Yes, that is how I would spend 2014.
This was just days before Christmas. I had never been in a caldera before. I didn’t even know what a caldera was. As we hiked deeper into the dormant volcano crater in Uganda’s Mt Elgon National Park, the remarkable landscape softened the mean-headedness I had developed while living in Kampala in 2013.
The crisp air, my evaporating depression and the rhythm of our walking pace revealed my magazine’s name:
The Human Geographic
After working at ABC Open, the innovative online storytelling project conceived by Australia’s national broadcaster, I moved to Kampala with my husband and plunged headlong into an online Masters program in International Relations.
There were a couple of things jarring about this transition.
Firstly, I went from working at the cutting edge of digital storytelling to living in a country with sporadic electricity.
Secondly, I went from being very actively engaged in a regional Australian community to studying online in a country I would therefore deny myself participation in.
Thirdly, I wanted to be making stories but had a deep and growing discomfort with the way news journalism and NGO media depicts the “developing” world.
I tripped. Caught in my thoughts about the Human Geographic, my feet slid into an icy puddle and I was forced to look out into the valley ahead of us. Ancient cacti littered the slope. The mountain on the horizon was Kenya.
Our world is changing. Time and space are collapsing rapidly. We are connected by communications technology more than ever. So you’d think that living in a vibrant place like Uganda and expanding my mind through study would be invigorating. But we are more complex than this. Our journeys are more disarming.
Dragging my wet feet, I wondered how digital living affects our relationship to the physical world. How it affects our relationships with each other. How online journalism enhances – or erodes – our dignity.
From Mongolia to Texas, from Papua New Guinea to Ethiopia, I have met and befriended so many talented storytellers – radio makers, photographers, filmmakers, writers, graphic designers, illustrators, musicians. They have tales itching to be told. Stories that enhance our dignity. And, they have creative and offbeat ways of telling them.
Yes, the Human Geographic will bring together these storytellers. It will provide them a way to share their stories about people and place. It will be a beautiful, life-affirming experience for those who read the magazine. Fragments of our changing world that ponder the personal.
Yes, the Human Geographic.
Of course, that is, if you are into it.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][author title=”About the writer”][/vc_column][/vc_row]