Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Looking Back

I'm not sure if people are still checking in to this blog, but I thought I would add short and sweet post.

First, I miss traveling.

Since we came back from our trip I worked in Colorado at a woodshop, then off to the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver where I design and taught education programs. Finally I came to my senses, applied to grad school and moved to NYC. I am currently attending Goddard College and just completed my 1st year toward a degree is Socially Responsible business and Sustainable Communities. As part of my graduate work, I have designed a gardening education program for 7th graders, which started 3 weeks ago! I also freelance at Situ Studio sanding and painting sculptures.

SO life is good and busy. NYC is not my permanent home, but it is home for now. Matthew and I keep in touch, but not as much as we should. Time is flying by . . . as of 4 minutes ago I just turned 27.

I find myself coming back to this blog every month, mainly when I want to cook something from our trip. Perhaps I will start to visit more often. It will at least help my graduate work.


Friday, September 04, 2009

<D:E:C> in The Boston Globe

I just found out that The Boston Globe published a link to our WWOOFing post on Sunday, 23 August 2009! They did an article on WWOOFing and included a post regarding our experiences with it. Unfortunately my link didn’t make it into the online globe (odd), just the print version, but still awesome!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Heifer International

Went over to Heifer International's Outlook farm in Western Massachusetts today. It was interesting, very focused on using livestock to eradicate hunger and poverty. While I am partial to vegetables, there were some other benefits to farm animals like work power, wool, and space conservation. The best part of their program is re-giving; after H.I. donates an animal to a family in need, that family must give the animals first offspring to another family in need. They also have all these mock houses from different parts of the world their program benefits, such as Thailand, Peru, Guatemala, Tibet, Kenya, Poland, and Appalachia. Sustainable development, but in a different way than I'm used to - living creatures rather than materials.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Anderson Ranch and a great field trip

I'm currently assisting a Willow twig Furniture class. Clifton Monteith, (http://homepage.mac.com/cliftonmonteith/PhotoAlbum4.html) the same Instructor that inspired us to plan out trip, teaches the class. We are building chairs out of Willow and Aspen. I have really enjoyed myself this past week, mainly because the class consists of working artist and wood workers. The age group of the class is 21-45. It is definitely rare that there are so many young people in the class. It makes for sun evenings and weekends. The class is a 2-week class- so this past weekend has been a blast hanging out with people. On Friday we all headed out for a field trip. We visited the Rocky Mountain Institute.

This is the chair that Clifton is working on during the class.

This is Clifton and his wife Nancy- they are on my "Favorite People's List"!

Rocky Mountain Institute (http://www.rmi.org/)
Mission Statement:

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is an independent, entrepreneurial, nonprofit organization. We foster the efficient and restorative use of resources to make the world secure, just, prosperous, and life sustaining.

Our staff shows businesses, communities, individuals, and governments how to create more wealth and employment, protect and enhance natural and human capital, increase profit and competitive advantage, and enjoy many other benefits — largely by doing what they do far more efficiently.

Our work is independent, nonadversarial, and transideological, with a strong emphasis on market-based solutions. For detailed descriptions of our Research & Consulting within the Natural Capitalism Framework as well as our activities and areas of impact, please follow the links at left.

We visited the Snowmass location and took a guided tour. The building itself was under a lot of construction, which made it a little difficult to get an idea of how the building looks normally. The building is almost completely solar powered. The water is heated by the sun. The interior is designed to keep in heat and also has a green house that is able to grow even banana trees in the winter. It was great to see a building that is a successful example of efficient and sustainable designs. I recommend taking a look through the website to get more of an in depth idea. I found it very interesting to see how they have updated the building. The Snowmass building was built in 1984 and I am sure you can imagine all of the improvements that have been made in the past 23 years in the technology. The solar panels have become so much smaller and also way more efficient. The one thing that I found frustrating but also difficult to avoid- the fact that living in such a sustainable way is nearly impossible unless you have the funds to do so. Within the first year the building paid for it self with all the savings, however, the money still must be paid up front to take on a project like that. The question that I will continue to ask is: How can we make these living improvements possible for those that don't have the access to the funds?

These are my thought for now.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


While not originally in our travel plans, I will be heading down to Mexico tomorrow for a little R&R on a cruise ship. Quite different from how Alison and I traveled, but I will still be looking for sustainable developments and spicy recipes.

I also published our first blook today! Woo Hoo! It's not the full blog book, that's still being edited, but a photography book I put together. With a hard cover and 72 full bleed 11" x 14" pages it should be pretty nice.

And as a final note, I've completely re-done my own website www.matthewmosher.us to be more international friendly, so check it out! I'm still working on my blog format though.

By matthew mosher

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Being back

I am here at Anderson Ranch Arts Center and feel like I have been thrown into it all. I have not really had time to process my trip and the new me that has developed from my experiences. Maybe in some ways the processing will occur over time no matter if I am trying to process or not. I am trying to step back into the American culture without getting caught up in it. I am trying to take small steps. Trying to keep a balance. I need personal space- me time. But it is so hard not to get caught up. For example- I have gotten used to not having a cell phone but now that I have one again I feel this desire to communicate with people. But Things don't always need to be talked about. Life was so simple when I was traveling. I had to think about where I ate food and where I slept. Now I don't have to think about those things, but instead I think about the bills I need to pay. Or I think about the little things that don't really matter. I have to remind myself of what I think is really important.

So Life does continue but I think I am looking though a different set of eyes. Eyes that have changed become more aware.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Fabulous Lecture for Traveling Design Students

A transcript with notes of our RISD lecture on May 02, 2007 at 6:00PM in the Mason Building. Download our Power Point presentation.

Prep - Goal
-To research international sustainable design, different ways of living, and different ways of making.
-Motivation before and during
A goal keeps you going through the whole trip. It takes a lot of planing to do this, and your goal will keep you focused on getting throught the nitty gritty. Also while you're away you may feel lost or aimless at somepoint, this is a great time to review your goal and clear out any doubts or depresssion you may be facing.

Prep - Contacts
-Talk to people who have been there
-Make connections with people who are there
-Talk to professors
-Contact people in advance
When you first arrive in a new country it's great to know where you're going to be staying, especially if you know people in the area, so if you have any contacts try to plan around them if you can.

Prep - Support
-Plan in advance
-Get a grant writer
-Study part time, work part time
-Go either way
Ask organizations for support
If you decide to write a grant proposal your self, utilize the writing center during the entire process, not just for the final draft. There are people there that are more expereinced with grant proposals and will help you develope the porposal appropratly.

Prep - Tickets
-Shop around
-Round the World
-We do not recommend STA
-Leave wiggle room
-Get travel insurance
-Get an international student discount card
While we never needed out insurance, some countries like India won't officially let you in without it. Our student discount card paid for itself in transportation costs alone, the admissions discounts were like a bonus. But remember if you;re going to a country like India you're not going to get a discount on anything. Try to get tickets that our refundable, when you're planing flights so far in advance it is probable that you'll change your mind or the world will intervene somehow before your travels are over.

Prep - Health
-Bring prescriptions and over the counter medicine with you
-Antibiotics, Nausea, Diarrhea, Fever, Malaria
-Get all vaccinations before
Medicines that we recommend: Antibiotics(more than 3 days supply), Imodium, Nausea, Fever, and Electrolyte mixture (the home brew is a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice, a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of sugar to a liter of water. The mixture should taste slightly salty, sweet and sour. Only sip the mixture.)
Make sure the doctor explains when to take what.
For Example: How long do I take the Anibiotics for? What should I do if I get sick again? In what situation do I take each medicine? When do I call the doctor or go to the hospital?

Prep - Moral Support
-Bring a friend
-Ignore those who doubt you
-Get a guide book
-Watch some local films
-Make it a big deal
While it is quite possible to travel alone having a friend makes all the logistics easier. It also saves a lot of money to travel with someone; double rooms are only marginally more than singles. Having a friend can make you less likely to talk to locals though and rely on strangers less, so know your style. And seriously ignore people who say you can't do this, what they are really saying is they cant do it.

During - Keeping in touch
-Keep a blog
-Keep a journal
-Post Restaunte
-No cell phone
Keeping a blog is a great way for people to keep up with what your doing, and if you're emailing you'll need to find computers anyway. Be warned, however, writing a good entry can take an hour, and putting photos can be challenging in some places. Many big cities have Post Restaunte facilities at their GPO, so if you need anything mailed to you, check it out.

During - Make friends
-Work exchange
-Culture exchange
-Take breaks
If you're traveling at all you've got to get to know the locals, so it really helps to spend some time in each place you visit, at least a week. Volunteering or doing a work exchange / homestay is a great way to get to know people and give you some insights to the local culture, but don't string all these experiences back to back. Give yourself a weekend here or there to relax.

During - Transportation
-Book in advance
-Ask locals
-Don’t stress out
-Consider getting a vehicle
Tickets, be it plane, bus, or subway, were by far our greatest expense. Buying early certainly saves money and peace of mind, but is not always possible. If you're going to be in one place for a long time consider getting a car, motorbike or bicycle, in the long run these can save you heaps on public transit. Having a vehicle is also nice if you're doing work exchange so you can get away during your off time.

-Have something lined up
-Summer job
-A place to think
It's quite overwhelming to come back from a trip like this, so having something lined up when you return is very calming, and searching for work / whatever right away is the last thing you want to do.

Reasons for Traveling
-You’re not tied down
-Experience other cultures
-Experience other ways of life
-See variations on what you do
-Don’t get stuck
Getting stuck is tricky. You don't want to get stuck permanently in one of the countries you visit, we almost got stuck in Japan. But you also don't want to get stuck your home country either. Keep traveling!

Traveling Resources




http://www.kyoto-seika.ac.jp/eng/index.html (RISD has an exchange program with this Art school)
http://www.takumijuku.com/english/index.htm (Traditional Japanese woodworking school)
http://w3.kcua.ac.jp/ (Art/design school)

Cultural Exchange/volunteering

http://www.kcif.or.jp/en/benri/01_01.html (Kyoto, Japan)

Language exchange/volunteering

Japanese Language study
AJALT Japanese for busy People
Pimsleur Language Tapes
Rosetta Stone Language Software

http://sambhali-trust.org/ (Jodhpur, India)

http://www.shunya.net/Text/Blog/LeCorbusierChandigarh.htm (Chandigarh, India)

Meditation Retreat


Sites related to Bhuddism

To print, click the "Traveling Resources" title, which will open this post by itself, and then select print from your file menu.