15 Minutes on Travel and What it Teaches Us

Episode Transcript

Lama Alsafi: 00:01 Hello and welcome to 15 Minutes to Change the World, where in 15 minutes, you can learn a bit more about the world and how you can help change it.

My name is Lama Alsafi standing in for Kasia Souchen as host of this podcast. The French writer Gustav Flaubert known for his novel Madame Bovary once said, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” In this episode of 15 Minutes to Change the World we’re looking at travel, why it is important, how it can impact our lives and how it can change our perspective on the world.

Our guest today is Joshua Morin from NOMO films, a media production company whose diverse portfolio ranges from viral travel videos to award-winning documentaries. Joshua, when did you first start travelling and why? What inspires you to keep seeing more of the world?

Joshua Morin: 01:21 I started traveling at the age of 16. Um, I finished high school early and um, I decided to instead of going right to college that I would take some time off and uh, I guess it would be called a gap year. Um, but I did it, I guess before gap years existed or I hadn’t heard of them. I didn’t know what I was doing. I just kind of hopped on a plane and, uh, decided to travel the world a little bit and see more about the world.

But, um, yeah, I mean I used to be a musician and I bar tend, bar tended. I waitered, I did anything and I would just save money every year and two months of the year I’d be gone, if not more. Um, I, yeah, so a lot of people used to say, oh, I don’t know how you can afford to travel all the time and think as long as you make it a priority, then you can do it. It’s not, uh, especially like there’s so many, like we were very lucky because our dollar commands a lot in the world. Um, I mean not as much as others, but, uh, we have a good situation where we can save a little bit and be fine overseas for a long time. So it’s, it’s possible for us to be able to do that as Canadians.

Lama Alsafi: 02:27 How many countries have you been to so far? Do You keep count?

Joshua Morin: 02:31 No, I used to count. I used to have a, I wanted to, I was very adamant about, you know, not going for a week and saying that I’d been somewhere. So I was always like, I need to stay at least a month or two to see a country. And then I was trying to get to 50 before 50. Um, but I’m pretty sure I’m way past that now.

Lama Alsafi: 02:50 And what has been your favourite travel location so far?

Joshua Morin: 02:53 Yeah, I have a bunch of different favourite ones. Um the Philippines was my, my favourite country for a long time. And then the islands are beautiful. There’s rice terraces that are really amazing. Um, and then another place is Bolivia, I really, uh, love desert landscapes. So the, uh, the salt flats are pretty amazing. And uh, they also have the jungle there and Amazon and stuff, so it’s pretty a pretty cool place to go.

If you like animals, then definitely a safari, you know, somewhere maybe Kenya or Tanzania or maybe South Africa or you know, there’s so many places that you could, you could go see that, but that’d be, that’s a good place. Um, so maybe like Morocco is, is pretty, pretty amazing. Uh, Jordan was pretty amazing as well and, uh, I really, really liked Southeast Asia, so I’ve done, I think all the countries there, uh, I’ve been to all the countries there many times actually. And uh, yeah, they were really eye-opening. It’s, and they’re easy to travel to, so it’s, and they’re cheaper too. So those are good places to go as well.

Lama Alsafi: 03:56 Joshua, what inspires you to keep traveling today?

Joshua Morin: 03:59 Yeah, more actually more and more so, um, every year, technology is really driving me to see the world more. Um, you know, being stuck in a city, in a Western world, uh, there’s a lot of, a lot of, uh, change that is happening here that people don’t really see because they’re just surrounded by it all the time. But when you visit, um, other remote communities around the world, you see a, just a different presence, a different way of life. Uh, just if it wants. Yeah. It makes me want to go out and see more. Um, I find that a, there’s more community, more family. So yeah, it just, it, uh, I just want to see more and more.

Lama Alsafi: 04:36 So to our quote at, uh, during the introduction, do you think travel makes one modest? Does it change your perspective and understanding of the world?

Joshua Morin: 04:45 Yeah, it enlightens you and then it allows you to, to carry it on through other family and, uh, like I have a daughter, so, you know, I teach her those values that, uh, that we might forget and so it, yeah, I mean, travelling kind of enlightens you and opens you up to a lot of different aspects that we don’t see here in the Western world. I think, uh, when people do travel to more remote communities around the world, um, it’s interesting to pay attention to the way people live, the way people treat each other, uh, just like their daily lives, how different it is. Um, how they get rid of waste management, things like that. How the government acts, you know, um, there’s how religion is, all these things kind of affect, uh, affect our world differently. Um, and when you travel it’s, you know, if you pay attention to that, I think you can carry those things back home for the good and for the bad. And, and, uh, for the enlightenment of yourself and the community around you.

Lama Alsafi: 05:45 Joshua, you recently returned from visiting a CARE project in Nepal with Shannon Elliot, one of our CARE Canada staff members where you captured some incredible film footage we will soon share here in Canada. Tell me about this travel experience. Was it different from some of the other travel you have done and did you learn anything new about CARE’s work that you didn’t know before the trip?

Joshua Morin: 06:05 I didn’t realize that CARE, um, worked in such remote communities. I’ve done quite a lot of these projects before, uh, but nothing that far out. Um, it seemed like CARE was doing a lot of good in a lot of smaller communities. Um, uh, Shannon and I were filming in the rice fields with these ladies with these massive hats. We stopped on the side of the road and then started filming them and one of the guys came up to, uh, to Shannon and he thanked her for having built a, and he said this in English, thank you for, for building a school. You know, without that, I wouldn’t have been able to go to school, learn English and all this stuff. So it was like, it’s things like that that kind of, I’m like, oh wow CARE really, really does work all over the world. And I didn’t really realize that. So it a, it did open my mind. Yeah.

Lama Alsafi: 06:54 You travel for work and when possible your family travels along with you. In your experience, how do you think families can make travel part of their lives?

Joshua Morin: 07:02 I actually find it’s easier to travel with family. Being a filmmaker, you know, I always have a camera up. Um, and so people, maybe it’s not a negative tone, but they’ll take it as like, Oh, who’s this guy with a camera? But when I have my family, I have my daughter with me right away, their guard goes down and, and I, I find that the, uh, interactions that I have with people are, are even better because they’re like, oh, he’s a family man and he’s with his daughter and his wife. And actually, even when the camera’s down, I definitely have better experiences with them because we, we match up better with, cause everybody has kids, everybody has families, you know, it’s a, so it’s something that’s common between us, even though we might not speak the language or understand the religion or the anything about their culture. Um, yeah.

Lama Alsafi: 07:47 What benefits do you think traveling together brings to a family?

Joshua Morin: 07:51 So many people have kids here and then decide, oh okay, no, we can’t bring our kid outside or to a different country or too, you know, but having seen the world, I know there are children playing in the streets at young ages as well over there. Kids in flip flops, playing football, you know, uh, just all these different things like, you know, uh, kids spinning tires with sticks, you know, uh, down the street. So there’s no difference to me being over there or over here except for the fact I guess he could get sick. But I mean, if you take the precautions and yeah, it’s, uh, I don’t see why my family shouldn’t be able to travel like that. And I think that it shows them, um, it gives them a different education, a better education. I think, you know, it’s seeing that.

We started traveling with her when she was four months old. Um, yeah, it definitely got easier as time went on. I, my wife was a big part of taking care of care of my daughter, especially on the airplane when it’s like a 24 hour flight. But, uh, yeah, it was difficult at first, but I think that the payoff was, uh, was worth it. Um, so, and, and we traveled slower to, you know, before we’d try it and have a checklist of things we want it to see. And then when you have a baby with you and when you take your time and maybe you’re more embedded in the community because you’re sticking around longer and you’re taking your time. So, but then you have better interactions. So, uh, it’s, it’s a good payoff. I think it’s worth it. Everybody has their own priorities, right? I mean, some people want to build a pool and stay at home and relax here, which is fine too. You know, I just for, for me anyways, my priority was always to be traveling around the world and seeing different things. And I think, yeah, although it’s changed over the years, like what I want to do and why I want to go. Um, it’s, but I think it’s good to see the world and, and make the make changes out there and, yeah.

Lama Alsafi: 09:40 And finally, Joshua, many of our listeners are interested in travel and also interested in protecting the environment. Do you have any practical tips for those listening at home or in their car right now on how to travel in an environmentally responsible way?

Joshua Morin: 09:53 I started asking, um, flight attendants on separate flights, what they do with the waste, uh, at the end of the flight. And apparently it’s up to the country to decide. Um, and since we’re flying to, you know, remote countries or different, uh, parts of the world, a lot of the countries just burned their garbage there. So the airlines have nothing to do with it. They can’t dispose of the waste any other way. They basically just drop it off and then they burn it.

So I started looking into, well, how can I decrease, uh, you know, my footprint by taking these on these flights. Because if you think about like every time you have a glass of water, every time you have a glass of wine, every time you, um, open, you know, your cutlery, it’s, you’re going through so much waste and most of the time it’s very unnecessary. So to answer that question, I started like bringing refillable water bottles. I have a collapsible one and I also have a clap, a little collapsible cup, and I have my own cutlery. And uh, so those are things that, and a bag too, like, um, I mean even if you have to buy a plastic bag over seas, you know, just try and reuse it as much as possible.

So I’m really trying to try to do that as much as possible, uh, because, and I’m trying to force flights, airlines to see that there is, I would like, I would pay more money just to not have that waste, that you don’t need to give me more cutlery. I’ll just reuse them or I’ll, you know, reuse that, that plastic glass or whatever it is. Um, so I think people just being aware of stuff like that when you’re overseas, um, really would make a difference by bring your own bag or reusing it or bringing your cup. Uh, and nowadays it’s a lot more common to see, uh, refillable water stations. So getting water in places where I never would have, uh, used their tap water, I would have bought a plastic bottle because I didn’t want to get sick. Uh, nowadays it’s a lot more common and a lot more safe. So bringing a collapsible water bottle is, is a good idea.

Lama Alsafi: 11:50 Thank you so much Joshua, for taking the time to with us today. It was a pleasure speaking with you and we wish you the best of luck with your future travels. And thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in. As always, you can stay up to date on our newest episodes of 15 Minutes to Change the World on Spotify and iTunes.