Sunday, August 30, 2009

where to start with the last month of my life?

Here are some things I've done in the last 30 days of my life:
  1. picked huckleberries in the Kootenays
  2. went hitchhiking on Salt Spring Island, BC (don't tell my mom)
  3. recorded interviews with 15 different community radio broadcasters in 28 days
  4. got to see a real life pirate radio station
  5. went to a nurse/zombie/fetish night at a queer night club in Vancouver
  6. drank bubble tea in Kerrisdale, BC
  7. ate a Nanaimo Bar for the first time
  8. went to the city of Nanaimo for the first time
  9. went swimming at a nude beach in Nelson BC
  10. played the ukulele on the radio, twice
Canada is my first stop on this trip, and I've spent the last month exploring British Columbia, "the most beautiful place on earth," as all of the license plates say. And it is really beautiful here:

[this photograph is in all ways completely representative of all of British Columbia, of course]

In between adventures, I've been working on a framework for the project I'm doing, figuring out what exactly my focus is, what it is I am doing, anyway. I've visited seven or eight stations (if you count the pirate radio station), exploring differences and similarities between the physical location, programming schedule, the DJs themselves. I'm starting to type up transcripts and send copies of interviews back to the folks I interviewed, and next month I'm going up north to Arviat, Nunavut (for those of you back home, think tundra) to do some more sustained research there. Hopefully I'll be hanging out at the community radio station there for a month or so.

One of the highlights of the last month was a weekend camping trip on Salt Spring Island, BC with my two friends from school who are from Vancouver, Beth and Emily. I stayed with both of them & their families, which was really nice. Shout out to Beth and Emily & their families. Yeay for pictures:

Once opon a time, Beth and Emily went swimming and Aliza was too cold to go in the water, so she documented the event.

And then Beth agreed to a post-swimming interview at the Saturday morning market.

The end,

first podcast (!): advice

An audio introduction to this adventure! (featuring the voices of Anna, Nick, Andrea, Lynn, Natalie, Lee, Josh, Dave, Sara, Caroline, my grandmother (Nonna) Carla, and me).


(soon to be available for actual podcasting)

and this is how I found out I was going to be traveling around the world

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Aliza. I am twenty-two years old. I hail from New York City. My favorite time of day is the late afternoon and if I could bring two CDs to a deserted island, they would be Al Green's Greatest Hits and Brian Eno's Music for Airports.

Here is a story. One day last March, I found myself in the Schlesinger Library in Boston with my friends Woody and Avi. The Schlesinger Library is a special collections library at Harvard University. It has a bunch of really rare, really expensive books, and it's a silent library, so when you're looking at the collection, you can't make a lot of noise. Avi, Woody and I were there looking at one of the craziest cookbooks I've ever seen -- a cookbook of molecular gastronomy creations from El Bulli, a restaurant in Spain run by the famous experimental chef Ferran AdriĆ .

The three of us were there looking pictures of food I'd never even dreamed could exist, raviolli made from pea juice, tiny caviar pellets made from fruity cocktail alcohol, ice cream made from wasabi. And then Woody pointed to a clock. It was five minutes noon, and it was the day that I was going to find out whether or not I had gotten the Watson fellowship, $25,000 to travel around the world and pursue a passion. I applied in November, and was waiting four months to find out the results. I had five minutes.

Woody, and Avi and I went out to the lobby, opened my laptop,
connected to the internet. And there was an email in my inbox. I opened it, and everyone in the completely silent library turned to look at where all of the noisiness was coming from.

And so here I am. It's about a month into this crazy year of adventure, a year to travel and do independent research. I'm spending the next year researching community radio broadcasters around the world, doing oral history interviews with DJs, journalists, pirate radio programmers, in seven different countries. It's a year of solo travel, so I'll be traveling alone, and I can't go back to the U.S. for one whole year. Here's the description of the project, you'll have to scroll down.

And so here I am, in Cochrane Alberta, taking a few days to breathe from the last month of travel and start this blog, chronicle some of these adventures and keep in contact with folks from back home & those I meet along the way. Hopefully, I'll be doing a podcast too, so stay tuned.

Here is a picture of my parents and me at the front do
or of the apartment I grew up in (with all of my stuff):

And here is a picture of my best friend Sara & me with a naf-naf (a flame-fanner for campfires, courtesy of Aida, Nero, Roei and Alone):

And here is a picture of my grandmother (Granna) discovering her inner speed demon:

with love from across the airwaves,