The Daily Traveler: Meet 10 Dream Travel Job Contest Winners

Some people have all the luck. I get to interview those people.

Meet Ten People Who've Won Those Dream Travel Job Competitions

Jauntaroo's yet-to-be-named Chief World Explorer is going to have some pretty big shoes to fill. Meet ten intrepid souls who have already entered contests, then campaigned, competed for, and won their dream travel jobs—filming, swimming, skiing, diving, and eating their ways around the world. Yeah, we’re jealous, too.

ASHA MEVLANA
From: Los Angeles
 
Winner: Viator's Dream Travel Job: Team Europe,July 2012–August 2012

Job duties: "Our job was to film these top-rated tours so that when someone goes to the Viator site, they can click on a tour video from our trip and get an idea of what the tour would be like."

What's one thing you learned on your travels? "Because we were only in each city for three days, we were constantly on the move and living out of our suitcases. I had a very large, heavy suitcase with a bunch of different outfits, shoes, etc. By the end, I had thrown out most of my clothes just to make it easier to run to the train, plane, or taxi because we were always running from place to place trying to not to miss our transportation to the next city. I learned to pack much lighter!"

What was the most memorable thing that on your trip? "On one of the bike tours in Amsterdam, I was filming while biking and trying to get all the shots I needed. And as I was rushing ahead of the tour one time, looking into the camera viewfinder, I crashed into a tree. I was scraped and hurting, but there wasn't time to be hurt, so I just had to keep going."

What happened after you completed the job? Did you want to stay in a related field? "I am a professional musician (electric violin), and, between tours, I have also been doing a lot of hosting work. I recently appeared on a pilot for the Travel Channel called Destination Showdown. I was hired again by Viator to film for two months in Asia and Australia this past year, which was also incredible. I even started a travel blog to start recording my journeys."

TV Review: Hello Ladies


The show gets at this theme by making smart use of its Los Angeles setting. Telegraphing Stuart’s loneliness through takeout dinners and microwave meals only goes so far. Hello Ladiespushes that mood even further, showing the isolation he feels in crowds. As he heads out into the wilds of the city, rubbing up against velvet ropes and bottle service, his not quite earnest awkwardness also serves as an indictment of Hollywood superficiality and club culture. But as Stuart tries to become a part of this scene, throwing over a girl he was chatting up for someone hotter, then heading back to the first one, as she seems, on second thought, more of a “sure thing,” it’s obvious he’s unable to navigate any social nuances, such as they are. 

He’s not the only one stymied by LA. In the second episode, Jessica tries to push her social circle by hosting an at-home salon, with plans for the group to listen to jazz music, discuss politics, and watch foreign films (her choice: Battleship Potemkin). Here she shows herself susceptible to another kind of artifice. When Stuart asks her to name her favorite jazz musicians, she responds with “The Loneliest Monk.” Still, her friends resist, preferring to discuss celebrity recipes they haven’t tried yet, but really want to.

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.

TV Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


One thing the show doesn’t take from the Marvel movies, though, is their knowing tone. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is serious business. No one tries to imitate Tony Stark’s smooth-talking charm or Captain America’s goofy datedness. Sure, there’s a sprinkling Joss Whedon’s trademark quips. (“I don’t think Thor is technically a God.”/“You haven’t been near his arms.”) But mostly, the characters talk to each other like everything they’re saying is of paramount importance. “The battle of New York was the end of the world,” Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) tells fellow agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton). “This, now, is the new world.” Such overly earnest dialogue casts a dour feeling over the entire premiere.

For now, we settle for Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), the leader of the pack, who’s an oasis amid all this peevishness. He delivers some of the same portentous lines as the rest of the cast, but Gregg is so affable and odd, he’s better able to ground them. He’s also most likely to follow up a government-agent cliché with a joke. “You’re asking me to drive the bus?” May asks him, unwilling to leave her desk. “I’m not asking,” Coulson responds. “But it’s a really nice bus.”

DVD Review: "Gimme the Loot" and "The We and the I"



Take Another Look at the Bronx with 'Gimme the Loot' and 'The We and the I'

It’s clear that Leon considers [Gimme the Loot] a personal movie. In his commentary, which his co-filmmakers drop in and out of at varying points, he discusses how certain elements of the story are rooted in his Bronx upbringing. Many of the actors in bit parts are people he’s known since high school. A great many others are regular Bronx residents he persuaded to be in the movie—for example, the man playing the owner of a pizza shop really is the owner of that pizza shop, doing what he does on a normal day.

Authenticity is also paramount for The We and the I, though it doesn’t feel as personal for [director Michel] Gondry. His film, on the other hand, is more of a vehicle for other people’s stories. He’s mentioned in interviews that the film was written in collaboration with students from The Point, an after-school program in the Bronx.

He had an outline for a script, then conducted long interviews with the kids to hear about their lives and experiences in their own words. Many of the conversations found their way back into the script, and the students found themselves playing characters with the same first names, based on themselves and their friends.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for any of Gondry’s typical magic. Outside the bus is a heightened version of the Bronx. The bus line, the BX66, is fictional, and wends its way through an unreal landscape. As the bus travels, the sun sets, going from mid-afternoon to twilight to mood-setting evening.

As daylight wanes, the mood in the bus becomes heavier. One by one, students reach their destinations and exit the bus. The real story of the movie takes shape and emerges as the remaining riders pare down. The antics and hijinx that mark the beginning of the film give way to something more serious, and it’s fascinating to watch how the movie develops as it goes on. 

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.




The Hairpin: Personal Essay

I auditioned for a game show. I didn't get cast or win the big money, but I did turn the experience into a personal essay for The Hairpin.

Give us 6 UNIQUE FUN FACTS about yourself. Fun facts can be anything from your biggest achievements, to a special talent, to a life story. What sets you apart from every other contestant? Make yourself stand out! Start with: What game shows have you appeared on? When? How much money did you win?

I have never appeared on a game show. Frankly, I've never really thought about appearing on a game show. Sure, I've mentally spent the jackpot prizes I've seen on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and set a personal limit for taking the deal on Deal or No Deal?—as soon as it hit six figures, I'd be out—but I've never really strived to be in the hot seat on either one.

I am, however, a game-show fan. In high school, when the other upperclassmen used their off-campus lunch privileges to take long walks and smoke cigarettes, I went to a friend's house to watch The Price Is Right. My sister and I had mapped out a game plan for Supermarket Sweep (start with the expensive turkey and ham, then grind the coffee for the $100 bonus). We dreamed of retiring to Tahiti with our winnings, spending our days drinking rum-based cocktails. Even today, there are countless times when I, about to embark on some task, think to myself: "No whammies."

But I never wanted to be a contestant in real life. I learned as the curtain rose on my high school's senior class production of Grease­—where I had the plum role of Dance Contestant #2—that I have stage fright. And so, shying away from a life on the stage, I've happily relegated myself to playing the home game...

Click through to read the rest of the essay at The Hairpin.