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Inspirations, Musings, Tidbits About Us

Come Say Hello! Drink Wine, Support Women’s Education

July 14, 2017

Hello, Oregon friends! (And Southwest Washington friends…and really, any friend game to hop a plane and spend a half hour+ driving south from Portland to come and join the fun.)

Next Tuesday night, I’ll be speaking (!! — come listen and help me not be so nervous) along with D.L. Mayfield. We’re helping build a scholarship fund for local high school girls pursuing higher education. Come participate in a worthy fundraiser, sip Pacific Northwest wines, and hang out with other big-hearted people. Let’s make the world better together. ♡

Words & Wine Facebook Invite

I’ve been combing through stories and reflections in preparation for sharing a bit about my travels and the impacts they’ve had on me…and I found myself down a rabbit hole of old photos. Continue Reading…

Favorite Finds, Inspirations, Other Travelers, Social Work

Kurt Dehut: Travelbrag with a Heart

December 9, 2013

It’s refreshing to come across a little tongue in cheek travel humor. Especially when it’s from someone with wicked wit and a good heart.

You know that friend who pops up on social media with something interesting to say, posting photos that tell mini-stories and quips that make you laugh (oh, let’s be honest) chuckle out loud?

Kurt Dehut is that friend.

We met as young kids, and for a short time, our two families (five boys and a girl, each, funnily enough) actually lived on the same rural road in Oregon. Now, Kurt’s based beyond the state line in southern California (and soon moving to Tennessee!), but judging by his Facebook feed, he loves packing his bags and spending time across other borders, too.

Kurt is an advocate for orphans around the world.

“This is the album cover for a new boy band: The Mighty Orphan Power Rangers.” (Mariupol / Ukranie) -Kurt, Facebook…via Instagram…

Kurt was one of the first kids I remember meeting who had an adoption story to share: his own.

Twenty some odd years later, he still shares with his friends about his love for his adopted family. Case in point: the Mothers Day “card” he posted on Facebook this past spring. Oh my word. Continue Reading…

Favorite Finds, Inspirations, Musings, Short and Sweet and Scattershot

Notebooks and Scotch Tape, Now on the Blog

November 22, 2013

I bought so many notebooks as a university student studying landscape architecture (see lesson #86 on this comical list). Each bound set of blank pages served as a general catch-all for sketching quick ideas, taking inventory of possibilities, and capturing inspiring bits of life that otherwise tended to flutter away.

In the same spirit of gathering tidbits, I feel like sharing a few of the inspirations I’ve run across while browsing the web. A little hat-tip to the people and projects I’m enjoying these days.

And so, without further ado (*ahem. seems I can do Scattershot, but the I’m not so good at this Short & Sweet thing*), this new edition of Favorite Finds:

Seven Steps to Becoming a Spontaneous Traveler of the WorldMaptia (“…a beautiful way to tell stories about places…on a mission to build the most inspirational map in the world.”) What can I say? The watercolor/notebook/map themes had me at hello. And #1 “Spin the Globe” takes me far, far back to childhood memories of watching Rex Harrison as Dr. Dolittle. Continue Reading…

Inspirations, Ted's Short Reads

Ted’s Reading List From the Road

October 28, 2012

El Ateneo theater-converted-to-a-bookstore in Buenos Aries

My interest in reading has ebbed and flowed in the past two decades. During my sophomore year of high school, I read over 100 books, and began to amass a personal library of over 1000 titles, most of which are now sold off. After high school, I began to feel the weight of knowledge in an unhealthy way, so I distanced myself from reading for several years. Later, while studying theology and education, I had to time to read little else than what was required.

After university, I joined the Albina Literary Society, a dedicated group of scholars who meet monthly in NE Portland to discuss literature of all sorts, and who graciously invited Bethany and me to join their rich discussions. It’s delighting to share a text with people I trust; reading in community always enhances my literary experience.

Reading while travelling has been rewarding as well. I’ve had quite a bit of time to read, more than I originally thought. In Argentina for instance, there was nothing better than waking up at 11:00 am (early for an Argentine) strolling down to the local cafe, ordering a coffee, a beer, and an ice bucket, and reading until 2:00 in the afternoon. I was in good company among the other cafe readers. Other times, books helped pass the time on long bus rides, plane trips, and ferries.

Sometimes, I intentionally picked titles that were strongly connected to the place we were visiting. I reread Borges in Buenos Aries. I read “From Beirut to Jerusalem” in Lebanon. And I picked up a biography of Pol Pot in Cambodia.

Other times, I was at the mercy of whatever was available at the local book exchange. Sometimes, I was lucky, like with “The Catcher and the Rye.” Other times, not so much, as with “Prodigal Summer.”

Here, I’m going to share as briefly as possible about some of the books that I read, and what I thought of them in the context of my travels. Enjoy!

This post is dedicated to the Albina Literary Society, and to Professor Domani Pothen, who in one way or another impacted us all.

The Hunger Games Trilogy
by: Suzanne Collins

country: Peru

I promised several people I would read these books before watching the first movie. Sure enough, I started our trip by getting in touch with my inner teenager. Pure entertainment. I learned very little. But I DID learn more about what teenagers go through in school. As one commentator wrote, the books seem to be a metaphor for the brutal, competitive, real-life games young people feel forced to play every day in order to survive adolescence. I tend to agree. Either way, the books are brilliant. I may even have finished all three within 48 hours, start to finish. Recommended Continue Reading…

Inspirations, Musings, Travel Plans

Free Travel Education + Inspiration

December 13, 2011

It’s really no secret that I’m a library junkie.

Benefit: this addiction comes in handy when saving money for travel.

The internet teems with free blog posts and paid-for subscriptions that, at the end of the day, leave me wishing for more depth and/or less fees.

So I instead turn to my local library and its ridiculously vast collection of paper-in-the-hands resources with tables-of-contents, indexes and glossaries, coffee table books with rich photos, DVDs featuring footage and histories of far off lands, and, yes, user-friendly how-to guides to accompany me on my let’s-make-friends mission with the camera.

And let us not forget the other beautiful thing about the library: free wi-fi sans coffee purchase. I’ve found this perfect perch, next to the spinning globe at my little Belmont Branch of the Multnomah County Library. While Ted has been finishing up his last few weeks of work and we’ve been commuting back into Portland from my family’s home in the country, I’ve been carpooling with him and finding digital work spaces to use during the day.

Must remember this library hack when we’re abroad. (Also, it turns out the National Library in Buenos Aires provides guided tours in Spanish and English. Who knew? Maybe I can score a card and stash it alongside the one I received at the Library of Congress in D.C.?)

If I seem a little over the top about libraries, it’s because I am. Continue Reading…

Destinations, Inspirations, South America

It’s a Small World Afterall: Walt and El Grupo in South America

August 17, 2011

A true kid of the Americas, I grew up with Disney influences woven through my imagination.

In fact, now that I think about it, “It’s A Small World” was indeed my very first RTW trip.
(Thank you, mom and dad, for taking a three year old on such a grand adventure!)

Quick to write off most newer Disney features in adulthood, I found a surprise treat for my grown up tastes in the form of a random Netflix moment. We were searching for South America documentaries and inspirations and stumbled across Walt and El Grupo.

The fascinating 2008 documentary follows the politically motivated 1941 Goodwill Tour made by Walt and a number of company associates and artists. The film features interesting observations about the relationship of art and politics as well as beautiful glimpses into the cityscapes and social scenes of 1940s Argentina, Brazil, and Chile and their surrounds.

My great grandmother, an artist in her own right, trained with the Disney Studios back in her day… There is a charm and flavor to the old sketches and cartoons, a human touch that seems missing from mainstream modern entertainment.

The beauty of the documentary is the blending of old video, photos and sketches (including footage from Walt’s own 16mm camera) along with modern day glimpses of the region.

Ethnic caricatures and political messages provide food for thought, as do the tales of group travel and outings and business meetings and of long, handwritten letters home before the time of digital updates and instant communication.

I’m spending time this week sorting out our Brazilian visas and Servas applications, glad for the fanciful glimpse of the South American past.

Our own mini-goodwill tour is unaffiliated with film studios or departments of homeland security and (thankfully!) quite without political motivation, but I’m anticipating an equally beautiful season of touring the regions, connecting with people and place, growing from the encounters, and eventually returning home with inspirations from art and culture woven through my imagination for the rest of life…


Inspirations Keep Us in the Game

August 13, 2011

Years of dreaming, scheming, and preparing for our journey are coming to a close.

Departure date now set, destination names live on the tip of our tongues.

From time to time, creative accounts of life on the road reach out and encourage us along this rugged part of the path, this portion of time spent earning, saving, choosing cheaper, working harder, cutting deeper, and risking higher stakes.

These inspirations, they are the lifeblood of wanderlust.

The taste of foods and sound of crowds and sight of foreign lands crackle to life within our imaginations…

Watch, and dream with us of the adventures to come:

EAT from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

LEARN from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Notes on Move, Eat, Learn

3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage… all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ….into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films…..

= a trip of a lifetime.

move, eat, learn

Rick Mereki : Director, producer, additional camera and editing
Tim White : DOP, producer, primary editing, sound
Andrew Lees : Actor, mover, groover