WDSTL Highlights: professional merit from backpacking Europe

Sean Blanda (left) and I at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France on Oct. 12, 2008.
Sean Blanda (left) and me at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France on Oct. 12, 2008.

I’ve been backpacking Europe.

I returned last week and have been getting out from underneath the transition since then.

Though this is a blog on being a young journalist housed on my professional site, I can’t help but share some of the blogging and podcasting I did on WeDontSpeaktheLanguage.com.

My travel buddy Sean Blanda and I didn’t ignore the traditional tools of reporting while traveling.

Indeed, one of the most regular posts we had on our site were foreign perspectives. We interviewed folks we came across on the road – backpackers, vactioners, locals – asking them about their thoughts on Americans, the United States and the world from their view. We got some really interesting material.

In Budapest, we met a young man from Portgual. He was working in the Hungarian capital and, though he was nothing but kind to me, he had his doubts about American values.

Thomas, a Belgian libertarian, told us he is “more American than most Americans.”

I took concepts I knew and made broader conclusions to create fresh, interesting content, like a post on Europe’s obsession with graffiti, a Philadelphia development.

But, the new media practice was constant, too. While both Sean and I regularly blog, it was the first time it was my “job.” So you’re damn right I took seriously writing search-friendly heds, like: “What documents Americans need to travel in Europe.”

We developed social networking accounts – on Facebook, MySpace, Youtube and elsewhere. I took photos and video, edited them both and used my digital imaging interests, from beautiful photographs to simple blog-post header images.

All this was done on the road. We were never anywhere more than a few days and we didn’t have access to all the tools we wanted. We had simple equipment, little time, and limited Internet. A challenge indeed.

Set aside the video, photo and image editing I did, our podcast involved actually being in front of a camera. No small feat and certainly not one I claim to have done particularly well. But, in this age of trying stuff out, I tried stuff out.

See all our podcast episodes here, and all the video we posted on our blog here.

Check out our last episode abroad below – split in two parts.

Part One

Part Two

There is certainly ample room to grow, but I was excited about all we did that I can clearly see have professional implications, with a newspaper or a nonprofit or the communications department of a company.

So, I’ve set up a travel blog and podcast. Couple that with my other interests and experiences and someone really ought to hire me for a job I actually want – preferably in Philadelphia, the best city in the world.