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Via Verde Student Special Edition Travel Magazine

IN THIS ISSUE A Sacred Safari pg. 6

Volunteering Abroad

pg. 13

Travel Journals pg. 23



Publication Policy Via Verde, a special edition travel magazine published by the students in Palo Alto High School’s Magazine Journalism class, is a designated open forum for student expression and discussion of issues of concern to its readership. Via Verde is distributed to its readers and the student body at no cost.

Advertising The staff publishes advertisements with signed contracts providing they are not deemed by the staff inappropriate for the magazine’s audience. For more information about advertising with Via Verde, please contact the Via Verde business manager Olivia Brown through our adviser at 650-329-3837 for more information.

Letters to the Editors The staff welcomes letters to the editors but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length, grammar, potential libel, invasion of privacy and obscenity. Send all letters to or to 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301.

Printing & Distribution Via Verde is printed by aPrintis in Pleasanton, California. The Via Verde staff will distribute copies around the Palo Alto High School Campus. All Via Verde work is available at and


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Palo Alto High School’s Travel Magazine

MISSION STATEMENT Via Verde aims to be a relevant and reliable travel magazine that uses the power of the student press and desktop publishing to pursue the values of the Palo Alto Unified School District, Palo Alto High School and scholastic journalism. More specifically, the mission of the Via Verde is to provide: •

The magazine’s student staff with technological, journalistic and leadership skills that increase their ability and desire to participate meaningfully in our democratic society and interdependent global community; and skills to become leaders within future endeavors; The Paly community with information, insight, amd investigative reporting on travel and entertainment issues; a forum for the exchange of student experiences related to travel; and an independent and vigorous journalistic magazine that models integrity, vigor and creativity as it seeks to educate in order to allow its readers to be able to plan and experience explorations of different cultures and cities around the world; and, The larger scholastic journalism community with a role model publication that embodies the best of what a scholastic journalism can be and for students who wish to build a magazine that is similar to this one.

february 2018 volume 1 issue 1 editor-in-chief Rebecca Yao

managing editor Riya Matta

concept director Sophie Dewees

design editor Megan Chai

digital editor Maia Lagna

business manager Olivia Brown

contributing writers Riya Sinha Mara Smith Cecilia Ward Amira Garewal Kaitlyn Ho Stephanie Lee

adviser Paul Kandell

A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to Via Verde! We’re thrilled to have you along for the ride as we traverse the world of travel through a student lense. Via Verde is a special edition of Verde, Palo Alto High School’s features magazine, created for students as a space to discuss student experiences with local and international travel and to encourage students to expand their worldview and discover different cultures around the world. In this issue of Via Verde, we explore destinations both local and abroad: from Kruger National Park in South Africa to Seoul, South Korea, to our very own San Francisco. In “Where the Wild Teachers Roam”, in what we hope will be a recurring feature on Paly teachers, contributing writers Amira Garewal and Cecilia Ward interviewed Paly history teacher Mary Sano about her unique international travels. If you’re planning a weekend road trip, refer to contributing writer Stephanie Lee’s tips and tricks about “Day(Trip) Dreaming”; afterwards see concept director Sophie Dewees’ article about travel journaling to help you best reflect on your travels. Bon voyage and happy reading!

connect @viaverdemag

on the cover Verde staff writer Abigail Cummings snapped this photo of Mount Shasta while hiking in Northern California.

back cover Photo by Kaitlyn Ho

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inside 5 7

Lift-off Safari

design 10 Daytrip Dreaming 12 Travel Programs

explore 14 Going Places 16 San Francisco Mission District

reflect 18 Seoul, South Korea 21 Digital Detox 22 Travel Journals



Verbatim Photos by MEGAN CHAI and MAIA LAGNA

what is your worst travel nightmare? Compiled by RIYA SINHA “Getting detained overseas and not being able to contact anyone and staying there for a month and having everyone wonder where I am.” — ASHLEY ZHANG, senior

“Either having a baby behind you while you’re on an airplane, having someone in front of you and not being able to get around them, or a combination of the two.” — JORDAN DILLARD, junior

“Having the plane crash, but I’m alone without my family.” — GIGI TIERNEY, junior

what can you not travel without?

“I can’t travel without my camera because then I can’t take pictures.”

“It’s kind of weird but, I have this specific toothpaste… or my phone,”

— KIRAN MISNER, senior

— CHRIS CERRILLO, freshman

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what is the weirdest thing you ate while traveling?

Backpack Essentials

Compiled by MEGAN CHAI

“I ate sea urchin when I was in Japan.” — MALACHI WILLIAMS, sophomore


“The weirdest thing for me was when people put pepsi into milk. So it was like a sort of float.” — SIMRAN PUJJI, senior

5 TOP TRAVEL APPS 1. SitOrSquat We all know the feeling — desperately seeking out a restroom while adventuring in an unknown city. Find (user-rated clean) bathrooms quickly with SitOrSquat

— JOSIE ANDERSON, freshman

Tour what could have been with this app that allows users to view architectural sites and plans of structures that never came into being.

2. PackPoint

5. Touchnote

Upon entering the dates, location, and activities of your destination the app checks weather and other factors to yield a packing list specific to your trip.

Snail mail for millennials! This app allows you to send personalized physical postcards ($1.49 per card) — from your phone! All you have to do is create the card through the app and press enter.

3. Foodspotting “I ate crocodile in Australia.”

4. The Museum of the Phantom City

Seeking the latest and greatest meal at your travel destination? Foodspotting and foodies worldwide have you covered. Browse photos and upload reviews of your own.


Text and Photos by KAITLYN HO


CHARMING CHEETAH A cheetah is spotted layeing down in grass during Kruger National Park safari. This is one of the 1,000 wild cheetahs eft in South Africa , according to Kruger National Park.

SIPPING SISTERS Two female white rhinos drinking from a dam in the early morning. Water sources are the best places to spot animals during safaris. The rhinos were tracked by the freshness of their feces left behind.


AM SITTING IN A KRUGER NAtional Park safari car, looking up at the leopard nestled in the branches, eating an impala. The leopard hears us approaching, and gracefully climbs onto a higher branch. Kruger is one of South Africa’s most visited public parks,. It is a magical experience where you will be able to see rare wild animals. Regardless of your safari plan and resort, you will be left in awe by the African landscape.


Kruger is South Africa’s first national park, which means all of the animals and plants on the land are protected by the federal government. Because hunting is outlawed, different species are able to flourish. Kruger is also one of Africa’s bestequipped national parks. Even if you decide that you no longer want to see anymore animals, there is an abundance of other activities available. According to its official website, Kruger National Park offers dayhikes, elephant rides, spa treatments and much more.


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History Before the South African government made the land federal property, the Tsonga people, a Bantu ethnic group that is native to southern Africa, lived there. As reported by Kruger National Park, the Tsonga people are a group of superstitious and environmentally concious people, and they are dedicated to preserving the land. Since then, with laws preventing the hunting of the animals, the Tsonga people have agreed to vacate the land. Similarly, another Sub Saharan Ethnic Group —the Makuleke— used to live on what is now part of Kruger National Park. After moving off the land, they now actively participate in facilitating tourism and building game lodges. Lodging As it is a five-hour drive out of Johannesburg, and a 17-hour drive out of Cape Town, another popular destination in South Africa, a day trip to Kruger National Park is not recommended. According to Kruger National Park’s

official website, the best times to see animals roaming around are either in early morning or the late evening, and so it is best to stay in the game park for more than one day. Furthermore, the longer you stay in the park, the more animals you have the potential to see. There are over 500 species of birds, 118 reptiles and 150 different mammal species, according to Kruger officials. All of the different animals cannot be seen in one day. If you do decide to stay in the park, there are 21 rest camps, and 15 private safari lodges. “We got to stay in a huge treehouse in the middle of the park,” Gunn High School senior Scott Kunhle said. “We could hear the animals at night moving right beneath us.” v

Personal favorite parts Kruger: Kaitlyn Ho, Paly junior I have been to Kruger National park four times, and each time, I have had a different experience. I think this is an excellent family trip because not only do adults experience a captivating safari ride, but younger children also have the opportunity to see wild animals. The guides made it an engaging experience by actively tracking animals. They would pick up animal feces, and judging by its freshness, determine where to go. The guides were all friendly. When I was younger, they would pack flasks of hot chocolate for us along with the lunch that we ate in the bushveld. The guides also taught us games to play, and that might be my favorite part of the safari. We played well-known western games alongside ones that are native to Africa. Now, my family commonly plays Skakhi during board game nights. David Foster, Paly junior “We’re driving along and see a cluster of cars around a tree, so we immediately pull over to look and we see a leopard devouring an impala in a tree. He is munching and staring straight at us. It is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Meanwhile, a kid is sitting on his dad’s lap in the front of their car, and he slams on the horn, scaring all the animals in the vicinity away.”

FRIENDS FROM AFAR Three giraffes and one elephant are seen standing in the bushveld. shortly before fleeing. When the giraffes heard the safari car approaching, they left to protect their baby giraffe.

Tips if you go on a safari without a guide 1. Be patient — you are in the wild, and animals do not appear at your will. 2. Bring binoculars — Sometimes you will not be able to get close enough in your car to see the animals in great detail. 3. Go during winter — the risk of malaria is lower and the vegetation decreases, which means that more animals will be out grazing the veld. 4. Stay close to watering holes — all animals need to drink water, and so the nearest watering hole will be an animal hotspot

Scott Kunhle, Gunn senior “My favorite thing I saw was a pack of wild dogs — they’re super rare so it was really special to see them.”

5. Do not get out of your car — Although the animals may seem docile, do not forget that they are wild and are capable of injuring you. 6. Be quiet — animals are sensitive to noise, and if you are too loud, you will scare the animals away. 7. Bring snacks — you will be in the game park for multiple hours. But, if you do not want to pack food, according to the Kruger National Park website, there are rest spots with restaurants located around the park.

STUNNING STRIPES A zebra peers out from behind the bushes. The zebra’s herd is not far behind, graizing on the dry grass.

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Day(trip) Dreaming


Text and art by STEPHANIE LEE


AYBE YOU’RE MEETING UP WITH AN OLD FRIEND, or you and your pals have decided to take a daytrip during a three-day weekend. Either way, maybe you’re looking for something to do while you’re in town with some friends. Via has compiled a generic bucket list of activities of spending time with friends and getting to know the city you’re visiting. Carpe diem, and go explore with gusto! v

1. Coffee Shops The wonderful thing about coffee shops is that even though they are abundant in every city, no two are the same (unless they’re a part of the chain franchise). Map out some locally run coffee shops in your target area — you may find some unique, quirky, or cozy shops you wouldn’t find in your hometown. The drinks, like the shops themselves, may taste different from what you’re used to. If you’re in for the Instagram pics, coffee shops are tasteful places to curate artsy photos for your next post.

2. Nature walks

Sitting and chatting might not be your favorite thing to do, so why not try going for a walk? Find parks or hiking trails — if you’re in a more natureful setting — near you, lace up your shoes, and immerse yourself and your friends on a short — or long — trek through nature. It’s a great way to get some exercise, breathe fresh air, and enjoy nature while chatting with your buddies. If you’re in a completely concrete jungle, head out for an urban hike. Plot a route through the city (be sure to see some main sights as well) and get exploring!


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3. Photoshoots

If you’re feeling fancy, grab a camera and some props to shoot zany photos. Faerie lights, CDs and prisms allow you to play around with light and optical illusions. Phone cameras are a less heavy and expensive alternative. Additionally, having photoshoots in a city allow you to not only take aesthetic photos but also visit some non-mainstream parts of the city. Parking garages, street parked cars, fences, storefronts, side streets, walls, murals and back alleys are all examples of urban places you could direct your shoot.

4. Picnics

Sometimes, during good weather, you might prefer to dine outdoors. In this case, fill a picnic basket (or your backpack) with takeout, drinks, music speakers, and blankets and head out to a nearby park. Look on Google Maps for nearby park areas to indulge the afternoon. Blast music, drink sparkling cider, and have a rockin’ time!

5. Museums

Okay, the chances of you finding The Great Wave (pictured) and other more famous paintings in local museums are pretty low. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find lesser-known jewels of similar aesthetic value. Most cities have their own unique exhibitions — if you’re lucky, you might discover a museum that’s local history-oriented. Search up museums and spend a few hours wandering the exhibits.

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SAN ISDRIO ROAD During her trip, Martin stayed in San Isdrio, a town in the mountains. “Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Martin says. Photo by Sabrina Martin.




IFE-CHANGING. Eye-opening. Friendship. These words, often used to describe volunteer trips overseas, highlight the true benefit of taking the time to volunteer and learn abroad. There are several opportunities for high school students to get involved and spend quality time in another country and learn new skills otherwise foreign in everyday Palo Alto life. Via Verde spoke with students who attended two such trips. v

AMIGOS Palo Alto High School senior Gabby Bernas fondly recalls her experience volunteering in Somoto Madriz, Nicaragua over the summer of 2017. “[I chose to volunteer with Amigos] mainly for the Spanish immersion part of it. [I wanted]to just go down to Latin America and use my Spanish.” Bernas says. “I was really intrigued with the culture too.” While Bernas didn’t initially travel to Latin America with the intention of volunteering, her favorite part of the trip was the genuine interaction with the kids in the community. “My favorite activity to do was with the kids. We hosted, pretty much daily, campamentos, but they were like summer academic camps,” Bernas says. “The majority of the kids in the community would come and we would host a two-hour lecture and activity camp for the kids.” However, the best part of Bernas’s experience was getting to see the real impact of her program. “What was really cool… was that after we left, they continued to get together and play games after, so what we did there still held,” Bernas said. Not only did Bernas bond with the Somoto Madriz community of kids she met,


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Want to start a service trip connection? Start here! AMIGOS Phone number: (800) 231 7796 COMMON GROUND INTERNATIONAL Phone number: (888) 879-2575 More Opportunities: GLOBAL GLIMPSE Phone number: (800) 499-0656 For more opportunities, visit the Paly college and career website: HAVING FUN Martin’s group bonds with the students through doing activities with them. “We were simply having fun with the kids and getting them excited about learning,” Martin says. Photo by Sabrina Martin.

but also with the people she participated ture/travel, Spanish classes (50 hours), and in the campamentos with. “I was actually volunteering (30 hours),” Martin says. One only in a community with two other people particular moment of the trip that stood … and we’re actually thinking about going out to her was the end, where she stayed at back to Nicaragua this year to say hi to our a chocolate farm in a jungle for two nights. community,” “It was very Bernas fully recrustic—there ommends joining “Going to Costa Rica rewas no internet, Amigos. “I would ally made me realize that horseflies everyrecommend people where, a huge who are in Span- we are so dependent on snake in a fellow ish 2 right now, and schooler’s things that don’t actually high who want to imroom, but I felt so prove their Spanish, make us very happy.” peaceful and had — SABRINA MARTIN, junior who are interested in developed a deep community service appreciation for a … and also just getsimpler lifestyle,” ting outside of your comfort zone, especial- Martin said. ly because a lot of us, Palo Alto specifically, Martin formed strong bonds both with are sheltered. I think it would be good for her host family and the other high schoolpeople to get outside,” Bernas says. ers on the trip. “They [her host family] really do treat COMMON GROUND INTERNATIONAL you like family. I remember the day after I Sabrina Martin, a junior, describes her arrived, my host mom already started cryimmersion trip to Costa Rica as “life chang- ing at breakfast at the thought of me leaving ing.” in a month.” “I actually did it because a friend did it Overall, Martin described her experithe summer before and highly recommend- ence with Common Ground International ed it. It also fulfilled all the desires I had for as valuable and “truly life changing”. an immersion trip: decently long stay (four “There is a two-week version and fourweeks) with a host family, tourism/adven- week version, but in my opinion, the two-

week doesn’t really affect language improvement and you don’t get to volunteer as much,” she says. Like Bernas, she cites getting outside the Palo Alto bubble as one of the draws of the program. “It’s really easy to get caught up in the fast-paced Palo Alto lifestyle and going to Costa Rica really made me take a step back and realize that we are so dependent on things that don’t actually make us very happy in the long run.” ALL SMILES Bernas and the other volunteers pose for a goodbye photo in Somoto, Nicaragua. Photo by Yesenia Herrera-Flores.

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N A DELICATE WOODEN frame, a photograph of Mary Sano with a mountain gorilla sits on her desk in the Palo Alto High School Social Sciences Department. Her love for animals led her to the no-longer-existing country of Zaire in central Africa, where she followed a guide step by step as she trekked through mountains to see an endangered gorilla species before it was too late. Zaire is just one of many places Sano has travelled to. Others include Greece, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Turkey, Australia and Thailand. Her adventures began after her sophomore year of college, when Sano dropped out of school. Though she later returned to finish school, this time gave her the chance to learn more about herself. “I wasn’t there for the right reasons,”Sano says. “[After I dropped out was] when I

really started travelling. I’d come back and “It would make way more of a difference if I’d work a lot and make money, and then go we could take field trips to all those places, travel for six months.” but at least it’s helpful for kids to make a real Sano has been able to follow her pas- connection to the place.” sions throughout a lifetime of travel. “My Despite having travelled across oceans, first academic love was Sano said she believes classics—Greek liter- “Things can be learned valuable lessons can be ature and history—so without going close to home that learned that was my inspiration far. to go to Greece,” Sano are totally out of your “Travel and being says. exposed to new placcomfort zone, out of es is really important After a year living in Athens and studying your knowledge and to me, but that doesn’t modern Greek, Sano to mean getting understanding. You have felt at home and even on a plane,” Sano says. considered gaining don’t have to go far.” “I love exploring right — MARY SANO, teacher here in the Bay Area. ... Greek citizenship. As a young adult Things can be learned travelling the world by herself, Sano says close to home that are totally out of your she felt fearless. comfort zone, out of your knowledge and “When you are at that stage of your understanding. You don’t have to go too life, you feel kind of invincible,” she says. far.” v Her determination led her not only to popular tourist destinations, but also to RIGHT A Japanese ceramic bowl sits on the places less visited. table as Sano tells stories of her travels across “Syria was a very spur-of-the-moment the world. Photo by Lucia Amieva-Wang. thing, based off a photograph I saw,” Sano BELOW Sano stands by ancient ruins in Palsays. The photograph of an old, silk road myra, Syria. Photo by Bruno Colchen. city appeared in the travel section of the New York Times, and drove Sano to board LEFT Sano stands in front of the Leonidas soidier in Sparta, Greece. Photo by Marcel a plane to in Damascus, Syria in 1997. Colchen. Riding local buses, Sano travelled across the country to Homs, Hama, Palmyra and Aleppo, each one expanding her fascination for the culture. “I was attracted to Palmyra because it’s an oasis and a Silk Road town with fantastic ruins,” Sano says. “Aleppo was a vibrant city in the northern part of the country — it had a huge covered market and a lively, friendly vibe. We met some people there and had dinner with them several times.” With the destruction caused by the Syrian Civil War, Sano reflects on her trip with a sense of sadness on the “I often think about the people we met and wonder if they have survived or maybe fled the country and are refugees,” Sano says. Formerly a Jordan Middle School ancient history teacher, Sano now teaches Contemporary World History. Throughout her teaching career, she continues to use stories to bring her travel experiences into the classroom to enhance students’ passion for history. “I am hopeful that for my kids it is helpful to tell stories, show photos, and make connections to a place that they’re studying to help to bring it alive,” Sano says.



he San Francisco Mission District encompasses an area recognized for its long-standing Hispanic community. In more recent years, hipsters have gravitated toward this historic district, creating a unique mix of cultures that has come to characterize the neighborhood. Full of iconic attractions such as the first Philz Coffee shop, Mission Dolores and many delicious eateries, the Mission is worth a visit. A number of our suggestions lie within the one-block radius of 18th Street and Dolores Street and are great places to begin an exploration of this incredible district. v (Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a story originally produced by Class of 2015 Verde staffers Eliza Ackroyd, Lucy Fox and Claire Priestly with repackaging and additions by Megan Chai (Class of 2019).

THE NEIGHBORHOODS OF SAN FRANCISCO The Victorian-style houses line the streets of Mission district. The 1906 earthquake and fire caused the revival of 19th century architecture, featuring ornate details and vibrant colors, that San Francisco is well known for. Photo by Megan Chai.


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Photo by Rebecca Yao

Photo by Megan Chai

Clarion Alley Murals

Photo by Megan Chai

Dog Eared Books Dog Eared Books Dog Eared Books is a quaint bookstore located along Valencia Street filled with a diverse collection of new and used books. Paper notes peek out of the displayed books, with handwritten details and comments about the book. Cascading light fills the store, offering a homey and comfortable atmosphere. This local bookstore is definitely worth the visit for a next great read or just to browse their wide selection of books.

Dolores Park Bi-Rite Creamery Bi-Rite Creamery is one of the best ice cream options in the city, and their classic salted caramel is unbelievably smooth. At peak hours — mid-afternoon and late evening — the creamery has lines out the door and around the block, but is well worth the wait for a scoop of this ice cream.

Clarion Alley Murals Walking around the neighborhood, you are sure to see the vibrant murals that the Mission District is well known for. Clarion Alley is a small street situated between Mission Street and Valencia Street filled with colorful murals painted by local artists of the Clarion Alley Mural Project. Since 1992, the ever-changing alley is covered with artistic murals with thought-provoking socio-political topics.

Dolores Park Bring a picnic blanket to sit on while you enjoy a cone of delicious ice cream from the Bi-Rite Creamery or the baked goods from Tartine Bakery, for Dolores Park is within walking distance of both. Although part of the park is currently under renovation, the City of San Francisco hopes to have it ready in time for the beginning of summer 2015. Despite the construction, Dolores Park still offers acres of grassy terrain. Also open for use is a large playground, equipped with several slides, a swing set, a climbing wall and a rope bridge.

Philz Coffee At the intersection of 24th Street and Folsom, you can find the coffee you know and love in its original location. Every inch of wall and ceiling is covered with murals; white, fluffy clouds dominate most of the back wall, and a starry sky twinkles above the baristas. Ordering can be a little hectic, but the experience is worth it. The classic Mint Mojito has never tasted so good. Custom choose your roast — dark, medium or light — to match your caffeine craving. Make sure to check out this Philz location filled to the brim with Mission hipsters and coffee aficionados.

Mission Dolores Missing those fourth grade field trips to historic missions? Well, you are in the right place — a three-block trek from Dolores Park will take you right to the footsteps of one of San Francisco’s oldest buildings, one which survived the 1906 earthquake. Stained glass and adorned ceilings characterize the chapels, and outside visitors can explore a garden and a serene graveyard. A trip to Mission Dolores is not for everyone, though. Though its $3 admission fee is affordable, it does not offer much entertainment other than a little slice of history.

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SHOPPING CENTRAL Market-lined streets stretch for blocks in several districts in Seoul. Shops sell everything from fresh produce to jewelry and trendy clothing.


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FLYING COLORS Three of South Korea’s national flags wave at Seoul Incheon International Airport.

MOUTHWATERING MEALS (TOP RIGHT) Vegetarian bibimbap topped with mushrooms, dried seaweed, kimchi (fermented cabbage), and other vegetables was my go-to meal while in Seoul.

Text and photos by MAIA LAGNA



N NOV. 6 MY SISTER, MOM AND I flew to Seoul, South Korea, not knowing a word of the language. In a short three days, I enriched my knowledge and history of the country by visiting national monuments and immersing myself into the culture seen throughout numerous districts in the 234-square-mile metropolitan. The area is reminiscent of a bustling New York City; teeming with busy people and boutiques, illuminated by radiant fluorescent lights. Skincare shops, clothing stores, and restaurants serving steaming pots of bibimbap (rice in a hot pot with toppings) and bulgogi (barbequed beef) line the streets. Citizens young and old donned trendy winter outfits and traditional Korean hanboks. Seoul amazed me with its diversity, rich culture, and delectable food (with numerous vegetarian options). If you are wondering where to book your next trip, Seoul is the place to go. v

LOOKING FORWARD Contemporary, minimalist architecture, reminiscent of a futuristic society is present throughout Seoul.


HIDDEN ALLEYWAY (TOP LEFT) The cramped alley brims with cooked food and family-owned eateries. The odiferous smells of beef, fish, and vegetables emanate from the passageway. I was taken aback when I entered and waiters from every booth passionately urged to me to eat at their shop. FLYING COLORS (TOP RIGHT) Three of South Korea’s national flags wave at Seoul Incheon International Airport. DELECTABLE DELICACIES (MIDDLE RIGHT) At a Paris Baguette chain, picture-perfect slices of cakes dazzle behind a glass case.

FASHIONING HAIRPIECES (MIDDLE LEFT) Women work at masterfully constructing elaborate hairpieces studded with gemstones and colorful bows. STERN-FACED GUARDS (BOTTOM LEFT) Two guards pose at a changing of the guards ceremony at Deoksugung Palace wearing traditional Korean uniforms. BOOMING BOOKSTORE (BOTTOM RIGHT) The colossal, two-story Starfield Library located in the Starfield COEX Mall in Gangnam is surrounded by coffeeshops and seating areas to work and read.


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the digital Detox



N A SOCIETY SO OVERRUN BY cessities, it is much easier to connect with technology, it is common for a highpeers. school student to feel overwhelmed These camps allow students to by the influx of Instagram, Snapchat break from the technology-depenand other notifications. dent world that we live in. Some students take a “digital detox”, A poll conducted by the meaning they halt their usage of elecAmerican Psychological Associatronics for a long period of time. Travel tion showed that 43 percent of Amerhappens to be the perfect opportuniicans are considered “constant checkers,” ty to disconnect from the digital realm. meaning they repeatedly check electronic Many outdoor summer camps don’t alnotifications throughout a normal day. low technology Sara Thomée, use, which is how a doctoral student “You learn to really appre- at the University many students at Paly have come of Gothenburg’s ciate nature and what it to experience Sahlgrenska Acadhas to offer when you’re “digital detox.” emy studied the efEach sum- not looking down at a tiny fects of such heavy mer, several technology use. “Inscreen.” students attend tensive use of cell — ZOE SID, Junior outdoor camps phones and computwhere technolers can be linked to ogy use is outan increase in stress, lawed. At first, the adjustment can be quite sleep disorders and depressive symptoms difficult, as we have grown accustomed to in young adults,” said David Volpi of Huffchecking our phones every morning and ington Post. falling asleep looking at my phone. Digital detox, then, should be the perBut, as the days progress, and campfect solution. However, work pressure, soers realize that constant distractions, precial obligations and FOMO (fear of missing viously provided by phones, are not necout) cause 90 percent of employed people to report being often connected and on the internet. Travel and stay-away camps present a solution. When better to cultivate separation from your phone when with others around you are doing the same and when you have activities to distract you? Eva Waters, a junior at Paly, says that her annual summer phone detox experience would be harder if she were not away from home for 6-weeks at Coppercreek Camp. “I wouldn’t necessarily do the digital detox at home,” Waters says. “I think it’s more enjoyable when you’re around people who don’t have a phone as well [sic].” Zoe Sid, a junior at Paly who has attended Mountain Camp since the third Art by HANA MORITA

grade, agrees with this. She also mentioned

that her experience at Mountain Camp was unlike any other summer camp. “You learn to really appreciate nature and what it has to offer when you’re not looking down at a tiny screen or trying to get that perfect picture for Facebook or Instagram,” Sid says. Although Sid still enjoys attending Mountain Camp, she noted that as she got older, it became harder for her to go back to the camp because it became more difficult for her to leave her phone behind. This is likely related to the fact that our world has become more dependent on technology. “More and more, life is resembling the chat room, ” says Elias Aboujaoude, a psychiatrist and the author of Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality. As described by Thomée, an intensive use of technology increases the risk of depression, so as our world is becoming more and more dependent on technology, it is becoming more important that we get a break from it with digital detox. “Our school is so tech-focused it can be really hard to get away from technology,” Sid says. “It’s just a feeling of being refreshed and accomplished to be able to overcome a current day addiction.” v

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Art and Text by SOPHIE DEWEES



hether they’re describing the herbal flavor of tea in the green English countryside or the sweet smell of flowers and fresh fruit from a market in Spain, travel journals are a way to document experiences throughout a trip. They act as a scrapbook of photos, drawings, and stories of past trips. Travel journals serve as a collection of vacations and adventures, as well as feelings and life lessons learned while exploring a new culture. If you are interested in starting a travel journal, here are four steps to get you started and prompts to keep you going.

Step 1: Plan your Journey

Before you leave, use your journal to plan your trip from start to finish. You start with anything from where you want to eat to different sights you plan on visiting. Where are you planning to go? How are you getting there? Map out your journey. What do you want to do once

you get there? Use your journal to plot how to get from place to place. Are you taking public transportation? Are you biking? Writing in a journal can act as a way to organize your thoughts and plan a trip. For avid travel writer Leyla Giray Alyanak, journaling helps her to remember the details of her trip

by keeping everything in one place. “The act of writing ... is an act of organization,” Alyanak writes in her blog: Women on the Road. “You have to decide what to keep, what to omit, in which order to tell your story. You get to have all your reference materials in a single place.”

Step 2: Imagine your Trip

ant as describing the trip as a whole. “When you’re home sharing your travel Picture your trip. What are you looking forward to? Have you always imagined stories, or perhaps years later when someone traveling there? Is there anything you hope to asks you for a recommendation, you’ll want to remember some of happen during your the details of the journey? What are “There’s something magical you looking forward about putting pen to paper.” day,” Waugh writes in her blog: Solo Travto trying? Are there — LEYLA GRAY ALYANAK, travel blogger eler. “Capture the deany foods you are excited about? Describe everything you hope to tails that you think will be important but don’t experience throughout the duration of your trip labor over the mundane.” and the new places you want to see. For Alyanak, journaling is the best way Step 4: Reflect Write every day throughout your vacation to communicate her thoughts and everything and draw sketches of everything you experishe’s feeling at a specific moment. “To me, there’s something magical about ence and want to remember throughout your putting pen to paper,” Alyanak writes in her trip so you can always look back at what blog. “My thoughts and feelings flow better you gained from your new experiences. Is there anything you want to remember in the through my handwriting.” future when you look back on your trip? Finish Step 3: Write During the Day writing when you return home and to reflect Take notes and photos of everything you on your trip as a whole. see throughout your day. What did you do? DeAccording to Waugh, journals can be more scribe the sights and sounds of each place and than just a description of a trip; they can also draw the architecture of the city you’re visiting. bring new insights. Sketch what inspires you. Did you see anything “For most, a journal is the place to hold that you didn’t expect? Stop at a nearby cafe both kinds of memories,” Waugh writes. “You’ll and sketch the scene. want the details of what you did and where According to travel writer and blogger but at the end of a trip, it’s also nice to have Janice Waugh, when writing a travel journal, a journal rich with the meaning of your travremembering your trip in detail is not as import- els.”

Peace through Journaling Text by REBECCA YAO

In elementary school my travel journals consisted of colorful, simplistic doodles, messily glued-in plane tickets and hastily scribbled descriptions. In middle school, in an effort to be more concise, I traded sketchbook for lined paper and became a more “conventional” journaler. Recently a trip to Cuba prompted me to resume creative travel journaling, and cutting and pasting maps and travel brochures has become for me a therapy of sorts. It’s cathartic and a creative way to express myself, all while documenting memorable once-in-a-lifetime trips. Entries not only detail dayto day itineraries; the focus has shifted from recounting the day’s adventures to capturing emotions provoked through photos, newspaper clippings, brochures, paint, everything, anything. Though I may journal for hours reflecting on my travels when I return home, it is most important to capture moments as they occur. By journaling each day, I produce journal entries that are creative and meaningful. Recounting the day’s adventures allows me to better retain and appreciate the nuances of my travels. In translating my thoughts to illustrations and written hymns, I’ve gained self-knowledge and have become more in touch with my emotions. Journaling helps me stay centered and gives me the ability to ground myself when the busyness threatens chaos.

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Verde Exclusive Via Verde Volume 1 Issue 1  

Special edition Verde Travel Magazine

Verde Exclusive Via Verde Volume 1 Issue 1  

Special edition Verde Travel Magazine