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Taryn Walker – Continuing Her Deeper Explorations!
After leading a trip to Bali and Borneo, I realized that it was silly for me to be working at anything else besides my business: To Walk Your Talk Travel. I love creating trips and exploring the world with amazing travelers. So I gave my notice at work and have since been “fun-employed” – diving head first, full in – laughing a lot and enjoying the time dreaming and working, planning to offer four new trips in the coming year.
I am also designing and building a tiny house on wheels for myself. Yes, partially inspired by former AEI faculty, Nicky Duenkel and Judy Pratt. In truth, I had started my research well before I saw their story, but they have helped me “just do it”. My shed is full of recycled items and I have given myself a timeline that allows for gathering my needs and wants at the lowest prices so I won’t be forced to purchase new and expensive items in a last minute push. To be sustainable and mobile is my life’s dream. I know that doing this will be good for the world and make me a more realistic steward of resources. My years living on the bus and sleeping in a tent reminded me that we need so few things, but it is so easy to collect possessions that then junk up our lives and might even keep us from being HAPPY.
My second semester studying on the bus was in Baja, Mexico and the bordering US states. We were looking at border issues from as many perspectives as we could, spending time with the US Border Patrol as well as Mexican workers in border towns. This learning feels even more relevant now than in 2002. Learning about the intense struggles of people trying to cross to “a better future” really impacted me emotionally and, then as now, I am not sure that this image is true. During semester break I chose a practicum that kept me in San Diego working with the Bio-regional Environmental Education Project (PROBEA). This program of the San Diego Natural History Museum, is a bi-national collaboration among US and Mexican partners which creates curriculum for Mexican teachers about environmental impacts and our shared ecosystem.
After graduating, I worked in Chicago, mostly with first generation people from Mexico. I got to see what life on the other side of the border became, once families and individuals were in the US. I have learned that looking at immigration, border, and “better life” issues is so much more complicated than most of us know, and I feel grateful for the time on the bus that allowed me to research, investigate, and experience this topic in a deeper way. It informed how I related to the families with whom I later worked, and still impacts my perceptions when I am immersed in other cultures.
Taryn was a Graduate student on the bus from 2002-2003 (Fall 2002 in Colorado; Spring 2003 in Baja, CA; Fall 2003 Alberta)