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VOYAG E

THE PERSPECTIVE ISSUE ISSUE 4 - WINTER 2018


3 EDITOR’S NOTE

4 # V O YA G E U W S H O T S 7 SUPPORTING ETHICAL O R G AN I Z AT I O N S AB R O AD

01.18

4 ISSUE

8 UNMASKING PRIDE

1 1 O F F T H E B E AT E N PAT H

17 NEITHER HERE NOR THERE

THE PERSPECTIVE ISSUE

2 0 M Y S I N K I N G S H I P : N AV I G AT I N G T H E WA K E O F D A C A ’ S R E P E A L 24 FEMINISM IN CAMBODIA

2 8 S O L O T R AV E L E R

30 ON VOLUNTOURISM

3 2 T H E WO R RY O F T H E WO R L D

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“On my second day in Quito, Ecuador, I hiked to the top of the mountain Pichincha. At 14,000 feet above sea level, the view overlooks the entire city of more than two million Ecuadorians – and it is breathtaking (quite literally because #altitude). I’ve never felt so small, insignificant, and alive all in one moment. As the clouds closed in on our way down the mountain, we were joined by a few caballos and I snapped this shot.” – Kyler Martin @kyleramartin

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A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

G

rowing up, I would comb through my dad’s vast collection of National Geographic issues, mesmerized by tales from the sweeping dunes of the Sahara to the high plains of Mongolia. Like so many others, I wanted to see it all. What I didn’t see as a child, however, were faces of writers and photographers who looked like my friends and me: mixed race, international, and culturally diverse. Instead, I realized the industry was dominated by middleaged white men. This lack of representation didn’t bother me much as a child, as I was more transfixed on the story than the author’s background. But with time, I began to wonder: Whose perspective was absent? This issue strives to highlight individuals whose stories have been historically neglected and continue to go largely unpublished. While forty pages will never capture all the voices we hope to bring to life, it is our aim that these conversations go beyond conventional travel narratives to reflect upon more complex, multi-faceted issues. While we are all inherently limited by our own perspective, intentionally stepping in someone else’s shoes will deepen our ability to empathize and, more often than not, catalyze internal change. We hope this issue of Voyage offers new perspectives on travel and captures the importance of representation. To everyone who has supported us thus far, we are so grateful; to those who have shared your stories and trusted us with a piece of your heart, we thank you.

Jayna Milan Editor-in-Chief

V O YA G E EDIT O R - I N - CHI EF

C OP Y

WRI TER

CO PY ED I T O R

WRI TER

CO PY ED I T O R B L O G ED I T O R

WEB

WRITI NG

Shannon Gu Kevin Teeter Casey Grosso Gabriela Capestany Jack Russillo

L EAD CO PY ED I TOR CO PY ED I T O R

Jayna Milan

WRI TER WRI TER WRI TER

Angela Shen Max Rose Jack Russillo Gabriela Capestany Kevin Teeter

DES IGN & ART

PHOTOGRA PHY

Ostin Kurniawan L AYO U T D ES I GNER Cynthia He L EAD AR T I S T Liliana Rasmussen AR T I S T Kyler Martin

LEAD P H O T O E DIT O R

L EAD L AYO UT DES IGNER

PHOTO E DIT O R PHOTO E DIT O R

Daniel Kim Vivian Chou Arianna Addis

W E B DE V E L O P E R W E B DE V E L O P E R

Akash Srinagesh Kelden Lin

SPONSORSHIP SP O N SO R SH IP C O O R D.

Nabilla Gunawan

MARK ETING MA R KE T IN G C O O R D.

Michelle Pyke

FINA NCE FIN A N C E C O O R D.

Ashley Lim

SPECIAL THA NK S A DV ISO R

Andrea Otanez


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s n a p s hot

EM M E LINE @ E M M E LI N E V U

V U

“One night in Havana, my friend and I decided to find a less touristy place to drink, which led us to a vibrant bar where we befriended locals Carlo and David, a musician and aspiring model. We hung out with them for the rest of the trip and I even took a few photos for David’s portfolio, including this one at the beach outside of town. Looking back at this image always makes me smile and reminds me how one decision ended up shaping our entire trip.”

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s fro m o u r com I AN

DRYG

“Through-hiking the Enchantments last October was like experiencing the change of seasons. Frozen, snow-covered rocks contrasted with the vibrant yellow larches, and it even snowed on us despite a sunny blue sky earlier in the day. Truly magical.“

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@IANSRADVENTURES


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MUN ITY

use

#voyageuw to be featured!

“This was on the way down from the Pilatus Kulm, near Luzern, Switzerland. While it can be crowded on top, the path to get there is very often pretty quiet and offers beautiful views too, such as this one over the Matthorn. I’d say this shot was pretty unexpected, since I was for once not carrying my camera. However, I got a picture that I’m really happy with using my smartphone, a quick reminder that spending lots on gear is far from being as important as spending time on planning and exploring.”

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J UL I E N

L AMOUR

@JULIENLAMOUR


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SUPPORTING ETHICAL ORGANIZATIONS ABROAD ADRIANA ORTIZ | SYDNEY SOLIS

1 2 3 M

ore and more often, people are flying abroad to volunteer their time and effort. They spend a spring break building houses or painting schools and return home feeling fulfilled, inspired, and effectual. But what kind of impact do these trips really make? It’s a multi-faceted and complicated issue, so we’ve outlined some of the best ways to make sure your time abroad generates positive impact.

Firstly, thoroughly research organizations and choose ones that are deeply rooted in their country, culture, and cause. Solutions are not one-size-fits-all, so it’s necessary to spend an extended amount of time in the country, foster local relationships, and experience the culture in order to be able to examine the possible effects, positive and negative, of any aid initiative.

Be sure to carefully look at the history of organizations to ensure that they have invested employees, strong missions, and partnerships with residents. This summer, we traveled to India to study entrepreneurship and women’s leadership, and one of the organizations we visited was Salaam Baalak Trust, an NGO that works to fight child poverty and abuse. Many of their employees were formerly homeless and received aid from Salaam Baalak, which has led to a staff of highly invested and passionate people who understand the situation deeply. They have insight into which solutions are effectual as a result of their own experiences.

Secondly, keep in mind that sustainable change

outweighs quick fixes. While in India, we were inspired by Maya Health and the way they tackle health education in rural India. Rather than solely hosting foreign volunteers, they train Indian women to educate their communities about healthy lifestyles. In turn, the women gain respect and are socially and financially empowered, communities are strengthened, and lasting progress and sustainable development takes place. Consider choosing organizations with similar models that focus on more holistic development.

Lastly, take a look at the organization’s size, structure,

and level of transparency. Smaller organizations are required to be more resourceful, as they have limited funds. Critics of mega-nonprofits such as Red Cross and The Salvation Army commonly complain that a high amount of donations go toward marketing and overhead costs. However, big organizations have the capacity to enact larger-scale change. While in India, we worked with the Self-Employed Women’s Association, an alliance that supports low-income female entrepreneurs. It is India’s largest nonprofit, and their actions affect the lives of over two million Indian women. We also collaborated with small NGOs, social entrepreneurs, and activist groups. They were all very different in form, and they enacted change in their own specific ways.

Volunteering abroad is an opportunity to explore solutions and be a part of global change in different capacities. Your power lies in your ability to vote with your dollar and your time, so ensure that any organization you’re contributing to is worthy of your full support.

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Sydney Solis

Adriana Ortiz


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NEW PERSPECTIVES

Unmasking Pride JACK RUSSILLO

hen out and about, particular aspects of one’s identity are visible with just a glance — height, for instance — while others are more obscured in controversy.

But the queer community still exists there.

As a white, cisgender-presenting woman, UW senior Kate Graham has endured the predicament of being in a foreign land as a queer woman.

During her time in Croatia, Kate struggled to find other members of the queer community based solely on the cues they presented in their appearance. Gone were the aesthetic stereotypes of flannel shirts and short, dyed hair that are more typical in cities like Seattle. A dating application, for example, told her that the closest lesbian was more than 50 miles away. When speaking with a local woman, it took a mention of the term “girlfriend” for them to feel comfortable enough to safely out their queerness with each other.

While she sometimes struggles to openly convey her true identity to those around her, doing so in countries like Croatia or Albania, where she studied abroad in the summer of 2017, comes with a certain degree of risk. There, being identifiably queer carries a hefty burden. While acceptance of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexal, transgender, queer) rights has increased in the Balkan region in recent years, a stigma against non-heterosexual expression still dominates.

“Politically, legally, it’s not okay to be gay there,” Kate says. “Socially, though, there’s a huge movement.”

Kate’s aesthetic tendencies are self-described as femmepresenting, meaning that she gives off a traditionally

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X

feminine vibe. “I think that queerness is really interesting because it’s one of those protected classes that you have to state,” Kate says. “It’s hard to identify unless the person is making an aesthetic choice to be identified as that. I don’t think I match that typical aesthetic since I’m a femme-presenting white woman who comes off as straight. Whereas girls with short, dyed hair and butch clothing might get that assumption, I have to out myself as queer, which I think is a privilege. But that can be tricky sometimes, because someone might want to build their queer community while traveling.” It wasn’t Kate’s clothes that would have caught others’ attention, but rather her purple armpit hair. By choosing whether or not she revealed her underarms, Kate could test out others’ sentiments about her queerness at times that she controlled. “Whenever I did solo travel, which has its own dangers as a young female who’s alone, I still never felt like my queerness was in danger,” Kate says. “Instead, the young and femme aspects were probably more of a danger.” At La Biennale di Venezia in 2015, a biennial contemporary visual art exhibition in Venice, Italy that dates back to 1895, Kate felt completely comfortable. Many artists there presented works that represented queer culture, including Lady Bunny, one of popular culture’s biggest drag queens.

“Politically, legally, it’s not okay to be gay there,” Kate says. “Socially, though, there’s a huge movement.” One Croatian artist made a quilt that allowed people to attach their own notes to it to share something of theirs. Kate left a stamp with the phrase “we’re here we’re queer,” celebrating the presence of queerness in Europe. Elsewhere in Europe, queer communities are less repressed. Kate has some friends from Scotland who she describes as “radical queer artists.” They perform in public places with makeup, and she notes that spending five days with them was the first time she was able to be fully exposed to international queer culture. When she was there in the summer of 2016, she saw that being queer is more than just being gay or lesbian; it is a way of living and pushing back against gender and heteronormative societal expectations.

Kate watercolors a postcard in a church on Bled Island, Lake Bled, Slovenia.

“There’s a huge hypersexualization of queer people, and that’s why I try to talk about the radical lifestyle and the art lifestyle because just talking about the sexual aspects of queerness is a key misconception.” Back in Seattle, Kate is able to voice all aspects of her queerness comfortably. Whether through fighting for legislation or just being able to go out to a bar without needing to think twice about her appearance, she’s realized the privilege she is afforded. “As a white, femme-presenting girl, I don’t have to worry

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too much. And that’s a privilege. I have more safe spaces than others. Like, I can travel without thinking twice and that’s a big deal.” But not everybody has that advantage. As a queer Indian woman, Mara is another UW student who deals with her sexuality in her own way. Because of the political climate surrounding LGBTQ people in India, where she was a victim of harassment based on her sexuality, Mara requested that her last name not be

In India, sexuality was much freer before British colonization. Since then, being queer has been stigmatized and even carries legal consequences. get LGBTQ rights on equal footing. But even in a city as supposedly progressive as Seattle, people are often still targets for abuse if they appear to be a member of the LGBTQ community. This can be in the form of slurs, angry looks, or physical altercations. In addition to her skin color, Mara’s short hair, facial piercings, and less femmepresenting style give her a bigger target to carry with her at all times. Her appearance is more easily read, and therefore quicker to be judged. While Kate and Mara each bring their queerness with them wherever they go, their appearances are read differently. At times, they’re judged for their sexual orientation while they’re also each subject to prejudice based on their skin color. For better or worse, these prejudices are real, and they each must face them every day of their lives.

included in this story because of the possibility of harm and political implications in India. As a woman with brown skin, Mara has been subject to more appearance-based discrimination as well. “There’s a definite stereotype of what a queer person looks like — white, skinny, butch — and I don’t fit that.” In India, sexuality was much freer before British colonization. Since then, being queer has been stigmatized and even carries legal consequences. Once Mara realized she was queer in high school, her queerness shifted to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis. Since moving to Seattle, she still carries the burden of being queer as well as being a non-white woman. Between the U.S. and modern India, which were both colonized based on Christian ideals, being queer isn’t widely accepted. Washington, however, has been a leading force in helping to

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Judgements can come from anyone or anywhere and can be based on anything. Regardless, people like Kate and Mara, who take pride in their identities and choose to disclose certain aspects of themselves to the public eye, must endure more scrutiny than most. Each day, faced with potential harassment or the opportunity to connect with others in the LGBTQ community, they consciously choose how they project themselves to the world around them — and to continually endure that process is no simple feat.

Jack Russillo


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Y

ou have probably heard some form of the adage, “We see things within others that we see within ourselves.” Whether it’s traveling to the outdoors, to a remote village a continent away, or to the grocery store down the street, how we end up interpreting our experiences and what we see reveals multitudes about us. The following stories share untraditional experiences and ideas of what being in the outdoors means, whether it’s close to home or an ocean away. These are not conventional profiles of “been there, done that.” Rather, they raise questions of what compels us to travel elsewhere, to enact change within ourselves or in the environment around us, or simply to strive for a greater understanding of our place on the earth. We may go to the outdoors to challenge ourselves, to face discomfort and become stronger. We may travel to open our eyes and hearts, to learn from and listen to those in parts of the globe where voices are harder to hear, hidden away or muted in the foreground of this sprawling, interconnected human story. Whatever it may be, wherever the geography, these stories remind us that the beauty of adventure and travel is to seek out these experiences, and upon returning home, to see the familiar neighborhood with new eyes.

Angela Shen

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TYLER UNG When asked about Seattle’s distinct outdoor culture, he pauses thoughtfully before saying, “In the Pacific Northwest, there’s a value on being environmentally conscious, but I think there’s a false belief that being sustainable is sacrificial.” Growing up in a low-income community was integral to his current interests in improving access to outdoor and environmental activities for communities and creating productive solutions for long-term resource management. A simple concept like ‘getting outdoors’ may promise something less divided by class, but like all forms of escape, is more often available to the affluent. Money seems like a far-removed concept from the safeguarded nature in preserves and park systems, though this pristine exterior hides an unbecoming truth underneath. “There are certain connotations associated with what we think of as ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural,’” he explains. In the city, green spaces like landscaped avenues and small parks speak to a more manicured, artificial nature, encompassing the reason urbanists escape to a grittier, more authentic wilderness. “Yet a lot more work has gone into maintaining that image of preservation,” he cautions. Preserves, originally constructed to protect the last bastions of the natural world from industrialization, were ultimately romantic images projected onto the frontier by the well-to-do in modernizing cities seeking escape from the muck and pollution of progress. The grandeur of wilderness was emphasized without the everyday realities and hardships faced by those who lived and worked on the land. It’s a familiar sight to Seattle residents who regularly swap city views of concrete and steel for the earthy tones of forests and mountains: foliage along the highway as a blur of greens in the car window, a living map unfolding into the flat horizon of farmland in a slipstream of winding roads and bridges that extends back toward evergreen forests. This is our backyard escape from the urban hustle, our reach back into a time of a more primitive simplicity. “You definitely appreciate the aesthetics out there,” Seattle native Tyler Ung says, “and there’s the sport of getting up the mountain, but there’s also the idea that the more we learn from nature, the more we can learn about ourselves.” An avid outdoorsman, Tyler has a longtime familiarity with the evolving parts in the city’s growing urban core and its surrounding wilderness.

Take the backlash on logging communities, Tyler says, and others whose livelihoods are essential to our society yet often vilified by urbanists; there is also the history of displacing natives from their homes in the act of fencing off land for national parks. This narrative of upholding the ideal of a pristine wilderness, he suggests, implies that humans are inherently removed from nature, which may weaken efforts required for long-term, sustainable resource management. Rather than settling for convention, Tyler advocates fighting for alternative ways to practically address these issues interwoven in a larger social and economic framework: “Connectivity between humanity and the natural world is embedded in our everyday existence,” he says. “If we care about people, then we care about the environment.”

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BECCA FOGEL At midnight, an exodus of hikers and Tanzanian guides and porters from Barafu base camp begins. Illuminating the pitch-black sky in a long line of headlamps, they embark on the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, perched on the snow-capped rim of Kibo’s volcanic crater. At 19,341 feet above sea level, Kibo’s summit is the tallest of the three volcanic cones on Mount Kilimanjaro – and the highest point in Africa. Becca Fogel is one of the eight women in her group who made the climb up the famous mountain this summer. “You pretty much go through five different biomes on the way up,” she describes of Kilimanjaro’s diverse ecosystems, which provide the climb’s stunning backdrops: The trek proceeds through a rainforest and low, shrubby moorlands, up through a highland desert and finally to the glaciers that frame the mountain’s stark white peak against blue skies. A couple hours from summiting, the sun breaks through the horizon. “It’s a humbling moment,” Becca recalls. “It hits you just how tiny you are, realizing that you are on the side of this mountain in Africa.” Tanzania is a long way from home in Indianapolis. At UW, Becca studies architectural design, though it was her interest in sustainable development that led her to the Seattle-based GIVE organization, which practices a community-based development model at sites around the world. This model ensures that volunteer goals align with those of the locals, and utilizes the community’s own resources as the basis for development projects.

Rather than cycling through short-term volunteer trips, Becca explains, GIVE focuses on establishing a connection with the locals they work with for years. Becca’s team, which includes the seven women she summited Kilimanjaro with, worked in the village of Kairo on the picturesque coast of Zanzibar. They focused on helping the construction of a government-funded school, and worked with students on improving their English skills. “Every day we’d have three hours of education in the morning, followed by construction in the afternoon,” she recounts. “We mixed a ton of cement.” Perhaps the most important impact one can make is a lasting connection with the fabric of a community long past the departure, a bond undoubtedly strengthened by social media. “One of the local boys, Ibrah, actually messaged me on Facebook just last week to chat,” says Becca, “he’s doing well, he’s starting up his own shop.” She shares that two other students she has kept in contact with, Coco and Khamis, have received GIVE’s higher education scholarships to advance their studies. Making change is a laborious, incremental process. Over the years, those involved build a meaningful and enduring connection that eventually shapes into something like the bond between Kairo and the GIVE volunteers. “Our guides on Kilimanjaro had a saying in Swahili,” says Becca, “they would say ‘polé, polé’ – which means slowly, slowly.”

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“I just wanna buy a van, transform it so it has a bed and a sink, have a dog, go live out of my backpack for a while and just make time for all the things no one has time for,” Marwa Mahmoud says of an earnest truth about our generation: We’re obsessed with being productive, whether it’s in school, our jobs, our free time – and when we’re not, we feel guilty for it.

“Millennials love to travel, but I think it’s because we have a disconnect from our culture and land,” Marwa muses. Travel is often thought of as a way to expand one’s mind. If we travel to somewhere unfamiliar and far away, we will, by the way it short-circuits the straight course of our lives, be transformed by it. “News and social media scales down our world,” she explains. “Apps like Instagram can make it seem like New Zealand is in our backyard. We want to check out our backyard, but in doing so, release an insane amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – because, newsflash, New Zealand is not in our backyard.”

“As college students, we always have something to do that takes away from focusing on the real, larger questions in life,” Marwa explains. “I think the need for constant productivity stems from our unhappiness, and because of that our perpetual on-the-go way of life is our escape.” The romance of ditching the nine-to-five job for a long road trip is the feeling of being cut free from the obligations of always trying to achieve, of not having to worry about anything other than how to get to wherever we are driving. The endless freeway becomes the unfinished sentence, the car transformed into a space of possibility that promises such an escape is as easy as getting into a car and driving away.

The real challenge is trying to find connection and peace at home. “When you experience and understand the natural world around you on a personal level,” Marwa concludes, “you feel less of a need to escape it, because you have a stronger sense of home.”

A student in UW’s Environmental Studies program and a passionate hiker, Marwa emphasizes not just partaking in the outdoors, but also learning from it and the local culture that surrounds it. “Do you ever notice how in the Pacific Northwest, we always dress like we’re ready to adventure outdoors?” she remarks. It’s especially when we put on those brands that are recognizable and indisputably expensive that we fall for the sort of aesthetic the “athleisure” trend extols: a polished carelessness, an effortless athleticism. An outward projection of our wish to be anywhere but where we are currently, it’s the promise of a piece of clothing to transform us out of our ordinariness and escape into a better, more interesting version of ourselves, a version where we are always on vacation.

M A RWA MAHMOUD – 14 –


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OLIVER JACKSON There are some places that can only be described in hyperbole, utterly deserving of the sort of otherworldly names bestowed upon them – like Aasgard, Sprite, Gnome Tarn – names that speak to a realm of fairytale far removed from the urban world. “It’s just this incredible natural beauty,” proclaims Oliver Jackson, referring to the Enchantments. Nestled in the Cascades, this alpine wonderland of glacier-carved granite embracing pristine lakes is interconnected by meandering arterioles of tumbling creeks and falls that provide shelter to the occasional herd of wandering mountain goats. Without hesitation, he names the Enchantments among his top three favorite hikes, joining the ranks of Vesper Peak and Mount Adams, all of which he has hiked recently within a few weeks of each other. His vigorous motivation to get out as much as possible did not emerge without a catalyst. Oliver was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in November 2016, a discovery made entirely on accident. A climbing fall left a deep gash on his leg that sent him to the hospital, where it was found that he had an abnormally high white blood cell count.

A liminal space far removed from the obligations of time and the ordinary may be as close as one can get to the sort of enchanted world that is often the backdrop of the classic hero’s journey, of selfconfrontation, change, and growth. Yet in its literary origin, the point of such places is not to escape one’s circumstances in life, but to eventually return to it rejuvenated and with a greater understanding of how to live within those walls just as largely, despite the circumstances. Since his diagnosis, Oliver has changed course in his studies to becoming a physician, a decision culminated from working closely with many doctors at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and desiring to understand the medicine that his life has become inextricably involved with.

While his type of cancer is uncommon among those his age, and early diagnosis and treatment did not circumvent their noticeable effects of fatigue, Oliver regards himself as incredibly lucky and refers to his time since the diagnosis as “the happiest I’ve ever been,” owing no small part of his optimistic outlook to the coveted time spent outdoors and the opportunities that have sprung up as consequence. “I’ve met and made so many new friends.” He continues, “A 30-mile hike is a great bonding experience.”

Oliver also drops a kernel of wisdom for those undergoing their own battles. “Think about what you have control over and what you don’t – if you’ve worked as hard as you could to get to what you want, then there is nothing to feel bad about in the end.”

More so than ever, the natural world challenges his mental and physical limits, mediating between a “good place to think, when you’re out there by yourself ” and a place to “show to yourself that you’re still capable.”

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VOYAG E

THE FOOD ISSUE coming Spring 2018

spring issue submissions due feb 23 submit at voyageuw.com/submit


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K U R DI S TAN

DALNAZ HASAN

NEITHER HERE NOR THERE

I was born in Libya, grew up in Dubai, and lived my teen years in the U.S. However, when asked where I am from, I respond confidently with “I am Kurdish.” Although I have only visited Kurdistan a few times, I grew up internalizing the pride of being Kurdish. Identifying as a Kurd is frowned upon by many, especially by other Arab countries which defined the fate of the Middle East’s fourth-largest ethnic group a century ago and recently denied our independence once again. We have our own government, values, flag, language, and army. We earned the right to be our own country, and the hope of gaining our long-awaited liberation filled us with pride and joy. Kurds across the world registered to vote and submitted their ballots, eager to take part in this historical movement. After much anticipation, the majority voted for independence, but our voices were silenced. All the countries we had aided in the past turned their backs, forcing us under the Arab umbrella and preventing our much-deserved reign. They left me wondering once again if my passport will ever reflect where I am truly from, if I will ever have a country to call home.

thoughts from those caught at the intersections

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T H I R D - C U LT U R E K I D

deandra ratri Being a third culture kid was both a struggle and a blessing. Born in the United States, Indonesian by blood, and raised in Saudi Arabia perfectly describes this confusing life of mine. I have always dreaded answering the question “Where are you from?” because I myself don’t know the answer. Growing up in Saudi Arabia made me lose touch with my Indonesian side, and years of living away from Indonesia made me feel foreign in my native country. I couldn’t speak like other Indonesians, and I didn’t act like them either. While Saudi Arabia was a great home, we didn’t really live the true Saudi Arabian life — we grew up in a bubble called Aramco, where a Westernized lifestyle was the norm, completely different from the actual Saudi Arabian lifestyle just outside the walls of the compound.

CUBA

GABRIELA CAPESTANY Being half Cuban, I have always felt drawn to visiting Cuba. Cuban culture has always been all around me: Every family event would be accompanied by Cuban food made by my abuela, and several nights a week mis abuelos would come to visit, speaking to my dad in rapid-fire Cuban Spanish.

However, being a third culture kid has given me so many blessings. I am fortunate to have known people from all over the world. I am more aware and respectful toward different cultures. The opportunity for an expat life gave diversity a new meaning for me, as well as friends I would never be able to replace.

While my family is incredibly proud of being Cuban, they swear they will never go back as long as the Castros are around. It’s understandable why: My dad and his entire family escaped in the late 60s, and their last memories of Cuba were seeing it in a sad state, not the home they grew up in. They don’t want to economically support the Castros by traveling and spending their money there. I have always wanted to go visit for myself, yet to my Cuban family, I’m being disrespectful by visiting and “supporting” the country they chose to leave behind. As much as I do understand where they are coming from, I also believe that real change can only come to Cuba if it isn’t left stagnant and isolated. As Cuba is a place I’m ethnically and culturally connected to, I would rather go there than ignore it.

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T H I R D - C U LT U R E K I D

DANIEL DARMAWAN Growing up, I spent most long weekends and summers tracking down food with my siblings along the Singapore MRT network. Although I went to an international school in Jakarta, business and family prompted frequent stays at our condo off Killiney Road. For me, the most difficult thing about living between cultures is navigating the norms that come with being both an outsider and an insider at the same time. Whenever I speak to someone in the States, they automatically assume that I’m American because of my accent and pop-culture familiarity, but the degree of openness I show in the early stages of a friendship can take someone used to a gradual climb by surprise (I’m woefully unprepared for the Seattle Freeze). As an ethnic Peranakan, I am by definition a member of the Chinese diaspora. That being said, food defines my identity as much as any place. Many of my most treasured memories involve late night meals shared with friends and family — a bowl of Ichiran ramen in Shinjuku, steaming plates of lamb curry on the Jakarta curbside, screaming for water after my first chicken masala burger on the Ave.

T H I R D - C U LT U R E K I D

VRISHTI BHOWMIK I was born in Indonesia, I hold Indian citizenship, but I was raised in Shanghai, China. As much as I’d like to say I’m from Shanghai, people are often thrown off because there is nothing Chinese about the way I look. But for many reasons, Shanghai is home to me. From the acrid smog to the invitingly pungent street food to the overcrowded metros you have to squeeze to get into, Shanghai just feels right. The city’s nightlife is free and fast-paced; my schoolmates and I spent hours exploring the neon alleyways and nightclubs of Shanghai until sunrise. In a metropolis where you’re hard-pressed to hear even a sliver of English, I pushed myself to pick up Chinese. Getting lost trying to tell the taxi driver where I was going was just part of the curve. As a foreigner, I had to constantly prove myself in order to not be fooled. Mentally, culturally, and emotionally, I had to be quick on my feet. I was never comfortable. However, through a hunger for knowledge and an acquired awareness of my surroundings, Shanghai made me resilient. I am a Shanghai local, and at the same time, I am not.

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– VOYAG E –

my sinking ship: NAVIGATING THE WAKE OF DACA’S REPEAL Agatha Pacheco

“The combination of being poor and undocumented made the possibility of seeing the world in the flesh unrealistic and unattainable, but DACA changed that for me.”

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– THE PERSPECTIVE ISSUE –

I

would always forget where I was when the sudden start of the engine and calm rocking awoke me every day at the start of my voyage. To look up and see my captain stretch out of his slumber while my crewmate’s feet poked out from his bunk was something extraordinary. To someone else, the smell may have sent them to their grave, but I barely even noticed it after a couple of days living and working on a 32-foot fishing boat, The Cayuse. Stepping out into the Nushagak River in Alaska, surrounded by water, was like being in a dream. Did I wake up? Or was I still in a dream from the comfort of my bed? My former self would have assumed that yes, I was simply dreaming, caught in the net of my subconscious. Since what was possible for me to accomplish and enjoy was constrained by my immigration status for so much of my childhood, to think I could partake in any kind of worldly adventure involving travel was just a fantasy. Before qualifying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), I expected that the only way I would ever get to travel would be through the descriptions from journalists. The combination of being poor and undocumented made the possibility of seeing the world in the flesh unrealistic and unattainable, but DACA changed that for me.

DACA is a 2012 program that gave people brought to the U.S. illegally as children temporary relief from being deported. Former President Barack Obama passed DACA through an executive order, and DACA has since changed the lives of 800,000 people, including myself. The program granted me a work permit and a Social Security number; those two things alone have opened so many doors that it’s hard to imagine achieving all that I have without DACA. When I first traveled to Dillingham, Alaska in the summer of 2016, not only was it an opportunity for me to experience a new place, but there was also a huge possibility that I would come home with some cold hard cash. If I couldn’t make a buck, I probably wouldn’t have been as willing to go in the first place. Unlike many people who can travel and leave work for two months, not making money just wasn’t a possibility for me and my family. The experience of living on a boat for a month was as romantic as the sea itself. In my solitude, the surrounding water echoed my thoughts and I became enamored with writing poetry. I fell in love with the views of never-ending sunsets, and for the first time I felt like a human with no borders in my way. I awoke to pods of belugas surrounding me in the dewy mornings after a brief twilight and beastly boats competing for the best territory in heavy winds and choppy waves. Sometimes I simply watched the stars fade as the night turned into day in a matter of moments. While life on a salmon fishing vessel isn’t for everyone, I loved it for the worldview it gave me.

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– VOYAG E –

My first season ended badly, however. My captain was inexperienced, and the communication was so bad between the crew that I barely learned anything. If I wasn’t being yelled at unnecessarily while working, I was generally writing in a journal keeping track of the days and my thoughts. The lack of communication and culture of punishment for not learning fast enough eventually pushed me to jump ship, and I was devastated to know my adventure had come to a bitter, unsuccessful end. Even though I hadn’t made any money, I had seen so much and craved freedom. I went back the following season, found an experienced captain, and learned far more than I did the year prior. It’s amazing to be able to say that I carved my own way to travel, even if it meant I was working demanding hours in a not-so-ideal environment. I was willing to put myself through that because it was the first and only way I’d seen the world outside of stories and documentaries. So many people don’t realize how privileged they are to not have anything in their way when it comes to traveling, whether that’s economic or immigration barriers. Traveling allows people to be connected, to acknowledge each other as a family in this house we call Earth. But when that sort of community is only available to the people who are conveniently able to afford travel, it produces an unrealistic picture of our global community. This past summer, in my second season in Alaska, I listened intently to my captain as he told me of all his travel adventures. He further fueled the fire within me and taught me so much about how to live in the spirit of travel. I wanted so badly to experience the world as he did; living country to country, immersed in the cultures and the people. Knowing I couldn’t only made me want it more.

– 22 –

After a hard day’s work, we would sit together and sip on whiskey, sharing our life stories. On one occasion, I confessed to him that I was DACA. I felt like a fraud, telling him I couldn’t travel to all the places he’d suggested even though I said I would, but he was sympathetic: I was the first DACA recipient he had ever met. He had so many questions about how I felt and what it was like, and it felt good to tell him. The fact I had gotten myself to where I was now truly impressed him, but it also saddened him. “The thought of you not being able to travel is deeply disturbing,” he said. His voice was somber and genuine. He quickly suggested I visit all the U.S. has to offer and to not be deterred. Only someone who has seen all the corners of the world could understand what I was missing out on, and his discomfort has followed me ever since.


– THE PERSPECTIVE ISSUE –

Inspired, I took my earnings from that season and went on a road trip along the West Coast earlier this year. I camped on abandoned beaches, close to the familiar sounds of water on the shore. I stopped in odd towns, looked up at trees as old as time, and exchanged stories with any person willing to do the trade. And just like my captain, I surfed some waves in Santa Cruz, California. The familiar sense of living without barriers took hold. Then reality turned and just like when I woke up in Alaska, I wondered if I was again dreaming, but this time I was caught in a deep fear manifesting itself as a night terror. While in San Francisco, the news that President Trump had rescinded the DACA program reached my ears. Just like that, my spirits were disenchanted, and I felt as stuck as I had been when I was a child. I ended my road trip in San Francisco and drove straight through wildfires to get home and be with my community in solidarity.

They will never know how empowering it is to find yourself among the world when you thought the world wasn’t for you. Their power is inherently tied to their identity, while mine was found through personal exploration and travel. I just wish the U.S. was more like Alaska, where if you show up, work hard, and prove you can make it, people welcome you regardless of your gender, immigration status, or ethnicity. But it isn’t, and therefore I have to come to terms with what may happen once my DACA is over. Will I be unjustly deported? Will my family be torn apart? Will I live my life in the shadow of my potential because I lack the Social Security number to be employed as a journalist? I’m not sure what to expect anymore, but maybe I’ll be surprised and find myself on a boat towards citizenship on the horizon, and more adventures beyond that. Or so I hope.

It’s been four months since then. Congress has two months to pass legislation to protect us and our families from inhumane standards of punishment for seeking the American Dream. My life is in the hands of people who will never know what it’s like to be me.

“They will never know how empowering it is to find yourself among the world when you thought the world wasn’t for you.”

Agatha Pacheco

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– VOYAG E –

Feminism in Cam A Means of Survi Julia-Grace Sanders The social and structural barriers for women are compounded by a government that continually fails to show up for them. – 24 –


– THE PERSPECTIVE ISSUE –

Y

ou need to have long hair. You need to wear skirts. You should walk slowly. You should be a housewife. You must be gentle and quiet. Even if you have a job, you must come home and make dinner for your husband and care for your children before yourself.

mbodia: ival

This is how Lomorpich Rithy, a female Cambodian filmmaker, describes the expected role of Cambodian women. This summer I spent three months as a UW Foreign Intrigue Fellow reporting on women’s rights for The Cambodia Daily. For 24 years, The Daily has served as one of the two daily newspapers independent from the autocratic government in Cambodia. Telling stories of discrimination, triumph, and violence, I witnessed the compounding intersections of oppression that create the female experience in Cambodia. Despite lacking a cohesive feminist movement, the women I met while reporting boldly defy a history of deeply rooted discrimination. With a culture, government, and system working against them, Cambodian women aren’t just fighting for their rights, they’re fighting for survival. An equivalent term for “feminism” does not yet exist in the Cambodian language. “There is a word that people use when they refer to feminism, but it’s inaccurate,” said Catherine Harry, the Cambodian behind the feminist blog “A Dose of Cath.” “It loosely translates to ‘biased toward women,’ which is

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– VOYAG E –

Two girls at a whiteboard in a school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

not the core of what feminism is.” Harry, who tackles taboo topics like virginity and menstruation on her blog, is often labeled an extremist by Cambodian men. “I find that feminism has such a negative label attached to it that some women are afraid to use it, and some men are intimidated by it,” she said.

“With a culture, government, and system working against them, Cambodian women aren’t just fighting for their rights, they’re fighting for survival.” “The movement in Cambodia feels like it’s 50 years behind the movement in the U.S. Somehow, we are still debating birth control, sexual liberation, and women’s roles in society.” Rigid gender dynamics are cemented in Cambodian culture. The

Chbab Srey, a code of conduct for women, was taught in schools until 2007 and its expectations still echo in Cambodian society. “The Chbab Srey lays out a set of rules and principles for girls as well as married women, and encourages deference to husbands’ desires. You will go with your husband to the dragon world, it says. You must remember to serve your husband. Don’t make him unhappy,” Keo Kounila wrote in the Phnom Penh Post. “A woman, it further stipulates, must be polite and shy.” These expectations are perpetuated throughout Cambodian culture, particularly in television. “Women are conditioned from a very young age to be meek and docile,” Harry told me in an interview for a story on women in film. “We’ve been taught what our roles in society are and how we should not differ from the norms.” One familiar theme shows up again and again in Khmer films and TV: jealousy. Women are shown fighting over a man, usually one that is rich and handsome. These stereotypes go beyond dictating women’s role in society — they foster a culture of victim blaming and violence against women. In August, a prominent morning television news host, Meas Rithy,

– 26 –

remarked on-air that a rapist and murderer should have kept his victim alive to “keep her for using again.” The social and structural barriers for women are compounded by a government that continually fails to show up for them. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the portion of the government charged with promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in Cambodia, has historically provided minimal support. When women’s rights NGOs organized an online petition demanding the government hold the victim-blaming news host accountable for his remarks, the ministry initially refused to sign on. One woman, 33-year-old Sok Mao, has lived at the intersection of these discriminations. To avoid her abusive husband, she sleeps on the ground outside her house. Keeping her blanket and pillow ready by her front door, she’s always prepared to move to a new hiding spot when her partner of eight years beats her for refusing sex. For nearly their entire marriage, Ms. Mao suffered in silence, afraid to risk a beating for reaching out to any of her neighbors in the Khan Porsenchey district village. “[My husband] went out and threatened people in the village not to listen to my drama,” she said.


– THE PERSPECTIVE ISSUE –

Gathered on plastic chairs under the harsh rays of a sweltering Cambodian afternoon, Ms. Mao and her neighbors spoke out against domestic violence, promoted the use of birth control, and shared their stories in hopes they could help other women in similar situations. The word “feminism” was never uttered, but Ms. Mao and her neighbors fearlessly championed women’s rights out of necessity. Telling the stories of these women left me reflecting on the inherent privilege in my own experience with American feminism. In a country where the term “feminist” has become a trendy branding tactic, the movement has developed into different eras and branches where people often choose the model that suits their individual experience. In Cambodia, a feminism that includes the life experiences created by compounding intersections of oppression is not a choice.

Ms. Mao and her youngest daughter.

Ms. Mao’s experience is not unique in Cambodia, with one in five women experiencing sexual and/or physical intimate partner violence, according to a 2016 National Survey on Women’s Health and Life Experiences. Sex- and genderbased violence has long been perpetuated by a culture that often blames victims for the crimes committed against them, a government that fails to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions, and a system that doesn’t provide adequate support. Even under the weight of compounding oppression, the women I met while reporting in Cambodia bravely challenged the status quo but often not in the name of the feminism I had encountered in the U.S. Women like Ms. Mao aren’t necessarily championing a social cause, they’re fighting to survive.

“The women I met while reporting in Cambodia bravely challenged the status quo but often not in the name of the feminism I had encountered in the U.S. ”

On a Sunday night in July, almost 80 people sat crowded together on the floor of the dimly lit L Bar in Phnom Penh, their faces illuminated by a white screen reflecting “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” a film that chronicles the feminist movement in the U.S. The audience, about half Cambodian, was transfixed by scenes of the U.S.’s women’s rights movement. When the film ended, a Cambodian audience member approached one of the screening’s organizers and asked, “When can we have that in Cambodia?”

Julia-Grace Sanders

As I interviewed Ms. Mao outside her tinroofed house, we gathered an audience of neighbors. To my surprise, she fearlessly told her story in front of them. Despite her partner’s threats, Ms. Mao said she’d started to speak out to her neighbors about her abuse and they’d become a support system for her. To prevent unwanted pregnancies resulting from her abuse, Ms. Mao sought out birth control, becoming the first woman in her village to get an IUD. After proving that the device did not kill her (contrary to the common belief in her community), now some of her friends are considering getting one as well. Despite several NGOs offering safe methods of birth control, many women fear adverse effects due to rumors and lack of exposure to the practices.

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solo traveler liliana rasmussen

Traveling alone is one of the most liberating and exciting ways to experience new places, foods, cultures, and people. Kelli Ka’uakanilehua Adams, an English major at the UW and an experienced solo traveler, helped us compile this list of tips for venturing out solo into the wide world.

Go Analog

Keep it Safe

Keep a physical map with you. You never know when your phone might die or lose service.

Be sure to bring a small lock with you. Most hostels have lockers for you to store your stuff in while you’re out and about, but they often require you to provide your own lock, or charge to rent or buy one.

Write down the address of where you’re staying and make sure you know the local emergency numbers. Keep a travel journal. When traveling, there’s often so much packed into each day that it can feel like a blur. Journaling helps you remember and process what you experience each day.

As a safety precaution, leave a general itinerary of where you’ll be on certain dates with people back home. If unforeseen events occur, someone can watch out for you.


Do:

Don’t:

Check if your hostel hosts group dinners. The food is often cheaper, and it’s a good way to meet fellow travelers. These connections can be really valuable, and people often have tips on what to visit in your location.

Give out too much information. Don’t tell people where you’re staying or where you’re headed next. Try not to give out your last name, or decide on a fake name beforehand.

Understand the general area before going out with new friends. Watch your drink and know how to say “Help, I need assistance” in the local language.

Panic, it doesn’t help. If things don’t go as planned, there is always an alternate solution. Agree to taxi fares before researching typical prices for the area. In some places, taxi drivers often overcharge tourists.

Trust your gut! If something feels off or seems suspicious, it usually is. Be alert and ready to remove yourself from the situation. Be open to improvisation. Often the best adventures are unplanned. Have a general itinerary, but don’t be afraid to go with the flow. Download the local language in your Google Translate app for offline translation.

Bring a Backup

Travel Light

Be sure to keep two extra copies of your passport. Leave one with family or trusted friends back home. Bring the other copy with you and keep it in your bag and your real passport locked up in your hostel/hotel, or vice versa.

Bringing too much stuff only weighs you down. Practice packing your bag, and cut down if you need to.

Look up consulate and embassy locations. They’ll be able to help you if you lose your passport. You can also register with the State Department.

We recommend finding a large, sturdy backpack and packing light. Stay away from any kind of rolling suitcases. Mobility is important!


– VOYAG E –

THE HIDDEN EFFECTS

ON VOLUNTOURISM OF THE VOLUNTEER KEVIN TEETER

he year is 2018, and the global human thread is more interwoven than ever. As we receive more and more information about the world, the desire to travel abroad and help those in need can grow incredibly strong. These “volunteer tourism” trips can almost feel like a riteof-passage in university culture. But are they really helpful? The answer, according to Dr. Anu Taranath, an English and comparative history of ideas professor at the UW, is a resounding maybe, if you do it right. Dr. Anu uses the term “Global North” as shorthand for the areas these students generally come from, such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, oe Western Europe. “Global South” is used for countries where these students go to volunteer, often in Africa or Central and South America.

While the intentions of many volunteer tourists are noble, they are simply not enough to justify these trips. “We have the idea that if someone has good intentions, somehow that’s all one needs to go anywhere and do whatever one wants,” Dr. Anu says. She introduced me to Willy Oppenheim, the founder and executive director of Omprakash, a non-profit organization that works with the UW and seeks to correct some of the flaws present in the volunteer tourism industry. Oppenheim is critical of most middleman organizations that connect students with host organizations in the Global South. Most of these companies charge a placement fee, often thousands of dollars, and don’t let host organizations choose which students can come work with them. “I’ve

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– THE PERSPECTIVE ISSUE –

talked to so many people … who didn’t actually talk to their hosts until the day they got there,” Oppenheim says.

continue to pass through these orphanages. Both Dr. Anu and Oppenheim say that more — and different — conversations must be had before we go abroad on these trips. “Consider what your identity means in a broader framework,” Dr. Anu says. “You have majoritywhite students traveling to majority-black and -brown countries. All of these actions are taking place within an unequal global framework.”

This is the dominant model in the industry, and it is problematic because it doesn’t focus on finding places where

“We have the idea that if someone has good intentions, somehow that’s all one needs to go anywhere and do whatever one wants.”

Oppenheim’s comments were similar. “What does it mean to live in a world of intense inequality?” he asks. “And what does it mean to cross lines of inequality trying to help others? How do I know who actually needs help, and what counts as help?” These are the questions, Oppenheim says, that we must be asking more. Students often leave on volunteer tourism trips without doing enough research to make sure that the work they do is actually necessary and wanted, assuming that the organizations they are paying have already confirmed that. Oftentimes, says Oppenheim, “You’re buying a tourist experience and calling it service.”

students can be most helpful, and doesn’t give students the education they need to ensure they aren’t doing more harm than good.

All this considered, volunteer tourism should not be abandoned. “I tell my students, ‘Let’s certainly go,’” says Dr. Anu, who leads study abroad programs, which she says can be similarly problematic. “‘But let’s not go if we haven’t had some of these broader conversations about who we are and what it means to travel in a world that’s different.’”

Oppenheim explained how, as an example, orphanages which make money by receiving volunteer tourists are incentivized to keep as many children as possible, even when living in an orphanage might not be the best option for some of these children, so that volunteer tourists will

Organizations like Omprakash seek to do this. Omprakash

“What does it mean to live in a world of intense inequality?” he asks. “And what does it mean to cross lines of inequality trying to help others?” works with organizations to help them choose and talk with students to make sure that they are the best fit to do the work that is needed. “[Students] don’t buy a prepackaged trip,” Oppenheim says. “They browse actual positions with organizations and apply to work with those organizations. The key point is that the organizations have the power to say no.” If a student wants to do an internship in their home country, Oppenheim reminds, they need to apply and either get accepted or rejected. “But there’s this assumption that if you’re going to a country on the other side of the world, you can just show up.” Ultimately, we must move past the assumption that any work we do in the Global South is good work. And if we are granted the privilege of volunteering abroad, of further weaving the human thread, we must dedicate ourselves to the study of, and communication with, those we intend to work with before we buy the plane ticket.

Kevin Teeter

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– VOYAG E –

max rose

the worry of the world M

y first trip to Central America was more than just an adventure I’d been planning for months. It was also a personal test, my first major trip since my psychiatrist explained that “wanderlust and severe anxiety don’t mix very well.” I had brushed off the remark, telling her the day I let my mental illness take precedence over my desire to see the world would be the day I let it win — something I wasn’t prepared to let happen. My brother lived in Nicaragua at the time, certainly not the first place I’d been pining to visit, but I’ve never been one to turn down an invitation to explore. On our way to the hostel he’d arranged for us on Ometepe Island, I dared to ask if our room would have hot water and air conditioning.

I unwittingly assumed I was

“We’ll be lucky if they have fans and mosquito nets,” he said, entertained by my tourist-ignorance. I swallowed hard, considering how easily heat had made me panic in the past. To make matters worse, I’d only recently stopped taking my medication, and it hadn’t been a full week since my last anxiety attack.

just a

My brother returned his gaze down the aisle of the jampacked school bus, the country’s primary mode of public transportation. I sat back against the seat, trying not to itch my baseball-sized bug bites or pay any attention to my sweat-drenched clothes.

“bad” traveler

Before being diagnosed with clinical depression and a

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– THE PERSPECTIVE ISSUE –

number of anxiety disorders, I unwittingly assumed I was just a “bad” traveler. It seemed no matter how early I arrived for a plane, it wasn’t early enough. With four hours before departure, my pounding heart would suggest I hadn’t allotted enough time to get to the airport, the stress so bad I would forget something crucial — a toothbrush, underwear, my passport, you name it. In L.A., I wasted 50 dollars on an Uber because I was terrified I might get lost on the bus and wind up miles from where I was supposed to go. In Barcelona, I abandoned an Airbnb and lost my deposit because I couldn’t stand how close the ceiling was to the floor, my claustrophobia convincing me I wouldn’t make it through the night. In Les Sables-d’Olonne, a coastal town in France, I couldn’t help but sleep until 3 p.m. every day, so worried I would run out of time to explore and enjoy my stay that I couldn’t fall asleep until five or six in the morning. And finally, there I was in Nicaragua, flying seventy miles per hour in a dilapidated school bus down winding roads, on the way to a six-dollar hostel on an island in the middle of a developing country in which I didn’t speak a lick of the language. Arriving at the hostel, my brother casually tossed his bag on his bunk bed as I looked around. He was right, of course: no A/C, no hot water, no mosquito nets, just two dusty, rickety fans. With five beds in our room, my friend Lewis and I shared with my brother and his friend Tiff, which left one bed open. Around midnight, a burly ogre of a man loudly barged into the room, claiming his name was Delicious and how he hoped I, the only person still completely awake, didn’t mind if he watched a little “lorn” — light porn — before bed. I wanted to put my headphones in but my phone was dead; I wanted to turn away but that would put me out of range of the fan; I wanted to cover myself with the sheets but that didn’t seem wise during the 85-degree night. So I lay there, miserably itching myself in a puddle of sweat, even after Delicious had fallen asleep and began snoring like an English Bulldog. At night, anxiety attacks feel like ghosts you know aren’t there but haunt you nonetheless. The walls cave in and your breaths get short; you want to cry or scream but you’re scared of what might happen if you do. So not wanting to

“And that must be it, the worst part of it all: being privileged enough to see the beauties of the world, yet feeling too overwhelmed to take it all in.” worry Lewis or give my brother any reason to think I wasn’t enjoying my trip to see him, I swallowed it. When the morning came, I rose and went about my day as if I hadn’t laid awake all night wishing I were home. And that must be it, the worst part of it all: being privileged enough to see the beauties of the world, yet feeling too overwhelmed to take it all in. With that feeling comes the immense guilt of not “being in the moment” or enjoying something so

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– VOYAG E –

many people dream of yet don’t have the sheer luck and opportunity to even try. It’s funny — the idealist stories about anxiety never seem to paint an accurate picture. There’s always something about letting go of worries, immersing oneself in a brandnew culture, and returning home completely renewed. Unfortunately, if this picture of “just letting go” is like

“With anxiety, running toward the world feels a whole lot more like running from yourself.” poetically throwing a stone into the ocean, reality looks more like a boomerang; the second you turn around smiling, it cracks you in the back of the head, reminding you that you can never truly run too far. With anxiety, running toward the world feels a whole lot more like running from yourself. In Nicaragua, I couldn’t run far. The edge of 99 Surf Lodge, Tola, Nicaragua. This spot is frequented by local animals that roam the beach: stray dogs, horses and pigs.

Truthfully, as bad as it can get, I don’t think there’s anything that scares me more than the day I make so many excuses that I can no longer give the world my best shot. I’ll no longer enjoy the perpetual search for cheap plane tickets, the daydreaming of Icelandic waterfalls or the endless hours scrolling through Google images of places I haven’t been yet. Be it a small hike 30 minutes from home or a trip around the world, there’s really no place far enough to hide from myself — or the illnesses that live with me, rather — but one thing I can always do is practice forgiveness while traveling. I’ll forgive myself for the endless worry, the sleepless nights, even the absurd amount of money I’ve wasted trying to keep my emotions at a manageable equilibrium. Despite how badly I’d like to trek around the world without a single care, I know my life will never be that simple. I remind myself there is only so much I can control, and I carry on. But for the times I’m holding onto so much anxiety and fear that I can’t put my best foot forward, I’ll take those feelings, acknowledge them, and toss them as far as I can, right into the ocean. But I won’t run. I’ll just stand, enjoy the view, and do my best to catch the boomerang on its way back around. If I don’t, then oh well. I can always try again tomorrow.

Max Rose

The sunset over Playa Santana, Tola, Nicargua. Despite the picturesque evening, a thunderstorm rolled in minutes after this photo was taken.

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VOYAG E Seattle, WA Winter 2018 voyageuw.com

Profile for Voyage UW

Voyage Issue 4: The Perspective Issue  

Our 4th issue, the Perspective Issue, strives to highlight individuals whose stories have been historically neglected and continue to go lar...

Voyage Issue 4: The Perspective Issue  

Our 4th issue, the Perspective Issue, strives to highlight individuals whose stories have been historically neglected and continue to go lar...

Profile for voyageuw
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