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September 19, 2019 52 mins

Daniel Scheffler discovers that preparing for anything leads to the best adventures. Anything can happen, serendipity will make sure of it, as he sees in Burma. Shavo Odadjian, from System of a Down, weighs in on the surprising, Armenian Genocide, his marijuana brand 22Red and growing up in Los Angeles. #travel

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hi, and welcome to everywhere. I am your host, Daniel Shaffler.
The commandment for the week thou shalt be prepared for anything.

(00:21):
I have this theory about travel. If you prepare yourself
for just about anything, you can let go of pesky
expectations and you could just let everywhere unfold. And yes,
it does in my case, for better or for much better.

(00:43):
And this is how I felt in Burma, or with
some people call it these days Mainmar. I deliberately didn't
fill my schedule with too many activities. I try to
have no thoughts about this begealing place. I even re
sisted to think back to Burmese Days, one of my

(01:04):
favorite or Will books. I just wanted to be open
to this unexplored country and whatever it wanted to show me.
Some local food, perhaps hikes in the Grand Mountains, and
hopefully some pauses in between to meditate. With a recent

(01:35):
change of power and some very helpful international attention, Burma
is finding itself somewhere fascinatingly new, and perhaps it may
even be totally reborn. The country's hope is now riding
on its lauded hero and freedom fighter San Suki, recipient
of the Nobel Peace Prize. But of course this hope

(02:00):
is precarious, to say the least. Perhaps the State Counselor,
which is really a Prime Minister, Sansuki is now caught
in a wild crossfire where the facts aren't crystal Conceivably,
the world should be giving her the benefit of the doubt.
But then again, power does all kinds of crazy things

(02:23):
to people. Could she have done more? Almost certainly, it's
not really imaginable that she couldn't. But how much of
this genocide, as the United Nations dumped it was or
is out of her hands in control? And if she
takes a hard line, could she once again see the

(02:44):
country fall into military rule? I'm none the less of.
And then there's the persecution of the Hinga people in
the north who have been forced to flee to Bangladesh.

(03:05):
Burma at this very time is a complicated and partly
dark place, but so was South Africa when Nelson Mandela
came into power. And as I said, there is always hope.
Boma has erected their very own symbol of change. But
this adjustment has not come without a cost to many lives.

(03:27):
Into the heavily adjusted expectations of the improvement of a
growing economy. Pausing to think whether your political views should
dictate your holiday plans. Well, here's your prompt. How does
the LGBTQ community feel going to a country like Grune
where it's punishable by death to be gay? And what

(03:51):
about someone of a certain race or religion who no
longer feels welcome in America? How do they feel about
coming here? Hold onto that don't for just a minute
while I bring on my next interview with Shavo a
Digion the basis from the band System of a Down,

(04:13):
who also has the marijuana and CBD brand twenty two brand.
When I tour, I like, I used to hardly see
the place. It would be like, play this show, have
a quick day, and then you're out. It's just recently,
like the last maybe four years five years where I've
been touring, and I'm like, wow, I've been missing out
on like seeing these countries. So it's like I'll wake

(04:34):
up at six am. Before also, I had other issues.
I would be drinking, I'd be doing other stuff, so
I'd be falling sleep at four or five o'clock. By
the time I'm up by one or two, I'm already
you know, by over and there's a show. So now
you know I'm not doing any of that, so boom,
I'm up, let's go. I go work out first and
then I go see the city. That's the thing. Now

(04:54):
My rule is if I travel to whatever place for business,
I have to add a little playtime. Like it's the rule.
And sometimes when people are like, oh, there's no time,
and I'm like, I wish I made that rule for
myself earlier. You know what I mean. I need to
do my great bro, any influence is good influence for me,
you know when it comes to like culture, you know,

(05:17):
gaining culture as I love that. How um, you were
born in Armenia and your family came over in seventy nights.
By forty year anniversary, we just had a family reunion
on Saturday where the clan on my dad's side mostly,
but I'm talking about my dad's cousins. Like everyone. There

(05:39):
was like thirty people that moved from but we moved.
The thing was like the borders were closed in seventy nights,
so we had to move to Green for the Moscow
then then Rome we were in room. I remember that
was five years old, so I was in Rome to
become as refugees become citizens, and then we were able
to come. We moved to Queens and I was gonna

(05:59):
be coaster, but then my mom's side kind of a
few people that came with my mom stayed in Queens
and I was in Queen's. My dad's side moved to
l A, so my dad had to go with his monks.
My dad dad passed away before I was born, so
he was the man of the house. I'm not gonna
leave his mom alone. So there was a gap for
like a couple of months, and then my mom moved

(06:20):
us there because I wasn't gonna be raised without a dad.
That was which God bless her for that, so I can.
I love my family. Yeah, so I was a Hollywood kid.
I thirteen thirty six Kingsley Drive, Boom. I'll never forget
that address because that's the first address I was actually
like representing, you know, like I mean, the lots of
Armenians in Los Angeles. It's like a big community. I mean,

(06:42):
my friend Eliza, who's Armenian, talks about it all the time.
Huge at the time, though it wasn't so huge. And
it's funny that the street I grew up on is
now in a community called Little Armenia, But it wasn't
Little Arminia back then. It was just a little nothing,
little night. It was a little Hollywood boarded. My parents
worked over nine to five. It was like eight. My

(07:02):
dad drove a lunch truck, so he would get up
at like four am, be at work by five, so
you can get the breakfast hours. But isn't this this
is the immigrant experience, right, like this is the thing
that one bedroom apartment. Until I was fifteen or fourteen
and just grinding. I saw my parents grinding, and I
just grew. My Grandma raised me mostly there, you know when,

(07:24):
because she was the one watching me when my parents
went around. But I was in the street. Man, I
was skateboarding. I was skateboarding, and I grew up around
you know ms that gangster drown. My street was on
Kingsley and Fountain, so that's where it all started. So
I would see it and I was. I was inspired.
I was I wanted to be I swear to God,
I really at some point I wanted to be a
part of having a posse this. But they wouldn't. It

(07:45):
was like they knew I was that kid that was
a skater and that he wasn't a bad kid. I
was a good kid that kept me out. Like there
was brawls going and get involved, and they pushed me
aside and they would like take a knife or whatever
a bat and I would just would be why watching this,
I would see it. Thank God, knock on wood that
that happened. And so yeah, that's how it happened. And

(08:06):
I just got I learned, like you know, the Chop
Suey video was made at a motel that was down
the street from my street off of Sunset in Kingsley.
This is about toxicity. The whole album was about like
l A and all the like the bad things and
the good things and how people like learned and I
learned all that stuff. I saw homeless people for the
first time there. I saw drugs. I saw there. I
didn't do any but I saw it happened right right

(08:28):
in my I had a parking lot and there was
homeless people doing heroin and there I would see that,
you know. So we went back to that motel and
they gave it to us for a day and we
shot the Chop Suey video. Crazy right, So every time
I watched that video it's not just a video. It's
like nostalgia. We have to go back to the Armenian

(08:48):
pond as the child in Armenia. Tell me what that
was like. My memory is not as good as it
would because it was I was five years old. I
remember snow, a lot of snows that play in the
snow there, and it was snow in Armenia because we're
a mountain this area, you know. And I remember my family,
and I remember friends, and I remember where I lived
and when my grandma lived. Everything else I think I

(09:10):
know from pictures and then i'll like my mom will
show a picture and the memory of that picture would
come up, of like what happened before and after that picture.
But like I said, most you know, you usually remember
after four or five years old better. And that's how
I kind of know if I was if it happened
to me before five, the yeah, I'm like in Armenia,
and then I'm not. And then I'm traveling at five

(09:32):
years old, I'm traveling from like one country to another,
not knowing the language. Memory. That's crazy. In therapy, they
tell you a move at a young age is the
second most traumatic thing that can happen to you. One
is death and two is a big move. Dude. I
move countries and not just one. I went from one
and then I got in Rome and then I at

(09:55):
that time year five years old, this is home now,
all sudden, No Queen's okay, this is home now, all
of a sudden, Hollywood, and that was home, that became home,
and that was you know that, that is my home.
How I see it because I learned a lot there. Right,
So it's trauma, but it's magic. It's magic because you're five.
So yes, it's traumatic traumatic magic. Great little friend, like

(10:20):
a traumatic magic. Someone forget magic realism. We're going on
traumatic magic realistic. Okay, we're gonna do something with that.
Yes we have so tap into that magic, like do
you bring it into your music? Do you bring it
into your life? I must have it, must have gotten
and it brings a lot out of imagine not knowing

(10:41):
a language and being put And I've never been away
from my parents because they've always been close, because I've
been traveling and so and I'm an only child. I
didn't have a brother or sister, and all of a sudden,
I have to go to a public kindergarten and I
remember talking to my mom and Arminia one second looking away,
my mom's gone, and there's this American lady going, come

(11:01):
have a seat, and I'm like, uh huh, what does
that mean? You know, totally not prepared and just having
the trauma of like being abandoned. That's how I felt
in kindergarten. I mean most kids probably feel that way
in the mom's leading like this is a kid that
is new to the country and new to the language,
new to the culture, new to the people, new to everything,
you know. And it was like jumping in an ocean

(11:22):
not knowing how to swim and go, okay, let me
start with the doggy paddle, and I think I'm by
six seven, I was doing the breaststroke. Look at me, now,
that's great. How did you like the Armenian genocide? Like,
how do you think about that? Well, here's what happened

(11:44):
after that. My parents did some thinking and there was
an Armenian school in Hollywood called alex Peleebo's and it
was pretty close to where we lived, where I grew up.
So they had made some money. They had gotten jobs,
so they and make some money. So they instead of
putting that money away for a house one day investment.

(12:06):
They invested in me and they put the money into schools.
It was more than the rent to go to a
private school, so I did that and it made it easier.
The Armenian school reminded me where I come from and
my culture and my past, and that's where I started
learning more about the army and genocide. My parents never
told me about the army and genocide. Got five years old,

(12:28):
you know, and so I'm like, you tell your kid,
by the way, you know, your people were destroyed less
than seventy years old, you know, ago here and and um,
that's why you don't know. You don't have a family tree,
you know. I I found out I don't have a
family tree because they were all destroyed. That's crazy, right,
So that became a thing that I always wanted to
tell people about. I just got lucky that I joined

(12:50):
a band and started a band with three other Armenians,
and that became a kind of a mission for a second,
because at the time, no one even knew what an
Armenian was, none less knowing about the genocide, right, but
it took four guys to talk about it. And yeah,
through the years growing up, every year nine fifteen was

(13:11):
brought up on every April and every other day around April,
and then there's the big marches in Hollywood, and that
was a part of that a lot of times. And
it made a thing part of my life. You know.
It's like imagine having a past like that and people
not recognizing that it is. It wasn't just the fact
that had happened. It was the fact that the world
didn't recognize it as a genocide, or as a holocaust,

(13:33):
or as anything they looked at as casualties of the war.
What were can night? Our army wasn't part of the war.
We weren't We weren't fighting anybody. They came and attacked
us and killed our people at night. They took the
the scholars and the men, the strong, the priests, the heads,
the politicians, took them and then told the women and
children were saving you. We're gonna take you away from this.

(13:56):
And as they walked, they rape and pillaged and murdered
and awful things. I don't even talk about it. So
this lee, learning this at a young age, it's instill
some craziness in you, right, like, wow, this occurred to
our people. My great grandma was in there. My great
grandpa's were in there. That happened to them insane. So

(14:17):
um fast forward the band. It was our when we
met up. It was something we all had in the
back of our minds. It's always there, it's always and
it was like, let's make it more of you know,
known to people that this happened to our people. Let's
just talk about it more. We wrote a song about it,
and when they asked about the song, we talked about
it and then we just kind of it became a thing.

(14:38):
Best reward was on our first tour, we were playing
Texas and we're in RV, so no security people could
come and knock on the r V door. Here you
So it was a kid and his dad. Kid was
I couldn't be older than thirteen or fourteen, and he
asked us to sign a history report that he wrote
on the army and genocide and it was because he

(14:58):
heard it happened. It was not in anywhere Indes textbooks,
and he learned of it from us from the song pluck,
and he went and he did research on it, find
out wrote this thing are a plus on it, and
his dad was proud of his dad brought him to us. Saying,
good for you guys to bring my awareness to my son,
who he would never have learned that if it wasn't
for you guys. We imagine that we did pictures with

(15:20):
the dad and it was like, but no amount of
Grammys concluding hell, that's the point. So for me, like,
the thing that I tap into on my show is
that only through travel are you able to really see
these things, because otherwise it's just in theory. You need
to go to Armania to feel what they're feelings, or

(15:42):
else you would know people here out of touch our
Meanians here don't know what's going on over there. They
only know what they're seeing on our mean and tell
on the Armenian channels or what they're reading on. But
you know, all that's skewed. Everything is skewed, all medious.
How crazy is the news outside of America? He is
totally different than when I'm there. I finally getting news
around the world. I find out what's happening here. I

(16:03):
find out what's happening there. People we would never countries
that we don't talk about in America are talked about
over there. There exists. There are people in the world
we only get told about specific countries, or this happening there,
this happened in Irand, this happened in Afghanistan, This happening
irand just happening. Okay, what about the rest of the world.
There's a lot of ship going on there too. You
could tell us about that too. I'm not saying don't
tell us abouty around and Afghanistan. There's a lot more

(16:25):
news out there that we don't hear about. So I
would love to inspire people to travel, not only to Paris, Italy, China.
I want you to go to places like Armenia, in
places like Wow, you're right though, that's crazy, but who
would But it's your life, you know. It's like most
people when they have the chance to travel there there Okay,

(16:47):
the majority of the world doesn't travel as much as
you do, so they don't get the opportunity or of
me to do that, because when they get the chance
to travel, they're like, Oh, we heard of this place
that's so popular and big, I'm gonna go there. Like
when I told Jicavo, You're like, I'm not gonna hold
that again. I get it, because there's so many better
places to be. What I feel is that travel is
the thing that taps you into humanity. It's such an

(17:11):
easy way in whether you're in Carbo you can do
it at the result, or whether you're going to Armania.
You can go to Carbo and speak to your barista,
the guy who's serving Mexican. You could speak to that
person and be like, oh wait, his a little way
into the country that I may not get in Carbo

(17:34):
because it's very commercial. Yeah, I mean it was the fireworks,
see what I mean. But I like, I really are
so right where you're people to travel with more of
that and speak and learn from people. That's what you're saying. Yeah,
but like I want to go to Armania and speak
to people and understand that experience because it's not on

(17:57):
the tourist hotspots right Like it's but there's the responsibility,
So let's use effort to do that. It's a gaining
culture from people, That's what it is. And it's like
but it's effort. And like I said before, most people
when they're traveling, they wanna you know, not everyone's thinking
to do that. Okay, So how do we inspire them
to make a little more by talking about places and

(18:17):
talking about like what you know and what you've seen
and that might make someone who's listening be like, Hey,
I want to go see that and do that, and
you are you're you're doing it by what we're doing
right now. This is what we're doing. Thanks, that's happening.
We're doing we're doing it right now. Because you can't
make someone do it, but you can make someone kind
of envious of you because you can't do it, and
then make me when they got the minute of they

(18:37):
if they have the dollar and they can totally go
because it takes money and time. That's it. You have
a little bit extra money, you have a little bit
extra time, you could do what you what you're saying,
which is so amazing though. I love that. I'm I'm
gonna be traveling soon, which I'm not gonna I can't
talk about yet, but I'm looking forward to doing that. Yeah, yeah,
I want to play, but I'm also looking forward those days.

(18:59):
You have to promise me that you will. Okay, are
you kidding me not? I'll send you to I'll call
your text you. I want to know a little bit
about travel with the band a little more. I mean,
you've done how many countries, Like you've traveled everywhere a
lot I haven't counted how many we've been everywhere. Especially
in the beginning, we would go to the obscure places,

(19:20):
like when we went to Greece, we'd go to not
just Athens, we'd go not just to Milan. But we
hit up smaller regions where maybe the pay wasn't so much,
but we would still go to get the exposure. Now
it's more about hitting a mass you know where I
missed playing the little shows in those little cities instead
of playing the big ones. Um I remember getting lost

(19:42):
in Tokyo with my outfit on about to get on stage,
so I walked downstairs. Um I had just started djaying
at that time. It was and the club, you know
how in Tokyo and most of Japan, in the major
cities like Osaka, because there's no land, so it's built
like this, right, you know, up and down like a
mall is like in the building and you go in

(20:03):
the basement and then you go in like twenty stories up.
And the club was in a building like that, and
it was like offices a club stores. There was like
a hi fi shop downstairs that had to roll in
five oh five. They had it at a lot cheaper
than America, you know, and I still we hadn't made
money yet, you know. It was we haven't made a penny.
So I was like, guys, because we had we didn't

(20:24):
have a day off there either, so to play the
show and go to somewhere else. So I had put
on my clothes, like my outfit to get on stage.
At the time, we wore a lot of makeup and stuff.
And I went downstairs and I bought it. And I
remember I had to go because I didn't have my
passport to get the the duty free right. So I said, Okay,
I'm gonna go to the hotel it was right down
the street, and gonna get the passport and I'm come

(20:44):
right back. Ran at the hotel, got out of the hotel,
didn't know this direction to go to, and it all
looks the same, and here I am. No one knows
I've left the building. They didn't know. I went back
to the hotel. And imagine this guy wearing red shirts
and a white beater, makeup on his face, bald with
a long go teare walking around the streets to Tokyo
where it's packed, and I'm asking people and everyone's avoiding me.

(21:07):
It was like Japanese. They're so polite, but they're like
they're getting the eye contact and then going like this
and walking away, you know, like help, help. And then
at some point I just sat down. I remember someone
from the club finding me and running me upstairs. That
wasn't the crazy story, but it's the story that's the

(21:27):
sweet story. Yeah. Well, thanks for spending at a time
with me in studio. My pleasure. Yeah, thank you for
having me. Let's take a break to hear from our
sponsors and we'll be right back with more travel from everywhere.
Thanks for sticking around. Let's hop back to Burma for

(21:48):
a moment. Bordering the brawny China, India and Thailand, it's
taken Burma an extensive time to start, like seeing some
of their muscles. With over a hundred and thirty five
ethnic groups, the Republic of the Union of Mainmar has

(22:08):
been a place of turmoil in the last few decades,
with its military rule, blocked bank sanctions from the US
and a serious halt on almost all tourism, but also
in the economic sphere, Mainmar sold itself short to its
neighboring markets and is now fired up to take back
the reins from manufacturing of machinery and equipment to the

(22:29):
thing I love most intelligent tourism. Now, with the country
finally making its debut, tourism is steadily increasing by as
much as eighteen percent according to the Ministry of Tourism
last year. Mainmar is writing on what the travel industry
loves to call in parentheses authentic experiences. And as much

(22:53):
as I roll my eyes at statements like that, Mainmar
is decidedly different. As you arrive, you meet locals that
somehow don't see you as a tourist, but actually as
a potential friend. Every street corner seemed to offer me that,
So perhaps I was onto something here. The country is

(23:16):
oddly receptive to just uncharted adventures, unspoiled, from the heritage
sites in the cities of Yangon in Mandalay to the
forest and hills in the north of the country where
I went on some slow hikes, and right down to
the white beaches that remain empty for miles and miles
in the south. The low cost airline industry has also

(23:44):
taken hold here, with six new airlines starting in the
last few years, and then, of course, the brand new
phone networks and semi solid internet connections aiding growth. For
the first time, cell phones are available to ordinary ARYUS
citizens to purchase, whereas previously it was reserved for commercial

(24:05):
use only. The endless posters from telecommunications companies are strewn
all over Yangon from the airport right into the city center.
On my first trip there, as I arrived, the country
received their first batch of SIM cards giving access to
the Internet. As I walked around town, people were lining

(24:27):
up to buy them. People were finding out for the
first time what Facebook was. I wondered, how good or
how terrible this will turn out for them. Some cards
used to be thousands of dollars, only the very rich
could afformed them and rent them. Now, finally some cards

(24:49):
are cheap, and with the simple world connections streaming, albeit slowly,
the country, with more than sixty million people, can finally
ask bigger questions about freedom of speech. With beautiful Buddhist
temples still fully intact and hundreds of solid gold pagodas

(25:12):
scattered across the country, the cultural richness invites tourists with
inexpensive prices from food to lodging. Can you believe the
insta scammers haven't descended on this place? Maybe we should
encourage them to approach this whole country differently. I'm open
to suggestions here. Tricking around Kyokemare, in the northeast of

(25:36):
the country, growth is evident, although there are no tourists.
The dirt flawned cafes are filled with locals reading the
regional newspapers and slowly watching YouTube videos on their brand
new smartphones. The sweet milky teas are passed along with
the phones around the cafe and the men, but they're

(25:58):
rouge beetle juice into the dusty streets. Hundreds of brand
new bikes shine as they speed through the little village,
an obvious sign of growth. And all this exciting new blood.
There was this one cafe that had a dozen computer monitors,
and at every single one of them sat a young monk,

(26:18):
maybe aged ten or so, clothed in pink robes, playing
computer games, watching YouTube videos, or befriending people from across
the planet on Instagram. The line snaked out of store fronts,
and people's excitement was washing down the streets, and I
was doing broth tastings from street vendor to street vendor,

(26:41):
each with a different family recipe. Watching this amazing thing
happened in the meantime, Bohmer quickly became my food heaven.
No photographs allowed set the street vendors. It made me
smile with such delight. So here's the menu. There was mohinga,
a fish broth with rice noodles, chickpeas and splashed with

(27:06):
turmeric and lemongrass, and to this day it is still
my great obsession. And then, of course the tea leaf
salad made with fermented tea leaves, nuts, lime cabbage. A
bitter smile of a dish. My guide Mosett told me
as he tucked into his bowl of tea leaf salad

(27:28):
that he thinks that people from rural areas are nicer
than the people from the cities. They are honest, he said,
and friendly, and they live away from greed, and that's
why they are so special. He takes a small number
of tourists into the wilderness near the village that he
was born in and encourages them to meditate whilst tracking.

(27:52):
Before becoming a guide, like so many Burmese boys, he
was a monk and received his free education and ink
language skills at a Buddhist center in the forest. He
told me that men Mars people remain religious in the
most charming and engaging way. Their temples are cozy, each
one almost like a little neighborhood onto itself. Buddhists go

(28:15):
to their temples not only to worship, but also for
afternoon naps and casual gatherings over tea. Of course, that
is exactly what I had in mind too, a new religion.
Perhaps the way of life for Meanmar people is hard,
it seems to me. They have to struggle each day
to survive. But somehow there seems to be a contentment.

(28:40):
Perhaps this hope their new prime minister has brought has
changed things. In the villages five hours walk from the
nearest town, life is uncomplicated for its inhabitants. Mornings start
at four am when the cattle are released and the
smells of open fire cooking start. They wafts from inside

(29:01):
their wooden homes. Locals cook their national dish La pete,
a mixture of pickled tea leaves, roasted nuts, green chilies,
sometimes dried shrimp, and beat a larva with vegetables. And
they topped this off with plenty of fresh lime. And
here the customers to share it with anyone that comes

(29:22):
into your home, which is of course what I did.
I went into everyone's homes. I slept on their sheepskin rugs,
and since I was unable to speak the language, I
just kept smiling from ear to ear all the time
like an idiot. As I was understanding more about the
gorgious country, I discovered that one of the government's plans

(29:44):
is to open up restricted areas and allow some selective
tourism to venture in. With the world hungry for new
destinations and explorers wanting to find this new frontier as
we should with the madness of over tourism, it is
perhaps Burma that holds the right golden key, with the

(30:06):
correct attitude, who wants tourism a high quality approach and
not allowing for a destruction of all this beauty. Burma
might be the next paradise. Let's see what the very
near future holds. It's funny. I put down my smartphone
and prepared myself for just about anything and everything as

(30:27):
the country was picking up their smartphone one at a time.
That's kiss Smith. I'm in Toronto, the great city of Canada,
and I'm with my new friends Aaron and Katie, who

(30:48):
also have a podcast called al Packing My Bags. We
talk about ideas of bringing attention to the border and
how you really can almost not prepare for anything. I
just flew in from New York. We're in Toronto. We're
at the gorgeous library downtown, and I'm with my new

(31:12):
friend Aaron, who has an amazing show called I'll Pack
in My Bags. Yes, I flew to Toronto to come
and hang out with you because I love your show
and because I thank your super smart and very nice,
and I love the Canucks. So what can I say?
The feeling is very, very mutual. So thanks for having me,

(31:33):
Thanks for having me. I think we need to stop
by giving people a little idea of what you do
and how you do travel differently. Sure, I have been
traveling since I was really young, and I would say
that it's been a journey in learning about myself travel.

(31:53):
As much as it's been like literally a journey around
the world, it's also been a journey and learning who
I am, gaining confidence in myself, and becoming empowered in
a way that I definitely wasn't when I was younger.
And so the way that I've thought about travel has
really evolved the more that I've traveled, and I think
in my later age, I became more critical of travel

(32:17):
and the way that we travel, and I've in recent
years been trying to challenge that in a way that
I didn't when I was younger. When I was younger,
I was really into the like oh yes, let's stay
in the party hostel and like go up for beers
till four in the morning. And now I'm more about
slow travel two places that aren't on top ten lists.

(32:38):
And I like to observe and think about identity a
lot as I travel, and that's a lot of what
the podcast that we host is about. It's about challenging
people to think about the world through a lens that
isn't their own. So, for example, like I live the
world as assist gender white woman, and that impact the

(33:00):
way that I travel in the the experiences that I
have as I travel, And through this podcast, we try
to talk to people to find out how our experiences
differ from theirs. This is why we're friends, this is why.
This is the exact reason why I adored you from
first listen. I'm so glad. I'm always looking for people
that are doing things differently. They are staying away from

(33:22):
the list that appeals to me in a way that
that sits deep in my heart. Your belief system and
my belief system touch each other, and I think the
tricky part about that is it does form part of
a little bubble that you and I are in. We
live in in a tiny little existence where you try

(33:44):
and reaffirm your beliefs around every corner, and travel has
this amazing ability to take you out of that, to
show you, Oh, let me challenge my beliefs, let me
throw out these ideas and start again. And sometimes you
end up at the same place, but then you know
it's true because you've erased it and redrawn it in

(34:07):
exactly the same way. Yeah. Absolutely, And you're right. It's
so easy to get caught up in this echo chamber
where it's just the same kind of media that you're
consuming at all times. The minute I knew I really
liked you is when I heard you speak on your
podcast about how you feel about travel influencers, and that,
to me is the prime example of an echo chamber
within the travel industry, because these influencers are portraying a

(34:31):
very very specific and inaccessible experience of travel that shows
one side of a very very complicated experience, and it
quite infuriates me right. Well, the classic insta scamma photo
is the Maldives over water bungalow with set person or

(34:54):
persons doing some activity, and people like that, and people
like to live in the glossy world. But I think
my job is to remind people that, yes, travel is
glamorous and fabulous, and who doesn't love a hotel the
fabulous result. But I need to know more than just
the surface ship and travel doesn't want to do that.

(35:17):
Travel is caught in an aspirational place, and I'd like
to challenge us to get out of that. The problem
is I sound preachy. The thing is like, I don't
want to sound preachy, like I just want to build
something better than me, something that's more than me. Right,
you understand this, I totally understand. I think as soon
as you share an opinion, you're right to be considered

(35:37):
a preacher. No matter what you're talking about, no matter
who is listening, there's always someone who will hear what
you're saying as preaching because it goes against their own belief.
This has been my experience. Well, I love to think
that my opinion is wrong, so I love to like
give my opinion and then be shown that my opinion

(35:59):
was wrong. It's my favorite thing. My husband does it
to me all the time. I'll say something and you'll
be like, god, Daniel, have you really thought about this?
This is such emotional crap. And he'll unpack it for
me and I'll go, oh, yeah, my opinion is totally wrong. Great,
thank you, And I ad just because maybe we spend
too much of our time trying to tell our story

(36:21):
opposed to receiving the story. And this is what I
want to inspire people to travel, right, And I think
you make a really good point, and this is something
we've discussed on I'll packet before. Travel is about listening
and learning, and while you're traveling, the best way to
learn is by listening to the people around you, whether

(36:41):
that's another traveler that you meet in a hostel, or
a cab driver or someone who's sitting next to you
on a bus. I've learned the most incredible things about
countries that I've visited just by listening while I'm there.
More so than what I can google before I find
what I learned while I'm actually living, the experience is

(37:02):
so much more insightful and interesting. I'm gonna pause this
right here for a moment for our sponsors to weigh in,
but do come back to hear more about where I've
been scooting around this week. The time has come for
more of everywhere and now back to Alpaca My Bags,
the podcast from Canada. What is one of the greatest

(37:25):
lessons you've learned whilst on the road? Um, One of
the greatest things that I've learned traveling is that you
can only prepare to be unprepared. And by that I
mean you can never know what you will encounter, who
you will encounter, what things will go wrong while you're traveling.

(37:47):
And so I think I've learned, and it's through a
number of experiences that have taught me that it's about
your mental state and going into a trip or a
place knowing that you have no clue what will happen.
You can plan to no end, but plans change. I
love that very quickly, about that feeling. I think about

(38:09):
those moments even in like Bolivia, on a train, on
a bus, on an alpaca. You know, I think like,
what magic is here? Let me just see? And I
do obviously plan stuff, but I find that when I
stop the planning, all this stuff starts to happen, which

(38:31):
you just can't foresee. I am so grateful that I
have this in my life because I have friends in
every city because I'm just open making friends. Come on,
bring it and some of duds. It's true, Michael says
to me, I have to, like, you know, weave through
some of these crazy people you pick up along the way,
but for the most part, like I mean, such wonderful

(38:53):
humans that are willing to challenge me. This morning, I
walked l on the trail up in west Chester and
I meant the loveliest woman and we talked and I
walked with her and she's looking after her son's dog
and we just chatted and I gave her my number
and she texted me early and she was like, what
a delight, And I was like, ah, kiss meat. It's beautiful. Yes,

(39:18):
I think this is why I fell in love with
hostels so much. I know you have mentioned hostels, but
I know, and it's funny because I don't financially need
to stay in hostles anymore. I can't afford a hotel,
but I often choose to stay in a hostel, and
the reason is because I meet such incredible people. Some

(39:38):
of the greatest friends that I have. I have met
in a hostel and known for a brief amount of time,
and we have continued to stay in touch over the years.
And like you, I have friends all over the planet
that I've known for a little snippet of time. We
shared some beautiful moments together in a foreign city, and
we continue to be close. That's so funny. My friend

(40:00):
Maggie Castella is texting us right now. I'm free. Come
where I am. We shall, we shall come to you shantly. Well,
just to go back to the hostile thing? Should I
admit this? I never stayed at all, you have not,
so I guess I'll have to. Now I'm going to
make sure you do. You and I we have a plan. Okay.

(40:22):
I'll come stay at a hostel with you anyway you want, well,
random city in the world, and I'll pick the hostel.
I'll pick the city, you pick the hostel. I like
that idea. I mean, as a travel right, I often
talk about how one should do everything and not stay.
No one's ever invited me to a hostel, so that's
probably why I haven't been. Is your official invitation? Thank you?

(40:44):
Am I getting one in the mail? Guess I can
arrange that I feel like, um, I never say no,
like cruise shiving okay, river rafting in the Amazon okay,
and some of the stuff. When I tell Michael that
I'm an to do that, He's like, you're insane. You're insane,
that's crazy. I would never do that. You know, like
ten days horse riding across the step of Mongolia s insanity.

(41:10):
It's fabulous. Do you feel that you were like this
always or is this something that you've become better at
the more that you've traveled. I would like to think
that I've always been like that, but the truth is
that I probably have become better because you see that
it works, so you keep wanting more. I mean, I'm
an addict, right Like, I'm a total addict, but I'm

(41:31):
okay with that. I try to change my addictional travel
and turn it into something positive and show that there's
a self care element here. What it really is is
a desire to challenge myself because I want to. I
want to be better in this world. I want to
contribute more. I want to be able to make a change.

(41:53):
I want to inspire people to get off the list
and to think about travel as a way to find
them else because it's free. Basically, you could travel to
Prince Edward County an hour two hours from here and
have the most magical time of your life. I've been
to Drake on the Lake that's right here. Anyone can

(42:14):
do that. You can hop on a train and go
do it for basically no money. You can go camp
out that like, I think that you could do it
for a weekend for less than a hundred dollars if
you can't doubt that, right, So, like, it's not about
the money, it's about are you willing to go and
do that uncover yourself. Yeah. A good example of that,
I think is if we're going to talk specifically about Toronto.

(42:36):
I have lived in Toronto for so many years and
had always heard about this place. It's called the Scarborough
Bluffs and it's very instagram able location actually because it
doesn't look like Toronto. It has these beautiful white cliffs
that overlook the lake and it truly looks like you

(42:56):
are on the ocean. And I had heard about this
place so often and it was always in the back
of my mind that I should go. Because it takes
an hour to get there on the subway, it's so
easy to get there, so I had to really put
effort into it. One day I thought like, twirl, I'm
going to Scarborough Bluffs. And I told my partner tomorrow morning,

(43:17):
we're getting up, we're not sleeping in, We're going to
the subway and we're going to go to Scarborough Bluffs.
And he was like, that sounds absurd. It's so far away.
And I told him, Lucas like, it's an hour, it's
not that far. We've never been. It looks incredible, it's
right in our backyard. Let's go. And we made the
journey and it was very long, and we did get

(43:39):
lost along the way, but it cost us three dollars there,
three dollars back, and it was well worth it. Wow.
I guess who in Scarborough Bluffs. Maggie, Maggie Casilla. You know,
it's funny, like she's become a sort of my filt
of Canada. Is her like an open minded, hysterically funny human.

(44:00):
And then I'm like, that's what the Canadians are like,
you know, they're like so funny and polite and lovely.
It's true, but I will say it's a stereo type.
I get it, it is, but it's also I'll admit
I find it problematic sometimes because often when I travel,
people say to me, oh, you're from Canada. Canada is
so amazing, you have an amazing prime minister, you are

(44:22):
so great to people, You're so open minded. But the
reality is that it is true, especially in cities, but
we do have our issues. So it almost feels like
people they're washing it away, thinking like they are no issues,
look at trade. It's so that they glorify. I think
that Canada is often glorified, and I think it could

(44:43):
be because in comparison to what's happening south of US,
we do look really great. But that doesn't mean that
we don't have immigration problems here as well problems. I mean,
you've done it so much better than most other countries,
but they are still problems. I mean, from the outside in,
it does feel like I was leaving gilly Head this
morning and I was reading something fascinating this morning. It

(45:09):
was like, maybe we were all too busy thinking we
are handmaids when we are actually aunts. Fuck that flawed me.
I nearly lost my balance when I read that in
The New Yorker. It was the review of Margaret Atwood's
new book I'm gonna have to sit with that for

(45:30):
a little bit to think about it. So I haven't
really processed all of that, but it did feel very
good to uncover that, to stop thinking about that. And
of course at that moment, it was the perfect moment
to read it because I was flying from gilly Head
into Canada and I was wondering about immigration and how

(45:51):
this is not new. What's happening at the border, the
southern border of America is not new. It's happened for centuries,
and it opened in Asia, happen in Europe, happen Africa
to African tribes. It's human nature. So instead of trying
to fight human nature, we have to find a way. Two.

(46:12):
I don't know what are we supposed to do. We're
supposed to bring awareness to it. So should we go
travel to the board and see bring awareness to it,
make that a travel destination. I don't know. I can't tell,
but to me, it's like I would ratherther go and
see and understand what's happening then have the media tell
me like AOC went down there and she spent time

(46:33):
there and they vilified her, and I think she's a congresswoman.
She should go down there. I can't understand well. And
you raise a good point, because it's quite okay for
people to travel to other countries and visit refugee camps
or to visit slums in India, So why aren't we
visiting places in our own country that are dark. I
think that it says a lot that we're willing to

(46:53):
go somewhere else on the planet and watch as an outsider,
because it speaks to our complicity and our unwillingness us
to examine ourselves and what's happening at home. Fuck. I
think we've uncovered something that's kind of hard to even
fully chew on. Because if you and I go to

(47:13):
the border and we just work on some empathy at
the border, maybe that makes a difference. Maybe then appeals
on a greater level, because I'm not going there in
a political way. I mean, in some ways everything is political.
But I think that you and I, as travelers, should
instead of insta scamming and being like, hey, look at
us in a heart shaped swan bed floating above like

(47:38):
doing a yoga pose on top of the roof of
a over the water bungalow in the Maldives, maybe we
should go to the border and be like, hey, like,
let's sit up like a burning man at the border.
And I'm sure someone's going to tell me this is offensive,
but I want to know why it's offensive, and then
I want to tweak this and figure it out and
make it a way that's not offensive and does actually help.

(48:01):
Does that seem okay? It seems okay to me, And
I think that the way to activate it into something
that can actually promote changes to use it to amplify
a message, amplify a message about what is actually happening there,
because we do rely on media outlets, and let's be frank,
they're not that reliable. And so I think that when

(48:22):
people receive a message from someone like you and I
who aren't directly associated with like Fox or CBC News,
it's a lot more reliable. People are more willing to
accept that message than they are from a large newshouse.
I would say. So is the tricky part of this
that we need a celebrity to come with us because
they have voice, and they have audience and they have numbers.

(48:45):
It's not really disgusting. And here's the thing. I'll tell
you about an experience I had in India. I wanted
to see. You've seen the movie Slumtop Millionaire. I think
everyone has. It was shot in a particular slum in Mumbai,
and my partner and I really wanted to see it,

(49:05):
and we talked it over and we understood that there
was a problematic element to this, that it was in
a way poverty tourism. That we wanted to just see
how bad the slum was. And I went into it
assuming that it would be really bad. When we got
to the slum, it wasn't at all what we expected.

(49:26):
It was really like a community and it completely shattered
everything we had assumed that the sum would be beautiful,
But we didn't take pictures, We didn't share that we
have been there. We accepted the experiences something that was
for us to learn through. We didn't use it to
promote ourselves as like, oh look at us, like we've

(49:47):
gone to check out the slum that everyone says it
is dangerous, that you shouldn't go too. We use the
experience just to prove to ourselves that as hard as
we try not to go into travel experiences with assumptions
or stereotypes in mind, it's impossible not to because we're
constantly influenced like just by influencers on Instagram, but also

(50:07):
about like every form of media that we're exposed to
is influencing the way that we feel about something. And
so the only real way to know was to go
to the slum and see it for ourselves. And so
what I'm saying is that that experience was fulfilling in
that it changed how I felt and what I knew
about India and about that slum and about what it

(50:30):
means to grow up in the slum or to live
in the slum. And that was very valuable to me.
I um I could spend the rest of the day
just talking to you and and kind of uncovering the stuff,
which I I love because I feel like I don't
have the answers. You and I are figuring the stuff out,

(50:50):
like a thing about the border. I think we should
brainstorm this, figure this out, and let our listeners help
us figure this out, because half my listeners will be
pissed that I even say something like this, and the
other half will be like, we have ideas, this is great,
So okay, let me pursue off and let me throw you.
But somewhere in that we'll figure this out and travel

(51:12):
is that it's not perfect and you can't get it
right every time, because the point is that in that
mess you aiding yourself to be a better human and
you're finding not only your own humanity, but humanity and others.
That's the point. That's why I got on the plane
this morning to come here. Absolutely, from Gilliad to Canada.

(51:36):
The world will continue. Do you know they shoot it
here in Toronto, right under his eye. Thank you so
much for spending your Saturday afternoon with me. This is wonderful.
It was such a pleasure. If anybody would like to
get your podcast, please tell them where to go. The
podcast is called I'll Pack My Bag. You can find

(51:58):
it wherever you listen to your podcast, so that's Spotify, Google,
literally anywhere. And we also have a website which is
www dot I'll Pack in my Banks dot c A.
Thanks for hanging out. Connect with us on Twitter at
everywhere pond, Instagram, at Everywhere podcast, or on the website

(52:22):
at everywhere podcast dot com. I'm Daniel Scheffler. I'll be
seeing you everywhere

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