The following are the first two entries Owen and I wrote when we first met up to travel and create this magazine! I am sure I speak for both of us when I say it was one of the best ideas we have ever had, and here we are, so many years later, launching properly! Our passion for this project has grown exponentially, but here’s where it began! Enjoy! ~Natasha
By Natasha Ragsdale
There was something primal about the way I passed through the security at the airport. Something that has become a part of me, an innate sense of self that quietly simmers beneath the surface, causing me more anxiety and grandiose dreams than any sane person should endeavor to contain in their innards. I didn’t want to leave my husband behind in Japan. It felt lonely and sad as I hiked up my backpack and slipped slowly through the metal detectors, tearily waving him goodbye. But then he was gone and I was on my own and something inside me clicked back into place.
It was Fernweh, an ache for distant places and yearn for travel. I can’t recall a time in my life when I wasn’t afflicted with it. Even as a young kid I remember getting into serious trouble because I just couldn’t stop exploring places I hadn’t been. Once, while camping with my father and his friends in Grand Teton, I decided their son Aaron ( a few years my junior) and I were going to play pirates on Jenny Lake. We then, naturally, commandeered a row boat and headed out to a little island I spied across the waters. Suffice to say that as we were doing our best Tom and Huck on the Mississippi, our fathers had notified the park rangers who eventually located us, harshly reprimanded us, and I think Aaron even got spanked. I, myself, didn’t see anything wrong with our little adventure. We said we were gonna go play in the lake, I was a fantastic swimmer, and I KNEW where I was. I wasn’t lost. My father, in a valiant attempt to be patient, tried to explain it to me. I suppose it never stuck.
And today I was traveling to Africa for the first time in my life. I was flying solo, stopping in Dubai, a 26 hour journey to meet a kindred spirit, former colleague, and dear friend I had never met past the Skype sessions and daily texts we shared for the past 4 years. We had cut ties with a publication on which we were staff for the same reasons. Mainly we found that it had morphed into an angry, negative, and offensive place. There was too much of that in the world already. And as little as we two were in this vast planet, we could not spend our lives conceiving, gestating and giving birth to hate and rage. We decided to come together and create a home for cultural relativity, education, adventure, love, friendship, and understanding. And so after years of talking and sharing and plotting and laughing we had to get serious, so one night, after far too many glasses of wine, I booked a ticket to Kenya.
Of course the next morning I yawned, poured some coffee and it slowly dawned on me. What the hell? Oh my god! I am going to fucking AFRICA!
As I negotiated the various terminals; Naha to Tokyo, Tokyo to Dubai, Dubai to Kenya, there was the gnawing fear that I had once again stolen a boat, was rowing out to unknown waters. That perhaps I was being naive with more Fernweh than common sense. “But I am an expert traveler. I love this! This IS me!” I mentally mantra-ed the hell out of my brain whilst grabbing the most expensive glass of wine of my life and prepared to meet my friend.
In these days of “catfish” and “African prince scams” being blasted on all the media possible and along with the nay-saying conglomeration of friends and family, I was braced to be severely disappointed at best or kidnapped, raped and murdered at worst. And then this lanky, handsome, poshly dressed man comes at me grinning from ear to ear! We embrace as if we were long lost family, As we ride in the back of his uncle’s car along dusty, teeth-jarring, bladder screaming dirt roads to his village I watch from the window as zebras, monkeys, and all sorts of creatures whirl by. Owen and I jump straight into the kind of conversation you get from the sort of friend you make only a few times in a lifetime, if you are lucky, I know I am where I am meant to be.
The road slowly gets dusky and illuminated, the sun sets over the vasty, hills and valleys of the Rift Valley and I settle comfortably, sleepily into the kind of certainty that great things are in store and they are just around the arenaceous, rugged, village street corner…
Finally, After All This Time….
By Owen Habel
It really felt good to finally receive Tashie at the airport the other day. After four long years of our tight *online* friendship, we decided that this would be an appropriate time to meet ~ and travel ~ and talk about some of the events that await our execution in the next couple of months.
We’ve enjoyed ourselves and shared more about the idea of putting up an online shrine for all addicts of adventure.
An online camp where all travellers will pitch tents, put up fire, and parcel out their travel experience to the rest of the world.
If you went to a cool pub and bought some red wine, and…. let’s say a housefly decided to jump into the wine just before you took a sip of it *like it did to Tashie,* you can share the story with us. Tell us what you did. Tell us if you clicked your tongue ~ and wrinkled your face ~ and sandwiched the housefly in your fingers and squeezed it to death… cause that’s exactly what Tashie did to the poor housefly at the pub where we went to take some glasses of wine.
It was a nice pub. The serene music tickled our ears. The waiters were so cool. We got a chance to take a picture of one of them who has worked there for eight years. And when I asked him what he likes most about that pub, this is what he said: “The presence of foreigners jewel this spree. And that’s the kind joy I would want to always wake up to. If you guys refuse to buy these wines and alcohol…. We will lose our jobs Bro. Where else shall we go to. I get 100$ per month. And that’s what I use to feed my wife and children. So evidently, what I like most bout this place is when people like you bring more and more guests like Tashie. Coz… The local guys think that this is an expensive place for them.”
He also said that simple things like appreciating his work, gives him the thirst to see and serve you again.
So I take this opportunity to thank Sir Jason for making Tashie’s trip a success! We’ve made a blueprint of great plans about what we want for the magazine. We are glad to officially launch it.
More stories are still being cooked. More pictures are still being taken… We’ll also dispense to you the crazy videos we took after Jason edits them. It’s our hope that you’ll enjoy the great things we’ve installed for you.