Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor

“So, can you come with us in two weeks?” my uncle asked on the other end of the phone. I paused and considered the implications of skipping the first week of school to go on my uncle’s company cruise to help with my four cousins. My initial instinct was to say no. I had work, plans to be with my family until the end of Christmas break, homework, and a full class load that coming semester. But after talking it over with several people, who all encouraged me to do something spontaneous for once, I called my uncle back and told him I’d love to go. Two weeks later, I was skipping the first week of school, watching the sun set over the ocean, getting my hair done in cornrows, and trying snails for dinner. The straight-A weekly planner in me couldn’t believe what I’d done, but rearranging my schedule to be spontaneous ended up being worth it. I wouldn’t trade the closeness I now have with my cousins, the experience of visiting three different countries, and the memories of that trip for anything. On other trips, spontaneity brought me to a small indoor market in Oaxaca, Mexico, where I found the perfect steaming-hot tamale and fresh mango smoothie. In the Philippines, spontaneity brought me to bright green rice fields as far as the eye could see. Spontaneity made me jump in the ocean in North Carolina fully clothed, try hang gliding, and eat a fertilized duck egg. I’ve learned that leaving some room in your itinerary and travel plans to explore means traveling off the beaten path, discovering...

Letter from the Editor

I was born with a few vision issues: amblyopia, nearsightedness, third-nerve palsy. So, I always wondered if I saw things how other people saw them. Once I was camping in the mountains in Washington with friends, and one of them looked off into the evergreen valley below us and commented on how amazing it was. I scanned the trees and the mountains trying to see what my friend saw. “I don’t get it, “I said. “All I see is green and brown.” After a second of silence, my friend Grant said, “I think brown is a beautiful color.” Did I not see the beauty in nature because of my eye problems? A couple years later, my family and I traveled to Mexico and climbed the main pyramid at Coba. There were a lot of stairs to climb, and I just trudged my way up as fast as I could. But when I got to the top, I turned around to look at the view, and for the first time in my life, I understood what people meant when they said nature was beautiful. In this issue of Stowaway, you’ll learn to see the beauty in travel through different eyes. You’ll read about Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, an interactive art exhibit mixed with science. Then travel will take on a new meaning as you read about immersive travel, where people become part of history and can see what it was like to live in the USSR. While travel brings you to beautiful locations, there’s always a story behind what you see. You’ll read about how climate change is affecting...
Catch Your Sunrise

Catch Your Sunrise

Trudging though a Nicaraguan downpour. Driving across the country multiple times. Getting stuck in the middle of a Parisian taxi strike. All these unexpected travel adventures presented me with moments to regret certain travel methods. But no matter how many beautiful, famous landmarks I see as a tourist, my most memorable experiences will always be linked to my many travel mishaps. They remain ingrained in my memory, which is exactly how I want them to stay. Henry Miller said, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” No matter where or why you travel, your experiences can change your perspectives on life. You just have to set yourself up to find those life-changing moments. Conventional travel offers pleasant, replicable experiences to each traveler—the typical kind of activities you normally think of when it comes to travel. You see the landmarks; you take the cheesy (but necessary) pictures. It’s a great journey. But if you step off the beaten tourist path, you will find a new world of possibilities. Your tourist trip suddenly becomes an adventure. You may run into some bumps along the way, but those bumps will help customize your trip—and maybe even your life. Some of my most memorable travel adventures stem from mistakes that led to impressive experiences. For instance, I never expected that sleeping in a crammed hatchback with four other adults in a parking lot in Bavaria would be enjoyable. Okay, so it wasn’t the best night of my life, but it allowed me to witness the most incredible view the next morning. As dawn interrupted my rather sleepless night, the sky melted into a spectacular sunrise. What I hadn’t realized the night before was that we were parked beside a charming country church at the base of a mountain. If I craned my neck, I could see the...
Stepping Out

Stepping Out

During the production of this issue of Stowaway, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Cambodia to document some work that the US State Department is doing. Cambodia has a peril-filled history; it is a country recovering from genocide and overcoming a past wrought with blood. This trip was my first time to travel out of the country. Before I left on that long airplane ride that took me from Salt Lake City to Seattle to South Korea to Cambodia, I had a moment akin to when Samwise Gamgee first leaves the Shire in the film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: “This is it. . . . If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.” I’m not one to travel often. The cost is prohibitive, and the time away from the work I have to do is scary to think about. However, this time I did travel. I took the step, like Sam did, and I had a great adventure! This isn’t the right place to enthrall you with my adventures in spending a week working in Cambodia and the following week in Sydney, Australia. My purpose in sharing my travel is the idea of traveling a single step. Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” All it takes is one step out of the door and then you are on your way. You’re traveling. You are on a journey. You have made the decision to enter the world, and you are bound to learn new things, meet new people, and make amazing memories. When we take that step, most of the...
Meeting Strangers

Meeting Strangers

“What brings you to Salt Lake?” I ask the man sitting next to me on the train. “I was visiting my ill father in Portland, and now I’m here for the night before going back to Spain,” the man replies. “Spain? Are you from there?” “Of sorts,” he replies. “I train Christian ministers all over Europe and Africa.” “What’s taking you to Dallas?” I ask the woman sitting next to me on the airplane. “I just moved there from California. I’m coming back from visiting my family.” At one point in life, everyone is a stranger. When we first come into the world as infants, we haven’t met the people that we will live with for the next eighteen years. When we move to new towns, travel the world, or even walk around in a grocery store, we are surrounded by strangers. I love the feeling that I get when I’m surrounded by these people I don’t know yet. Who are they? I ask myself. Where did they come from? How did they get to this Wal-Mart at this time? Why are they flying to this city? What’s their story? Are they married? Children? No children? Education? Where has this life taken them? Strangers excite me because they are new people to connect with, and we can never know where that connection will lead. I met the woman on the flight to Dallas again six weeks after that flight. I was serving a mission for my church, and our paths crossed again. Instead of sitting next to her in a semi-comfortable airplane chair, we were in her living room,...

Spots of Time

Last summer, while living in the green and beautiful valley of Grasmere, I felt like I had stepped into the past. I first arrived to this small village in northern England for a summer internship and saw more nature untouched by man or time than I thought possible. In addition to its vibrant color and overabundance of life, everything about Grasmere and the entire Lake District exuded a sense of timelessness that the Romantic poet William Wordsworth tried to capture in his poems. Dove Cottage, the little house he lived in for a time, was still standing, allowing visitors to come and explore life in early eighteenth-century England. Even the church he’s buried at, St. Oswald’s, still holds regular Sunday services. All the while, the forests, streams, trees, ferns, and fells surrounding the little village have an ancient feel to them that seemed entirely undisturbed. The past and the present seemed intertwined: I could have just as easily been visiting that spot more than two hundred years ago and would have seen Wordsworth walking by, muttering his poetry under his breath. Looking back now, I’m surprised I even made the trip, living and working where Wordsworth wrote his immortal verses. I always felt like I was in a perpetual dream state, suspended in time and space. The famous lines from “Ode to the Intimations of Immortality” kept coming to mind: There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, The earth, and every common sight, To me did seem Apparelled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. When I came home and stepped off the...