solitary advice 1
For Saint Augustine was right—life is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. For we should take heed of Emerson’s wise words, and live in the sunshine, swim the sea, and drink the wild air. And for travel is the only thing you buy that truly makes you richer. 2
We invite you to turn the page, succumb to your inner globetrotter, and alight the flame of wanderlust within.
14 AnotherCenter Center of the World by Hongjie Lim
12 The Second Visit by Jenny Allison
8 Frayed Rope by Thomas Burke
7 Paris is for Fools by Liza Leonard
6 Explore.Dream.Discover. by Kevin Lim
4 Tufts Map
Mark Twain once famously said, “Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” From this semester’s prompt, Jumbos from Medford (and all around the world) have brought us stories of their adventures. Their anecdotes allow us to momentarily escape our own lives, and to step into their shoes as they journey from Paris to Prague and to the ends of the earth. We live vicariously through the fabled tales of their escapades, seeing the world through a new pair of eyes. The letting us taste the sights, sounds, and smells of that world beyond, their words bringing these places to life in our minds.
22 Photo Spread
20 A Foreigner in America by Jean Degeorge
18 A Freshman Reminsces by Raimy Shin
16 Solitary Advice by Minyi Tan
19 Cracked Earth by Nayantara Dutta
Editors-in-Chief · Sydney Char · Pier Nirandara Layout Editors · Lindsay Atkeson · Henry Jani Jane Kim · Anna Vasquez Muniz · Lorenza Ramirez Photo Editors · Katherine Campbell · Halie Smith Literary Editors · Mackenzie Merrium · Arshia Shroff · Julie Xia Public Relations · Ellie Heinrich · Suhyun Kim · Jahnna Silberberg Staff Writers · Jenny Allison · Nayantara Dutta · Jamie Fonarev · Kevin Lim · Raimy Shin Instagram Credits · @sydchar57 @pierettadawn @allisonlynn63 @waynederekyeh @ellieheinrich @ kmpdom @evelynskim @nayantaradutta @jackaronan @b_tweet Special Thanks to Kwanki Tang Title Credit: Minyi Tan 3
Explore. Dream. Discover. Repeat. Kevin Lim It’s easy being home. It’s safe, it’s familiar, and it’s cozy. But not too much comes from being safe. Maybe there are things to be said about being safe; you won’t be hurt, and there’s always your welcoming bed to relax in. I’ve chosen to carelessly throw away that comfort one too many times. Some times were accidental, some meant to happen, but all of them were worth every moment. Hiking down narrow slopes in the blazing heat of the Grand Canyon beat lazily trudging downstairs to my living room for a nap, and braving the frigid Pacific waters topped any warm bath at home. I know, call me crazy, but there’s something about throwing yourself out of your comfort zone that will bring you back again and again, although the experience itself may be different. Whether you’re going far away, to places you’ve never been before, or merely taking a leisurely stroll around a part of town you don’t visit often, the exploration is what attracted me to seek more, to venture out into the great unknown. The best part? It doesn’t end there. Making the journey out is the easy part. Once you’re out there, soaking in your surroundings, your next course of action will come naturally. The hard part is truly living the experience, not just passing the time. You will learn new things, some that you’ve never seen or heard of before. There will be sights you thought impossible, tastes you’ve never sampled before, cultures completely different from yours, yet just as intricate and beautiful. There is a fine line between amazement and appreciation, and if you lose yourself in the moment, you will miss out on the other half of your excursion. Going away, far from your comfort zone, isn’t about just staring in awe at that in which you cannot easily explain; rather, it is about that which you take in, and the growth you will experience, both mentally and emotionally, from the trip. To you and your future travels. Explore, Discover, Dream, Repeat.
Photo by: Minyi Tan
Paris is for Fools Liza Leonard Snap a picture out the train window And all you will see Is a smudge of grass And the hazy blue of an expiring sky Instead look left, To your companion And ask them what they thought of Paris Eyes bright, focused, energized Not a place, Paris is a moment When you loved the boys that make girls cry And every story was perfect Because stories on rooftops Are more beautiful Or more funny And ring out with delight in every sentence Because in that moment the stars hang just perfectly And dishes that clatter on the way down Will not break And no one will have to clean them up later
We wake up early and pay for exactly one pain au chocolat And open our eyes to see The tourists taking pictures, and see ourselves And laugh I wish I could remember Paris But a moment cannot be bottled up Like an au de toilette For smelling later No. A moment just hangs on the wind And rustles the tress every other Tuesday Or lands on your tongue And gives you dĂŠjĂ vu or itchy underpants If I could remember Paris, I am sure it was beautiful The arc that we took pictures in front of And the tower of dreams The gardens of luxury It was just a feeling This kind of all over buzz That drenches you in the idea that life, In its funny way Is yet to be uncovered
Photo by: Liza Leonard Photo Credit: Credit: Eva Eva Parish, Parish, Kathryn Kathryn Robinson Robinson Photo
Frayed Rope Thomas Burke Bazaruto Strait. Vilankulo, Inhambane Province. Moçambique. December, 2012. I had been in Moçambique for three days when I met the fishermen: a group of guys about my age, walking down the beach. Snorkeling gear – flippers, masks, and tubes – protruded from old maize-meal sacks. “Bon dia,” I called, and smiled. Though Moçambicans might speak XiTswa, Changaani, or any of a dozen other Bantu languages, Portuguese is the national language, a linguistic vestige of the colonial era. They returned my smile. “Como estas?” “Steu bien,” I replied. They laughed. “Tut bien.” I joined them as they walked down the beach, talking amongst themselves. I interrupted and pointed to myself: “Howell.” The one wearing a Billabong t-shirt with stunna shades and could have passed for Jay-Z nodded and reciprocated: “Mac.” The others went in turn: Loyce, Lino, Jolino, Don Yao. We walked without speaking for a while. I waved down the beach. “Praia?” Heads nodded. Working some sand between my fingers, I
looked at my new friends questioningly. “Areya,” came the response. Mac and I chased a crab scuttling across the beach. “Caranges,” he explained. Then, he held out a mango to me. “Manga?” I accepted the gift and thanked him, “Muto brogado,” just about reaching the extent of my Portuguese. For a long time we sat on the beach, looking out over the strait as my new friends chatted quietly. After some some time, they waded out into the water to their dhow. I had not yet explained my intention to join them, but nobody protested or seemed surprised when I followed onto the boat. I go, you go, we go. Eu vo, tu vais, nos vamos. Jolino poled the boat out to deeper water, and everyone worked to haul up the yard with up the mast. The wind caught the triangular lateen sail, and we pushed out into the strait. “Nos vamos na agua.” The wind soon caught my hat as well, which tumbled out behind the dhow. I gave it up for lost, but Loyce dove overboard, retrieving it within the minute. He hauled himself aboard, smiling. “Chapeu,” he explained triumphantly, holding up the hat.
In the middle of the strait, they cast the anchor overboard and furled the sail using strips of palm fronds. Each man’s gear, a maize meal sack filled with old plastic bottles to serve as a float and another empty maize meal sack to store their catch, both attached by a long line to a large rock anchor, went into the water. Donning their snorkels and flippers, the fishermen turned backwards over the edge of the dhow and followed their gear into the Indian Ocean’s beryl waters. One dove and returned a couple of minutes later to show me their quarry: sechenel. Sea cucumbers. Within minutes, all had disappeared from sight, leaving Lino and I alone to man the boat. Lino was not one to talk much,even in Portuguese. I don’t know how long we were there; I didn’t have my phone or watch, but the hours passed languidly. At one point he handed me a hook and line. Not really sure of what to do, I baited it with the entrails of something – I’m not sure what – and threw it overboard. My half-hearted attempts proved, unsurprisingly, unsuccessful.
Eventually, the fishermen returned one by one with their maize meal sacks full of sea cucumbers and conches and hauled themselves aboard. We cut the palm fronds tying the sail to the yard, unfurling it into the wind. The wind at our back, we made good time back to shore under full sail. Once underway, Mac cut off the worn-out end of the rope used to haul the lateen sail and cast it overboard. On whim, I reached into the water to retrieve it. When he looked at me quizzically, I tapped my finger to my forehead and said, “To remember.” He nodded once, smiled, and handed me another length of rope. I never learned how to say goodbye in Portuguese. When the time came for us to part ways, I simply said “Muto brogado.” Thank you. I gave a half salute and went on my way. Those lengths of rope I grabbed out of Bazaruto Strait hold a place of honor on my desk back in America. Fraying and scattering irritating bits of fiber everywhere, they’re worthless as rope, but invaluable as a reminder.
allisonlynn63 life imitates #art. #tuftstraveler
ellieheinrich #mountains #alaska #tuftstraveler
10 waynederekyeh I heard they built this thing as a set for Gladiator. #rome #colosseum #tuftstraveler
kmpdom Cape Cod > A-Rod #tuftstraveler
b_tweet Jchillinâ€™ by the sea. #SouthAfrica #Yzerfontein #tuftstraveler
11 evelynskim NYC weekend. #NYC #chelsea market #tuftstraveler
The Second Visit Jenny Allison I had the very peculiar experience last summer of watching myself form an important memory. At 6:30 am, the sands of Curaçao were surprisingly warm, considering the sun had barely started to peek through the fading clouds. On the beach, the sand rolled in the surf, and the sea stretched so far out that it might as well have reached to another world. I had signed up for a morning yoga class, and though I had instantly regretted it when my alarm bellowed loudly into my ear at 6:15, I was grateful that my body had actually gotten me out of bed. My instructor, a short, plump, tan hotel employee, was smiling and waiting for me, already stretching
on the wooden platform at the water’s edge. My feet were soft on the wooden boards as I padded over to stretch by her side. As I leaned over and felt the blood whoosh down towards my head, I saw dark green blurred lines waving gently in my periphery. Palm fronds and the beginning of another beautiful day on the beach—what more could I want? It was exactly that thought that pushed me out of my immediate surroundings and into a reflective state. This isn’t just another moment, I knew. This is the moment I’ll want to return to every time I’m overwhelmed. This is what I’m going to envision when I need to relax. Admittedly, knowing
this as I was trying to absorb the memory made the moment somewhat inauthentic, but ultimately I was able to forget my thoughts and sink into the stretching and the sounds of the waves. Since then, I’ve called up that moment many times—while taking an Econ test, while anxiously arriving five minutes late to class, while lying in bed realizing how much work I have to do before the weekend. I don’t limit myself to that memory, either— I like to put my favorite mental images on shuffle in my head and just drift into them. Not surprisingly, many of these beloved mental snapshots were first captured while I was somewhere other than my house—many of them while I was out of the country. I think that one of the most underemphasized benefits of travel is what happens after you’ve already gone. Travel isn’t a finite experience limited by physical time in a
different place. You can spend an afternoon in Salzburg and love it, but, even better, you can re-visit any time you want just by taking a moment to close your eyes. As college students, we could all definitely use some time away from our to-do lists and our textbooks. Personally, I know that next time I need to escape, I’ll be thinking of the time I sat in a dark hazy bar in Ireland and listened to a man play the accordion by firelight. Perhaps I’ll think about the early-morning walk I had in the foggy English countryside when I saw a stag bound across the dirt path not 20 yards in front of me. Or maybe I’ll be going back to that familiar moment in Curaçao, with the ocean rolling to the sound of my breaths and the warmth of the Caribbean sun.
Another Centre of the World Hongjie Lim
Photo: Hongjie Lim
Known for their long histories as richly multicultural trading ports, the cities of Penang and Malacca lie along the eastern coast of Malaysia. This past summer, I had the opportunity to visit both cities—and after many years of reading about the complex religious and racial diversity there, I was finally able to observe them in the flesh. The histories of Malacca and Penang are very much intertwined, even though they are located almost 350 miles apart. Both city-states, together with Singapore, were administered as part of the British’s Straits Settlement of 1826. After World War II, the cities merged into the political entity that eventually became the Malaysian nation-state. In addition to their national history, both cities share the same body of water, the Straits of Malacca; this location along such a busy waterway shaped their roles as way stations for the global flow of capital, people and trade over the years. While visiting, I was struck by the extent of cultural hybridity woven throughout the cities. For example, the first Chinese temple in Penang, built in 1728 by early Chinese migrants, stands beside the oldest Anglican Church in Southeast Asia—and both buildings border a Hindu temple and a Muslim mosque. My visit to Penang coincided with the part of the Lunar 7th month known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, and I witnessed both Chinese and Hindu street processions on the same night. Another evening, a traditional Chinese opera troupe performed the splendid Hindu epic Ramayana as part of a cultural festival. Remarkable as they are, even these displays of cultural intermingling are not surprising, given Malacca’s rich history. Writing in the early 16th Century, the Portuguese sailor Tomé Pires noted how there were at least eighty-four different languages spoken on the streets of Malacca. Since the 15th century, the city has been ruled by seven different political entities, testifying to the city’s strategic importance within this global system of trade. Evidence and markers of these different periods of rule still manifest themselves in the city today. On my last night in Malacca, I visited the Portuguese Settlement, which lies about a ten-minute drive from the city center. The settlement was created in 1933 to preserve the culture of the Kristang, the Portuguese-Malay creoles and descendants of the old Portuguese settlers. There, I had dinner at San Pedro Restaurant, Spanish for Saint Peter, and tried a variety of Portuguese-Malay food items. Speaking briefly with the owner of the restaurant, I learned that the community has less than a thousand people and that they speak a variety of languages among themselves, including English, Malay and Portuguese. The Portuguese Settlement, in many ways, is emblematic of this long history of cultural exchange and interaction that has taken place in Malacca. However, underneath the enchanting mix of cultures and traditions that I observed in Malacca, I began to sense an underlying system of tension and hierarchy. These economic and social divisions, often organized along racial lines, have crept beneath the romanticized blend of histories and formed hardened hierarchies. For example, the majority of the Chinese and Indian migrants to Malacca and Penang arrived not as free people, but as indentured laborers or coolies. In the cities, they were made to endure a life of hardship, as urban workers or laborers on the rubber plantations of colonial Malaysia. Nevertheless, I won’t dismiss the value of Malacca and Penang as microcosms of a global economy and trade system. The cities are recognized for bringing together the cultures of various sites across Asia and Europe to create an unforeseen blend of tradition and landscape—and after visiting them, I can only confirm that this is an awesome truth.
Solitary Advice Minyi Tan
If there is a single most crucial travel tip, it should be: pre-load Google Maps while you still have Wi-Fi. I can’t count the number of times that app has saved me from solo tripping hell. Inauspicious phrasing aside, so long as your smartphone isn’t in airplane mode (perhaps for battery saving purposes), it will point you where you want to go. While I’d visited Romania and Bulgaria only 10 days after returning from sunny Greece, the lessons learnt in the latter were immediately applicable and helpful to the sojourn in the former. Lesson No. One: Always figure out the general price range. On the Greek island of Hydra, an idyllic paradise of lapping waves and cheerful strays that were everyone’s pets, I settled for the first restaurant I found, thinking that €11 for pork steak would be a steal. I had drifted to the left of the tiny port city, turning back once golden sunset made for stretched shadows and darkening fears (“if I trip over the cliffs, nobody will hear my storm whistle, I won’t see shore.”) And I wrongly assumed that an outof-the-way restaurant would be cheaper. Wrong. Pesto pasta was €8.90 back at the port, and a difference of even €2.10 can go a long way when stamps are €0.80… Also, on that note: some people in some places may offer different rates to foreigners/tourists and to locals. Do what you can to figure out the going rate for taxis if you need them, and bargain when you know the price could be fairer. Feeling cheated can leave a trip with a bitter aftertaste, and you don’t want that. So do your homework on the Internet, change your money in the city instead of at train terminals or airports, but don’t be too defensive against a wonderful time. Lesson No. Two: Pack lighter. If you’re staying at a hotel, hostel, or AirBnb, you might not need to bring along: toothpaste, shampoo, soap, laptop, “lots” of clothes, towel (I brought a tiny microfiber one to Greece, then none to the Balkans: every bit of space counts when your backpack can’t fit a 13” MacBook!).
Photo by: Mackenzie Merriam
Even though I’d slept in a different place every single night in Greece, I managed to wash my clothes and alternate between a dress with a sewn-in bra (one less item!), 2 tops, sleeping pants plus sleeping shirt. The Balkans would be colder and I brought even less: coat, pants, 2 tops, and the same set of pajamas. I didn’t manage to wash the two pairs of socks I had for that trip…but hey, what’s more important: feeling fresh or having more space for books you found at the hostel? Lesson No. Three: Hostels = More chances to meet more people. There were only guesthouses on the Greek islands where I slept alone in rooms with double beds or, once, four single beds (because nobody goes to Greece alone?), so my only interactions with other humans was when I was buying food, or just about to strip and dip into the Myrtoan Sea: “Why is everyone gone, is the tide coming in?” In Athens, the first AirBnb I stayed in was shared with a lovely couple, and we had a great time talking about our cultures and the sometimes rocky Turkey-Greece relationship. The second AirBnb I was in had a tango teacher as the host, and he was busy conducting lessons when I checked in late at night. So while I was learning about the world and myself via exploring and experiencing, learning via engaging interviews didn’t really happen. Hostel-hopping in Bucharest and then Sofia more than made up for that deficient in vicarious living. I met German Medicine students, the owner of hobotraveler.com, a Spanish student who cooked us a Canary Island chicken dish drenched in olive oil and spices, the friendliest Japanese guy, Macedonian twins who were excited to meet their first Singaporean, a group of Italians and Finnish employees from an MNC, a British couple who were making full use of their Bucharest nights, a Russian working in Turkey, a Korean student of Ottoman History and more. And the thing about hostels is that a certain demographic visits them, and that group is usually characterized by open-mindedness and an eager ear for the stories and questions of others. That is how you can travel while traveling. And when you stay at hostels, you’re not really traveling alone anymore. So never fear to book a ticket for one to a new place! May these lessons aid you as they’ve helped me.
Photo by: Katie Campbell
A Freshman Reminisces… #thailandtuesday Raimy Shin Even now, more than a month into college, I feel like I’m a visitor here. All the symptoms of wanderlust are there: wide, wandering eyes trying to capture everything at once; iPhone camera-at-the-ready; mapping out the places in the city that I want to explore. I wake up in the middle of the night and think of how blessed I am to be able to get a snippet of this spectacular place called Tufts University. Then, I realize that I’m not just visiting. Instead of snippets, I’ll be getting the HD, 360 degree panorama. That gets me excited. And giddy. And incredibly terrified. The truth is, I’ve left my home behind in Bangkok, Thailand, and I feel like I can’t really live out my life in full color until I’m surrounded again by the smells, sounds, and sights of the city I fell in love with ten years ago.
Bangkok is a puzzle of a city. It is composed of incongruous bits and pieces that are smoothed over by raucous noises and delicious herb-infused clouds of steam. Long stretches of lavish shopping malls are punctuated by raggedy street vendors on fractured pavement. Bone-thin soi (street) dogs wander the roads, skirting the tick tock of high heels and swinging Gucci bags. The dichotomies are amplified at night. From a rooftop bar called Vertigo, which overlooks the city, I can watch the creation of Bangkok’s symphony of lights. As the energy of the large structures and shopping malls decrescendo, the smaller pockets of the city start to glow-
er. Before midnight, everything is in full swing: the roads are bright and slow-moving with the notoriously stagnant traffic, while the party streets, namely soi 4, Khaosan Road, and Asok, rush with buzzing tourists and locals – yet another contradiction in the city of Bangkok.
Bangkok is something beautiful and unforgettable and incomparable. It is a place where I am not. But because I am not in it, I see it more clearly than before. Before, I had been standing in the dark under a lamp that only illuminated what was right in front of me.
Bangkok is a mixture of opulence and desolation. On that fractured pavement, adjacent to the street vendors and soi dogs, are beggars, often women carrying infants who are strangely and unnaturally always asleep. In the streets, at night, are a muddle of trafficked sex workers looking tired in heavy makeup. In fact, my private high school is surrounded by dwellings with roofs made of corrugated iron and walls made of cardboard.
While I reminisce the polarities that made Bangkok so memorable and fascinating to me, I realize that there is so much to be done to ensure that the experience of Bangkok is equally as enjoyable for all of its residents. I am on my way to making a place for myself here at Tufts, where I’ll no longer be a traveler, but I won’t forget about my home.
Cracked Earth Nayantara Dutta
To those who are looking for direction I went to the desert to burn what I couldn’t bury, watched ashes scatter through the north wind, and walked the dunes in the wake of safer places. I fled from home with shaky knees, searching for an escape to put everything in focus, but running doesn’t make you bolder and sand will still slip through your fingers no matter how carefully you hold it. You cannot find yourself in foreign cultures your hands will never really touch, but still travel with your palms open. You’ll see yourself in a thousand dialects of light.
Photo by: Sydney Char
A Foreigner in America Jean Degeorge Travelling to a new country is like starting a new relationship. Much like buzzing between interests at a party, the stereotypical American tourist flirts with London and Paris, Milan and then Prague, gathering miniature Eiffel towers, Louis Vuitton bags and “Keep Calm And Carry On” shirts. He finally heads back home and leaves Europe behind after barely ten days of getting to know her. Even after spending just a year and a half at Tufts, I’ve gotten to know and appreciate Boston much more than I would have as a visitor. Already, I feel I’ve started to get to know the United States—and I’ve noticed a lot of interesting differences from my home in France. The most striking aspect I’ve observed is how obsessed Americans
are with the idea of individual importance and success. It seems that everyone here puts the individual, and the individual’s achievements, high on a pedestal. Contrary to my home country, where academic success and conformity are the norm, everyone here is encouraged to pursue his or her individual interests and aspirations from a very young age. At Tufts, there are hundreds of clubs available, so that each person may explore his or her possible hidden talents in everything from juggling to salsa dancing. However, parallel to this highly individualistic culture is blatant and yet sometimes invisible inequality. College is incredibly expensive in America—particularly here at Tufts. Only the upper middle class and the very rich can attend. Although
Photos by Pier Nirandara
Americans accept as an unavoidable fact that education is expensive, that is not always the case. In my country, you only have to pay a registration fee of 700 dollars for a masters degree and even less so for a bachelor’s degree. When I opened an account at Bank of America at the beginning of the year, the woman in charge of registering me asked me about the expenses of higher education in France. When I replied that it is practically free, she could barely believe me, joking, “Now I want to move there!” Due to these high expenses, universities in the United States are able to afford high-quality facilities and opportunities. However, students tend to forget that they live in an island of privilege. Poverty is not far from Tufts, and students come from much more privileged backgrounds than the majority of the population— even many of the students at nearby Medford High School cannot hope to attend the school. At Tufts, because tuition is so high, every person who is employed by the university—from dining hall service workers to professors—serves students. Back home, people view jobs that serve others as too humbling, even humiliating. I sometimes feel uneasy when I see how helpful and polite people working at Tufts are. People employed in the dining halls probably do not earn yearly half of what it costs to attend college for a year, yet these people do not seem bothered by this obvious injustice. Back home, personnel is not better paid than at Tufts, but I feel less guilty because they make it a point of pride not to do anything more than the bare minimum. They will rarely smile and are sometimes even rude. It is their way of saying that their situation is not just. These people are arbitrarily at the bottom of the social scale. Why would they ever be happy to work for privileged youth who earn their
privilege from just being born in the right family? I was particularly reminded of this puzzling difference in attitudes when I dropped a plate in Dewick one afternoon recently. In my high school, each time that happened to a student, the staff would give the student a brush and a dustpan to clear it up himself. Here, after I apologized, embarrassed, a woman told me not to worry and that accidents happen, and she cleaned it up herself. When I tried to help her, she told me not to and that everything was okay. She really did not seem angry—although she had the right to be upset with me, she was not. Studying abroad, now for nearly two years, has given me much to ponder. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to study here and admire many aspects of American culture—and I try to stay grateful and not take my own privilege for granted. Perhaps my insight, as an outsider, will even prove meaningful to someone else. After all, awareness leads to changes in behaviour, and I think that it is important that American students here continue to be aware of the disparities in life circumstance occurring right under their noses. So, just as starting a relationship with somebody new often leads to self-reflection, I hope that my thoughts will inspire some American students to reflect on their country’s culture and how they can always be forces of positive change. 21
Photos by: Katie Campbell
Photo Contest â€œGoing Nativeâ€?
Photos by: Mackenzie Merriam
Photos by: Amaya Contreras Driggs
Photos by: Minyi Tan
Photo by: Thomas Burke
Photos by: Sydney Char
Tufts Traveler Magazine