Directed by Bruno Brothers Media wth the help of Queens Nation Films, this teaser for a mini-doc about my work as a diasporic writer, photographer and activist exploring the decolonization of travel culture is being released in conjunction with my crowdfunding campaign. With your donations and shares, I’ll be able to do produce more exciting projects that really delve into the issues I bring up here, because struggling with meeting my survival needs complicates that. The full doc will be released soon! Donate here and thanks for your support!
hey people, thanks to everyone who participated in Outbounding’s discussion on race and travel writing last week, even the ones who were annoying as hell. faithful readers of this site will probably recognize my old piece The Grand Canyon on Acid (about drugs, birthdays and backpacking) which was finally published on Paste Travel the other day. on the front page today is my destination article on Quito, Weekend Layover. most of you know that service writing is def not my style, but talking about where to eat and what to do in Quito is so easy for me that i said what the hell, lemme sell out. mama’s got bills to pay. click on the images to read the articles in full and share them if ya like.
Hey people! I’ve got so much to share. First off, I landed back in the motherland (Ecuador) last Tuesday night after 7 tough months of Polar Vortex Lyfe in NYC, and couldn’t be happier to be back. After some much needed beach time and catching up with the fam, I’ll be renting a room in Quito for 2 months – so hit me up if you’ve got any leads.
Secondliest, I’m happy to announce that the fine folks at VONA/Voices have accepted me into their program in Berkeley this June! VONA is the nation’s only multi-genre workshop for writers of color and this is the first year they’ve got a travel writing track going on (with Faith Adiele) so I was quick to apply. Other writers I’m mad about – like Staceyann Chin, Patricia Smith and Junot Diaz – will be there too. So I’m stoked.
If you’ve been keeping up with this blog for a while, then you know that I’m almost always broke. For about 3 years now, I’ve been struggling with a chronic pain condition in my shoulder, and I’m here in Ecuador to make use of the healthcare – which still costs quite a bit – and for which I’ll be paying out of pocket. I had surgery last fall (which I’m still paying for) but unfortuntaely, it wasn’t successful, and the pain has extended to my right hand, making regular writing (and therefore making money through work) pretty impossible. But I’m trying to stay positive.
The Fine Folks at VONA were able to grant me some financial aid (THANKS!) but I’m still struggling to pay the remainder of tuition and buy a plane ticket out there. I’ll be starting an Indiegogo campaign in one week to raise the funds to get me there, and any help would be super mega ultra appreciated!
I’ll be launching the campaign in conjunction with an interview series where I discuss race, place, media, belonging, community, diaspora, exile and adventure with other travel writers and bloggers of color and poc thinking about these things, right here on the wonderful platform that is this website. So if you want in, please get in touch. Muy exciting!
In other news, the second issue of my travel zine Everywhere All The Time is out and available for order on my Etsy shop Boom For Real Press, so pick ’em up! If you ordered the first issue, waited a long time to receive it and I promised you the second issue free, hit me up! I’m also up for trades (anything related to travel, disability, qpoc lyfe, or latinx shit is cool!)
Finally, you should check out The Body of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a profile I recently wrote for Nowhere Magazine’s blog about how place permeated the artist’s work.
And that’s all for now. Stay tuned with all the goings on going on on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter @bani_amor. Say that 5 times fast.
here’s the second part of my top 20 photos of 2013 thing. if you’re new here, all of them were taken in ecuador where i lived from august 2012-september 2013. these are my favorites because they’re attached to good memories and saturated in natural, heavy hues. they don’t represent a balanced look at my year, the majority of which was spent in front of a laptop surrounded by a million people in a grungy apartment. since i was undocumented most of my time there (working on getting my papers through my mom’s citizenship) i couldn’t leave the country. staying put was tough for me – a year may not seem like a lot to most folks – but ecuador is an awesome country to be stuck in. though i was hungry and had zero cents most of the time, i eventually started getting published, got my papers and had mad adventures. so fuck yeah.
on january first, 2013, i woke up on a couch in quito, ecuador. i was a newbie writer, newly illegal, completely broke and with nowhere to live. i won’t pretend to have had any epiphanies. like life, it was fucked up and awesome all at once, and not a ton has changed, except for me. probably.
it all seems like someone else’s life right now: working full-time hours on a saturday night back in my hometown, watching a snowstorm freeze new york city outside the glass doors. i’m going through all my photos from this past year, and thought i’d compile the best of them into one of those top ten lists i’m always complaining about. it’s a two-parter.
are you a creative-type bum like me? share in the comments the best and worst times you had in 2013!
Hitchhiking in the Oriente, the eastern/Amazonian half of Ecuador
yo! i’ve been so busy recovering from shoulder surgery, getting locked out of my facebook account, moving back to new york from quito with 3 suitcases, a cat, one working arm and no money – alone – , and catching a violent case of food poisoning as soon as i landed! great, huh? also, also, also, there’s TWO DAYS LEFT to submit to my travel zine anthology for stories from latin america, which will be made available online and in print, in spanish and english, all over da world. SO SUBMIT. i’m looking for:
stories about traveling in latin america
travel-related art – DRAWINGS, photos, photos of graff/street art around the world
travel ephemera – train/plane/bus tickets, maps, handwritten maps, flyers, magic stuff you bought back from the road
from folks who are:
consider yourself among the latinx/chicanx diaspora
come from a spanish-speaking country, directly or 2nd, 3rd generations, lo que sea!
historias sobre viajes en latinoamérica
dibujos, fotos, fotos de graffiti / arte de la calle o cualquier tipo de manifestación artística relacionada con viajes
ephemero/recopilaciones de viajes – boletos del tren / avión / buses; mapas, mapas manuscritos, hojas volantes, cosas de magia que conseguiste en el camino
send submissions/inquiries/fanmail to email@example.com. yes if you need more time past the deadline that’s cool. si nececitas mas tiempo pasando el 15 esta completamente bien. if none of that stuff applies to you, you still can follow my beautiful exceptional one of a kind tumblr page and like this shit on facebook (on yr right) or order a copy of my travel zine everywhere all the time (all new orders will be sent out next week, loyal people who have ordered! if ya haven’t, it’s only two fiddy on etsy con free shipping) OR do all three. then you get a star.
The doctor was beautiful, with that kind of feathery hair you just want to reach out and run your fingers through. He had this pained expression on his face, like it hurt to be so beautiful, and the slowest movements on Earth, as if he had all the time in the world. But with parasites wringing my intestines into a neat string of nothing, inducing painful spasms every 30 seconds or so for three days, I was in a bit of a rush to swallow dem pills and get the fuck better. My name was spelled wrong on all the forms. I told him, “Actually it’s Bani. B-A-N-I.” One of the nurses by his side said, “Where is that name from?”
“And what does it mean?”
Aaaahhhh she sighs, as if That Explains Everything. When was the last time someone asked what Sarah or Michael means? No squiggly red wave underlining those names in Word. I cracked a small smile. Dr. Too Hot for Time checks the tests, diagnoses me and finally writes a prescription. I ask him about the X-Ray.