The Great Perhaps
10 Sea Salt
Quiero una pina colada
To the Ends of the Earth
Quotes to Inspire
Traveler Photo Contest
Front Cover Photo: Pier Nirandara Table of Contents: Pauline Leong
Brown Water, Blue Sky
As many globetrotters know, a major component of traveling is a degree of undeniable uncertainty. The exciting part is the risk—the fact that you don’t know exactly what’s up ahead. Through unforgettable tales of adventure, these stories explore what it truly means to dive into the unknown, and enjoy the true art of traveling. Sydney Char & Pier Nirandara
A Salute to Sarajevo
Mother Nature Me
Go Tshoma (Hunting)
Major French renaissance writer Francois Rabelais’s last words were, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” For Spring 2015, Tufts students were prompted with the quote, and asked the following questions: where have they sought a Great Perhaps? And where they wish to seek it next?
20 Longtang Neighborhoods
Editors-in-Chief Sydney Char · Pier Nirandara Layout Editors Lindsay Atkeson · Lorenza Ramirez · Henry Jani Photo Editors Katherine Campbell · Halie Smith Literary Editors Betsy Allman 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 @brendycakes @sydchar57 @halpini @nickjamesfresh @byndborders @rhodeslesstraveled @nargaretos @abbymcfee @callmepeeta @pierettadawn @jackeidson
SAILING EARTH to the END of the
Antarctica had always been a dream. I’d written about it for my Tufts application essay, and so it only seemed natural that when my parents asked what I wanted for my graduation present, I responded without hesitation, “Antarctica.” We embarked on the expedition ship Le Boreal in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in Argentina, and cruised for over two weeks, visiting the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, and the Antarctic Peninsula. I will never forget the sight that greeted our Christmas Day landing on South Georgia Island—a massive colony of a quarter million king penguins! The sight was overwhelming (as was the smell), and I couldn’t help but struggle with the daunting task of attempting to capture the grandeur of this untouched wilderness. After all, when there are over 250,000 penguins around you…which ones do you photograph? We were so incredibly lucky with the amazing weather, the ship was able to make a stop at Point Wild on Elephant Island, a place of historical significance on the famed journey of Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, where under the command of Frank Wild, the crew of the Endurance camped for months during the brutal Antarctic winter as they awaited rescue. We hopped on to the Zodiac boats, exploring the waters around the area before even making a physical landing on site—something the expedition leader told us they hadn’t done in over a decade due to bad weather. We sailed onwards towards the Antarctic Peninsula, making a New Year’s landing on the last continent at the bottom of the world.
Un aP iña Co lad a
Traveling makes the soul sing and fills the mind with a light that illuminates our inner strength, happiness, and purpose. “You don’t know what the fuck you’re missin.” – Joe Rogan and Jonathan Suazo. A la casa de Claudia – La Calle Sta. Praxedes en San Juan, Puerto Rico: it’s snowing outside the window of JFK as I wait for my boarding call. My mind forms a mental model to distract me from this sharp juxtaposition in weather. The skies will soon open, becoming blue and cloudless, the breeze turning warm and tropical. Does traveling make dreaming a reality? I write in my journal that innovation, optimism, beauty, and creation come from free will and the pursuit of impact beyond the greatness of self, as well as the pursuit of love. Claudia is a friend that just rests there - in that place your heart held before you knew your heart had empty spaces for friends. She has an inner peace and quiet, a beautiful calm that draws others to her who need calming the most. She is so insightful, and provides me with peer mentorship. I write, “This is a friendship that will span a lifetime.” I look forward to other getaways to Puerto Rico and different places we will travel as friends and sisters. Day 1: A la playa de aviones – I pick up the gritty shells lining the sea, walking beside a new friend and native of Puerto Rico, Ani. She has known me no longer than an hour and has already decided to walk near me. Later, she braids my hair as we laugh about how my Boston pale may take a lot more sun
and beach to brighten than my trip has to offer. After some time we all decide that lunch is a must. Puerto Ricans know how to live – and eat! For lunch, we grabbed piononos and tried alcapurrias and bacalaitos along the side of the road. New foods, sounds, faces, and places – a new year and a new me… Day 2: Isla de Palomino – a treasure of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean – I had the chance to visit by ferry with my new Puerto Rican friends. While bathing in the infinity pool that spills out into the Caribbean, we watched the ferry return to the docks, and all of us collectively decided that with the return of the ferry our next adventure awaited. Palomino held sun-streaked and rum-filled tourists, and I was not ashamed to be one of them. It is home for iguanas, one of which I almost stepped on during my exploration up to the top of the island. What a view from the top. We spent the afternoon on the beach, chatting amongst each other and taking pictures. After our two-hour journey home, Claudia and I filled our stomachs with her mom’s famous arroz con carne. We split an avocado, a native fruit of Puerto Rico that grows on the island. Among the knowledge collected from the day’s adventures was the fact that it always makes for more vibrant conversations to be storytelling in both Spanish and English. The humor is explained twice, which brings twice the laughter. Day 3: The sun rises on El Morro de Viejo San Juan (c. 1600s) – the wall that protected Puerto Rico from the Spanish. El morro reflects my own wall around my heart. Will it still stand around me after so much time? Claudia and I walk over the adoquines, the bluegrey bricks beneath the streets of the oldest part of the island. We buy plantains, jewelry, café y espresso, and laugh about my spending habits – all my Christmas money was put to good use in Old San Juan. I took photos in the Parque de las Palomas (Park of the Pigeons). After the shopping spree, we headed home to spend some girl time getting dressed for La Placita, or a series of outdoor bars, a glimpse into the Puerto Rican night life, which is as bold as the lipstick I wore out that night.
Day 4: On the streets of Condado on my last day in PR, Claudia and I head from the shops to Ocean Park beach – just a step off the sidewalks. I hear a crippled man call out to me asking for water. I set down my plastic bottle on the sidewalk, thinking about how I had just decided to not throw it away with my lunch. What an interesting moment I captured in my journal. “The inner happiness that rose with me after I stood and kept walking with Claudia, knowing I helped one person that day.” Just one person makes the world just one little bit better – and that is how I live my life. I better myself in order to better the world. I believe in self-awareness because it opens us to our inner fears and quiet desires. That looming feeling we all hide from: that we walk through life not knowing who we are. It is like walking through a dark alley with a stranger following you. Why would you not take the time to know your own self? Self-discovery is painful at first, and a lifelong trial, but then a brilliant rock that anchors all actions. Peace of mind comes from following your heart, doing good deeds by cultivating truth, as well as maintaining strength in your relationships. I reflect on my trip and the time I had to watch my friend fall in love with her now boyfriend – they treated me not as an awkward outsider, but as a part of another friendship. This new person who has so much beauty to offer the world: Jonathan Suazo. How friendship is when it is true. Jonathan, Claudia, and I hung out in Claudia’s room for a while on the last night and then I fell asleep. I let them go together. I felt quiet and calm with a positive feeling for this New Year and a deep sense of love for my friend, her way of life, her love, and her family.
Sea Salt Nayantara Dutta Tell me of peppermint days Dipping your toes in icy water The terracotta-paneled Spanish villa You painted in the summer Just to see the way muted sunlight would stream through the shutters And dance across the midnight ceiling Visiting the tropics and diving into the sapphire sea Belonging to the water and shedding your skin
Swimming amongst schools of fish Sifting sand through your fingers Afternoons skipping stones across the shoreline And picking water irises to keep in your hair Looking for circular trails moonbeams left behind Gazing up at indigo skies And running barefoot through cobblestone streets at twilight Treating every step like new soil
Brown Water, Blue Sky Jenny Allison I decided not to bring my camera whitewater rafting. We were going to be on the river the whole afternoon, and the idea of unzipping and re-zipping a dry bag dozens of times didn’t sound great. So, it was sans camera that I climbed into the inflatable raft, whose bright orange sides glistened with brown droplets of Amazon water. As we pushed out from the banks, I gripped my oar with soft palms and squinted into the sun. The river was flat and calm, lines swirling over the surface as the water flowed slowly around the rocks. The outer tube looked more precarious than it felt—perched on the tightly inflated rubber, my only worry was for my shoulders, which I realized too late I had forgotten to lather with sunscreen. “Okay, so when we reach the rapids,” my instructor shouted from the front of the raft, “just pull your oars inside the raft and you’ll be good!” Looking ahead, I could see the water churning in a frothing grey-brown stretch of rapids. White crests spilled over themselves, folding back into the turbulent flowing mass. As we hit the currents, our raft launched violently upwards, careening down the side of the swell and slapping the water loudly. I clutched the rubber safety handles on the tube and laughed gleefully, my hair whipping wetly on my cheeks. Past the rapids, we glided smoothly again, dipping our oars in water. Glancing down, I realized that the water was so muddy that I couldn’t see the bright yellow of my oar even a foot below the surface. Suddenly, I heard shouting from a nearby raft. When I looked over, the guide was already standing in the rear of the raft, casting the rescue rope upriver. Following its track, I saw the head of one of my companions bobbing in the current, growing smaller as we slid farther down the river. Soon, though, I could see her grab the rope; two minutes later, she clambered back over the side of the raft, dripping and jokingly berating herself. Then we were slamming into more rapids, our raft bucking madly over the churning swells.
Cold water splashed me and pearled on my skin, droplets quivering before they slid down my arms and fell back into the river. The air was warm and my laugh rippled loudly out across the water into the sky. An hour or two later, as we approached another set of frothing waves, my instructor asked if anybody wanted to sit in the very front of the boat. “Yes!” I shouted, eagerly waving my oar above the water. He nodded to me, and I clambered inside the raft, trying not to slip as I made my way to the front. I swung my legs up over the tube, gripping the rubber safety handle and dangling my toes in the river so that the current streamed around them. “Get ready!” my instructor yelled, as we hurtled downriver. I glanced back at the rest of the raft, beaming—and I turned back to the front just in time to see a wall of roaring white water surge up and tower over my head. It crashed down on top of me, knocking me back into the raft and then draining away nearly as quickly as it had come. Spluttering, I sat up and cheered loudly, flipping my sopping hair out of my eyes and laughing. After a couple hours, we beached ourselves at a little spit of sand, where the guides had arranged hut with heaping piles of food for us. Steaming beans and meat and cheese had never tasted so good! When I finished what I could fit on my tortilla, I piled another heap onto a large, glossy banana leaf, slurping up the hot food so fast I nearly gave myself a stomachache. (Of course, I still had room for a brownie afterwards.) That evening, as we dragged our rafts ashore, I was sunburned, sore, and shivering cold. But I couldn’t have cared less. I couldn’t even be upset that I didn’t have any photographs to show for my day—in fact, I was glad for it. I didn’t need to look at a picture to know how it had felt to be doused with cold Amazon water and laugh hysterically because of it. I didn’t need to record a video to remember how the raft pitched and keeled at every possible angle. And I definitely didn’t need any evidence to prove I had had an incredible day—all the proof was written in my sunburn and my sore muscles. 11
byndborders Oldest #cathedral in #scandinavia // #sweden // #travel #tuftstraveler
abbymcfee Split dimension. #tuftstraveler
sydchar57 Make sure to spend some time alone, too. #tufts #juno #tuftstraveler
pierettadawn Painted skies and silhouettes across the skyline. #boston #tuftstraveler
halpini The Byzantine Monasteries of Meteora overlooking the city of Kalambaka. #Greece
Go Tshoma Thomas Burke “Too much animals here,” Tshiamo commented. We were standing on the open grassland above the dense bushveld. Though he was wearing a striped golf shirt and flip-flops, in his orange ball cap he could have been hunting quail in the pine savannas of southern Georgia. He pointed to a windmill. “They pump water there,” he explained, “For the cattles.” A throaty bark came from the bush, near the windmill. The dogs took off, the two sight hounds in the lead, followed by the two terriers and, at a distance, the pugilistic mastiff. “Let’s go, Thabo,” he said, and took off for the bush. Tshiamo is a tall guy and never broke from a quick striding sort of lope, but I had to run at times to keep up with him. The dogs dove through a barbed wire fence and into the dense Bushveld. We followed them between the wires and took off through the Bushveld, darting and ducking through the branches and brambles. As we scurried through the bush, Tshiamo told me we were chasing an impala. The impala stopped calling and the dogs lost the trail. We slowed down, following the dogs along a one-time road. The dogs stopped at a large hole below a thorny tree. “Is this the home for jackal?” I asked Tshiamo. Afternoon was turning to dusk and the air was growing cold. I pulled my jacket tighter around me. “Nyaa,” he responded, “Kolobe.”
Kolobe is the Setswana word for pig. “Kolobe…wait, kolobe? You mean, the one with the teeth?” I asked, gesturing for tusks. Tshiamo nodded and disappeared into the hole with a feisty little terrier mutt named Magistrate, leaving me to fret by myself. His nonchalance worried me: we were deep in the Bushveld, dusk was falling, and we were getting ready to piss off a warthog. Fantastic. I had been hoping for a rabbit or springbok, something whose defensive strategy involved speed rather than four-inch tusks. Tshiamo popped his head out of the hole. “Thabo,” he asked, “Don’t you have a light?” I handed him my cell phone and he disappeared back into the hole. A couple of minutes later, he and Magistrate came out. Tshiamo was holding something in his hand. “No kolobe. It’s noko,” he said, holding up a porcupine quill. Tshiamo decided the porcupine was holed up too deep. We continued along our way, and I was grateful. As we walked, Tshiamo pointed out – and responded in kind to – the different animals we heard calling from the bush. The manical yelping was a jackal; he explained that he can sell a jackal skin to the ngakas
for R500, to be used in traditional medicine. The throaty bark coming from a cattle-watering station was a male impala calling, which makes for a valuable source of protein. Night fell and we pushed farther into the bushveld. Eventually we came out of the dense woodland into open grassland. “Where are we?” I asked. Tshiamo looked at me. “It’s Letlhakaneng, Thabo.” Without the sun and topography to orient by, I had lost my bearings completely. Tshiamo walked me home. We talked about going hunting again – it never happened, and a few weeks later I was on a plane flying back stateside. 0 As I finished up my projects in Letlhakaneng over the last couple of months of my service, I had more time to engage with the community outside of the schools and Scouting, to open myself to others in a way I hadn’t yet achieved. The hours I had spent writing lesson plans and marking quizzes I was able to spend hunting in the bush or herding cattle or sitting on the front stoop with gogo hollering at perfectly well-behaved kids for being naughty. It was time well-spent – perhaps my best use of time during my two-year tenure.
Mother Nature Me
In lands between space and time I find myself lost in the silence of existence Youth restored, I am elevated to a place of heightened emotion But in my soaking euophoria, I step closer and closer to your demise Forgive me, for I am a man carried by the sands of time Wandering through existence, taking what is not mine But when the final dawn cracks and the last bell breaks It is you who will be the last standing, screaming at the gates of salvation And I will beg you to turn, turrn to me and scream be free Be free, wild flower you are free
u t a rN
e h t Mo
e m re
‘Take a deep breath. Don’t fret, you look like them. I think. I hope?’ I should’ve known that things wouldn’t go right the moment I stepped off the plane. As I stepped out into the humid, heavy air of South Korea, searching desperately for a breeze, I knew that this was definitely not what I thought it would be. Although I had moved plenty of times before, this was the first time that I was old enough to understand its real impact. After 9 sunshine-filled years in California, my family left that beautiful state to move to South Korea. To be fair, it was a move that made logical sense: my father’s occupation, our family living apart, and my brother and I reaching deeper into our cultural roots could all be solved with one swift change in environment. With the passing days, however, I felt less confident in myself as I mindlessly wandered the streets of Seoul, constantly reminded of my status as a tourist rather than a native. I looked alike, but when my Korean came out with an American accent, I would instantly receive glances and glares with emotions ranging from pity to amusement to scorn. With those stares came hordes of “perhapses”: Perhaps I would have been happier back in the states; perhaps I wasn’t really one of them; perhaps I wasn’t supposed to eat that dish with ketchup; perhaps a tank-top wasn’t the best choice of clothing to wear when wandering. I thought time would cure my insecurities and my constant doubts. As just another face in the crowd, maybe I wouldn’t get yelled at for paying $8.80 more than I should have for the bus, or maybe the next time I said the word “kimchi,” my waitress wouldn’t snicker as she walked away. Perhaps it was who I was, an outlier among people who, in my eyes, seemed fairly uniform and seemed to accept everyone being similar to everyone else. Had I wished to just be comfortable with living in a new country, assimilation would have been enough. But, as fitting in wasn’t working, I changed my mind. Maybe I was meant to be a tourist—and maybe that wasn’t a bad thing. After all, tourists are people who embrace the “perhaps”, people who use their unfamiliarity as a instigator for curiosity and fun, rather than anxiety. Instead of being overly conscious of what others thought of me, I used my inquisitiveness to approach them instead, and I learned so much more than I would have ever imagined. My “perhaps” was not there to make me fear the unknown and foreign; it was a catalyst, a guiding hand to the intricacies of the world I had never thought of before. Asking questions allowed me to explore the country I now call home, to taste, feel, hear, and see South Korea in all its facets, instead of being caught up in a single aspect, unable and hesitant to expand my views above the horizon set by my mind. I cannot say that I am completely comfortable, still. I am, however, content, and I’m excited to keep exploring. So, as I sit at a local restaurant, butchering pronunciations while planning my next adventure, I quietly smile with the giggling waiters, as my mind points me in the direction of my next excursion. 17
I found G., my friend studying film in Bosnia & Herzegovina, with a freshly lit cigarette and a delicate cup of espresso inside what must be the tiniest international airport of any capital city. “We’re going to walk to the bus stop. Sarajevo is small,” he declared, eyeing my meagre backpack for this 5-day trip. I was scheduled to arrive the previous day on Sunday, but a serious fog had coddled Sarajevo and I spent the night in an airport hotel that was nearer to my school for the semester, Boğaziçi University, than Istanbul’s airport. When I finally arrived in my fifth Balkan city, I was quickly taken by how charming it was, but this charm was not without somber overtones. For lunch, G. brought me into a restaurant-cum-pub favored by locals. But Sarajevo is a compact city set in a valley (hence the resident fog), and tourist maps were also leaning against one study wooden pillar, ready for the occasional tour group to swoop in on the old city. With warmed tummies as well as the beginnings of a downpour as our soundtrack, G. began telling me more about the resilient history of this once-assailed community. He didn’t have to convince me of the brutality and destruction of the Sarajevo siege, which lasted four years, until Feb 1996. I’d already witnessed my fair share of bombed and battered buildings in my early hours here. This siege outlasted the Bosnian War (4/1992—12/1995), of which it was a festering part. And it took place after the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1992, which saw the independence of Bosnia & Herzegovina, home to Bosniaks, Bosnian Serbs, and Bosnian Croats: the Bosnian Serbs balked at the Muslim Bosniak majority —whose imagined control they feared— and began assaulting numerous sites with the aim of forcing out/snuffing out the largely defenseless Bosniaks, so as to seize land to carve out an independent Serbian Republic. It is not easy to write about the worst modern genocide, partly because of its layered dimensions, partly because its effects are all too well-preserved in the proud, pockmarked buildings, which stood as the city and its inhabitants stood, but not without absorbing severe damage. “See that? The holes?” G. points at a house, which looks like the other houses around it, “Mortar shells, sniper shots, machine guns.” We are walking toward Hotel Hecco, where a panoramic view of the valley invites you to imagine how beautiful and how dangerous this place could simultaneously be. With the vantage point offered by the hotel terrace, one can see the river down below, a little blue sash catching the rare December sunlight that pierces the clouds. It was the site where World War I began, where the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated after a series of unlucky turns. Looming over this city, spread heavily forested hills and farther away, rise five major mountains. On the valley itself, one begins to see warm specks of lights from the houses, where its inhabitants either make a steep trek everyday or drive up with gutsy engines. It is to these lights that G. draws my attention to. “The snipers stayed in the valley, slowly shooting anyone they saw.” He pauses to make sure I see how cruelly effective the set-up was. “And they put landmines between themselves and the city so nobody could come up and stop them.” After more coffee, more catching up, we return to ground level. We walk toward a park where white grave markers watch the living, spying valley lights as we cross from avenue to avenue. “If you can see the forest, they can see you.” G. mimes a gunshot, because we would be dead if this were 1993. “There are old photos of people sprinting across the streets.” He points to street corners, where a lot of shrapnel has hit home. How many have run for their lives. And then, how many have succeeded? Never before has a city made me feel so wretched about the latent evil of humankind. There is nothing romantic about death and murder. These are still-fresh wounds shouldered by a city which is nevertheless hugged by natural beauty and loved dearly by those who’ve fought hard for it. As the sky must lighten after the darkest night, so will the city glow bright and strong anew. Among the graveyards, green grass endures. I went to Sarajevo to find my friend and make a film. I left with the gravity of life’s fragility 18 and also its power.
A Salute to Sarajevo Minyi Tan
Longtang Neighborhoods in Shanghai Hongjie Lim It’s my fourth full day in Shanghai, and I excitedly walk out of the dapuqiao subway station, eager to find this place called tianzifang that my friend from Shanghai recommended. It’s not difficult to locate the place; it’s just right opposite the road from the subway stop. Tianzifang immediately charms me with its small and narrow alleyways called longtang and its beautiful shikumen architecture, which literally translates into “stone warehouse gate”. I later learn that this architectural style is distinctive to early 20th century Shanghai. It combines traditional Chinese courtyard structures with Western-styled terrace houses and reflects the growing international character of Shanghai after the city was forced open by Western powers after the opium wars. It’s not easy navigating tianzifang though; unlike the clearly marked streets and the wide thoroughfares of Pudong, the alleyways of tianzifang invite us to get lost and reward us with yet another charming street corner whenever we take the unexpected turn. These longtang neighborhoods were once the most common form of housing in Shanghai. Many of them were built between the late 19th century and the 1930’s, evolving in design as the demographics of the city changed. While longtang neighborhoods were initially built to house wealthier families, newer ones were simplified, downsized and housed the lower and middle classes who flocked to the city seeking work. The city attracted people, from both within China and across the world, looking for a better and safer life and became the world’s fifth largest city in 1930. It was, on the one hand, a safe and stable haven for wealthy merchants. On the other, commoners aspired to find jobs in factories and mills and to lead an urban life, often tapping on nativeplace networks to find employment. Shanghai during this period was an extremely cosmopolitan, vibrant and dynamic city, leading the author Aldous Huxley to proclaim in 1926 that this was “Life itself ”. Shanghai today is a dramatically different place. Its population has increased to 24 million, making it the world’s most populous city. The skyscrapers of Lujiazui have also in some way replaced the Bund as the iconic image of Shanghai, showcasing to the world China’s economic might and its status
as one of the world’s most global cities. Despite these changes, important continuities remain. Shanghai remains China’s economic center, attracting the biggest corporations and millions of migrant workers to settle in the city, each bringing with them a bit of their home culture and contributing to this rich mosaic of urban life. A lot of these longtang neighborhoods have either already been demolished or are slated for demolition, making way for the skyscrapers that we have come to associate with Shanghai. As an outsider to the city, I am quick to mourn the loss of these spaces that are replete with social relationships, memories and histories. Yet as I walk down the longtangs of qiaojialu - located in the Old City of Shanghai and still home to many Shanghainese – I observe first hand just how dense these areas are, and how some of these houses lack many of the modern comforts that I take for granted. While it is easy to be nostalgic about the past, perhaps the choice shouldn’t be simply between demolition and preservation, but adapting traditional architectural styles to contemporary times.
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Photo Contest elements
Laura Schrier - First Place This photo is taken in Santorini, Greece in Amoudi, which is on the northern part of the island and is one of the best places to see a sensational sunset and is also known for its incredible seafood.
Pauline Leong - Second Place Laguna Miscanti in San Pedro de Atacama, the driest desert in the world in northern Chile.
Eugene Yum - Third Place Lofoten, Norway | The fjords are too beautiful and majestic to describe in words-- you just have to be there.
Derek Lee - Fourth Place New Yearâ€™s Eve in Yehliu,Taiwan
23 Back Cover Photo: Sydney Char
Tufts Traveler Magazine