Episode 20: Txell Donyate - The Catalonia Crisis

Hola, de España! This is the first episode I’ve produced from a country where I’m actually located, and my first in-person interview for the podcast, though this show focusses on the independence movement up north in Catalonia .

Txell is a linguist who speaks Italian, French, English, Spanish, Catalan… and Finnish. And while she’s lived in Barcelona since 2014, she’s originally from the Comunidad Valenciana just to the south of Catalonia, and offers a unique outsider/ insider perspective on the independence movement.

In October of 2017 the regional government of Catalonia held a referendum and then declared independence from Spain. This measure was quickly stopped by the central government in Madrid which invoked Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, stripping Catalonia of its autonomy, sacking the regional government, and imprisoning several ministers and prominent activists, while Catalonia’s president and other ministers fled and went into exile. This episode attempts to lend some historical and personal perspective to the current political situation. And if you’ve been wanting to know more about modern Spanish history you may find the speed history lesson at the beginning to be helpful.

Be sure to check out some recommended reading below, if you want to learn more about the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War and contemporary Spanish history and society.


Episode 19: Bruno Morán - No Name Kitchen - Serbia & Bosnia

Bruno is from Asturias, Spain, and is a co-founder of No Name Kitchen, an NGO that provides food, sleeping bags, basic necessities, and a community space for refugees in transit along the Serbian and Bosnian borders with Croatia.

In addition to providing basic services, No Name Kitchen has also become a primary point of contact for those who have been pushed back from the Croatian border, and as a result the organization has found itself involved in documenting and sharing the growing number of reported abuses by the Croatian border police against those who are seeking to cross into the EU, people who have no legal means of registering themselves in bordering countries.

In this episode we cover what is happening on the ground, the practical challenges of running a small front line organization, and some advice on how you can get involved in global events in your community.

Photo credit clockwise from top left: image 1 No Name Kitchen; images 2-4 Maria Feck, No Name Kitchen, Šid, Serbia.


Episode 18: Abdul Saboor - from Afghanistan to France

Abdul is a photographer from Afghanistan, where he worked with the US military before having to flee the country after death threats from the Taliban. What followed was an overland odyssey across Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, the Balkans, and back and forth across the EU, until he was able to claim asylum in France, where he currently lives. Along the way he endured prison, forced labor, beatings, deportations, and kidnapping. His is one of the more remarkable stories of resilience that I have come across in my years of traveling and working in the Middle East and anywhere else in the world.

We were connected by the people at No Name Kitchen, a Spanish NGO that provides food, sleeping bags and supplies, and a community space for the growing numbers of refugees stuck in Serbia and more recently in Bosnia.

Episode 17: Rosine Hounakey - Togo & Human Trafficking

Rosine is from Togo, but was trafficked to the US at 13 years old and forced to work for free on both coasts of the US, and later into a coerced marriage, until she was freed with her two young sons as the result of an ICE raid when she was 17 years old.

She then had to go through foster care in various American cities, waking up at 5am every day to take her kids to school before completing high school herself, after years with no formal education, having taught herself English along the way.

Rosine is currently pursuing an advanced degree, running her own hair salon, and raising her two sons in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We also discuss the entrepreneurial spirit of Togolese women, annoying stereotypes about Africa and Africans, tension and solidarity with the African American community, and moving forward after a deeply traumatic start at life in the US.

Be sure to check the links below for critical facts on Human Trafficking, as well as organizations that can provide immediate assistance.


Episode 16: Yaari Walker - Yupik Alaskan

Yaari is a member of the Yupik tribe, and originally from the town of Savoonga, on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. She now resides in Anchorage, Alaska, where, in addition to being an activist, author, and entrepreneur, she works at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Yaari has been on a journey, as a survivor of physical abuse, substance abuse, and incarceration, to recovery, writing a book, starting a business in Native medicinals, activism, and going back to college to study Psychology. We cover a lot of issues facing indigenous communities in Alaska, North America, and around the world, as well as the issue of community itself and how industrialized Western society often seems to be at odds with the values of sharing, communal responsibility, and compassion.

A warning that we talk about addiction and substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, and the legacy of boarding school placement amongst the indigenous communities of North America. For those who have personally been through these traumas, or who have loved ones who have, just a note that some parts of this show may be upsetting.


Riiglluk Stinkweed Creations

Made in Alaska with 100% natural ingredients

A resource for history and updates

A resource for history and updates


Episode 15: Cory Lee - Wheelchair World Travel

Cory Lee started Curb Free With Cory Lee, a travel blog for people who use wheelchairs and for people with accessibility needs. So far he's been to six continents and tours as a public speaker. Aside from accessible travel, we talk about Spinal Muscular Atrophy, the importance of self-advocacy, educating the public about wheelchair access, working for Obama's inaugural committee, navigating the complex relationships with caregivers, college life, riding a specially adapted camel, what cities are great for wheelchair access (Sydney, Helsinki, and Washington, DC are at the top), and more.

(Photos are from Curb Free With Cory Lee)

(My research notes for SMA were taken from SMA News Today, Counsyl, and National Institute of Health)


Episode 14: April Reese - Environmental Journalism

April Reese is an environmental journalist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, though her reporting has taken her all over the US and for a long stint in Australia, where she traveled clear around the continent. Her writing has been published in Nature, Scientific American, Smithsonian, Discover, and she recently published a massive piece covering the top science policy issue in every state (plus Puerto Rico and Washington, DC) for Popular Science.

Among many topics discussed, April explains the challenges of maintaining professional distance when reporting on issues that impact all life on earth, and we discuss why it seems to be so difficult to get people to care about the one issue that matters more than anything else... the environment.

Plus her aunt's 1970’s nature show for kids, Hodgepodge Lodge.


Episode 13: David Vrabo - Mexico

I caught up with David in Tijuana after his vehicle was taken away by the Mexican authorities upon crossing the border from California. We talk about pretty much everything you’d want to know about Mexico, from the stories he heard from migrant laborers while he was working as a press translator, the disappearances and mass graves scattered throughout Mexico, the complex realities of narco-trafficking and corruption in Mexican politics and law enforcement, and his 4,000 km bike ride from Mexico through Central America. We also get into the history and current events in Central America, from the caravan currently moving its way towards the US border to the legacy of US interventionism throughout the region.

My intro for this episode is longer than usual, but I think you’ll find it helpful, as I give some background on my nearly two years filming, and conducting interviews along both sides of the border with everyone from vigilante border patrollers, to sex workers in Juárez, former US law enforcement, immigrants of all documentation backgrounds, ranchers, and volunteers who leave water barrels in the desert. You can read the feature story I wrote about the beginning of The Virtual Dinner Guest Project in Juárez, back in 2011, at the link below.

And I give a speed-history lesson of the US’s role in Latin America from the Mexican-American War up through NAFTA and the Drug War, which should be a helpful resource if you want some context for today’s news headlines.

“For more than fifteen years, members of Pueblo Sin Fronteras have been reaching out to the most vulnerable immigrants in the United States and to migrants and refugees on the move.”  Pueblo Sin Fronteras is the immigrant rights organization that organized the caravan currently moving from Central America to the US border. You can go to their donation page by clicking on the banner,    or here   .

“For more than fifteen years, members of Pueblo Sin Fronteras have been reaching out to the most vulnerable immigrants in the United States and to migrants and refugees on the move.”

Pueblo Sin Fronteras is the immigrant rights organization that organized the caravan currently moving from Central America to the US border. You can go to their donation page by clicking on the banner,
or here.


Enclave Caracol & Food Not Bombs

David is working in the kitchen here, serving migrants in Tijuana.

Episode 12: Matthew Derrick - Squat the Planet founder

Matthew Derrick is the founder of Squat the Planet, an "online community for misfit travelers". Starting out as a personal travel journal StP has evolved into an online community of anarchists, travel punks, train hoppers, and people from all walks of life connected by their commitment to "travel by any means necessary". Matt and I talk about his travels and what he envisions for the future of StP. Also be sure to check out my appearance on the Squat the Planet Podcast at the link below. Be sure to catch the Squat the Planet Podcast live streaming every Sunday at 12pm Pacific Coast Time.

Check out the PDF or order a hard copy of Matt’s book, “The Anarchist’s Guide to Travel


My appearance on the Squat the Planet Podcast…

Episode 11: Jade Saab (part 2 of 2) Canada, Class Consciousness, Liberalism & Communism

In the second half of our conversation Jade and I talk about the politics around being a "passport baby" in Canada, and the framing of immigration and citizenship in Canadian politics. Then we dive into political philosophy, discussing classical liberalism, various forms of communism, class consciousness, and fascism, and some of the common distortions and misperceptions around these concepts. And Jade provides a reading list. Be sure to check out his TEDx talk.

And be sure to follow my interview on the Squat the Planet Podcast (below). If you miss the livestream on October 21st, at 12pm Pacific Time / 9pm Central European Time, you can still catch it later on Youtube.

Jade’s recommended reading (most of these should be available for free, or very cheap, online). You can also read his reviews of each of these books here.

”The Conquest of Bread” by Peter Kropotkin

“The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

“State and Revolution” by Vladimir Ilich Lenin

“Reform or Revolution” by Rosa Luxemburg

“The Dictatorship of the Proletariat” by Karl Kautsky

“On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill

“The Rights of Man” by Thomas Paine

“Discourse on the Origin of Inequality” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Eric’s recent appearance on the Squat the Planet podcast, talking about travels in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Europe (and busting some of the myths and media hype), establishing a nonprofit in Amsterdam, ethical travel, and travel with a purpose.

Episode 10: Jade Saab (part 1 of 2) Lebanon

I speak with Lebanese political writer, Jade Saab, about growing up in Lebanon, the country's struggle to balance institutionalized sectarianism with democracy, post colonial history, the Civil War, the 2015 garbage crisis, notions of direct democracy, and more.

Check out Eric Maddox’s interview on the Squat the Planet Podcast.

In the second half of our interview (episode 11) we'll discuss Jade's recent move to Canada, the framing of immigration in Canadian political discourse, and I try to understand how Communism and Fascism work.


Episode 9: Cornelius Vango - Anarchist Librarian of Slab City

Cornelius Vango, is a traveler, musician, artist, and the genderqueer anarchist librarian of Slab City. Cornelius recently finished hitchhiking across Alaska with their dog Satan, and I caught up with them in Fresno, during the last segment of their long bus drive back to the Southern California desert.


An online community for misfit travelers.

Episode 8: Shanil Samarakoon- Sri Lanka, Malawi, Australia, and Energy Justice

Born in Sri Lanka, Shanil spent his early childhood in Malawi, before moving back to Sri Lanka as an adolescent, and later pursuing his undergraduate studies in Malaysia. He’s currently pursuing his PhD in Energy Justice in Australia, while bouncing between Malawi and Sri Lanka for his nonprofit work with Empower Projects, an organization he co-founded to help local communities form cooperatives and take the lead in determining their development priorities, especially around sustainable energy use and solar power. We also discuss the legacy of Sri Lanka's long civil war, contemporary politics in Australia as they relate to energy and immigration policies, and Shanil walks me through the defining principles of Energy Justice, and how we might go about assigning rights and responsibilities through this framework. Plus reflections on being introverted advocates, and using writing as a refuge and as a way to process confusion.

Empower Projects creates platforms for communities to determine their developmental priorities, create their own vision and develop action plans to address their needs and aspirations.

Our project portfolio impacts 78 villages (over 15,500 people) across Malawi and Sri Lanka.

Episode 7: Ndeye Ndao, Senegal and Reflections on Life in the US

Ndeye and I cover a lot of ground in this episode, from her initial impressions of American culture as a 19-year-old international student, changes in Senegal since she left to pursue her education, civil rights in the US and Senegal, the role of religion in her life and in Senegalese culture, why she wants more African Americans to visit Africa and connect to African culture, the differences between racism, bias, and passive support for racist systems, her feelings about being a woman of color and an immigrant in America today, and more.

Episode 6: Aram AlSaed, From Syria to Berlin, Part 2 of 2

In this second of a two-part interview with Syrian artist and paramedic Aram AlSaed we discuss the process of his arrival in Germany, his family back in Syria, his thoughts about the use and abuse of the term "refugee" and his complex relationship with this word, and the differences in how religious identity is discussed and inhabited in Syria and in Germany. I close with some questions for you, the listener, concerning the role of religion in contemporary political culture around the world.

Stay informed…

Are You Syrious provides daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

Latitude Adjustment recommends this charity…

“We develop Innovative Education programs for Syrian refugee youth, distribute
Smart Aid to Syrian families, and fund Sustainable Development projects initiated by Syrians for Syrians.”

Episode 5: Aram AlSaed, From Syria to Berlin, Part 1 of 2

Aram AlSaed was a paramedic and a student of fine arts before he left Syria in 2015, traveling by bus, plane, boat, and by foot to reach Germany, while stopping along the way to provide medical and translation support for other refugees.

In this first of a two-part interview, I speak with him about life in Syria before the war, when things began to change, his work as a paramedic in Syria, when he realized that it was time for he and his brother to leave, and his journey up to the German border. 

Be sure to browse the additional content provided below for current information on the state of the refugee crisis in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. 

And be sure to catch the second half of the interview in the next episode. 


Sign up & stay informed!

Are You Syrious provides daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.


Information resources for refugees & asylum seekers...

There are more than 60,000 refugees in Greece and an overwhelming demand for information to understand what is happening to them. Refucomm is a nonprofit registered in Germany and working in Greece to provide multilingual instruction materials and videos that inform people about their rights, asylum procedures, and how to prepare for their interviews.

Episode 4: Clara de la Torre- Pro Boxer, Firefighter & Traveler

Clara is one of those people who just seem programmed from birth to dive into life with both feet and to experience as many things as possible along the way. And aside from stints as a professional boxer and a wilderness firefighter, she's seen a lot of the world from some unusual vantage points. I met Clara in New Mexico about 9 years ago, before I started my own long stretch of solo travel. Aside from discussing her travel and her career paths, we also talk about growing up as hyper religious kids and we examine the similar experiences that we've had in dealing with grief. Plus I struggle to remember some stuff I read about Socrates a long time ago, and try to see how his observations might apply to daily life and the way we approach relationships with others.


K Lawrence Photography.jpg

Clara recommends Kiva for those looking to make an impact…

“Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.”

Episode 3: Yousef Aljamal, Gaza, Palestine

Yousef and I met in Gaza in 2013. In this long-format episode we discuss life in Gaza under 11 years of siege imposed by Israel and Egypt, his travels and his personal losses, the ongoing Great March of Return Protests, solidarity with indigenous communities and movements, and we take a critical look at internal Palestinian politics, the stigmatization of mental health treatment, the status of Jerusalem and the implications of the US embassy move, the role of Hamas and its politics, and pretty much everything you would want to know about the present situation in Gaza and the rest of Palestine that we could fit into two very long conversations.

I also provide a longer intro and closing thoughts to address the divisive nature of this subject in the US and the West, and my own travels in Palestine.

It would be impossible to produce a podcast on this subject that everyone will agree with, and that's not the aim of Latitude Adjustment on any subject. However, considerable effort was put into producing a show that will give you a detailed look at the present situation from a Palestinian perspective. Particular attention was given to topics that are often absent from the treatment of this conflict in mainstream and alternative media. This episode should be educational for just about anyone trying to get a better understanding of what is often characterized as the most intractable conflict in the world.

Please be sure to leave a review on iTunes or your preferred media platform, and please join the ongoing discussion in the Latitude Adjustment Conversation Group, on Facebook.

You can follow Yousef on Twitter.


The US has just cut all funding to UNRWA. Please donate today.

Since 1949 UNRWA has been the UN body responsible for providing medical clinics, education, and food aid to Palestinian refugees. There are currently 5.4 million Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA, and the US administration - the principle donor to this UN organization- has just elected to cut all financial support. Whatever your view of this conflict, Palestinians need food, medicine, and an education. Please contribute what you can. And if you are a US voter, please call your elected representatives and ask that they demand the reinstatement of US funding.

For more context please read this recent op ed in the Washington Post.

Below you will find the two videos mentioned in the show. Also check out Yousef's suggested reading list. and this article Yousef wrote about his experiences of traveling as a Palestinian

Yousef's Suggested Reading:

Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History, Dreaming of Freedom: Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak
The Last Earth: A Palestinian story

1. Again I did not produce this video tutorial on the history of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. It's not perfect, and there's stuff I personally would have framed differently, and other things I would have included that were left out. But of all of the stuff I came across it seemed to provide the best balance between breadth of content with the least amount of objectionable material and omissions. 


2. The second video is part of a collaborative film project produced by Open Roads Media, a small nonprofit I founded in 2015. The bi-national street-interview-format film collaboration was completed by youth in Gaza, Palestine, and The Netherlands in 2017. The late Yaser Murtaja was one of the lead producers on the Gaza team, and it's his drone footage that provided the aerial views of Gaza in this short film. 

This episode of Latitude Adjustment is dedicated to Yaser and to his family, and to his friend and co-founder at Ain Media Rushdi Sarraj and their team. Ain Media created this short video memorial to Yaser as well


3. The third video is a helpful explainer, answering some of the common criticisms of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) campaign.

Episode 2: Tara Todras-Whitehill, Middle East Photojournalist

I met Tara in Cairo in 2012, and then again in Washington DC. A recipient of the James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting, she's been on the move for a long time, both as a veteran of Middle East reporting with Reuters, AP, and the New York Times, and now with her own production company, Vignette Interactive, which helps humanitarian nonprofits tell their stories through mixed media. Her photos have lead the front page of the New York Times and recent assignments have taken her to Nepal and Nigeria. 

We discuss her intense first day on the job in Beirut, how she got into photojournalism, the challenges and advantages of being a woman in her field, work-life balance in a notoriously demanding profession, and the relationships between foreign reporters and the local teams and communities they interact with.



Photo credits left-to-right: Matt Ford, Evelyn Kahungu-Kihara, and Kevin Frayer


Episode 1: Andrius & Lithuania & Turkey & Travel

For this first episode I talk to my buddy Andrius Mažeika in Vilnius, Lithuania. Andrius and I met in Istanbul in 2015 and hit it off over beers and politics. We discuss growing up after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, his experiences traveling in Western Europe as an Eastern European, learning to let go of certain things in Asia, Lithuanian Jazz and Reggae, and reflections on culture and politics from his years living in Turkey through the string of bombing attacks and the attempted coup. Heads up, there's some naughty language at the end. 

Also, Andrius takes some really cool photos. Check out his stuff here.