The Observer Effectactive
Publisher |
The Observer Effect
These are strangers' travel stories. Each time I ask how travel has changed them and hope listening like this evaporates borders.
People |
Country Of Origin |
Italy
Produced In |
Rome
Premiere Date |
2016-02-08
Frequency |
Biweekly

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98 Episodes Available

Average duration:00:31:04

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Gabriel García Márquez began his writing career in Cartagena, Colombia, but it took him all over the world. I asked a guide there, Duran Duran, to tell me what exactly happened during his exile in Mexico City that made Márquez sequester himself to write his great book One Hundred Years of Solitude ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders. Special thanks to Duran Duran for so meticulously researching Márquez's life and literature to make the tour so satisfying. And special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“K. kept feeling that he had lost himself, or was further away in a strange land than anyone had ever been before, a distant country where even the air was unlike the air at home, where you were likely to stifle in the strangeness of it, yet such were its senseless lures that you could only go on, losing your way even more.”
— Franz Kafka
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James Joyce never lived in Dublin again once he left yet poured all he knew of the city into his masterpiece Ulysses. I asked the Friends of the Joyce Tower Society in Sandycove, where the novel begins, just exactly how this self-imposed exile shaped Joyce's art ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders. Special thanks to James Holahan for his wonderful skill at bringing Joyce and Ulysses to life. And special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“A way a lone a last a loved a long.”
— James Joyce
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Pablo Neruda's house in Santiago, Chile has been preserved as a museum, called La Chascona. I asked Javier Ormeño Bustos to explain how travel shaped the great poet's life ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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You can learn more about the events described in this episode at the following links:

The general context and implications of the Spanish refugees in France: 

https://elpais.com/elpais/2015/09/03/inenglish/1441275302_272830.html

A testimony in English by one of the refugees, Elena Castedo:

http://www.elenacastedo.com/blog.htm?post=633104

Some articles of Winnipeg on wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Winnipeg

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viaje_del_Winnipeg_de_1939

A very good site on the Winnipeg, curated by the National Library of Chile:

http://www.memoriachilena.cl/602/w3-article-732.html

An article by Neruda himself on the Winnipeg.

http://pablo-neruda2-france.blogspot.cl/2009/06/el-winnipeg-y-otros-poemas.html

“My spirit has pass’d in compassion and determination around the whole earth, I have look’d for equals and lovers and found them ready for me in all lands …”
— Walt Whitman
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Mathias first went with his great-grandfather to India at age 7, but that's only one of the many stories he told me about his travels and how they have fed into all the aid work he does now. I asked where we can find more information about his projects ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Visit his social media services company at SuperSocial.at.

Visit his social change project at DigitalParticipationCamp.org.

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“I say friends in the larger sense of the word: persons seen only once or frequented my whole life: provided that between us, at least for a moment, a string stretched, a well-defined thread.”
— Primo Levi
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Eltaj left Sudan and crossed the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, where we met in a small migrant camp at an abandoned train station in Rome. I asked if he wanted to visit the Keats-Shelley House together ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“Sus sueños terminaban frente a ese mar color de ceniza, espumoso y sucio, que no merecía los riesgos y sacrificios de su aventura.”
— Gabriel García Márquez
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Majda took us into her home in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina with a glass of grappa. I asked why she had to rebuild that home ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“Di noi ciascuno reca l’impronta dell’amico incontrato per via; in ognuno la traccia di ognuno.”
— Primo Levi
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Ilmari describes himself as an Eskimo with blond hair. We met in the Sahara Desert. I asked if reindeer and the Northern Lights really played a large role in his life growing up in Lapland ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“Shame is thrown aside when one travels.”
— Jippensha Ikku
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Ilham did everything she could to live in Marrakesh. I asked how to make lemon saffron chicken tajine ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

This is the Two Year Anniversary of the Observer Effect!

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“Follow the curve of the sentence wherever it might lead, into deserts, under drifts of sand.”
— Virginia Woolf
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Johan coordinated volunteers at a refugee camp in Greece. I asked why he had moved from Sweden to Syria previously ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“The truth is a pathless land.”
— Tiziano Terzani
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Ibrahim escaped Eritrea through the Sahara Desert hidden in the back of a car, crossed the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy crowded into a boat, and now waits in Sweden studying in an old schoolhouse. I asked what language he speaks ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“I didn’t make such an endless journey just to be sent back again now.”
— Franz Kafka
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Alanka could only briefly share a few impressions of Cuba, but the real story is how he and his family got out, and even better what happened in Japan. I asked how these places shaped him ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“All the interest we had felt in the place was gone, and we only wanted to get away.”
— John L. Stephens
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Marsh spent decades smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. We met at L'Abri, a quiet home in the English countryside, where people come to sort out their questions about God. I asked what was the most memorable ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na doine.”
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Hajar has never traveled. I asked what her dream trip would be ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“How curiously one is changed by the addition, even at a distance, of a friend.”
— Virginia Woolf
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Mohammad flew to London from Kuwait while I happened to be there too, so we met in person for the first time and had coffee together. I asked if he likes to travel ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“It is only when you meet someone from a different culture from yourself that you begin to realise what your own beliefs really are.”
— George Orwell
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Eliska realized her dream of living in the mountains year after year, and the result is one of the best Airbnb locales in the world. I asked what effect meeting so many fascinating travelers has had on her ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Visit Haus Sonneneck→

Listen to Orry in Episode 30→

Listen to Hitoshi in Episode 32→

Listen to Amin in Episode 55→

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“The good host is not merely polite to the guest—the good host assumes that the guest has stories to tell.”
— Parker Palmer
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Onur had a lot to say about his appearance that I lost when I deleted the first part of our conversation in another "slight" episode. I asked why he came to Belize ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“Now I must bore you with certain abstract things, but I hope you will listen patiently to them.”
— Vincent Van Gogh
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Torleif is a self-proclaimed Viking. I asked what he thought of the food in Thailand in another "slight" episode ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“I am all the people I have met.”
— Jorge Luis Borges
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Camiseta plays accordion in Buenos Aires every weekend. This is the first of a series of "slight" episodes, encounters I recorded that may not warrant a full treatment but deserve to be heard nonetheless—or seen in this case. Click the link below to watch a video version of Camiseta with subtitles on our Facebook page. I asked whether he travels a lot ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Watch the subtitled video of Camiseta→

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“Globalization has a way of tinting its holdouts in a romantic glow.”
— Stephen Metcalf
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Flic had nowhere to sleep when a sandstorm overtook her in Bethlehem. I asked what it was like living in China ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“It is required of [everyone] that the spirit within them should walk abroad among [their] fellow [people], and travel far and wide.”
— Charles Dickens
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Lhamo runs Momo Tibetan Dumplings Corner in Brussels with a particularly keen ethical conscience. I asked what it felt like the first time she visited her homeland ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“Every exile lasts too long.”
— Luis Sepúlveda
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Carina hosts Easy German on Youtube, but that's actually only a small part of her and her husband Janusz's larger story. I asked whether the majority of Germans felt remorse after World War II ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders. Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Visit Easy German on Youtube→  

Visit The Global Experience→

Life Back Home→

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“The pathway leading to their homes was not clear.”
— The Popol Vuh
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Travis told a story at the foot of Machu Picchu that has stayed with me ever since.  I had asked whether being a soldier in Iraq changed him ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Also, a very special thanks to Carlos Molina Rojas for providing the opening music. You can hear more of his band, Grupo Sonkoy, on Youtube by clicking.

Visit Preemptive Love→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“We are edged with mist. We make insubstantial territories.”
— Virginia Woolf
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Larry's life changed when he took his very first hike into the paradise at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in his fifties. I asked what prompted that fateful trip ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Also, a very special thanks to Carlos Molina Rojas for providing the opening music. You can hear more of his band, Grupo Sonkoy, on Youtube by clicking.

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“Hope is like a path in the countryside. At first there’s nothing, but as people walk that way, a path appears.”
— Lu Xun
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Gloria longed to visit Peru and climb Machu Picchu, like so many of us.  I asked what happened when she got to Cusco ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Also, a very special thanks to Carlos Molina Rojas for providing the opening music. You can hear more of his band, Grupo Sonkoy, on Youtube by clicking.

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“One is drawn irresistibly onward by ever-recurring surprises through a deep, winding gorge, turning and twisting past overhanging cliffs of incredible heights.”
— Hiram Bingham
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Tony rode freight trains for nine years, picking up a wife, a son, and a dog along the way.  I met him and his dog, Pig, on a Greyhound bus ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“Wisdom listens.”
— Jimi Hendrix
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Kathy oversees the English Language Academy at DePaul University, where international students transition into a new culture and a second or third or fourth language.  I asked her to come tell us how their stories have changed her at our very first live show at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Special thanks to the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum too.

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“Medicine is the meaningful work found in the mutual exchange between people.”
— Terri Kapsalis
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Anne moved from Indonesia to South Korea to Chicago, where we sat down with her in front a live audience at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum to discuss a very visible change that travel caused in her ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“Distilling is beautiful.”
— Primo Levi
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Mike left the U.S. with his wife and kids to learn Spanish and build a church in Spain.  I asked which beliefs survived the journey and which didn't ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“One of you spoke words of warm consolation for my traveling thousands of miles of sea over such a long period to come to your country.”
— Shusaku Endo
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Jay has so many stories I didn't know where to begin.  A pilgrimage in Japan.  A pilgrimage in Spain.  A cathedral in France.  A temple in Korea.  I asked how these discoveries have changed him ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“Walked all day and the next day. The road straight, grey, dusty, and trafficless.”
— Bruce Chatwin
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The Observer Effect Live Show (with skyline).jpg

Upcoming Live Show!

On Sunday, October 1 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm, we'll gather our friends and listeners at the Hull-House Dining Hall in downtown Chicago to record our first live episode!  Special guest Kathy Larson will share stories of international students' and her own cross-cultural encounters from DePaul University's English Language Academy and beyond.  If you're interested in bringing a snack, let me know. 

Directions and parking from their website:

"The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is located on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, 800 S. Halsted Street, Chicago. It is easily reached by public transportation using the UIC Halsted stop on the Blue Line or the Halsted Bus (#8), or via the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) and the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90). Parking is available at Halsted and Taylor Street garage.

"Parking is available at Halsted and Taylor Street garage across the street for $4.50 for up to 30 min. to $13.00 for all day, depending upon day of the week, time of day, and length of stay. Visit the UIC Parking Services website for more details."

Hope to see you there!

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Daniel took me to the cafe in Buenos Aires where Borges used to read stories to his mother.  I asked what it was like to immigrate to the US and then back to Argentina again, and how he ended up in Sicily along the way ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“The fox makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction.”
— Wendell Berry
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Liz sat down with me on the steps of Oslo Sentralstasjon before departing further north to the Svalbard archipelago to look for polar bears.  I asked what it's like being a diplomat from New Zealand ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente.”
— Santiago, Chile
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Cafemin is a way station in Mexico City on the migrant route from Latin America to the US.  I asked the director how people change when they rest there ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Like Cafemin on Facebook→ 

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“I feel always below the grace of their behavior the instinctive, primeval hatred of the stranger.”
— W. Somerset Maugham
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Maria is a translator from the south of Spain.  I asked whether there's ever been an idea she couldn't get across ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“A word spoken by chance might have strange consequences.”
— Nalungiaq
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Fred and I traveled to Cádiz for Carnaval together.  On the way back he told me how New Caledonia changed his life.  I asked what it's like to work in Paris's equivalent of the TSA ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“Tal vez el lugar que añoro nunca existió.”
— Isabel Allende
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Saundra always used to get lost when she was a kid.  Now she's on a quest to get to 100 countries.  We spoke at Wish Willy's, a jerk chicken specialist's in Caye Caulker, Belize, which was her 79th country.  I asked how her quest has changed her ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“There is nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.”
— John Lennon
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Kenneth came to the Nobel Museum in Stockholm expecting more artifacts but ended up leaving one of his own.  I asked how in the world he met Jorge Luis Borges ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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Watch the PhiTOP spin→

 

Visit the PhiTOP website→ 

Support the PhiTOP on Kickstarter→

“I deplore the fact that you have not yet received a Nobel Prize, especially when it was given to so many who deserved it less, like me, who am only an adventurer.”
— Ernest Hemingway
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Jarrod Brown recently became a citizen of Honduras, the culmination of a two-decade transformation that began with one fateful overseas trip.  He is the founder of Mission Lazarus, a non-profit organization that seeks to transform people’s lives through Jesus and through action.  Jarrod's led a life full of travel stories, so I hardly knew where to begin, except of course, to ask what happened to him ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Mission Lazarus→ 

Watch Jarrod's Ted Talk→

 

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“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
— Mark Twain
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Danny is from near my hometown, just outside Chicago, but we met sitting on top of a 125 foot stone temple that peeks out of thick jungle.  I asked what he'd take away from his trip to Guatemala ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Danny highly recommends that you visit El Remate, Guatemala.

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“Did not Columbus himself set sail because he had read Marco Polo’s narrative?”
— Tzvetan Todorov
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Sune takes care of a Mayan ceremonial site on a tiny lake in Guatemala that's ringed by volcanoes.  A famed spiritual energy there attracts hippies, tourists, local faithful, and other seekers.  We spoke, by chance, in Copenhagen, where he summers.  Since I've been to those fire rings in Lago de Atitlán too, I asked what the coincidence of our meeting in Denmark could mean ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“Amo el amor de los marineros que besan y se van ...”
— Valparaíso, Chile
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Dakota was intentionally trying to get lost at the Art Institute of Chicago.  I asked what he looked like ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“One of us will talk, the other will listen.”
— György Konrád
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Patxi ran with the bulls, and I caught up with him near Iruña Cafe, where Hemingway used to write.  I asked a very special guest to translate his side of our conversation ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.”
— Ernest Hemingway
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Amin was a trance DJ from Singapore, until he traveled to Sri Lanka for his last show.  I asked how Austria brought him closer to his faith ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“I hope the leaving is joyful, and I hope never to return.”
— Frida Kahlo

Some links to music included in this episode:

112 beat masher by Bauchamp

Gating technique supersaw waveform by DJNebula

Alnitaque Moon Shot - EURO (Extended Mix) by Moon Shot

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Janusz made a movie in Namibia.  He claims to look like a neanderthal.  I asked how it felt to escape communist Poland ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Join the Observer Effect Kiva Team→ Subscribe in iTunes→

Learn Easy German on Youtube→

Check out the Global Experience→   

“The most unhappy eyes in the world are those that can not flow tears.”
— Kornel Makuszyński
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Michal needs funds to repair his time machine and get back to the 1960s.  I asked what we can do to help ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Subscribe in iTunes→

Follow Michal Oliver Music on Facebook→

“So ... be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to great places!”
— Theodor Geisel
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Jaey is in the process of moving from Seoul to Barcelona by way of South America.  We met in a blustery corner of Chile, where he told three beautiful stories from his trip.  I asked why he's not allowed into the most famous soccer stadium in Buenos Aires ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“We are for the most part lonely when we go abroad.”
— Henry David Thoreau
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Part 2 of our special 50th Episode celebration!  

We look back at some of the stories that resonated this year and what their sum could mean.  At the end I tell the story of the man in Burma who made me hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.  And a very special thanks to Dave for stepping in to host again this week.

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“Where we are is who we are.”
— Fernando Pessoa
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Part 1 of our special 50th Episode mile marker!  

A friend helped me lift the hood to look into the engine of this podcast.  Inside we found a Yeats poem, the story of the coin Primo Levi brought back from Auschwitz, and why his is the path I most want to follow.  And of course, as always, I hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.  And to Allison for taking this photo.  And a very special thanks to Dave for stepping in to host this week and share W.B. Yeats's fitting "The Song of Wandering Aengus."

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“Any careful word may suggest a route, may begin a strand of metaphor or event out of which much, or all, will develop.”
— Annie Dillard
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Elio and I met in a cwm, a mountain valley carved by a glacier.  What he said there led me to reflect on the sublime ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“What is wonderful always goes together with a sense of dismay.”
— Pseudo-Longinus
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Andes has to get a letter from the office of labor in Bonn, so that he can extend his stay in Berlin, before returning to Sweden to continue his studies, before ultimately, maybe, one day returning to Indonesia.  I went with him to the post office ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Join the Observer Effect Kiva Team→ Subscribe in iTunes→ 

Visit the Global Experience, where Andes interns→  

Learn More about Life Back Home→

Practice Easy German→ 

“What I hear most often as I travel the country are five words that never, ever fail to touch my heart, that’s ‘I am praying for you.’”
— Donald Trump
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Binta took her very first trip alone at a very young age.  Looking back, she wonders if maybe she might have been too trusting.  We asked why she's traveling alone still ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“All my days I have longed equally to travel the right road and to take my own errant path.”
— Sigrid Undset
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Kaveesh grew up in Toronto and wonders what he might have been had he only ever stayed there rather than study in London.  We asked who's on the other path that diverged from the one he chose ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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Visit Junior's Barbershop→

“I know you must hold secrets, such a long way from home. Some day you won’t be so alone. Some day you’ll be where you should go.”
— Britt Daniel
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Silas works at Harding University in Greece, an overseas program where students spend a semester just outside Athens.  A former attendee himself, he now leads the trips around the Mediterranean that made such a big impact on his life.  I asked whether he could put into words what this kind of experience does to a young person ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Join the Observer Effect Kiva Team→  Subscribe in iTunes→

See Mohammad's Story on Kiva.org→

“The mere exercise of attention—eyes wide, ears pricked, heart open—is not a bad way to move through the world.”
— Mary Karr
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Helkin moved to Chicago from Venezuela to study English, with dreams of big city life and plans to return to the company that gave him time off.  He ended up falling in love and getting married.  I asked why he came out ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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Go to Dollop→

 

“Trembling knees and an unrelenting sense of failure is one way forward.”
— Terri Kapsalis
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Bertrand shared a traditional Italian drink with us from a wooden, six-spouted pot—called La Grolla—one evening in his home in Bordeaux with his girlfriend Anna.  We had no idea how rich a story he would tell when we asked what his tattoo means ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“It seemed to me beyond the realms of possibility that I should travel so far.”
— Sigmund Freud
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Anna was once a stewardess and did something unexpected on her regular route to Kenya, but that's just one small part of her story.  She met her boyfriend Bertrand in Australia, when she moved there from Italy because of a tragedy.  And we met them when we stayed in their apartment in Bordeaux, France through Airbnb.  Nearly every night, they cooked a special dish for us since they're chefs.  We couldn't believe our good fortune, asking excitedly how all these travels changed her ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

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“As often happens with the most beautiful adventures in life, this journey began by chance.”
— Tiziano Terzani
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Tomek visited Frida Kahlo's Blue House in Mexico City, little knowing that I would interview him while we stood in line.  I asked him to describe one of her paintings ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Lend to Lourenco on Kiva.org→  Subscribe in iTunes→

Check out Saskia Diez's Designs→

“As a matter of fact, there is just as much that is interesting, strange, mysterious, and wonderful; just as much to be learned that is edifying, broadening, and refining in a cabbage as there is in a page of Latin.”
— Booker T. Washington

 

 

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Hamou did not want to share his story with me.  This is the first anniversary of The Observer Effect.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Join the Observer Effect Kiva Team→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Great eloquence may seem to be inarticulate.”
— Laozi
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Haval traveled for the very first time in his life when he had to flee Iraq.  Suddenly a political asylee in Tennessee, he could not return to Kurdistan, so he met his family in Istanbul instead, as soon as possible, four years later.  We met for the first time just after his return from a trip to Mecca.  I asked how it felt to be a pilgrim ... and to abruptly spend six years becoming a U.S. citizen ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Join the Observer Effect Kiva Team→  Subscribe in iTunes→

Help refugees in Iraq at PreemptiveLove.org/likesomeonewhoisthirsty→

“It is precisely for surprise that true education prepares us.”
— Ivan Illich

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Carroll moved from Chicago to Arkansas, then Texas.  I asked why he didn't feel worthy of going on the trip to Hawaii his kids gave him to celebrate his thirty-fifth anniversary ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Join the Observer Effect Kiva Team→  Subscribe in iTunes→

See Elsie's Story on Kiva.org→

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
— Numbers 6: 24-26

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Mary Ann wanted to support the effort to block the Dakota Access Pipeline but also wanted to make sure her intent was the right one.  I asked whether going to Standing Rock changed her ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Whether you go or not, Mary Ann highly recommends reading the Resource Packet at:

Standing Rock Solidarity Network→ 

You can also join the Observer Effect Kiva Team→  

Or subscribe in iTunes→

“A sentence starts out like a lone traveler heading into a blizzard at midnight.”
— Billy Collins

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The Hull House Museum in Chicago has one particular item on which they have lavished special attention.  Instead of a paper label stuck to the wall simply telling what the object is, they commissioned a book to draw every visitor into a slow museum experience.  I tracked down and asked its author, Terri Kapsalis, what role travel played in shaping Jane Addams and Hull House ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Join the Observer Effect Kiva Team→  Subscribe in iTunes→

Buy Terri's Book: Jane Addams' Travel Medicine Kit→

“To be everywhere is to be nowhere.”
— Seneca

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The Freud Museum at Berggasse 19 in Vienna showcases among other artifacts from the psychoanalyst's life, his suitcase, stamped with his initials and the name of his adopted city.  They also published a book called Freud's Travels.  I asked what led him to choose travel as one of the defining metaphors of his work ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Join the Observer Effect Kiva Team→  Subscribe in iTunes→

Learn about Dominga→

Read Freud's Letter "A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis"→

“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The Moby-Dick Marathon draws fans of Herman Melville's classic from all over the world to the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts every January to read the great book straight through over 25 glorious hours.  Afterwards, I sat down with a scholar who has taught Melville in Pakistan and led his own life of adventure.  I asked why Melville took that fateful first voyage on the Acushnet in 1840 ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Join the Observer Effect Kiva Team→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Such opportunities can arise only during a conversation.”
— Franz Kafka

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they have made this an incredible year for us—we collected more than ninety from strangers we met ... Gerald and Franz walk for five days every year along the Camino de Santiago, the traditional route of pilgrims from all over Europe to the western coast of Spain, picking up where they left off the last year.  We asked why they started their pilgrimage ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Join the Observer Effect Kiva Team→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“On the first day of our pilgrimage I barely used my camera.”
— Patti Smith

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they mean so much less absent family ... Hitoshi spent a decade saving for his and his wife Yoko's dream of traveling the world only to realize it with their two little daughters just before they hit school age.  We asked Sana and Rena what their favorite country is ... and hope listening like this makes borders as meaningless to us as they are to them.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Hitoshi's website→tabikazoku.com

And follow them on Instagram

 

Join the Observer Effect Kiva Team→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Unfortunately, I have gained no wealth to leave my children and descendants except this true story.”
— Bernal Díaz

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, given room, they meander ... Giorgio pivoted from architecture to journalism, now researching and writing novels from his wondrous apartment in one of the more fascinating corners of Rome.  I asked what the abstract painting of a man lying prone in a strange body of water on his wall meant ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  It was a dream his mother had.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Join the all new Observer Effect Kiva Team→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“What happens tomorrow is not always important.”
— Primo Levi

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they move toward ends we hardly anticipate ... I met Orry panning for gold in the Austrian Tyrol.  He taught me the word "petrichor."  I asked him to tell his best travel story ... and he did not disappoint.  We hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Men dig tons of earth to find an ounce of gold.”
— Heraclitus

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Whether travel poems spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they can chalk truths onto sidewalks we never paid attention to before ... Vixen, Street Poet, wrote me an on-the-spot work when I ran into her in Oxford.  I asked how we can help ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

You can see one of Vixen's poems here.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Nothing in the world is as painful as the feeling of not being liked.”
— Sei Shōnagon

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they unlock what the domestic incarcerates ... Jürgen became a US citizen in the Caribbean, nearly missed out on Burning Man, and once got arrested in Oklahoma, but those might not even be his best stories.  We asked how to ameliorate solitude—and find mushrooms—in the Swedish forest where he lives now ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“What I am about to say is so strange that I scarcely know how to make my meaning clear.”
— Boethius

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they show us the way ... Isabel coordinated volunteers for Lighthouse Relief in Ritsona refugee camp in Greece, but that wasn't the important part, according to her.  This will be the last in our series of episodes from Ritsona for a while.  We asked refugees to tell us their stories and volunteers to tell us theirs ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Thanks as always to the musician Dana Boulé.

Subscribe in iTunes→

Three organizations that take volunteers and donations in Greece are:

Lighthouse Relief→

I Am You→

Echo 100 Plus→

In Chicago, you can volunteer with:

World Relief→

Heartland Alliance→

“And why complain of more, why complain of very much more.”
— Gertrude Stein

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they give way to life ... Hanan did not want to give birth in Greece.  She crossed from Turkey after escaping Syria while pregnant.  Now little Ahmed is her happiness.  We asked how he was born ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Thanks as always to the musician Dana Boulé.

Subscribe in iTunes→

“The new must be dovetailed into the old as it were, if it were to endure.”
— Jane Addams

Listen to More Episodes of The Observer Effect→

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Episode 25: An Enormous, Deep-Rooted, Foolish Faith in the Benevolence of Fate—Chios, Where Yousef Took His Family in a Rubber Boat

Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, we navigate by their composition ... Yousef and his wife made the difficult choice to leave Syria with their children four years after their factory and home were burned to charcoal.  They went by rubber boat from Turkey to the island of Chios in Greece.  We asked him to tell us the story ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Thanks as always to the musician Dana Boulé.

Subscribe in iTunes→

“There are people whom we do not fully know, and yet they live in a warm place within us.”
— Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they save lives sometimes ... Alberto went rogue while volunteering at Ritsona refugee camp, moving into one of the tents to live closer to his new friends.  We followed him there to ask why ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Thanks as always to the musician, Dana Boulé.  And a very special thanks to Joan for letting us record him playing saz.

Check out Alberto's podcast for nonconformists at mimundoenlamochila.com.

Check out Alberto's Podcast→  Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
— Robert Capa

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they make you patient ... Adnan spent 45 days escaping Syria with his four children.  Now he's waiting in Greece to find out where the EU will decide to put them.  We asked our friend Yousef to translate his story ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.

Subscribe in iTunes→

“We were tired of everything, tired in particular of perforating useless frontiers.”
— Primo Levi

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they ask patience ... Romane was too young to volunteer at a refugee camp in Greece when she first decided to go.  We asked how she learned to enjoy "giving without receiving" ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled.”
— Paulo Freire

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Travel stories spring from joy and sorrow, result in change and status quo.  Siba needs to move.  She has been waiting in a refugee camp seven months for her asylum application to be processed by the EU.  She teaches math to children.  She lives with her mother and siblings in a tent.  She studies English.  We did not ask what she wants ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Subscribe in iTunes→

“I could never tell it so that it could be imagined.”
— Dante Alighieri

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they expose ... Ferdinand spent two weeks naked in Australia.  We asked what, if anything, he learned ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Does what goes on inside show on the outside? Someone has a great fire in his soul and nobody ever comes to warm themselves at it, and passers-by see nothing but a little smoke at the top of the chimney.”
— Vincent van Gogh

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they problematize the word travel ... Bishupal tried to renew his visa to study in the United States, from Morocco; they told him he needed to go back to Nepal.  We asked whether travel really changes people, since he's a professor of postcolonial theory ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.”
— Jorge Luis Borges
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they bring back the ones we miss ... Flore studied abroad in Portugal through the Erasmus Programme and unexpectedly fell in love.  We asked what it felt like when the program ended and she had to go home ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Coming home at last at the end of the year, I wept to find my old umbilical cord.”
— Matsuo Bashō
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they're bridges between our separate selves ... Johannes is a social worker in Vienna serving primarily Afghan boys caught up in Europe's migrant crisis.  We asked where else he's traveled ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→  Visit Circles Cafe in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala→

“When strangers on journeys and people far removed from their friends and companions enter a well-known place and famous site, it is their habit to leave behind a record of their presence in order to seek blessing in the prayers of other strangers, travelers, and people bereft of their kith and kin. I want to join in, so get me a pot of ink.”
— Caliph al-Ma'mūn
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or seeming status quo, sometimes we have to tell them delicately ... Calum is a driver for Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland.  We begged him to reveal what famous people he's chauffeured, even though he said he never would divulge anyone's secret ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  See Gleneagles Hotel→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Neither in your conversation be without method, nor in life be so busy as to have no leisure.”
— Marcus Aurelius
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they record journeys, the deepest symbol in literature ... Sergio walked the 800 kilometers from Sevilla to Marrakesh in 17 days.  We asked why such a good madness came over him ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Pachilofeos→  Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Following a road from beginning to end is particularly satisfying both in literature and in life.”
— Italo Calvino

Aquí puedes hallar la entrevista completa con Sergio en Pachilofeos.

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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they usually represent an initiation ... Ram, along with his wife Janhavi and daughter Sharayu, stood in line with us to get into Vatican City.  While waiting, we asked if they would tell us their best travel story ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“A novelist could never imagine possibilities such as real life offers every day by the thousand in the guise of the most ordinary things.”
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they bring us back where we've been ... Manfredi lost his way in Barcelona.  We asked how he got back to where he was going ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
— J.R.R. Tolkien
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, we have to listen to find our place in the world ... Souka migrated from Cameroon to Italy and now sells watches next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  We asked how he got there ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“And I have seen a ship run straight and swift across the sea for all its course, only to perish at last when entering the port.”
— Dante Alighieri
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they remind us that people like to help ... Freya got sick traveling alone.  We asked whom she turned to ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Viajar es intentar cambiar.”
— Gabriel García Márquez
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they scab over wounds ... Kai embraced solo travel wholeheartedly when his wife betrayed him.  We asked why  ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Many tasks give themselves better to the cool of night.”
— Virgil
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they take us where we can never go ... Gordon's Iranian father-in-law summoned him from the UK in 1986.  We asked what awaited him there ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.  Check out Gordon's music too on Soundcloud.  And his furniture shop in Edinburgh, Retro Morrison Street.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Every experience is a moving force.”
— John Dewey
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they change the way we look at strangers ... Ann-Sophie's friend Flore planned all the details of their trip to Spain without revealing any of them.  We asked what happened when they got there ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“I jotted down these notes with the hope that they might provoke pleasant conversation among my readers and that they might be of some use to those who would travel the same way.”
— Matsuo Bashō
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they're told with a little more deliberation ... Lucas' father always taught him that "to be someone in life" (ser alguem na vida) he needed to make a lot of money, but Holland changed him.  We asked how ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.  Check out AIESEC.org which also played a role in his transformation.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“With a little more deliberation in the choice of their pursuits, all [people] would perhaps become essentially students and observers, for certainly their nature and destiny are interesting to all alike.”
— Henry David Thoreau
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they're never really meaningless ... Steve is a falconer.  We asked him how ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Of course, nothing can possibly be really meaningless.”
— H.L. Hawkins
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they're always worth investigating ... It's Holy Week, Semana Santa, in Sevilla.  Everyone is celebrating by walking through the streets.  We set out to find Jesus and ask him why ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician, Dana Boulé.

Watch Jesus in Action→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Ask and the answer will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
— Jesus
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they always surprise ... Faustino does not like Tunisia.  We asked him why ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician who provided our opening and closing, Dana Boulé.

Learn about Ah Se' Ka Lay Village→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“In fact, just as there is an art of storytelling, strictly codified through a thousand trials and errors, so there is also an art of listening, equally ancient and noble, but as far as I know, it has never been given any norm.”
— Primo Levi
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they always sound fascinating ... Ophirah has twice gone to England to see her heroes' homes.  We asked her why ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician who provided our opening and closing, Dana Boulé.

Visit Torch Coffee→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“If I let myself really understand another person, I might be changed by that understanding.”
— Carl Rogers
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they always teach us something ... Moonif found it easier to smile than to not when he moved to America.  We asked him why ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician who provided our opening and closing, Dana Boulé.

Check out World Relief→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“Hospitality is always an act that benefits the host even more than the guest.”
— Parker Palmer
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Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they always give vicarious pleasure ... Will had a good life in Australia, but something dislodged him from the office where he worked and sent him on his first experience living abroad.  We asked him why ... and hope listening like this evaporates borders.  Special thanks to the musician who provided our opening and closing, Dana Boulé.

Check out Kiva→  Subscribe in iTunes→

“I came back from each of my journeys a little different ... it never occurred to me that my new experiences were having an effect on me, and it was not till long afterwards that I saw how they had formed my character. In contact with all these strange people I lost the smoothness I had acquired when, leading the humdrum life ... I was one of the stones in a bag. I got back my jagged edges. I was at last myself.”
— W. Somerset Maugham
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"Why am I going back?"    "The why of the trip comes first ..."    "In America, I learned to smile."

We have started recording the stories of the travelers we meet.  Whether travel stories spring from joy or sorrow, result in change or status quo, they always give vicarious pleasure.  In one episode, Freya explains why she never wants two ovens.  In another, Nigel takes his son to Ghana to teach him the meaning of wealth.  Ophirah has made not one but two pilgrimages to Liverpool.  A pair of refugees recount their escape from Syria.  We hope listening like this evaporates borders.

STARTING MARCH 2016.  Subscribe in iTunes→

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”
— Martin Buber

 

Upcoming episodes:

Best Friends for the Week—Switzerland, Where Alexa Fell in Love with Google Translate

The Lucky Note—Málaga, Where Ann-Sophie's Friend Took Her on a Surprise Trip

A Sickness—New Caledonia, Where Frederic Hunted Bats

The Art of Listening—Liverpool, Where Ophirah's Made Not One But Two Pilgrimages

Little Hello Honks—Ghana, Where Nigel Took His Son to Learn about Wealth

The Hostel Grampa—Nicaragua, Where Kai Found Maternal Solace

Two Ovens—Indonesia, Where Freya Learned the Risk of Travel

Able to Look Forward—Portugal, Where Flore Fell in Love with a German Boy

 

 

Learn about our favorite non-profit, Kiva, and maybe micro-lend, by clicking here.

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