"Who Am I? This Is What I Stand For" Anthro's Profile

Greetings Fellow VTers! My name is Leah, a native Californian studying tourism & anthropology. What an interesting combination considering one field promotes travel to far off places while the latter studies the people and places being visited.
I used to be gun-ho anthropology when I first got my B.A., especially when it came to conserving & preserving local cultures, however, I have grown to appreciate multiple perspectives on the subject now that I am in a graduate program, even participating in some debates within the VT forums. There is no doubt that travel changes a person, all I hope is that it changes people for the good.

There are some common themes within the forums that I usually address. I have a very particular perspective which I hope you can respect as I will have an open mind to your opinions as well.

1. I am anti-inclusive resort when community establishments are not fairly given business.
2. I am pro-environment & community based development (not top-down organization).
3. Exploitation of humans without fair competition or pay is bad.
4. No golf courses or cruises
5. Buildings should reflect local environment, not whitewashed boxes.
6. Visitors should respect local customs and cultures.
7. Not everyplace is like America
8. Not everyone is in such a rush
9. Inter-personal relations is the only way to learn about other people
10. Don't assume anything
11. You can leave your cell phone at home
12. I am anti-SUV or anything more than a compact car
13. I worm compost
14. People spend too much & have less free time because of it
15. Travel opens your horizons

So why you might ask can I claim such perspectives? Well, as I travel on my educational path, having a degree in Cultural Anthropology and pursuing a Masters degree in International Tourism is a start. I have also conducted field research in Malta and am currently researching topics of interest for my thesis. One topic for fun is the importance of native collaboration in museum exhibits, using the Smithsonian's new Museum of the American Indian as my prime example.

So anyways, as you travel along, I wish you happy & safe travels. May you learn a lot from this great world of ours.

Setting Sail for Fun and Adventure

I began my desire to see the world at a tender age of 16-that was when I took a tour of Europe with a group of high school friends and my English teacher. My parents, reluctant to let me go overseas at such a young age, told me that I had two options: I can go to Europe on this trip or I can get a car. I chose Europe. I could get a car any day when I got back if I worked and saved for it.

The trip took us to England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Monaco. It was a fabulous time. It opened up so many possibilties for me to learn and experience other cultures all in a 10 day period. This trip also influenced me to travel more and study abroad in London, once I graduated high school.

Needless to say, my parents were sad once again when I left to college overseas. It just so happened that my older sister moved to Hawaii just two weeks prior to my departure, so it was a drastic change from a full house to an empty nest all within 1 month.

I returned however after a year, and I had a wonderful time travelling around England and Europe while I was there. My sister even came to visit me from Hawaii for my spring break and we went to Amsterdam for a weekend of debauchery.

My travel experiences in Europe have led me to travel and explore my own vast country. There is something captivating and mystical about exploring new places-even in your own hometown. Whatever events have led to your own explorations of the world, don't ever let others deter you from staying home!

Travels in a Geo Metro

In 2001, my boyfriend and I set off for a 5 week road trip across the U.S. in a Geo Metro. We are out to see all 50 states before we're too old to travel. So far, we only need 17 more to go. We left California and drove along to Las Vegas, Moab, Crested Butte, then quickly through the mid-West to D.C., Boston, and New Hampshire. Of course we saw the states and cities in between, but it was a great adventure to leave our cares behind and just have the open road ahead of us. We drove along the northern states on our way home and thankfully the Geo held up without any car troubles at all! Granted the car could only do 35 mph through the Rockies, but heck, we made it, even if semi-trucks passed us up!

My favorite spots along the trip were Nantucket, Moab, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., Burlington, and New England. If you're ever given the opportunity to do a road trip, do it! People I talked to told me that they "had always wanted to take a road trip when they were younger." I am fortunate that I had taken that opportunity because I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my life regretting missed chances for fun and adventure.

Memories of Malta

Malta is not for the average sun-seeking tourist. Although there is lovely weather all year-round, crystal clear water of the Mediterranean Sea, friendly people, and delicious food, the Maltese archipelago offers a unique opportunity for tourists to experience and learn about 7,000 years of human history. On a recent trip, I spent two weeks covering the largest island, Malta, which is roughly only 152 sq. miles. Even in that time, I still did not get to see all of the amazing heritage sites that are located throughout the islands.

Any traveler who makes it to Malta is very fond of their experience. I am so lucky to have traveled there, and the memories of Malta will be cherished for years to come.

As Margaret Mead once said...

"As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own."

Foreign countries that I have traveled to expand my own horizons:
England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Scotland, Holland, Belgium, Canada, Mexico, and Malta.

U.S. States I've been to in no particular order:

California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Arkansas, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, West Virginia, Washington, Oregon, and D.C.

My Motto:

Value your life not by monetary value but by life experiences, for if you have no money, at least you'd be rich in memories.

After a recent dinner at a Chinese restaurant, my fortune cookie contained this message: "You will travel far and wide, both pleasure and business."

Great Books to Read:

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Waiting for the Weekend by Witold Rybczynski
Paving the Way to Paradise by Deborah McLaren
Travels with Charlie by John Steinbeck
The Overworked American by Juliet Schor
Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Inspired by Jane Goodall

Recently, Dr. Jane Goodall visited San Jose to speak about her work with primate populations in Tanzania. She was inspiring considering she is someone who is making a difference in this world. I want to be just like her.

Here were some highlights of her presentation:

1. Environmental issues are a priority everywhere-even in your own front yard.
2. What organizations, politicians, & products you support can make a difference.
3. Everyone can make a difference. Imagine what we can do when we combine efforts!
4. We are living unsustainably. Our resources will not last long.
5. The problems of the world are not just in developing countries.

  • Intro Updated Oct 4, 2004
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Comments (62)

  • Robertvp's Profile Photo
    Apr 25, 2008 at 6:13 PM

    PS. That shoe left/abandoned outside of the Scientology establishment was probably a lure ! Much like the 100 dollar bill there was probably a line attached ....

  • wandeljp's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2007 at 9:49 AM

    Try Belgium one day ! Chocolates, beers, beautiful flowers, good food,... Do, Jean-Pierre

  • aishen1208's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2006 at 8:12 AM

    hi leah...happy birthday..wishing you good health and happiness!

  • AprilJanell's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2006 at 12:09 AM

    Leah! I received a notice about your upcoming birthday...along with a resurgence of memories about our previous talks...gosh, it's been a while. Hope you're well. Would love to hear from you some time.

  • jelw's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2006 at 10:11 PM

    Leah, we are thinking of you. Hope you are well.

  • Anchovy56's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2005 at 7:29 AM

    Happy Birthday dear...I hope you enjoy this special day

  • chiara76's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2005 at 1:11 AM

    Happy Birthday and greetings from Poland. Wishing you wonderful day there full of happiness!

  • sayedaburas's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2005 at 12:42 AM

    Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you , Happy birthday to Leah, Happy birthday to you. :) :)) :)) I wish you not only a happy new year, but also happier many maaany returns. What a lovley stuff you have. Congratulations.

  • BerniShand's Profile Photo
    Sep 4, 2005 at 1:19 AM

    early happy Birthday, and 1st wedding anniversary wishes as we will be away next week, I hope life is being kind to you XX

  • keida84's Profile Photo
    Feb 14, 2005 at 9:34 PM

    Hello Brad turned me on to your page. My husband is a professor of anthropology. just thought I'd say hello Kat

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