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Welcome to the show!

Travel Tape is a narrative-driven audio podcast that covers travel in the wide sense, with a preference for the type of stories, and people, you would search for after visiting somewhere a dozen times, and still yearned to know more.

There are two types of programs.

1. interview mini-series with adventurers on the road

Multiple interviews (from 15-25 minutes in length) that cover not only the stories and anecdotes of longterm travel (as it is happening), but also the changes in the heart and the mind as lands and customs become more familiar, and as personal goals are reached, thwarted, or altered completely. I have interviewed an indie film crew hiking and filming unaided in Patagonia; a teacher driving a motorcycle across the Himalayas; a journalist researching the New Silk Road; and more.

2. Documentaries

Documentaries tend to be a bit longer (30-50 minutes in length) and really go for broke with deeply researched content and immersive soundscapes. Some stories I have covered are a long walk through Maasai country; a visit to the Golden Triangle in Burma; the tale of an exchange student from the US who moved to Taiwan, became a citizen and served in the military; and several episodes that explore the borderlands of China.

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episode 1. Walking with the Maasai, Part One

In the summer of 2015, travel guidebook writer and photographer Stuart Butler took a five-week walk across Massai (Maasai) country in southern Kenya. His goal: explore new models of conservation, evolving attitudes towards wildlife, and gather the best stories about the changing life of the Massai.

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Episode 2. The Borderlands: The Korean Corner of China

War, migration, annexation, and pure happenstance have turned many border regions into hybrid zones where people who identify with one country can find themselves citizens of another.

In the opener of this multi-part series, journalist David Eimer and I talk about a Korean enclave, on the border with North Korea, but within China. 

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Episode 3: The Borderlands: A Princess Story

In the 7th century, the Tang court in China sent Princess Wencheng off on a long journey to marry the king of Tibet. The princess was influential in converting Tibet to Buddhism, but her full impact and legacy has been contested by central authorities in China and Lhasa for over a thousand years (is this the world's longest propaganda battle?).

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Episode 4: Fables & Follies, Campfire Tales From Kenya

Everywhere in the world, people enjoy sharing stories about their encounters with wild animals. In this episode of Travel Tape, Kenyans Josphat Mako and Kyle Ray, Tanzanian Lenganasa Tombo, and UK-born guidebook writer Stuart Butler swap fables, legends, and true tales that include being lunged at by an 18-foot (6m) python, chased by a rampaging elephant, and losing out on an interview with a king because he had turned into a bird. For fans of history there's also some speculation on whether the great fabulist Aesop was himself an African.

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Episode 5: When We Love Another Land

If you fell in love with a new country and thought you might want to become a citizen, just how much would you sacrifice to make that a reality? In 1989, TC Lin (born TC Locke), a freshman in the US, went to Taiwan on an exchange program and felt such an affinity with the people and culture that he decided this is where he belonged. After finishing his studies, he moved to Taiwan, became a citizen, and then waited for the day he would be called up to do two years of military service like every other male in the country.

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