wadi Rum near Petra. Also known as The Valley of the Moon, this is the largest wadi in Jordan, and it is where much of the filming for Lawrence of Arabia took place.

“A lot of the kings had similar names, making it difficult. But they usually also included the wife’s name, which was helpful. Except that many of the wives had similar names as well.” But this struggle is common to archaeologists who, regardless, find diagnostics to be a rewarding and enlightening part of the archaeological process.

Finding Hidden Treasure

It was Pinto’s turn to dig in the loculus. He climbs into the small space and begins. While brushing away the dirt and gently digging, Pinto sees bone: a skull. He gently uncovers the skull and the upper area of the body. Behind him a crew member holds the rubber, dirt-filled bucket known as the gufa ready, and Pinto hears Dr. Johnson say, “There’s no way he can take it out intact.” With half of the face decayed, and everyone expecting the skull to fall apart at any moment, Pinto sticks in his hand and begins

to lift the skull. “Slowly, gently,” he thinks to himself. And as he closes the gap between the gufa and the ground, everyone breathes relief and surprise. The skull remains in one piece. On the day Pinto successfully unearthed and transferred the skull, the crew uncovered a full skeleton. Gathering the bones of a good day’s find, the team went back to the Bedouin village to reassemble the bones for diagnostics. Sitting in their kitchen-lab, they determined the skeleton to be a male Nabataean between 20 and 35 years old. Pinto describes the significance of having a full skeleton. “The bones that help with diagnostics are the skull, the femur, some of the longer bones, and the pelvis. These bones help us determine age and sex.” He goes on to explain that the previous archaeology crew had unearthed a partial female skeleton. And the difference? In Nabataean culture the women were often buried in their jewelry and precious articles, leading to a tradition of

grave-robbing female corpses. “The male had actually been uncovered,” Pinto explains, “we could tell because the covering stone was broken, but they [the robbers] saw that nothing was there: he was a male.” But the discoveries don’t just extend into the past. Pinto comments, “What I liked the most about being in the Bedouin village is that I got to see both sides, the past and the present, and live with both. The Bedouin, specifically this Bedouin tribe, the Bedul, lived inside Petra for a couple hundred years. Though we don’t think they’re directly descended from the Nabataeans, there is definitely a connection there. You almost feel like you’re living with modern-day Nabataeans. It’s their culture. And digging up these bodies you realize that they probably lived similarly to the Bedouin.” But even with the excitement of finding a full skeleton intact, for Pinto the insight he gained was that his true love lies with ancient texts. “If I could have spent the whole time

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just in a Nabataean library, that would have been my dream,” he explains. “And every time I dug into a new area I hoped I would find the Nabataean library, which is yet to be discovered. And someday it will be found.” When it is, we’re sure that Pinto will find himself back in Petra. But you don’t have to be an archaeologist to make a discovery or to dig out a cultural gem. As a piece of advice to his fellow travelers, Pinto says, “If you have the opportunity, absolutely travel through archaeology. You get to know the area, the people, and the history better than any other way because you’re living it, not just watching a documentary.” However, if you can’t score an archaeological experience, you can still tap into the Indiana Jones-esque adventure and discovery. “Explore paths the tourists

don’t get to see.” Pinto advises. “In Petra, the tourists enter through the Siq, walk through the area in a line up to Ad Deir, and come back. It is the first thing you should see, but once you’ve seen it, go to the sides: the north and south are full of buildings and tombs and beautiful landscapes that the tourists never get to see.” So dig for the culture. As a traveler you are the archaeologist, and as you sift through the strata of tourism you will discover the hidden treasures of the past and present. Whether digging through backfill or digging for details, you too can diagnose your findings, gain understanding, and maybe even preserve the past. Dig and Discover: the motto for archaeologist and traveler alike.

A Day in the Life of an Archaeologist

1 2

Wake up early and head to the excavation site. Start digging.

Travel to the excavation site. (This is harder than it seems. While excavating his first site on the Ad Deir plateau, Pinto and his team walked about 800 stairs a day to the top.)

3

Excavate! Pinto and his team would most often use simple garden trowels and brushes to dig. Dig until 2:00 pm.

4

Late lunch and a mandatory nap. (Everyone has to be alert and well-rested to handle the artifacts with adequate care.)

5

Diagnostics. Everything from washing pottery and identifying coins, to reassembling bones in a human outline.

6 Juan digging during the early stages of the Ad Deir site excavation.

26 ▶ winter 2015

Personal time. Bedtime. Begin again.


Disabled =/ Evil

In Ghana, children with mental or physical disabilities are considered a bad omen or curse.

Ghanaian disabled children and their families are shunned by their communities. Due to lack of

education and resources, most live a life of desperate poverty. To avoid such hardship, many of these

children are hidden, abandoned in ill-equipped

orphanages, left to die in the wilderness, or killed.

Help Us Make a Difference

Acacia Shade operates a home in Accra, Ghana, where abandoned disabled children receive care and education otherwise unavailable to them. We also work with Ghanaian organizations and government agencies to help educate communities and build long-term solutions for integrating these children back into families, schools and society. Please donate today! Every little bit helps us keep these children healthy, happy and safe.

â–śâ–ś

www.acaciashade.org/get-involved


Migrations

throughout Texas

By Weston Goggins 28 â–ś winter 2015


W

hen winter arrives in Texas, it doesn't come alone. As the new season

approaches, hundreds of migratory

species, from whooping cranes to monarch butterflies, migrate into Texas, blanketing the Great Plains. Adding to the commotion of winter's

arrival are Texas's summer residents, such as the Mexican free-tailed bats, who prepare to darken Texas skies on their way home to Mexico. These wondrous migrations, whether northbound or southbound, paint surreal images that cause

spectators to stop and enjoy nature's beautiful creations.

Photo by Evangelio Gonzalez

Mexican F ree-tailed Bats

Gotham might have Batman for its superhero, but Austin, Texas, is protected by Mexican free-tailed bats—at least 1.5 million of them. In 1980, the Congress Avenue Bridge underwent reconstruction, and ever since, these millions of bats have made roosting nests in nooks and crevices underneath the bridge. Each summer, clouds of pregnant bats swarm in from Central Mexico to give birth to their baby pups. Over the next couple of months, the mother bats fly through Austin’s skies in search of food for their young. Local bat researchers estimate that the bats

consume 10,000 to 30,000 pounds of insects each night. That adds up to two to three million pounds of insects consumed before the bats return home to Mexico in late January. This form of natural pest control was not always welcome in Austin. When the Mexican free-tailed bats first arrived, locals feared the massive black invasion and protested to eradicate the bats from the city. Bat conservationists rushed to the rescue, building informational booths all around the Congress Avenue Bridge to inform locals of the benefits of their winged friends. Conservationists emphasized the fact that a massive bat population would

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 29


keep Austin’s insect level at a minimum, which meant freedom from mosquitos. Locals soon began to embrace the bats, and today the bat phenomenon brings in more than $10 million a year in tourism funds. Bat Fest!, a weekend festival to honor Austin’s bats, entertains thousands of eager spectators annually. Bat Fest! features a nighttime concert of local artists that starts once the bats have finished hunting. And food trucks and booths keep all the tourists satisfied as they watch the spectacular sky fill up with trails of black smoke. The best time to spot the bats is during the sunset; the best way to

30 ▶ winter 2015

spot them is from a canoe. Dozens of companies in the area offer canoeing tours or small boat cruises that venture underneath Congress Avenue Bridge to see the bats swarm from below. Some of these touring companies include Capital Cruises and Live Love Paddle. The event lasts for up to 30 minutes every night, which allows for a variety of spectacularly eerie photos.

Whooping Cranes

While Mexican free-tailed bats are flying back home for the winter, hundreds of five-foot-tall whooping cranes are landing in Port Aransas,

Texas. These majestic birds migrate a total of 2,500 miles all the way from Alberta, Canada, to their private sanctuary in the Aransas Wildlife Refuge. Conservationists created the Aransas Wildlife Refuge to protect the endangered whooping cranes as there were fewer than 15 left in the 1940s. Today, efforts made by the International Crane Foundation (ICF) have helped the cranes repopulate to over 600. In support of the conserving efforts of the ICF, Port Aransas, Texas, is celebrating the 19th Annual Whooping Crane Festival, February 19–22. At the festival, environmentfriendly vendors sell photographs,

Photo by Stephen Fleischman

Bats swarm the sunset sky in Austin, Texas.


Conservationists created the Aransas Wildlife Refuge to protect the endangered whooping cranes as there were fewer than 15 left in the 1940s. Today, efforts made by the International Crane Foundation (ICF) have helped the cranes repopulate to over 600.

Photo by William R. Gates

paintings, and other forms of whooping crane art to the thousands of participants. At the festival, spectators can also take boating or hiking tours to witness the rare whooping cranes dance and sing. During their dance, the whooping cranes flip grass and small pebbles while they toss their heads and flap their wings to attract a mate. They are a rarity among birds and are one of the longest-living bird species

to date due to the conservation efforts by the ICF.

Monarch Butterflies

Another famous migration route passes over the vast plains of Texas. This route stands as the king of all North American continental migrations—the route of the monarch butterfly. Beginning in March, hundreds of thousands of monarchs depart

from Morelia, Mexico, in search of the milkweed plants on which they will lay their eggs. Monarch butterflies find the milkweed plant by sensing its grapesoda-like odor in the wind with their fine-tuned antennas. Milkweed plants thrive all over the countryside but are especially concentrated along the banks of the San Antonio River. During the migration, the San Antonio River’s banks become painted with shades of black and orange. Locals and tourists alike admire these amber waves of insects (not grain) that flock through the fields of San Antonio. Residents of San Antonio are known to post photos of their Firsts of the Season, also known as an FOS, to Facebook, Instagram, or other social media platforms. Monarch connoisseurs like Monika Maelke love to share the

A whooping crane lands in the Aransas Wildlife Refuge after six days of flight.

www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 31


Remember to Respect the Land

A monarch butterfly stocks up on nectar before the long flight north.

Conservation centers like the ICF are working to preserve migration patterns by maintaining healthy habitats for a variety of migratory species. When visiting the great state of Texas, always remember to thank these few foundations for their efforts by obeying their wildlife rules and regulations. If we continue to do our part to help conserve creatures’ habitats, we will never lose the experience of animal migrations across Texas.

differentiations in migration patterns each season through photos captured in milkweed fields across the Lone Star State. In Whitney, Texas, residents celebrate the annual Monarch Butterfly Nature Festival to recognize the artistic scenes of the monarch’s migration. Most of the festival consists of casual hikes to capture photos of the event, but the festival also encourages spectators to compete in its photo and video contests. Monarch butterflies

32 ▶ winter 2015

serve as the festival’s main attraction, but hundreds of other butterfly species native to Whitney splash their colorful wings into the Monarch mixture.

Migrations Popular along Texas Coasts and Plains

Mexican free-tailed bats, whooping cranes, and monarch butterflies are only a few of the dozens

of Native American animals that migrate through the massive territory of Texas. Each of these animals flies through Texas skies, but there are other animals that migrate across Texas by either land or water. Texas provides a warm winter homeland for hundreds of species across North America; these species help to define Texas as a vital destination where visitors can see interesting wildlife.

From top: photo by Roy Niswanger and Johanna Madjedi

Monarch butterflies resting on milkweed during their migration.


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34 â–ś winter 2015


Navigating to the

Northern Lights

By Madeline Greenhalgh

www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 35


It’s the blackest of nights in the high latitudes, and the air is crisp with winter chill. Indigenous inhabitants of the ancient world observe the clear night sky when suddenly the stretch of black above their heads comes alight with color. Ribbons of green, red, and blue ripple across the sky, filling the onlookers with a mixture of awe, delight, and, in some cultures, fear. Though the common term for the phenomenon hadn’t yet been created, what the bystanders were observing was aurora borealis, or the northern lights. But not all explanations were so lighthearted. The emergence of the northern lights kindled fear both in the Point Barrow Eskimos, who believed the northern lights were an evil that they had to defend themselves from, and in the Amrimen Fox Indians, who interpreted the lights as the avenging souls of enemies they’d slain. Modern science may be able to explain aurora borealis in a less mystical fashion—simply stated, the colors are visible due to the collision of charged ions with the atmosphere

in high latitudes—but a scientific explanation for the phenomenon does nothing to diminish its captivating nature. People today are perhaps more fascinated than ever with the awe-inspiring event and travel great lengths to be able to claim the title of Witness to the Northern Lights. “It’s worth going to considerable effort to experience [the northern lights],” says Brian Casper, a regular observer of aurora borealis during the two years he lived in Iceland. “It really is what it looks like in the movies; it’s amazing.

Title photo courtesy of Greenland Travels; Photo by Pier Nirandara

A lack of modern technology in ancient times made finding a scientific explanation for the northern lights impossible. But that isn’t to say that ancient viewers of the event had no means to interpret or explain the vibrant colors lighting up the night sky. Their explanations ranged from the Makah Indians’ belief that the colors were fires lit by dwarves to the Sami legend that a fox running through the mountains slapped his tail across the snow which then emitted sparks into the atmosphere.

36 ▶ winter 2015


You look at it, and you can’t even really believe it’s happening above you because it’s not like anything you’ve ever seen before.” And with greater ease of travel and mobility, the earth’s northernmost locations all battle to draw tourists seeking auroras to their viewing points. But before embarking on a trek across the globe, northern lights hunters can use a little inside knowledge about the phenomenon to maximize the experience.

What to Know

The fact that the lights can only be viewed at night can dampen the excitement of a northern lights-centered vacation. Luckily, many hotels in popular viewing areas offer northern lights wake up calls that spare tourists cold, sleepless nights waiting for lights that never appear. When the lights are spotted in the area, hotel employees phone and alert guests that nature’s greatest light show has appeared nearby. Keep in mind that location matters. Ambient light around city locations can lessen the impact of viewing aurora borealis and viewers only see faint ribbons of light—if the lights are visible at all. Darker, remote locations provide contrast for vibrant streaks of color lighting up the night sky. Tour guides in high northern lights viewing areas can lead visitors to ideal places to witness aurora borealis.

Photo courtesy of imagea.org

When to Go

The northern lights are visible in the dark skies between the months of September and April, and traveling further north increases the likelihood of witnessing the phenomenon. Even the clearest night in northern latitudes does not guarantee that the lights will be visible, so handle any trips to witness the lights with patience. “Be prepared to spend a lot of time looking; you can’t be impatient,” warns Casper. All years are not created equally when it comes to the overall likelihood of viewing the northern lights or their duration and intensity. Higher solar activity equates to more

The Abisko Sky Station’s extremely remote location makes it an amazing place to view aurora borealis.

chances to view aurora borealis. When planning a trip, be sure to research the solar activity during the time period of the trip.

Where to Go

Any town, city, or country that sits within the auroral zone—an oval shaped band of land above the Arctic that is 3° to 6° wide in latitude—is a prime location for northern lights viewing. Popular destinations such as Finland, Iceland, Norway, northern Canada, and Alaska fall within this stretch of land, offering diverse experiences for seeing the northern lights. And because the northern lights are a nighttime-only event, selecting a location to view the lights should rest on more than viewing odds; also take daytime activities into consideration. The chosen location can shape the experience during both the night and day. Here are three prime locations to check out.

Abisko, Sweden

The most recent census of Abisko—a tiny village in Swedish Lapland— counted a whopping eighty-five

residents. But the quaintness of this town shouldn’t deter northern lights hunters; despite its isolated location, Abisko is a proper winter wonderland that provides an exceptionally unique vantage point of aurora borealis. Nestled in the Kiruna Mountains, Abisko National Park is home to the Abisko Sky Station, a structure perched at the pinnacle of a mountain only reachable by chairlift. The Sky Station’s extremely remote location away from any ambient light means that the swirls and curtains of bright color splashed across the sky are more visible at this location than almost any other spot on earth. In addition to the light show of a lifetime, the Sky Station contains a café, a gift shop, and an exhibition that educates visitors about the northern lights. Abisko is a mecca for classic winter sports and activities. Visitors can give Nordic or Alpine skiing a go, and skiers who desire a twist on their favorite sport can try telemark skiing—a downhill skiing technique with cross-country skis. Also available are dogsled tours that allow riders to drink in the natural beauty of the Swedish landscape.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 37


For tourists who want to venture outside of the national park, Abisko is a pick-up and drop-off location for tours of the nearby ICEHOTEL. A breathtaking structure of translucent glass, the ICEHOTEL boasts intricately carved and designed suites, a restaurant, and a gift shop.

Fairbanks, Alaska

Whether a visitor wants to view the northern lights solo or have some guidance, Fairbanks can offer a spectacular platform to witness auroras. This Alaskan city—home to the famed Yukon Quest sled dog race— offers a multitude of northern light

viewing tours that also demonstrate the variety of activities the area has to offer. Many Fairbanks aurora tours make a stop at Chena Hot Springs Resort. Tourists come from far and wide for the upscale luxuries it offers coupled with a prime aurora viewing location. By day, visitors soak in the hot springs, take a sled dog tour, or visit the Aurora Ice Museum—the largest year-round ice museum in the world. For a bird’s eye view of the Arctic, they take flightseeing tours over the Arctic Circle and land in native villages to get a true Alaskan experience. Evenings not spent viewing the northern lights from the resort are spent away from Fairbanks in a remote lodge that is far from any ambient light. From this cozy location, guests can stay warm while viewing auroras through large windows. Fairbanks’s long winter nights

Top: photo by Rob Baird; Bottom: photo by Frank Covalchek

Left: Many tourists take advantage of Fairbanks’s dog sled tours. Bottom: Visitors are amazed by spectacular scultpures in the Aurora Ice Museum.

38 ▶ winter 2015


Guests can view the northern lights from the comfort of a Levi Golden-Crown Igloo.

increase the chance of seeing a spectacular, vibrant aurora show. But visitors need not participate in a guided tour to enjoy a Fairbanks northern lights experience. All of the aforementioned daytime activities can be enjoyed at the leisure of the tourist. And while the cabin location is restricted to tour members, venturing out of the immediate city limits can provide the lone adventurer with a view of the lights that is just as wonderful.

Photo courtesy of Golden Crown-Levi Igloos

Levi, Finland

The northern lights are visible in the dead of night during the coldest part of the year, and both of these qualities can make viewing the phenomenon uncomfortable. But imagine viewing aurora borealis from the comfort of a bed. Nestled into the scenic Finnish Lapland, Levi is the largest ski resort in Finland and offers attractive accommodations for all aspects of a northern lights vacation. Perhaps most unique and appealing are the Golden-Crown Levi Igloos. Located at

the peak of a fell, these lodges boast domed glass roofs positioned directly above the beds, allowing tourists to have a one-of-a-kind view of the lights. Though modeled after traditional ice dwellings, these igloos are anything but uncomfortable. They vary in size and can accommodate parties ranging from one to eight, but each igloo is warm and cozy. While nights can be spent comfortably viewing aurora borealis in the sky above, days in Levi are jam-packed with every imaginable wintertime activity. Aside from slopes perfect for skiers of all skill levels, Levi and its surrounding areas have activities more suited to those who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground. The Levi Husky Park gives visitors a glance into the past of Arctic travel. Upon entering the park, visitors are happily greeted by hundreds of dogs—the Siberian huskies and Japanese spitzes that call this place home are friendly and welcoming to all who visit. But these dogs aren’t just friendly—they’re whip smart. An informative video shows visitors what

the life of a sled dog entails, and handlers are quick to tell unforgettable stories about the dogs’ lives. A mere 40 minutes from Levi is the spectacularly beautiful Snow Village. Open from December to early April, the Snow Village is an arctic adventure like no other. Every construction—from a hotel to a restaurant—is made purely of snow and ice, giving visitors a uniquely chilly visit. The sheets of color that danced across the sky and mesmerized ancient inhabitants of the North haven’t lost their grandeur with the passing of time. “In the dark, cold nights when everything was dead, you’d have blossoming northern lights,” recalled Casper. “They would really capture your attention, and you forgot where you were going because you were so distracted.” In the black of the night, modern viewers of nature’s most enthralling light show join with those of ancient times in admiring the ribbons of light rippling in the sky above the Arctic tundra.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 39


kjlklkjlkjlkjlkjlkjkjlkjlkjlkjlkjkjljkjlkjlkjlkjlkjlkjlkjlkjlkj n arrow streaks through the air and strikes a beautiful woman. Then another one, and another one. The man with the bow stops shooting and walks over to her. He gathers the arrows and breaks them, one by one, to show that he will love her forever.

A

40 â–ś winter 2015


Tying the K not

Weddings around the World

Photo by Albert Palmer

by Aimee Robbins

Though it may not sound like it, this is actually part of a wedding, specifically for the Yugur culture in China (and don’t worry—the arrows don’t have arrowheads). Tying the knot doesn’t always consist of the Western style of becoming engaged, wearing diamond rings, adorning white dresses, and kissing the bride. www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 41


In many cultures, the process of love typically begins with dating and engagement. However, how single people find love varies across cultures. In Somali culture, women don’t take dating lightly. “If you bump into your Prince Charming and you decide you want to date him, it’s a serious commitment to consider him for marriage,” says Mayran Mohamed, whose family is from Somalia. “If women [dated around], they would be seen as shady.” Once a woman finds someone to be exclusive with, she goes to her siblings to get approval of the man; she doesn’t even talk to her parents about who she is dating until they are engaged and have a wedding day chosen. “It is disrespectful to talk to your parents about whom you are dating,” says Mohamed. “If you do and who you are dating doesn’t work out, your parents won’t have a high opinion of you.” Once the parents are informed of the wedding, all the men in the woman’s family interview the groomto-be. If the men approve, the woman comes into the room to formally accept the engagement. The women of the family come to meet the groom-to-be, and they eat, laugh, and take lots of pictures. Similarly, people in the Philippines follow a traditionally lengthy and complicated process to find love— even more so than in other countries. If a Filipino man sees a woman he likes, he won’t talk with her; instead, he must find a “go-between” who will talk to the woman’s father and seek permission for the suitor to visit. If the father agrees, the man and the “go-between” go to the house where introductions are made. At that first visit, the suitor must bring gifts to the family, including a special one for the daughter. During the next few visits, he will continue bringing gifts and will begin serving the family by chopping wood for

42 ▶ winter 2015

them or completing other chores. At night the suitor plays a guitar and sings love songs outside the woman’s window until she invites him inside. A Filipino woman usually tries to play hard-to-get, believing that in doing so the man will value her more because of all his hard work to get her. After some time, they can date in public, but they have to have a chaperone; unmarried couples can’t be left unsupervised. Once they decide to marry, the man brings food, presents, and a dowry to persuade the father to let him have the daughter’s hand in marriage. In contrast, in Kazakhstan, the man’s family finds a bride for the groom. Once the family has selected a woman, they send matchmakers to the woman’s home. If the marriage negotiations are successful, the matchmakers and the woman’s family eat a liver and broad-tail sheep fat dish to signify successful courtship. The next day, the woman and the matchmakers go to the groom’s house. The groom’s parents decide how many of the woman’s close relatives they want to honor with gifts. During the ceremony of engagement,

The direction the Claddagh Ring’s crown faces reveals your marital status.

the man’s parents place earrings on the woman, signifying that the man and woman are officially engaged.

Then Comes Marriage Put a Ring on It

Rings traditionally symbolize everlasting love in a marriage. Usually only women wear engagement rings, but in some places like South America, both men and women wear engagement rings so others know that they are taken. Another

In some parts of India, the ring ceremony consists of the groom placing rings on his new bride’s toes.

Top: photo courtesy of claddagh.com ; Bottom: photo courtesy of Prati Photography

First Comes Love


Left: Photo courtesy of Nita Deda/One Day On Earth; Right: photo by MD Hasibul Haque Sakib

As captured on video by One Day On Earth, brides in Donje Ljubinje, Kosovo, believe this face paint will ward off bad luck.

difference is that in Western culture, the wedding rings are usually decorated with diamonds and worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. However, there are other ways to wear engagement rings. Spaniards wear their wedding rings on their right hand, a custom

followed in most northern and eastern European countries. The custom is also partly followed in Brazil. Brazilians wear the ring on the right hand, but only during their engagement. During the wedding ceremony, the rings are moved to their left hands. However, if a ring falls on the ground during this transition, it is believed to symbolize that the marriage will not last. The rings must also have the spouses’ names engraved on the inside. Other cultures don’t worry about what hand to wear a wedding ring on. Some parts of India use a Bichhiya, or toe ring, instead. During the marriage ceremony, the groom will put a toe ring on both of his bride’s second toes. The toe rings serve as a symbol of their marriage. Yet, some cultures leave out rings entirely. In Wales, couples use spoons. The man carves a piece of wood into an ornate spoon and presents it to the woman he loves. If she ties a ribbon around the spoon and wears it around her neck as a necklace, it means that she has accepted his proposal. They are then officially engaged.

Many brides in India wear red saris.

Like the Welsh, the Spaniards believe that simpler is better. “In Spanish weddings, we don’t spend very much [money] on the rings,” says Carmen Alldredge from Madrid, Spain. “They are just regular bands; no huge diamonds.” Much like Spain, Ireland traditionally doesn’t include diamonds in wedding rings. Instead, the Irish think having one’s respective birthstone on an engagement ring is good luck. Some Irish also use a Claddagh Ring, named after a fishing village in Western Ireland. Usually, the ring is handed down in families from mother to daughter to be used as the engagement and wedding ring. The design of the ring includes a crown; if the crown is pointed toward the wrist, the wearer is engaged, and if the crown is pointed toward the fingertip, the wearer is married.

Here Comes the Bride All over the world, a wedding ceremony marks a milestone in the life of the bride and groom. The wedding day is meant to be a fond memory the couple will treasure forever. For this

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Intricate designs are painted on the palms and feet of Indian brides.

C hinese brides wear dresses of red for luck. In C hina, a bride can have three dresses for her wedding. the sari can depend on the community, but wedding colors are usually red, yellow, green, or white. Red is a popular choice because it symbolizes marital happiness, prosperity, and

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fertility. Intricate henna decorates the bride’s palms, wrists, arms, legs, and feet. After the wedding, the bride isn’t expected to do any housework until after the henna has faded away. Weddings in Donje Ljubinje, a small town in Kosovo, also include vibrant dresses and patterns drawn on the bride’s skin. Here the townspeople make the wedding dresses by hand, and the dresses are usually very colorful. To top off the look, brides paint their faces for their wedding day. The paint creates beautiful patterns and is often embellished with sequins. Brides do this because the paint is said to ward off bad luck. Instead of using paint, Chinese brides wear dresses of red for luck. In China, a bride can have three dresses for her wedding. The first dress she wears is the qipao, a slim-fitting dress that is usually red. The second dress is usually a white dress that copies the style of Western wedding dresses. For the reception, the bride slips into her third dress, which can be of any

color or style. In some areas of China, a bride will change multiple times during the reception to show off her family’s wealth. Instead of red, Afghani women wear green wedding dresses. According to Islamic tradition, green represents prosperity and paradise. Afghan weddings are joyful but somber events. This is evident on the bride’s face as she shows her understanding that marriage marks a momentous point in her life. Her sober expression is covered with heavy make-up.

After the “I Do’s” “You may now kiss the bride.” Most people are familiar with this phrase, which usually follows the pronunciation that the couple is now man and wife. Kissing plays a large role in some weddings, but there are other ways to seal a marriage. In Somalia, the wedding ceremony lasts a bit longer because the bride

Photo by Amar Javed

reason, women want to look their very best, but that doesn’t necessarily mean wearing the biggest, whitest dress they can find. In India, brides wear saris with gold or silver detailing. The color of


From top: photo by Ruth Madeleine and gwarr

has to answer “yes” three times. During the ceremony, the bride is asked twice if she agrees to the marriage. She is then taken into a private room and asked the question again. This is to make sure that the bride is not being forced into the marriage. If she says “yes” three times, the family and neighbors come forward to congratulate the couple. The number three also shows up in Japanese weddings. Once the wedding ceremony is over, couples will drink sake, or rice wine, instead of kissing. This is known as the sansan-kude tradition, which translates to “three sets of three sips equals nine.” The bride and groom each take a sip of the sake from three different cups, signifying the first set of three sips. Then both sets of parents take a sip of sake from the three cups, signifying the next two sets of three sips. These sips are taken to indicate the new bond between the two families. The three sets of three sips equal nine, which represents happiness. Instead of drinking sake, a popular custom in African cultures is broom jumping. The tradition of broom jumping most likely originated in Ghana during the eighteenth century and is still carried on today in many different places. After the wedding ceremony, a couple jumps over a broom to symbolize sweeping away their old life and welcoming in their new life together. As the couple jumps over the broom, whoever jumps the highest is said to be the head of the household. Instead of a broom, a shawl or quilt can also signify a couple’s union. After a Scottish wedding ceremony, a groom will put a shawl, embellished with his clan’s colors, around his bride’s shoulders and fasten it with a silver pin. A similar tradition occurs in French Polynesia. After the ceremony, a newlywed couple is wrapped in quilts known as tifaifai. The more quilts that are wrapped around them, the higher their status.

Above: Some couples literally tie the knot as they participate in handfasting during the wedding ceremony. Below: At weddings in Kyoto, Japan, the bride and groom drink sake to signify their union.

During a Celtic wedding ceremony, a couple’s hands are tied together. This is called handfasting. Right hands grip each other and left hands grip each other to form a figure eight, which symbolizes eternity. The couple then says their vows and their hands are untied. Hunting for a happily ever after doesn’t always need to include expensive diamond rings, billowing

white dresses, and official first kisses. Couples can wear simple bands, brides can wear green dresses, and grooms can shoot their bride-to-be with blunt arrows. Two people in love can participate in any number of unique cultural traditions. Whether traditional or contemporary, there are many different ways to tie a knot that can secure a happily ever after.

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Prickly Teenagers? Challenging Children?

Vacations aren’t the only adventures that bring families closer together. With entertaining stories, twelve keys, and eighteen principles, readers can go on an adventure to learn how to have better relationships with family members.

Available on Amazon.com 46 â–ś winter 2015


Culture 48

Dîner en Blanc

51

Burning Man

54

Four Corners of the Kitchen: Saffron

58

Living Free in NYC

60

Biblioparadise Found: Hay-on-Wye, Wales

A new spin on the flash mob craze­­—flash dinner with the chance to experience new cultures in your own back yard. Feel the burn of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert as you explore America’s most unusual art festival.

Harvested by hand around the world, this spice adds a unique flavor to any dish.

Dumpster diving in NYC has never seemed more appealing.

Situated on the northern edge of Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, Hay-on-Wye is a charming book town that is sure to attract bibliophiles from across the world.

Saffron comes from dried stigmas of the Crocus sativus flower. Photo by Emre Kanik

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 47


Dîner en Blanc I was giddy. Austin and I had been waiting all day for the email telling us where and when to meet up with dozens of other strangers, all dressed in white, to eat a picnic dinner. Austin had heard of the event only a couple weeks before the actual night, and we’d spent that time rummaging through thrift stores trying to find any white articles of clothing we could. We lucked out and even found the perfect basket to carry our picnic dinner and white dinnerware. A few hours later, we sauntered onto the gazebo island in Liberty Park with other guests in their white finery and mingled with people from all over Salt Lake and Utah County. The park was the perfect backdrop, as the

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setting sun shone over the pond and swimming ducks. As we ate dinner

I knew of flash mobs dancing in Grand Central Station, but a flash dinner? and chatted with new friends, a live band played in the background and

a magician roamed the tables doing tricks. The night was capped off with a fire juggler and sparklers. Before Austin had mentioned Dinner in White, I had never heard of anything like it. I knew of flash mobs dancing in Grand Central Station and even on my own college campus, but a flash dinner? As the day of the dinner approached, I talked with more people about it and did a little digging. Salt Lake wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last city to hold a Dîner en Blanc. The first of the dinners was held in Paris with barely a handful of close friends. Now, twenty-five years later, the Parisian dinner hosts up to 10,000 guests, and the secret dinners have spread to the

Photo by Daniel Hong

“Did you get the email?!” “Yep. Liberty Park, in Salt Lake.”


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United States. New York City’s 2012 Dîner en Blanc hosted thousands of guests and included a string quartet. That same year 1,300 people attended in Philadelphia. Now, Dîner

Half the fun was trying to find something no one else would be wearing.

Photography courtesy of Dinner in White SLC

en Blanc is held in over 20 locations worldwide including Paris, Barcelona, Singapore, Montreal, and Sydney. Guests in Montreal not only dress up in white, but also wear white masks

to add to the air of mystery. Last year, Singapore’s guests dined on a beach and sent out floating wine bottles with messages inside. And Dîner en Blanc in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, held a costume competition and ended the evening with each guest releasing a white balloon into the night air. The dinners provide guests with a chance to discover lesser-known hot spots in their own cities and to meet people from all walks of life. Austin and I spent the evening chatting with two best girl friends living and working in Salt Lake. Because attire is restricted to one color, everyone has the chance to get creative. Half of the fun is spent in trying to find something no one else will be wearing. Managing a headband with feathers, I was outclassed from the start as we saw women wearing hats with giant bows and men who sported white suspenders, bowties, and fedoras. Dîner en Blanc opened up a new side of a city I thought I knew so well. Guests chatted about everything from everyday jobs to makeup secrets. But

that wasn’t the main talk of the evening. With so many different cultures and backgrounds represented, talk soon turned to food. Most guests had simple dinners: turkey sandwiches, lasagna, or finger foods. What really stood out was the variety of desserts. French macaroons, chocolate taffy, and brownies slathered in cream cheese frosting glistened among their white surroundings. Before we knew it, dessert plates were being shuffled quickly down every table. Everyone wanted a taste of the chocolate cake. What kind of syrup is this? Did you make this at home?! Can I get the recipe? Suddenly, every barrier—whether social or linguistic—dropped. Noses were covered in crème fraîche, fingers were licked, and chuckles were lost in mouthfuls of sugar. It no longer mattered that we would never see one another again; together, we had shared a moment that could only have happened with knife and fork in hand.

—Amelia Wallace

How to Get Involved ▶▶

▶▶ ▶▶

Go to Facebook and search for “DÎner en Blanc” followed by your city to see when the next flash dinner will be held. Or place your city name and a period before “dinerenblanc.info”. To find out more about DÎner en Blanc visit dinerenblanc.info

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 49


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Photo by Neil Girling (via Creative Commons)

Burning Man

www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 51


When it’s 102 degrees in the middle of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, everything burns. The Playa, as it is known to those who brave the bleak desert conditions, is a dry lakebed, a desolation of acidic dust, and a place of raw self-discovery. Each year at the end of August, this seemingly uninhabitable domain becomes a thriving and vibrant city filled with around 70,000 participants living in tents, RVs, and yurts. Each participant is radically devoted to the Burning Man tenet of selfless gift-giving. Though the desert itself is in some ways a furnace, the real burning happens inside the participants, also known as Burners, as the Playa refines them and pushes them beyond their limits. Give What You Have

Burn What You Should The perimeter of the camp is lined with a variety of sculptures, the most famous being The Man. Every year The Man is built differently; some years, he soars to over 100 feet. Beyond The Man lies The Temple. Out of all the structures, Hamilton explains, “That one is more sacred and spiritual. People go there to write things they want to let go of. Sometimes they leave notes for people who have passed away.” And at the end of the week, these structures,

Photo by Duncan Rawlinson

Trying to explain the Burning Man festival to a non-participant is like trying to describe fire to a fish. Tim Bell, an actor from New York City, says of the event, “Everyone there has a very different experience. Every single person there has something to contribute.” Although all Burners are expected to support themselves throughout the week, all are expected to give. Artists, who spend months preparing incredible displays of innovation, share the results of their

labors with their fellow Burners. Others distribute strings of beads or apply sunscreen to the sun-seared shoulders of passers-by. One camp offers temporary tattoos, while another offers free showers. Curt Hamilton, who first attended Burning Man in 2013, says, “There’s no money exchange there. The only things you can buy there are ice and coffee. Everything else is gifted. You’re expected to take care of yourself, but everyone gives something to the community. You can’t barter; you just give what you have.”

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composed primarily of wood, are engulfed in flame as onlookers observe with awe and reverence, acknowledging the fleetingness of the moment with rapt attention. When asked why the artists would consent to seeing their creations turned to ash, Hamilton says simply, “It’s about letting go.”

Be Where You Are When Burners arrive at the Playa, they receive a timetable outlining all planned activities throughout the week. Events could include a midnight dodgeball game, a Shakespeare open mic night, or a rave concert to Skrillex music. Logistically, participation in every event is impossible. But to Bell, that doesn’t matter.

“What I focused on was learning to be in the moment, no matter what I was doing. Doing dishes in

“You’re not afraid to ask for something you need because you’re so willing to give.” the camp, I had some of the most incredible experiences, some of the best conversations. Each moment I’d think, I could be anywhere else doing anything else, but I’m here doing this, and I’m going to give all my attention to this. And that lesson was really enlightening in itself.” During his stay on the Playa, Bell felt the burn in a very real way; he impulsively agreed to participate in the Burning Man’s 31-mile ultramarathon. Although he was a runner, he had not trained for a race of such a distance and in such an environment.

After pushing through 31 miles—9 of them in the buff, nudity being an acceptable personal decision on the Playa—he stumbled into a stranger’s camp and threw up. Of the experience, he says, “I was miles away from my camp; I was sick; I was tired. There was no way I could clean this up. And this guy from the camp gets a shovel and scoops it right up. Then he gave me a hug and some water and sat me down to recuperate. No questions asked. That kind of experience happened all the time. It creates an environment where you’re not afraid to ask for something that you need. You’re not afraid to ask because you’re so willing to give to anyone.” The Playa gives too. “I feel as though now I’m able to be more present in my life,” concludes Bell as he reflects on what the Playa gave to him. “I walked away high on life, feeling like I’d just spent a week doing something important, like I’m a better friend and a better person.” So visitors, beware. You might just leave the Playa a little bit singed. Because, in Bell’s words, “The Playa is just a place. The people make it Burn.” ▶▶

www.burningman.com

— Katie Cutler

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Saffron Required in many traditional recipes around the world, saffron is an often overlooked and underappreciated spice in mainstream American cooking. Composed of the dried stigmas (the part of the flower that captures pollen) of the crocus sativus or saffron crocus, saffron stands as the most labor-intensive spice in the world. One pound of dried saffron may require hand-harvested stigmas of 50,000 to 75,000 flowers. No wonder it has the stigma of being so expensive! However, don’t let the price intimidate you; a little saffron goes a long way, and its unique flavor makes it rare and sought-after. Experience saffron around the world by trying some of these recipes.

foodbycountry.com

Couscous is the national dish of Algeria and the base of many of the country’s dishes.

Ingredients 2 cups water 1/2 teaspoon saffron 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups couscous 1/4 cup raisins 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

Directions 1. In a saucepan, bring the 2 cups of water to a boil, and add the saffron. 2. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. 3. Return the pan to the heat, return to a boil, and mix in the olive oil, salt, couscous, and raisins. 4. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. 5. Top with the fresh mint. Makes 8 servings.

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Steamed Clams in Garlic Saffron Broth—America Martha Stewart

Incorporating ingredients and cooking techniques from around the world, this recipe embodies the American blending of cultures to create something unique and delicious.

Ingredients Large pinch of saffron 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 large shallots, finely chopped 1/2 cup white grape juice or vegetable stock with a splash of white wine vinegar or lemon juice to help with deglazing 3 dozen littleneck clams 1 tomato, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice 3 tablespoons chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Directions 1. Crumble saffron into 1 cup of boiling water. Set aside to steep. 2. Heat olive oil in a large, shallow saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots, and cook until they

begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add juice or stock, and stir to loosen any bits from pan. Add reserved saffron broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and add clams, chopped tomato, and half the chopped parsley. Stir to combine. Cover, and let steam until clams are opened, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and pepper, and serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Saffron Buns—Sweden Camillaaa

These buns are traditionally eaten to celebrate St. Lucia’s Day in Sweden (December 13). St. Lucia’s Day is a feast day accompanied by a festival to ensure light during the long, dark winter months in Scandinavia. The holiday also welcomes the Christmas season.

Ingredients 21/8 cups milk 1/2 cup butter 3 (0.6 ounce) cakes compressed fresh yeast 8 ounces quark or sour cream 2 (.5 gram) packets powdered saffron 2/3 cup sugar

Photo by Jeremy Brooks

Saffron and Raisin Couscous with Fresh Mint—Algeria


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1/2 teaspoon salt 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup raisins (optional) 1 egg, beaten

Directions

Makes 35 saffron buns.

Saffron Honey Lassi—India Adrianna Adarne

A lassi is a popular, traditional Indian drink made with a blend of yogurt, water, and sugar. This saffron honey lassi is tart and sweet.

Directions 1. In a medium skillet placed over low heat, crumble the saffron into the water, and let stand for 5 minutes. 2. Add the honey and combine until dissolved. Add the yogurt and milk, whisk together. 3. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until very cold. Divide between two medium glasses and serve. Makes 1 drink.

—Hannah Vinchur

Ingredients 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads 1/4 cup water 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons, goodflavored honey (ex. wildflower honey) Pinch of salt 11/2 cups Greek yogurt 1/2 cup (low-fat or whole) milk

Staff photo

1. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan until the butter has melted, and the temperature has reached 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). Crumble the yeast into a bowl, then pour in the warm milk. Stir well until the yeast dissolves. 2. Stir in the quark, saffron, sugar, salt, and 7 cups of the flour. Mix the dough in the bowl until it becomes shiny and silky, adding more flour as needed until it begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. Cover, and let rise for 40 minutes. 3. Prepare 2 or 3 baking sheets by covering each with a sheet of parchment paper. Lightly flour a work surface, punch down the dough, then divide into 35 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope 5 to 6 inches long. With the rope lying flat on the work surface, roll each end toward the center in opposite directions, creating a curled S-shape. Place the buns on the prepared baking sheets, and garnish with raisins, if desired. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). 4. Gently brush each bun with

beaten egg, then bake in the oven until puffed and golden, 5 to 10 minutes.

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Living Free in NYC

The ideology behind freeganism is that companies of all levels of production detrimentally affect people, animals, and the environment. According to freegans, businesses contribute to global warming and pollution, support sweatshop labor, and test products on animals. For these reasons, dedicated freegans reject economic systems. This rejection is expressed by

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boycotting jobs and income. Many freegans instead support themselves (and in many cases, their families) on items they have repurposed, foraged, or grown. In addition, freegans try to minimize their own negative impact in their communities by living in an eco-friendly way. Specific living strategies include recycling, dumpster diving, rehabilitating buildings and

abandoned lots, and minimizing waste. Freegans have become adept at finding the gems buried among the refuse of society, especially in New York. Take a look at fallingfruit.org, which shows a global map of freegan resources, or dumpsters. It lists about 255 in the New York area alone. These marked locations are accompanied by helpful descriptions, like “lots of

Photo by Chris Kreussling

What’s the difference between a fresh, hot hamburger served to you over the counter and the partially eaten, mashed-up hamburger you dig up out of the dumpster? The second one is free, of course! Using a dumpster as a dinner table is a common event for a group of people in New York City who practice freegansim: the practice of living an eco-friendly, anti-consumer lifestyle.


culture

From top: photo by Katie Chao and Ben Muessig; Bottom: photo by bigbutpretty

Foragers often hunt for edible food in dumpsters in New York, many of which are listed on fallingfruit.org.

really expensive sandwiches, especially wraps. Muffins, bagels. Very popular, so sometimes stuff is gone by the time you get there.” Another freegan says, “We found . . . little pies! Lots of them. Mostly meaty or eggy, like pot pies and quiche, all in perfect condition and individually shrink-wrapped. Locals were happy to take them. Also raw pie dough and flour, unpackaged, a bit messy but worthwhile for the adventurous freegan chef.” Dumpster diving is actually legal in most of the United States. Trash bags that are put out on the sidewalk on garbage day are considered abandoned property, making them free game. Obviously, enterprising freegans cannot violate private property rights, hop fences, or break locks. The site www.freegan.info recommends you clean up after yourself; if you don’t make a mess, you won’t be ticketed for littering. If someone asks you to leave the area, comply so you won’t be arrested for disorderly conduct. Freegan society is relatively welcoming and eager to train others in the tricks of the trade. Groups

hold regular events in New York, which include Community Swaps (by GrowNYC) in which participants exchange used items; the Wild Food Tours that wind through Central Park, led by “Wildman” Steve Brill, who teaches how to forage the local plants; Fixers Collective, in which people bring broken items and members of the community try to fix them

on the spot; and regular Freeganism 101 & Trash Tour gatherings; and the Grub Community Building Meal, held on the first and third Sunday every month, which features food that is found, prepared, and served by members of the local community. Who knew? There is a free lunch if you know where to find it!

—Rosalyn Helps

This dish, including the produce, was made entirely from foraged food.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 59


Biblioparadise Found Hay-on-Wye, Wales

But Jensen is on a quest, and no thickets of brambles or crumbling infrastructure can stand in her way. Soon enough, an idyllic town comes into view, framed by the vast wilds of Wales. And though the town’s cobblestone streets and old-fashioned appearance seem quite similar to other English and Welsh hamlets, the shops found in Hay-on-Wye set the town apart from most tourist destinations found in the British Isles, making it the perfect location for Jensen’s journey. Dubbed the National Book Town of Wales, Hay-on-Wye boasts nearly two dozen bookshops with content ranging from rare children’s books to antique maps. It is a mecca for book collectors, and thanks to a publicity

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stunt in 1977 in which local bookshop owner Richard Booth declared Hay-on-Wye an independent kingdom and crowned himself king, the hamlet has found a comfortable place on the travel routes of literary enthusiasts. The yearly Hay Festival—held for ten days from late May to early June—is responsible for drawing a large crowd. Over 80,000 visitors from across the globe gather in the quaint town to meet prominent literary figures, listen to live music, and screen upcoming movies. Though the festival attracts visitors during the beginning of summer, it’s the bookshops—the crown jewels of Hay-on-Wye—that keep the crowds coming throughout the year. The interiors of most bookshops in

the halcyon town are a far cry from the neatly ordered, sterile stacks found in large bookstore chains. Many are specialty or secondhand bookshops and, as such, are arranged in a hodgepodge manner—books tipping precariously off of shelves, pages popping out of books—that Jensen says increases the romanticism of the book-buying experience. The whimsical layout of these shops slows down the browsing process considerably and can try the patience of a less dedicated book hunter. While the tranquil atmosphere of Hay-on-Wye might be uninspiring to vacationers seeking a thrill or arduous outdoor challenge, the true bibliophile is right at home in the dusty old bookshops. The

Photo by Caroline Ramsden

It’s nearly two o’clock in the morning, and Alexis Jensen and her family are still maneuvering the ever-narrowing road that winds through the Black Mountains in southern Wales. Not having anticipated the farmland, tricky terrain, and occasional stretch of forest, the Jensens were expecting to have reached their destination hours ago.


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Top: Murder and Mayhem specializes in detective fiction, a theme reflected in its design. Bottom: The Hay Book Company can provide for all book lovers’ needs.

Top: photo by Ian S; Bottom: photo by Alexis Jensen

natural history enthusiast finds his niche in the midst of the Collins New Natural Collection and in the countless volumes on the subject of gardening and botany found at

C. Arden Bookseller, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fans unite under the roof of Murder and Mayhem, a shop specializing in detective fiction, true crime, and horror novels.

Readers of all interests can find the book they need in the Hay-on-Wye Booksellers located in the heart of town. For enthusiasts whose primary interest lie in ambiance, the Hay Castle Bookshop is the place to go; the most recently built portion of the castle is one of the only sections of the historic monument that can accommodate visitors. And what else would Hay-on-Wye use that space for but a bookshop where history and literature intermingle and coexist? Along the castle’s outer walls is another unique bookshop: the Honesty Bookshop. Unmanned shelves crammed with books line the stone walls, and payment is made on the honor system—a box mounted to the wall serves as clerk and cash register, and visitors make payment for their books there. Jensen wishes only that she’d had more time to peruse the shelves of the various bookshops Hay-on-Wye has to offer. Despite the difficulty of leafing through piles of books, Jensen was lucky enough to fulfill her goal and leave Hay-on-Wye as the proud owner of a stunning collection of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales with original illustrations. “It’s like walking into nature and falling in love, because it’s so beautiful in all its old and dusty glory,” said Jensen of her experience searching for the perfect book in Hay-on-Wye. The avid book collector and the general literary lover alike could spend several days leafing through antique volumes and second edition folios and still leave shelves of books untouched. And in the end, each will find—just as Jensen did—that the magic and romanticism of finding the right book outweighs any difficulty found in the travel or search.

—Madeline Greenhalgh

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Field Notes 64

The Purrrfect Catmosphere

66

Chasing Che

68

Dingle Peninsula: The Slea Head Drive

70

Megan Nelson: Dreaming to Africa

74

Days for Girls

77

Photo Contest Winners

79

Tales from the Trip

If you like your tea served with a side of quirkiness, get your fill of whimsy by visiting a cat café.

Follow Ernesto “Che” Guevara—an infamous Marxist revolutionary—across South America as he seeks to solve South America’s socioeconomic struggles.

Experience the scenic coast of Ireland on this 30-mile loop.

Find inspiration in one woman’s efforts to reach her dreams of making a difference.

Find out how feminine hygiene kits are helping girls around the world stay in school.

Enjoy the winning entries of Stowaway’s photo contest.

Read travel stories from other Stowaway readers.

Che Guevara’s portrait hangs from an abandoned house. Photo by Jonathan Chen

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 63


The Purrrfect Catmosphere When you take off your shoes and step into the Hello Cat! cat café in Cheongju, Korea, you step into a feline lover’s paradise. Soft meows mingle with the fluffy electronic pop playing in the background, and a smiling Asian woman with short, curly hair takes your 8,000 won (approximately $7) cover charge. Mint green walls, red molding, and twinkling lights combine with eclectic wooden furniture and decorations made of yarn to create the cozy, homey feeling that hangs in the air. Western tourists and native Koreans sit on pastel-colored chairs while sipping coffee, boba tea, and fruit smoothies, but the true guests of honor are the eating establishment’s twenty-odd cats. Short and

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stocky, long and lean, brown, black, and white felines mill around visitors’ slippered feet, recline on whatever furniture they wish to, and playfully investigate the bags and belongings of the people who have come to adore them. Differently colored ribbons on the cats indicate varying temperaments and friendliness toward guests. Many of the cats have haircuts fluffy and styled enough to make any selfrespecting alley cat blush. Tabbies and angoras “on break” rest in illuminated glass cases, surveying their feline brothers and sisters on duty. Cat cafés like Korea’s Hello Cat! are now found in numerous cities but have their roots in Japan from the early 2000s. They have since spread to major urban centers across Asia

and Europe and are beginning to pop up across North America. As internet culture and cat-based trends sweep the globe, cat cafés offer visitors in major cities across the globe a unique way to experience quirky elements of local culture and simultaneously unite disparate locations under a worldwide umbrella of cuddly cuteness. Adam Farrell, a university student who lived in Korea for two years, feels that cat cafés have thrived in Asia because of the importance of the communal space in Asian culture. Farrell is majoring in Asian Studies and visited Hello Cat! in 2012. “I think the biggest reason cat cafés have done so well in Asia is because of the cultural need there for communal

Far left: photo by Chantelle Southerland; Left: photo by 何度目の青空か

Stop in Korea, Japan, Paris, London, Montreal, Malaysia, Spain, or Copenhagen for a cup of tea with cattitude.


Photo by Connie Ma

field notes

spaces and the need for cutesy and innovative ideas,” he says. “The idea of the communal space where you go meet with your friends is so prevalent in Korea and throughout Asia.” Farrell believes that the sense of community that draws Asian patrons to mingle in cat cafés goes all the way back to Confucius’ teachings on togetherness and the importance of focusing on others before oneself. Regardless of what Confucius would say about teahouses full of purring, beribboned kittens, it is evident that the citizens of major cities all around the world approve. Lady’s Dinah’s Cat Emporium, a cat café in London, requires bookings months ahead of time. Le Café des Chats in Paris recently opened a second

location to accommodate the swelling number of guests, and visitors at the unrelated Café des Chats in Montréal don’t seem to object to a giant placard that reads “Le chat est Roi” (The cat is king) on the café’s wall. This last year, cat café pop-up shops in California and New York were all the rage during the brief period of time they were open, and various entrepreneurs and cat enthusiasts are clamoring to open up permanent shops in Portland, Seattle, San Diego, Denver, and Cincinnati. Though the cat cafés in the United States have had a bit of a hard time overcoming pesky health codes that currently don’t permit animals in commercial eating spaces, it is clear: the people have spoken, and cats are in.

What is responsible for the sudden rise of the cat café? Some suggest that cat cafés are a real-life extension of the internet cat craze perpetuated by an endless supply of cat videos, Grumpy Cat, Princess Monstertruck, and the general hipster propensity for all things different and just a little bit odd. Regardless of whatever cultural influences led to each café’s origins, cat cafés are a downright delightful place to grab a cup of tea and cuddle with something snuggly. So next time you are in Korea, Japan, Paris, London, Montreal, Spain, or Munich, take a step off the beaten path, through the kitty door, and into a café full of cats and happiness.

—Amanda Seeley

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g n i s a h C One January morning in 1952, Ernesto “Che” Guevara revved up his motorcycle and embarked on a sociopolitical journey into the Argentine countryside. Guevara was searching for an answer to a profound question: Where in this world does South America stand sociologically? Guevara traveled 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) in search of his answer­—an answer that led him to becoming one of South America’s most infamous Marxist revolutionaries.

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Along his journey, Guevara developed a long-lasting friendship with the notorious dictator Fidel Castro and helped locals rally around Castro’s political takeover. Unfortunately, Guevara’s revolutionary methods became extremely hostile, causing the Bolivian and American militaries to take his life. Even though Guevara’s life ended abruptly, he was able to positively influence the South American towns he visited during his journey. Guevara inspired the lives of hundreds of struggling

Latinos by providing them with hope for a brighter future. This bright future became a reality for many of

Che’s infamous portrait is recognized all across South America.

Top: photo by urbanartcore.eu; Bottom: photo by Scott Loftesness

As a 25-year-old medical student, Guevara became consumed with the idea of elevating South America to become a world superpower. He began his cross-continental motorcycle journey determined to shape South America’s politics through a widespread revolution, which in turn shaped the culture of many of the towns where Guevara stopped along the way. Guevara took time in each town he passed to research and serve the people in order to familiarize himself with South America’s socioeconomic depression. Alberto Granado, Guevara’s riding companion and medical colleague, observed that “Che was saying goodbye to institutional medicine and becoming a doctor of the people.”


field notes

Che rode this Harley Davidson model on his cross-continental journey.

the towns and villages affected by Guevara’s compassion.

Top left: photo by Adrian Hu; Top right: photo by Derek Law

Miramar, Argentina

Before leaving his home country, Guevara visited his girlfriend Chichina in Miramar, Argentina, where she was attending college. Guevara asked Chichina to wait for him while he ventured throughout South America, but she refused to wait, breaking Guevara’s heart. Guevara realized that his adventure through South America would distract him from his lost love and he continued onward. Today, Miramar is viewed as one of the most romantic cities in Argentina. It sits on the Pacific coastline where couples can order exquisite Argentine seafood dishes while watching the sunset. Unlike Guevara, today’s couples travel to Miramar to stay in love by enjoying expensive retreats and elegant hotels. Miramar is the ideal location for long walks along the beach or along cliff-edged coastlines. Many tourists also enjoy backpacking, hiking, surfing, and horseback riding in areas near Miramar.

Chuquicamata, Chile

Later on in their journey, Guevara and Granado stumbled upon the

world’s largest copper mine in Chuquicamata, Chile. Chuquicamata still serves as the world’s largest copper mine at 4.3 kilometers long, 3 kilometers wide, and 1 kilometer deep. The copper, silver, and other minerals found in the Chuquicamata mine account for almost a third of Chile’s foreign trade. Apart from its economic benefit, the mine serves as an artistic landmark for tourists to visit. Excavations in the barren desert have formed an enormous crater with giant stone stairs from top to bottom. Guides give daily tours of the mine so people can experience firsthand the massive size of the quarry and the intricate process of copper mining.

San Pablo, Peru

When Guevara arrived in San Pablo, Peru, it was a quarantined leper colony on the outskirts of the Amazon jungle. Guevara and Granado stopped to serve the villagers with their expertise in modern medicine. They introduced the leper colony to the most advanced methods of caring for and preventing leprosy. In addition to their medical service, Guevara and Granado spent their days playing soccer, hiking in the mountains, and attending ceremonial dinners with the locals. When Guevara departed

This memorial stands outside the Che Guevara Mausoleum in Cuba.

from San Pablo, the people wept and threw him a farewell celebration to thank him for his efforts to cure their condition. Today, San Pablo is a small county in the much larger city of Cajamarca, Peru. The villagers have built museums dedicated to Guevara’s efforts to prevent the spread of leprosy in San Pablo. In addition to visiting the museums, tourists can hike the Amazonian pathways where Guevara trekked with the lepers. The hikes take tourists through cascading falls and to the top of mountain peaks where they can look down on the magnificent Amazon jungle.

Che’s Influence

Guevara accomplished his political goals, but perhaps more importantly, he introduced the world to an amazing romantic getaway, a recordbreaking copper mine, and a humble Amazonian village. The people of these quaint villages—now larger cities—credit their modern success to Ernesto “Che” Guevara. While his motorcycle tracks might not be visible today, tourists who visit these towns can learn about Guevara’s lasting positive influence.

—Weston Goggins

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Fungie the Dingle Dolphin has lived in the Harbor for over twenty-five years.

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Dingle Peninsula, located along Ireland’s southwest coast, contains a 30-mile (48-kilometer) loop called Slea Head Drive that wraps around the land mass, allowing visitors to tour this picturesque portion of Ireland. The road starts in Dingle, the only substantial town along the peninsula. Dingle fits the traditional Irish mold as a major fishing port. The city also features a very unique resident: a bottlenose dolphin named Fungie. Since 1984, Fungie has taken it upon himself to lead vessels in and out of the harbor and has become a local celebrity: Dingle has immortalized their flippered friend with a life-size bronze sculpture located on Main Street near the harbor. Luckily for landlubbers, Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours depart on the hour every day (weather permitting), allowing people to watch Fungie splashing about in his natural habitat. As you leave Dingle, you’ll quickly approach the Ventry Village. This Gaelic village is home to numerous ruins, including the Rahinnane

Left: photo by Diarmaid Mac Mathana

Vibrant emerald foliage grows from rocky cliffs and glacial Atlantic waves crash against rocky shores as sheep wander aimlessly, grazing amidst ancient ruins where historic tales are locked deep inside the remaining stone walls.


Dingle Peninsula

Photo by Mira Pavlakovic

The Slea Head Drive

Castle, which was built on a sixteenth-century ringfort and where the Knight of Kerry resided. Today, three of the four walls remain as well as the stairs leading from the first floor to the second floor, which you can still climb—carefully. The ruins are located just off of the highway and through a pasture, so you may want to wear boots. Once you have hiked back to the road, you will soon see a scenic overlook at Slea Head. You can’t miss its life-size scene of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The white stone of the monument stands out in stark contrast to the backdrop of gray cliffs. The statue has been named the “Cornerstone of the Peninsula” as it is believed to have been erected to mark the boundary between two parishes of the Dingle Peninsula. Just past Slea Head is Dunquin, the most westerly tip along the peninsula. Dunquin overlooks the now uninhabited Blasket Islands. The islands were inhabited until 1953, when the few remaining residents emigrated due to the exceptionally

small population left on the island. Prior to departure, the islanders underwent much anthropological and linguistic analysis for their unique way of life. So, be sure to check out the museum in Dunquin for more historical and philological insights, or take a ferry to the islands to get a glimpse of how the islanders lived. Between Dunquin’s striking jagged cliffs and the Irish countryside of Ballyferriter, you’ll find a church, a school, a hotel, a museum, and three pubs. Wander around a bit, visit a pub (or three), and grab some lunch. After returning to the highway, you’ll begin traveling eastward along a stretch dotted with ancient monuments and religious sites, including Ferriter’s Cove, where animal remains and stone tools dating to 3000 BC have been discovered. Next you’ll come to Ballydavid, a fishing village offering the freshest fish around. While there, try your hand at catching some fish right from the shore. As you leave with a full belly, you’ll round the peninsula and soon reach the base of Mount

Brandon, the second-highest mountain in Ireland. A route to the mountain’s summit begins here. Take a hike! You won’t want to miss the view. Back at the base of Mount Brandon, you can finish the loop back to Dingle or, if you are interested in making your Dingle daytrip into an overnight stay, you can take another road to the north side of the Dingle Peninsula. Here you’ll come to the sandy peninsula of Maharees, which is bordered by Brandon Bay and Tralee Bay and covered with campgrounds and RV parks. A golf course is located at the base of the peninsula and a dive center can be found nearby at the fishing harbor, with numerous windsurfing and surf schools situated along the beaches. So drive the Dingle! Whether you are a history buff, a photography guru, an animal lover, or an outdoorsman, there is plenty to see along the peninsula. Grab your boots and drive over to Dingle.

—Rebecca Hamson

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n o s l a e c i r f A N to g n i n m a rea D g Me For Megan Nelson, tourism alone wasn’t enough; her dreams included truly getting to know places by working and volunteering there. Soon after graduating from college, she had the opportunity to work with Jane Goodall through the Tanzania branch of the Roots and Shoots program. This program aids young people all over the world in making positive changes for their own communities, whether by helping people, animals, or the environment. Nelson jumped at the chance to talk about, teach about, and interact with animals in Africa. Now, nearly twenty years later, she is still involved in ventures in Africa and still dreaming about how she can make a positive impact on the world. Stowaway managed to catch Nelson before she headed off for another trip to Uganda.

What have you learned about the African culture? Well, that is a big question! Every country is very different. Tanzanians and East Africans are very polite; they’re very, very welcoming; they invite you into their home; they want to feed you. They live life at a much slower pace than we do, which I really like. Family is definitely at the heart of their culture. Things don’t operate or work as well there, so on a day-today basis, if you have ten things on your list that you need to get done, and you get two of them done, that is

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a good day; you just never know what will happen. I mostly just love how welcoming people are and how much they’ll just sit and talk with you; it’s a nice place to be.

What have you learned by working with Jane Goodall? Jane is an incredibly passionate person who has a very strong mission in her life; it expands past chimpanzees—which is where she started—out to just the greater conservation field throughout the world and also to people as well. So I

learned a lot about how [the people and the conservation] can go hand in hand. One of her mantras is that every individual makes a difference, and she believes it. She really tries to give people the opportunity to make a difference, so I learned a lot about what individuals have the capacity to do and to believe in the power of individuals. It’s also been amazing to see how much someone can accomplish when they have such a singular purpose. She is just really driven and passionate and she’s really an inspiration. And she’s funny as well. It’s been a pleasure to be able to work with her over all these years.

Photography by Megan Nelson

Megan helps conduct fish surveys as part of marine conservation efforts in Madagascar.


field notes

Are there any future dream projects you’d like to be part of?

What is a memorable experience you’ve had as you’ve served in Africa? We had a scholarship program that was for kids that were living in an orphanage, and it sent them to high school or secondary school. I helped manage and raise funds for that program, and probably a year or two ago I had one of the students from that scholarship program who sent me an announcement to his college graduation, and wow! Going to college and working in Africa is not easy, and he came from an orphanage and went through this program, and now he’s graduating from college and has a future. Education is everything; it really, really just opens so many doors and makes a huge difference. I think that’s what I’m most proud of: providing people with knowledge and education.

What inspired you to choose a life that is so focused on service? All the time I was growing up, [my mom] was such an example of service and believed in it so much that I feel like it just absolutely got engrained in me. I very vividly remember, when I was about ten years old, we were going through the closet getting rid of winter coats and stuff. And instead of just dumping them into a bin [at a secondhand store], we actually went to a women’s shelter that was downtown. She wanted me to see where this was going and why it was important to help other people and to donate, and that always stuck with me. She was also a teacher, so at some point, I looked back at what I had done and was like, “Oh, wow, I kind of turned into my mom!” So she really had a significant influence on my life.

Yeah, of course! There are so many things that I want to do and I think would be fun to do. I just feel that if I had all the money in the world—you know, if I won the lottery—I would literally just find really amazing service projects around the world and go volunteer for the rest of my life. I actually want to go help baby sea turtles get to the ocean; I want to go hang out with orangutans; I want to go see places that are disappearing in the world. But it’s kind of funny, because at some point I reached “my dream” and there was a point in Africa when I originally went to work with Jane Goodall (back in the late nineties) and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I got my dream job! What do I do now?” I had to start dreaming new dreams, right? I think everybody hits that point where they accomplish goals, but then you have to make new goals and have new dreams. Don’t forget that!

—Ashley Holmes

Top: Megan spends time with kids for whom she is helping develop environmental and health education materials. Bottom: Village members receive training on natural resource management and family planning topics.

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HELP

I N T E R N AT I O N A L

T H E I M PAC T 2 0 1 4 S O C I A L I M PA C T R E P O R T ENTREPRENEURSHIP 2 Village Savings and Loans Associations started 21 business centers evaluated to ensure effectiveness of their financial training 640 chickens provided to 16 families whose previous sources of livelihood had E D U C A T I O N 1209 teenagers and at-risk youth engaged in empowerment-themed been destroyed by typhoon camps and sports tournaments 1737 people taught and mentored in successful business principles 203 children and teenagers taught sustainable skills to generate additional forms 32 teachers trained in interactive classroom pedagogy 50 youth victimized by child labor and sexual exploitation reached of income 7050+ plants planted to serve as income generating ventures for orphanages through recreational programs and supply donation 1466 hours of after-school tutoring provided to 146 students and marginalized groups 3819+ people granted participation in regular English classes 5 partner organizations assisted in drafting documents to secure grants from 742 secondary school students given access to safe science laboratooutside funding ry and taught about lab safety PUBLIC HEALTH 620 youth taught goal-setting, self-confidence, and refusal skills 348 immunizations administered in underserved locations 2486 students taught art, science, math, PE, and music classes 2150 people provided increased access to safe water 355 students provided access to improved classroom materials 2652 people screened in health and nutrition fairs 64 special needs children and youth reached through music, dance, 902 women and girls taught how to make reusable menstrual pads and art programs 1250 individuals taught prevention of non-communicable diseases, parasites, and CONSTRUCTION/INFRASTRUCTURE dengue fever 1 laboratory built for community health clinic 620 people taught about HIV transmission and prevention 1 pathway created to cut the prevalence of schistosomiasis in school766 men, women and children educated about basic nutrition 880 people trained on safe water management and preventative measures of aged children 40 houses built for typhoon victims left without shelter water-borne and other infectious diseases 22 bore wells drilled in slum communities evaluated for sustainability 599 children dewormed 2 schools, 1 orphanage, and 1 day care center renovated 1803 people educated on sanitation and hygiene 4,417 refugee records updated for immigration 255 hygiene kits donated to an elementary school 20 families living in off-grid locations given access to solar panels 720 adults and youth taught about dangers of substance abuse 500 people provided with a county emergency plan 3 hill tribes educated on helping children gain citizenship in their country of residence 72 â–ś winter 2015 3 gardens planted serving community centers


OF ONE YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

VOLUNTEER OR INTERN FALL/WINTER/SUMMER PERU FIJI BELIZE U G A N DA T H A I L A N D INDIA PHILIPPINES

APP LY ONLINE : W WW.HELP-IN TERN ATION AL . O R G www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 73


Days for Girls

Feminine hygiene kits are changing lives, one young woman at a time. Lewis and Fronk Olson were in Africa as representatives of a very special organization, Days for Girls. Days for Girls seeks to ameliorate conditions for the millions of women around the world who don’t have access to any sort of feminine hygiene. Lewis is the president of the organization’s Utah Valley chapter, and Fronk Olson was recently recognized as a “Pantie Princess” for donating approximately 5,000 pairs of panties last year alone. As Fronk Olson says of the organization, “I heard about it, and I got so excited I could hardly stand it. It only takes going to Africa once to realize that you are getting more back than you could ever get for yourself, and to realize that we all need to work together.”

A Desperate Need

As Lewis and Fronk Olson explain, when young women in underdeveloped nations like Mali have their periods, many are forced to either stay in bed and sit on some sort of absorbent material (like cardboard) or to use dangerous and unsanitary materials to stop the flow. Girls have been known to use trash, bark, leaves, corn husks, and rags to absorb menstrual fluid. There have even been reports of girls using rocks to block menstruation or crouching over a ditch for days on end. In Ouélessébougou Province, the part of Mali Lewis and Fronk Olson visited, Lewis says “The people are very, very poor and have little. The girls in these villages have no paper products, no toilet paper.

Photography by Ann Lewis

When Ann Laemmlen Lewis describes the air in Mali, West Africa, she does it with a smile on her face. “When you get off the plane, it is balmy, hot, warm—and it smells like Africa,” she says, her eyes sparkling. “It’s kind of a musty, earthy smell. It is desolate; it is dry; it is hot; everything is covered in dust. The capital city of Bamako is just wild, crazy, no order— traffic, animals, people. It’s just overload, in a really fun kind of way.” Lewis has lived in Africa for years in the past, but in November 2013, when she and Camille Fronk Olson arrived in Mali, they were excited, for they had come with a very special purpose—to provide sustainable feminine hygiene products to hundreds of women in desperate need.

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field notes

Girls and women in Mali show gratitude upon receiving their kits.

They dig latrines.” Sometimes women wrap sand in a cloth to absorb the flow and sometimes even use cow dung as an absorbent, Lewis says. “One girl . . . came to the clinic, and she had inserted a corncob like a tampon so she could go to school. She was so sore and infected, she could hardly walk. These girls are just desperate to be able to go to school, to have an education,” Lewis relates.

Keeping Girls in School

Regardless of temporary solutions the women find, many are forced to miss days of work and school due to their periods, which results in lost income and fewer educational opportunities. These losses are hardly affordable for girls with very few chances for education in the first place. As Lewis says of her experience in Mali, “This is village life, and the girls have nothing. And they are missing a week of school every month if they even get that far in their education.”

Though Days for Girls seeks to help all women, they focus first on schoolgirls in an effort to keep young women in school. If girls can’t stay in school, many are married off between

“If we can keep the girls in school, it changes their lives drastically. They can lift themselves out of the poverty cycle that they are in. It changes their whole future.” 13 and 16 to older men in the village, Lewis explains. They get sent to the fields and before long are pregnant and having babies in sub-standard conditions as young teenagers. “If we can keep the girls in school, it changes their lives drastically. If they are educated, they can earn money, they can find jobs, they can

trade and sell in the markets. They can lift themselves out of the poverty cycle that they are in. It changes their whole future. It changes the whole economy. It changes the whole village to have educated mothers and women,” Lewis says.

The Beginning of a Mission

Days for Girls seeks to keep girls in school by providing reusable feminine hygiene kits. Celeste Mergens, the powerhouse behind the kits and the organization, was working to help children at an orphanage in Kenya in 2008 when she woke in the middle of the night with a burning question: “Have you asked what the girls do for feminine hygiene?” When Mergens realized the staggering need for feminine hygiene products in Africa and other developing nations across the globe, Days for Girls was born. Over time, the reusable kit they currently use took shape.

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Opening Up a Days for Girls Kit

A beautiful, hand-sewn drawstring bag contains the supplies in each kit, so the girls can carry their feminine products to school. In every bag, volunteers place two hand-sewn shields, eight hand-sewn liners, one pair of panties, and two large Ziploc baggies. Every kit also includes a bar of soap, a washcloth, and a visual instruction sheet with diagrams showing how to use the pads. Each item in a kit has been chosen and designed with great care. The liners have a special, inconspicuous tri-fold pattern and look somewhat like a handkerchief folded in thirds. This unobtrusive shape allows recipients to wash the liners and hang them out to dry, as cultural taboos regarding menstruation make it difficult for women to have anything that looks period-related in public, even for washing purposes. Shields, essentially liner holders made with a special leak-proof fabric, snap around a pair of panties to keep the liners in place. Both pads and shields are sewn from bright, colorful, patterned fabrics. This makes the kits aesthetically appealing but also serves to help disguise stains that would be readily apparent on white, light-colored, or plain fabric. With proper care and use, one Days for Girls kit can last up to three years.

— Amanda Seeley

Girls show excitement as they receive their kits; a gift that provides hope.

Those looking to get involved should check out www.daysforgirls.org. If there isn’t a chapter near you, contributors can sew kits and mail them to Days for Girls headquarters. And if sewing isn’t your forte, donations of underwear, 100% cotton fabric, flannel, washcloths, Ziploc baggies, time, and money are happily accepted. As Lewis puts it, “We need all of it. There is something anybody can do to help. People understand the need, and they can see that everything they give helps a girl.” As Fronk Olson adds, “You can do something once, but it’s a drop in a bucket. There’s always more.”

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photo contest

First Place

Chamonix, France • Mount Blanc The day my wife and I toured Chamonix, France, was cloudy and we were unable see Mount Blanc. Although we were disappointed, we decided to cut our losses and go on a hike up to a glacier. As we neared the top, the clouds finally broke. We were stunned at the beauty that unfolded as the peak of the massive glacier­­opened up before us.

—Matthew Reschke

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photo contest

Second Place

Dachau Concentration Camp While in Germany I was able to tour Dachau, one of the sites of a WWII Concentration Camp. There weren’t very many people there; it was a rainy, depressing day, and the sorrowful atmosphere of the camp was almost tangible. Even though it’s been a few years since my visit, every time I look at this picture I can still feel the same weight of sadness I felt while walking around the empty bunk houses.

—Jessica Morgan

Third Place Vrindavan, India

While in Vrindavan, India, standing among the foreigners and snake charmers, I saw an intrigued little street boy. He was staring at the foreigners instead of the snake charmers, who had the attention of the rest of the crowd.

—Monique Mullenaux Lang

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field notes

Tales from the Trip

Photo by Noelle Lambert

Rejuvenation “You don’t have to do it!” my mother yelled to me. I stared down at the blue water tugging my ankles toward the cliff, which at that point became a stunning thirty-foot waterfall. A chill vibrated through my entire body, but it wasn’t caused by the cold water. We had hiked ten miles through a red canyon in Arizona to Havasupai, a Native American preserve. We camped under brilliant stars at night and visited astonishing waterfalls during the day. Unsatisfied by those experiences, I still had the urgent desire to jump off this cliff, just as I had seen others do when we first entered the preserve. This desire drove me to this moment, following the cautious steps of my father on the rocky footholds and ignoring my mother’s comment. I did have to do this. The closeness of the edge unsettled me as the water’s roar grew in volume. The sound reminded me of

a different cliff jump I had attempted but didn’t accomplish. The wrenching fear in my gut gave way to my resolve. This exhilarating opportunity had to be seized. “Make sure you jump here,” my father reminded me, and a moment later he bounded through the air. I watched frightfully as he plunged into the water and popped back up a few seconds later. Ominous clouds blanketed the sky above, as though gathering to see if I would really do it. Taking a steadying breath and looking straight forward, I realized that if I did not jump now it might not happen. The butterflies in my stomach were becoming too intense, nearly paralyzing me. With one last surge of adrenaline I threw myself forward. Less than a second later, I hit the icy river. There was a moment of complete darkness as the waters

enveloped me. I started swimming toward the surface, anxious to breathe. When I finally found air, gasping for it, a smile crept onto my face. I floated onto my back for a moment to breathe, the frigid water gently holding me. After a moment, I swam leisurely toward my father. “I’ll be honest, I thought you were going to back out,” my father admitted once I reached him. “No way,” I said proudly, realizing my new passion: overcoming fear is the best way to feel alive. The fluttering butterflies and the sinister water were not the source of paralysis; they were the source of rejuvenation.

— Noelle Lambert Salt Lake City, Utah

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Canvasing Koh Phi Phi Sunglasses, wallet, passport, and a half-empty bottle of sunscreen. Those were the contents of my adventure pack as my travel companion and I took the ferry to Koh Phi Phi, Thailand. The island was intended to be a day trip, so we had left our 40-pound backpacks carelessly stored in a hostel back on mainland Phuket. But upon arrival in Koh Phi Phi, our itinerary changed: there would be no ferry back to Phuket until the next day. Soon it began pouring monsoon rain and in our haste to book one of the few backpacker guestrooms on the island, my companion’s phone was stolen. With everything going wrong, we were lucky to have grabbed our passports on a whim that morning—foreigners must present passports to check into any hostel. To take our minds off the rain, the stolen phone, and our empty adventure

packs, we booked snorkel tours and explored the island. By late afternoon the sun began setting and our swimsuits dried slower and slower. Realizing we needed supplies, we stopped by some stores in our wet swimsuits and picked up toothbrushes and a bar of soap. After a month of backpacking in Southeast Asia, we no longer brushed our hair or wore makeup, our Chacos our only fashion statement. But wanting to look pretty for dinner on the island, we picked up cotton dresses as well. Dinner was excellent pad thai and panang curry, followed by a fire show and public showing of Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach. To finish our evening we found an internet café to connect back home—in my case, to text my parents that I was safe. We stayed 3 more days. “Hey Love, any snorkeling today?”

“Not today, Jerry. See you tonight?” Jerry ran one of the snorkel expeditions on the island. Jerry also knew the best nighttime hangouts, the best way to meet people. But this afternoon I would spend on the beach. I had discovered a book exchange hut and fabulous fresh pineapple pizza; after several days of excursions, there was a lawn chair in the sun with my name on it. Our ferry departed the next morning. My adventure pack was still empty, and it was raining again, but as we watched the sparkling sea foam of Koh Phi Phi slide out of view, I couldn’t help but smile. Koh Phi Phi had become my island.

— Rachel Perkins Brigham City, Utah

A Triangle Cucumber Sandwich As I hiked the Jurassic Coast, tall grasses swayed and every breeze swept me toward Boscastle. A little harbor town, Boscastle is cut in half by an inlet, so white bridges span the water every 200 yards. Crossing a bridge, I wondered if this was my chance to connect with the people of England. I had heard of a weekly sing-along at the Wellington Hotel. So I had packed along my guitar, waiting for when I could finally sing with the locals. Once I reached the pub, I saw people of all ages passing around triangle sandwiches. Jack, the owner of our B&B, was there. He was an oil painter; his B&B was yacht-themed, and his Scottish terrier, Ollie, kept him company. Earlier at the B&B, while sitting in the retro, vinyl-cluttered lounge area, I listened to Jack’s play­ list of classic rock. I moved toward the back and watched as a beautiful

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sun-worn woman began each song. Cheryl’s voice was rich and deep, pleasantly gravelly when she struck the low notes. She had kind, wrinkled eyes, and reminded me of soft, oiled leather. I began to feel nervous. I was terrified of performing, but I had carried my guitar so far. With a deep breath, I grabbed my guitar and walked over. I sat next to Jack, who encouraged me to start a song. I trembled as I began the Nat King Cole classic, “The falling leaves, drift by my window. The autumn leaves of red and gold.” My hands shook as I sang, “I see your lips, the summer kisses, the sun-burned hands I used to hold.” On “hold” I forgot the chord, but Jack came to my aid, strumming the chord as Cheryl joined in singing, “Since you went away the days grow long. And soon I’ll hear Old Winter’s song.” I

joined back in along with all the other British voices: “But I miss you most of all, my darling, when autumn leaves start to fall.” My inadequate playing had become a communal effort. At the end of my song, I was officially initiated. Cheryl handed me a triangle cucumber sandwich and said, “You’re one of us now. That means you get a sandwich.” It tasted like sweet cucumber relief. At the end of the night, Cheryl came up to me. Her soft hands encased both of my cheeks as she looked me in my eyes and kissed my forehead. She said I was lovely and would always have a place in Boscastle. And as Jack and I walked across the bridge carrying our guitars, I realized that I had found a place to belong in England.

—Natalie Cherie Campbell Twin Falls, Idaho


Insider 82

Travel Networking from Your Phone

83

Backpacking Your Way

84

Frugal Flying

86

Traveling Without the Kitchen Sink

88

The Expanding World of Languages in Slovakia

Commute and lodge conveniently and inexpensively with these great apps.

Whether hiking nearby or traversing a foreign city, find the backpack that will fit your adventure.

Your next trip is closer than you think. Learn how to get the best deals on your airfare and go!

Avoid breaking your back by filling your backpack with these compact, lightweight items.

Since the fall of communism, Slovakians are embracing more opportunities to experience other languages and cultures.

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War No More

Hearts unite across cultures at the Peace Camp in South Korea as a future of friendship replaces the history of war.

In Slovakia, many new language schools have opened in cities where previously only native tongues and Russian were taught. Photo by Frank Browning

www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 81


Travel Networking

from Your Phone

Traveling and lodging have become safer and more practical than ever for economizing travelers thanks to two new apps. Both BlaBlaCar and Couchsurfing bring people together from all over the world, saving travelers a lot of money along the way.

BlaBlaCar

A ridesharing app called BlaBlaCar helps travelers in the United Kingdom to carpool various distances. This venue provides cheaper transportation for individual travelers as all passengers split the cost of gas. Drivers simply post planned travel itineraries and passengers can request to ride with a driver of their choice after viewing driver profiles. The driver can then reject or accept the passenger. Once the trip is over, drivers and passengers rate one another on the app, “allowing the members to build up a trusted community reputation” (blablacar.com). Avid BlaBlaCar user Ryan Lindsey says, “It just made more sense than any other mode of transport because it’s more friendly, cheaper, and who knows what kind of stories and friendships could lead from it!”

In addition to transportation, sleeping accomodations can cost a pretty penny as well. The Couchsurfing app helps people travel at a lower cost by providing a forum for couch owners and travelers to communicate with one another. According to the company’s website, “Couchsurfing is a service that connects members to a global community of travelers.” Through this app, people offer up their couches free of cost in order to meet new friends, show people around their city, and share their homes. Communication safety measures are provided through Couchrequest, the website’s system for requesting a host’s couch, and the messaging forums within the website. Further safety can be reached by viewing member profiles and then giving feedback about your experiences post-stay. University student Hayden Barton, who used the Couchsurfing app during a six-week visit to Europe, says, “Couch surfing sounds like a sketchy thing and, to be quite honest, can be sketchy if you don’t do it the right way. The key to couch surfing is to use the online couch surfing community, couchsurfing.com. If you are willing to put in the time, couch surfing can be a safe, cheap, and unique way to travel, and I for one would do it again.”

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So before your next travel adventure, be sure to download these apps to not only make your trip cheaper but, as Couchsurfing advertises, to connect you with friends you haven’t met yet.

—Rebecca Hamson

Photos courtesy of Couchsurfing and BlaBlaCar apps

Couchsurfing


Backpacking Your Way Backpacks are the unsung heroes of adventuring. No matter how gorgeous the mountain view or how hypnotic the sounds of the babbling brook, if your shoulders are chafing, you won’t notice any of it. How, then, should you go about choosing a backpack?

For the Avid Hiker

When planning a hike, look for backpacks with wide, padded hip and shoulder straps and a centered lumbar pad, all of which will help support your load. Easy access to your water bottle is essential; mesh or stretchy side pockets are the way to go. And, of course, check the fit (especially torso length and hip size), since mild discomfort at the beginning of the hike can escalate into screaming pain a mile later. Take a look at Gregory backpacks for examples of good hiking bags. ▶▶

www.backcountry.com

For the International Connoisseur

If you’re looking for a backpack for international travel, make sure the backpack fits the carry-on dimensions of most airlines. Common restriction sizes are 9” x 14” x 22” and 10” x 16” x 24”, and some airlines also have weight limitations of 35lbs. Straps and buckles should be the hide-away sort to avoid damage in transit, and a zipper that goes all the way around

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makes a backpack easier to pack, so you can stuff pairs of socks in there. A popular choice for traveling packs is Tom Bihn. ▶▶

www.tombihn.com

For the Urban Adventurer

Go abroad in style with sleek, minimalistic designs. It’s handy to have a pocket for your laptop, which can be secured with lockable zippers. And nothing is worse than having to dig through your underwear just to find your wallet, so hit the streets with a front-loading bag that features lots of compartments. Check out the packs created by Minaal and Tortuga. ▶▶

www.minaal.com

▶▶

www.tortugabackpacks.com

Handy Sites Picking Backpacks: ▶▶

www.rei.com/learn/expertadvice/backpack.html

Determining Size: ▶▶

www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/ backpacks-torso-hip-size.html

Pack Volume Calculator: ▶▶

www.backpacking-guide.com/ hiking-backpacks.html#calculator

—Rosalyn Helps Photo by Kitty Terwolbeck

What you look for in a backpack largely depends on what you’re planning to do with it. The backpack that takes you to the top of Kilimanjaro might not be optimal for a foot tour of St. Petersburg. Among other things, it might not fit into the overhead compartment of an airplane. Here are some tips to find a bag that fits your style of fun.


Frugal Flying

Working the Airline Ticket System When airfares change daily, how do you know when to get the best deal? What about international travel? Never fear. We understand your frustration; after all, we’ve been there, too! We have compiled clever tips on the best time to buy your ticket, so you can pay rent this month and take a trip. Enjoy—and work the system!

54 Days is the Magic Number

prices to increase. If you’re heading to a popular destination—like Florida or Disneyland—plan on looking earlier. Also, don’t buy late. Just don’t do it. Buy at least two weeks in advance. Prices increase significantly within this window.

Photo by ladelentes

Studies from 2013 show that the best time to buy domestic airfare is 54 days in advance of departure, which is just under eight weeks beforehand. This debunks previous theories that suggested purchasing six weeks

in advance. However, can things really be this simple? Of course not. Destination and time of travel affect how early you should purchase as well. So if you’re traveling home for the holidays, plan on booking your tickets earlier rather than later as high traffic days fill quickly, causing

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insider

International Travel is its Own Thing

International travel plays by its own rules. The same study that gave 54 days for domestic flights suggests these numbers for booking international flights in advance. Europe: 151 days Asia: 129 days The Caribbean: 101 days Mexico: 89 days Latin America: 80 days With international travel, earlier is often better.

Buy on Tuesday Afternoon or Wednesday Morning

From top: photo by Ho John Lee, Melanie Tata, and H. Michael Miley

Airlines publish their deals on Mondays, so travel agents begin their weeks with the lowest prices. Check prices Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning to ensure you can snag these deals as well. Avoid buying on weekends, which are high traffic times to buy, so airlines increase their prices accordingly.

you’re either flying in the middle of the night or at 4:00 am. If you’re flying to or from a place near multiple airports, consider searching fares at all the surrounding airports. You may be surprised at price discrepancies.

each airfare. But even so, the best advice is to know your destination and timeframe and start looking early. Get a feel for the price range of your prospective tickets and buy accordingly. Good luck!

At the end of the day, each trip is so unique that it’s hard to give a prescriptive formula of what’s best for

—Hannah Vinchur

Be Flexible Where and When You Fly

If your primary goal is to save money, being flexible on departure and arrival time could potentially save you a lot. Unfortunately, this generally means

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 85


Traveling Without the Kitchen Sink We all know the inconveniences of living out of a suitcase—including not being able to squeeze in all of the essentials. Here are some tips on how to pack some lesser-known necessities. Most of these tools can be purchased online or at an outdoor recreation, sporting goods, or travel store.

Travel towels will not only fit more compactly into your suitcase, but due to their synthetic blend of fabric, they can absorb anywhere from four to eight times their weight in water and dry quickly, which helps reduce unwanted odors.

the outside of your bag when wet, and can be tossed to create space for souvenirs.

Blanket

Fleece sleeping bag liners can readily roll up and fit inside your luggage, attach to the outside of your luggage, or be carried by the handle or drawstring. The liners conveniently serve as a blanket while traveling or as a hostel sheet or sleeping bag.

Utensils

If you plan to buy groceries to save on meals, you will need utensils. The most compact utensil? The combined fork/spoon, or spork. Not to worry, this isn’t the flimsy spork from grade school. Look for a durable, lightweight travel spork.

Laundry or Dish Soap

If you will be able to wash laundry or dishes, pack small Ziploc bags with powdered or tablet detergents. This helps you avoid packing more clothes and using disposable dinnerware, which saves both money and luggage space.

Shower Shoes

Avoid foot fungus! Bring a cheap pair of foam flip-flops, which won’t take up much room, can hang on

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Pillow

A small, inflatable travel pillow can easily be inflated for sleeping during travel or at night and then be deflated to pack flat. These are often used inside the hoods of mummy sleeping bags, so look for them at an outdoor recreation store.

Kindle or Tablet

For those hours spent in airports, train stations, and bus depots, bringing a Kindle or tablet is a great way to provide hours of entertainment without the weight of books. Remember that packing light and compact will be to your advantage, especially if you plan to bring any souvenirs home. Good luck, and feel free to leave the kitchen sink at home this time!

—Rebecca Hamson

Photos courtesy of REI

Towel


Kali Chris Hair and Makeup 801.400.2726

www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 87


The Expanding World of Languages in

“I

really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions,” said Vaclav Havel, a Czech playwright and human rights advocate who became president of Czechoslovakia, replacing the communist government. Despite the power of words in their country, Slovaks were not always able to learn many other languages. As of 25 years ago, they are allowed to learn languages besides their native tongues and Russian. Language learning has soared since 1989, and now children, as young as six years old, can begin language learning in school. Andrea Palenikova, a Slovak native, explains the change since the fall of communism. “The transition is always hard. My parents . . . were growing up in communism, and then it just collapsed and they had to

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really . . . change basically their whole mindset and everything. So, because of that, it is sometimes hard for us younger generations to understand that.” She muses, “I can’t . . . imagine not to be able to have this opportunity, you know, to learn, because I just love it so much.” Palenikova’s enthusiasm for learning other languages started young. At home, she grew up speaking mainly Slovak. However, her paternal grandmother only spoke Hungarian, thus Palenikova was exposed to another language. Listening to accents of family members from near the Polish border and watching a German TV show at a friend’s house further sparked her curiosity with foreign tongues. Palenikova began learning English early, but as she says, “[Slovak children] can even take other languages really early right now, like when they’re three or four. But normally

it starts when you go to elementary school, so in the age of six.” The system of schooling had recently changed, so Palenikova began at age 10. Palenikova says, “I was just always drawn to English. I really wanted to learn the language. And then I just figured out that it was a very common language, and just very universal, so I started to like it even more.” In high school, Palenikova learned French, and she later picked up Dutch on a proselyting mission for her church to the Netherlands. She also said that she understands a little Polish and Russian. In Slovakia, younger generations see a vast array of language possibilities opening up and even becoming requirements in public schooling. Schools offer language classes at younger ages and require students to pursue language learning longer. As of 2013, there were 56 bilingual schools throughout the country.

Photo by Chris Barnes

Slovakia


insider

Andrea Palenikova, a Slovakia native, embraces her love of learning languages through travel, service, and study.

There, teachers teach all school subjects in both the mother language (Slovak) and other languages. Natalia Seidlova, also a multilingual native of Slovakia, learned more languages as her schooling continued. “In high school I had to learn three languages. One of them was Slovak, the second one had to be English for

Photo by Natalie Browning

“Language is not just about words.” everybody, and then we could choose the third language from German, Spanish, French, or Russian.” It doesn’t stop there, though. The Helen Doron school teaches “children who are three months old until they’re 12 years old to know English as their first language,” Seidlova explained. This special learning program is currently available in 34 countries. Lucia Evans started a Helen Doron English school branch in Zvolen, Slovakia, beginning with a small group of six or so children.

“Everyone was telling me I was crazy,” she says, “and that they were too young.” After all, how can a baby learn a second language? “If they’re immersed in the language from very young they can actually learn to think in the language.” Being able to think in another language is, according to Evans, what distinguishes language learners who are exceptionally fluent. The concept of the program is total immersion—no translating—and involves activities both at home and at Helen Doron English. Children meet weekly at the school and participate in activities, songs, and lessons that involve lots of repetition, motion, and fun. Then they receive DVDs and CDs to use daily in their studies. It is an innovative program that mimics the most natural ways to acquire language skills—tying in the senses and using song and play to help kids learn. Helen Doron English continues to grow in Zvolen, and internationally. Learning another language may consume much time and require rigorous mental effort. But for many like Palenikova, Seidlova, Evans, and others, it means so much. For one thing, knowing multiple languages increases one’s chances at finding a

job. Both women mentioned receiving jobs where they were able to use multiple languages in their workplace. Not only do language skills make individuals more marketable, but in Europe where the countries are smaller and there are so many languages within relatively close proximity to each other, knowing another language is almost essential for traveling. Seidlova explains, “Ever since I was little I loved traveling, and growing up in Europe helped me to realize that if I want to travel, I have to know many languages. Traveling in Europe is different, and each state had a different official language, so that helped me to make my decision and to be my motivation to learn languages.” While words may be “mightier than ten military divisions,” Palenikova comments, “Language is not just about words. You can respect the people more. . . . I think [learning another language is] helpful to understand other people more. . . . Languages just help me so much to understand the world in a different way, to open up my perspective.” People of Slovakia, traditional and varied, are demonstrating the beauty of their own culture while experiencing the beauty of other cultures through language. When we speak each other’s languages, we share a special piece of ourselves. It’s clear to see that Slovakia is headed in an exciting direction of multilingual growth, creating opportunities for children to widen their perspectives of the world. ▶▶

www.helendoron.sk/

▶▶

www.slovensko.com/ about/travel-language

▶▶

www.slovakia.org/history-topics

▶▶ ▶▶

tavaana.org www.theartsjournal.org/index.php/ site/article/download/104/103

— Natalie Browning www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 89


War No More At this moment another day of shining’s coming to here, it makes me brand-new more and more. At first, I was embarrassed to sing these lyrics; after all, many of the lyrics didn’t make much sense since the song was written by someone whose primary language was Korean, not English. Having the peace for everyone, breaking the wall from old cold war, this is the voice from the peace in my heart. Then, after singing it about twenty times in the span of two days, it actually became fun to increase my enthusiasm and even add dance moves as we sang together and performed for each other during waiting periods or on bus rides. Let’s stop all the fight, let’s stop all the war, for the beautiful world. But that last time we sang it, all holding hands and dancing in a single giant circle, it finally meant something to me.

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aspect—perhaps even more important—was to bring people of different races and cultures together in peace and unity. Though some of the memories of the activities and lessons at the camp are now fuzzy, the connections I made with others during my time in Korea remain clear.

Sharing the time, we’re getting closer now. On one of the early days of camp, we had a lecture about the war and its effects. Though the material was interesting, the most significant part of that lecture for me was meeting Alex for the first time. He couldn’t remember my name upon our next encounter later that day, but that actually became the funny story that jump-started our friendship. We bonded over our distinct differences, like the fact that I had never had a

Photography courtesy of Peace Camp photographer

Top: Our whole group gathers outside the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Center and bottom: We learn and perform the Bongsan Mask Dance.

When my cousin Kristalyn proposed that we apply to the Peace Camp—a program offered to descendants of Korean War veterans—I readily agreed. If accepted, participants had the opportunity to go to Korea for a week filled with food, culture, and activities—all funded by the Korean government, save the small price of half a plane ticket. Naturally, we were thrilled when we were both accepted; it was the perfect adventure to follow our freshman year of college. Though both of my grandfathers served in the Korean War, I knew very little about it. I was quite surprised to find about twenty countries represented at the Peace Camp; people from all over the world aided the South Koreans in the war! The program at Peace Camp was designed in part to help us learn more about the war and Korean culture, but another


insider cup of tea in my whole life and, as an Englishman, he drank about three cups per day. While perusing the War Memorial of Korea, we read plaques detailing things like the progression of the war and the weaponry used by hostile and friendly forces. My Australian friend Samuel and I also imitated and interacted with several of the statue displays to bring the history to life. As the youngest participant in the camp, Samuel was a fun person to tease and be goofy with, and he sometimes felt like a brother.

Getting together, it makes me smile again.

Photography by Ashley Holmes, except as noted

Another facet of the Peace Camp was exposure to the Korean culture. On one occasion, we learned about the traditional clothing of Koreans, called han bok, typically worn for festivals and celebrations. We were even permitted to try on the clothing, and I was grateful that my friend Suyoung helped me tie that unfamiliar bow. Not only did she teach me how to tie the bow, but she also taught me

by example that a peace sign made with the hand should accompany any photo. Su was Kristalyn’s roommate at the camp, so we were introduced early and became friends quickly. Su claimed to have come to the camp to “find her next boyfriend,” which was the first of many funny things Su had to say. I enjoyed Su’s candid honesty, something I learned to be typical of many Koreans. Though we learned about Korean culture through classes and activities, we also learned a little bit about other cultures through interactions with other participants. We often shared our cultures by sharing our languages, and by the end of the week, we had unintentionally adopted each other’s accents, yielding an unidentifiable mess of language. Even after a week, I could hardly understand Daniel’s thick English accent, but the effort I exerted throughout the week for that purpose strengthened that friendship. Everyone also had a few new phrases to bring home to each individual country. Before Bronwyn and Nicole taught me some New Zealand slang, I had no idea

sweet as meant cool. Getting to know those girls was sweet as! The destructive war that began in 1950 ironically unified nearly 100 university students from all over the world in 2011. I gained friends from many countries, including England, Korea, Australia, Holland, New Zealand, and Colombia. Sharing the experience with Kristalyn also deepened our friendship. And though I initially found the theme song lyrics a bit embarrassing and cheesy, I felt the power of unity they brought to the entire group on that final night of the camp. I came to Korea for an exciting adventure, and yes, I had adventures. But the most rewarding part of this trip were the bonds of peace, friendship, and unity I formed with so many people from so many places.

Let’s stop all the fight, let’s stop all the war, for the beautiful world. ▶▶

english.mpva.go.kr

—Ashley Holmes

Left: Samuel and I find ways to bring history to life at the War Memorial of Korea. Center: Suyoung helps me tie the traditional bow correctly. Top right: Bronwyn and I paint Korean masks while learning about each other and our cultures. Bottom right: We all hold hands as we sing “Peace in Harmony” a final time.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 91


Underground Cities From LA to Hong Kong, big cities appeal to travelers around the world. Skyscrapers tower over tourists, impressing upon them man’s incredible efforts to create edifices both amazing and productive. Cities large and small speak in many ways about the people who build and live in them; however, not all incredible cities are visible above the horizon. Some of the most striking cities keep their tales far beneath the earth’s surface, waiting for adventurers to discover them. Here’s a look at five captivating underground cities the world has uncovered. —Natalie Browning

In 1889, about 25 blocks in the heart of Seattle were destroyed in what is known as the Great Seattle Fire. A new city was built on top of the ruins. Years later, city officials, building owners, and the tour’s founder, Bill Speidel, restored Pioneer Square and much of the once devastated area restored into a three-block underground tour for the public. The tour, which began in 1954, starts in Doc Maynard’s Public House saloon, and from there takes visitors through Pioneer Square and three sections of underground, ending in the gift shop called Rogues Gallery. Walking through Seattle Underground brings the somewhat scandalous memory of Seattle’s Wild West days back to life. ▶▶

www.undergroundtour.com/index.html

Matmata, Tunisia

Star Wars devotees might recognize the white cave-like dwellings found in Matmata, Tunisia, as the home of Luke Skywalker in Episode IV. These unique homes were not built for the movie—or built at all for that matter. They were entirely dug out of the ground by their inhabitants, creating secluded underground homes for village dwellers. What might excite George Lucas supporters is that a section of these structures is now open to the public for lodging as the Hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata. The hotel caves offer simple accommodations, but the experience is rich and rare for the adventurous.

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▶▶

trekity.com/star-wars-matmata-tunisia

▶▶

looklex.com/tunisia/matmata.htm

Top: photo by Jimmy Carter; Bottom: photo by Dennis G. Jarvis

Seattle Underground—Seattle, Washington


escapades

Derinkuyu Underground City—Anatolia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey, is home to 36 underground cities, the deepest one being the city of Derinkuyu. Roughly 85 meters deep, Derinkuyu has close to 600 doors leading into the whole structure, as well as 100-foot-deep ventilation ducts, churches, wineries, stables, a missionary school, family dwellings, and even a makeshift graveyeard. Some believe it was built specifically for refuge during Phyrgian attacks on the Hittites. Today, roughly ten percent of Derinkuyu is open to the public for tours through this elaborate structure. ▶▶

www.goreme.com/derinkuyu-underground-city.php

▶▶

sometimes-interesting.com/2014/05/09/ derinkuyu-the-underground-cities-of-cappadocia

Top: photo by Başak Ekinci; Middle: photo by Eric YYM; Bottom: photo by Michael Dawes

Lion City—Zhejiang, China

Coober Pedy, Australia

With over 70 opal fields, Coober Pedy is nicknamed the Opal Capital of the world. In addition to its opals, Coober Pedy is also known for its underground homes that today house over 1,600 residents. Civilians built underground homes, as well as an entire city, in response to the threat of dingoes and heat. Shops, pubs, a graveyard, and a church are all included in the below-ground town of Coober Pedy. ▶▶

listverse.com/2013/01/22/10amazing-underground-cities

In 208 AD, the grand Lion City was established as a booming part of Zhejiang province. Now, between 85 and 131 feet beneath the surface of Qiandao Lake, the majestic Lion City lies waiting for divers to explore in awe. But how did this grand city fall to the bottom of a lake? In 1959, the Chinese government needed a hydroelectric power station, and Lion City’s location was chosen as the place for the dam. The rising waters of the constructed dam created Qiandao Lake and the grand polis from view . Amazingly, however, the water-buried city has been rediscovered and preserved, and much of its ancient grandeur can still be seen 26–40 meters under the lake’s surface. For those who love underwater adventures, this is the place to go. ▶▶

www.realtytoday.com/ articles/5159/20140215/ chinas-atlantis-underwater-lioncity-opens-tourists.htm

▶▶

www.ancient-origins.net/ news-history-archaeology/ ancient-chinese-underwater-cityperfectly-preserved-082934

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94 â–ś winter 2015


staff essay staff essay

Photo by Daniel Go

Seven Million Lights There must have been seven million lights ablaze on my first night in Hong Kong. I gazed out of the car window, unable to close my eyes for a second, not wanting to miss even one moment of that drive. As we passed high-rise after high-rise, the driver turned to me and said, “Behind each of those lights is a person. Seven million people; seven million lights.” That was the first time it hit me: an overwhelming desire to know the people behind the lights. My roommate Sandy’s light was dazzling. She laughed generously and shook her head when I tried to wash my own dishes. She always insisted I let her do them instead. When one of us struggled, we cried together, and as she cried, her dark eyes glittered with warmth. She taught me how to play the harmonica, and we would spend hours playing duets together in the dimly lit, one-bedroom apartment that we shared with two other girls. Some nights Sandy and I would climb up to the top bunk in our tiny room, hunched over to avoid bumping our heads on the ceiling. We lit up that cramped apartment with music

and laughter as we fumbled our way through our favorite songs. And although Sandy’s English was almost as poor as my Cantonese, as she taught me to play the harmonica, our friendship became unshakable. Several months later, I moved to Macau, leaving Sandy behind in that beloved, memory-filled apartment. My new apartment was rather rundown, with large glass doors that led out to the balcony. This balcony overlooked the city and directly faced the lighthouse, which stood on a hill in the distance. For a reason unbeknownst to me, there was an old, rusty exercise bike on the balcony. I’d often sit on the bike seat and look at the twinkling lights of the neighboring high-rises, imagining the person each light represented. I felt a relentless urge to know them and to love them, because as different as they were, I felt their light. One warm night, I took my harmonica onto the balcony and, perching on the rickety bicycle seat, began to play to the darkness. After playing several songs, I paused to catch my breath. It was then that I heard

it—the song that I had just played echoed in the wind from somewhere above me. I looked around, mystified, unsure of what I’d heard. But then I heard it again, coming from the high-rise facing mine. I scanned each window of the building, searching for the source of the music. Then I saw him, standing on a balcony several floors above, his head swaying to the music as he played a Chinese flute. I couldn’t see his face, and he couldn’t see mine—there we were, just dark silhouettes standing against the bright light of our apartments. He transitioned into a rendition of “Amazing Grace,” and I joined in with my harmonica. This connection, which surpassed language or information, lasted just a few minutes. When we finished the song, he waved to me, and I waved back before returning inside. He continued to play as I turned off my light and crawled into bed. I smiled in gratitude, and I soon drifted off to sleep to the tune of his light.

—Katie Cutler

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 95


96 â–ś summer 2014


Parting Shot Driving by Autumn in Payson Canyon Amelia Wallace Gilbert, Arizona

2 â–ś winter 2015


Explore. Dream. Discover. Online.

Photo by Scott Jarvie

Now you can explore online every Stowaway article that has ever been written. Read “Faith in America”: A Photographic Journey from the Fall 2014 issue and other incredible stories at stowawaymag.com.

2 ▶ winter 2015

Stowaway Winter 2015  

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