Souvenirs | 2014-'15

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Souvenirs is a student-run, submission-based travel magazine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.



  • 2My mind has never been as restless as it was when my plane was on the brink of lifting off the runway, launching me into six months of studying abroad in Brisbane, Australia. Would I be so painfully homesick that Id have to go home? Would I fit in at school? Would I get lost somewhere in the outback and be eaten by a dingo?

    My trip Down Under during the spring of 2013 wasnt short on challengesI was stranded in the Sydney airport when a flight was canceled unexpectedly; a 14-hour time difference stood in the way of communicating with my family and friends; and I got food poisoning on a boat in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef (note to self: be wary of curry served at dive bars). However, it was also the most surreal, sublime time of my life: I skydived along the Gold Coast at sunset with my Aussie roommates; I swam with sharks in Fiji; I saw one of my favorite artists at the Sydney Opera House; and I scaled a glacier in New Zealand.

    Most importantly, I was free to explore the world on my own terms.

    If you have been abroad, I hope Souvenirs helps you relive your own time overseas. If you have qualms about travelling halfway across the worldor if you have never even thought about itI hope Souvenirs inspires you to just hop on a plane and go.

    Bon voyage,

    photo by Evan Petkov (Vietnam)

    Editor's NoteSouvenirs Staff

    Editor in ChiefHaley Henschel

    EditorsPaige CostakosMeghan EusticeLindsey Gapen

    Design Directors Esta Pratt-Kielley

    Alicia Suguitan-Morrow

    Social Media ManagerLindsey Bliefernicht

    WebmasterAshley Berg

    Wisconsin Union Directorate Publications Committee Director

    Katie Van Dam

    Wisconsin Union DirectoratePublications Committee Advisor

    Jim Rogers


  • 3Eric Obscherning 7

    Jacob Raether 7

    Lindsey Bliefernicht 8

    Mason Purtell 12

    Brian Brito 14

    Megan Waibel 19

    Jackie Bannon 24

    Euan Findlater 25

    Laine Moger 30, 34

    Ben Sullender 33









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  • 7Yucateca WiltingBy Jacob Raether (Mexico)

    I find myself, again, in this untouchable meadowbut today she surrendered one of her own

    Her stem, petals, and thorns fit so comfortably in the curves and wrinkles of my hand

    for whatever reason, I had to careand even though She was wilting in front of meto go unloved, no, we were meant to be shared

    She contained this warmth that blanketed my chill and soothed my acheIve always been an islandbut She didnt seem to mind being lost at sea

    what was it that made my body grow closer and tighter so that it could protect Hers

    or how Her sun was setting, yet She stayed in my arms until it was time

    -Your blossom was real-Your blossom was mine

    alone again.

    sentenced to solitude, though forever there is our memorywhere briefly our lips met

    and I found wholenessa wholeness, which I do not have yet.

    -For Olivia

    A man with his face half-soakedwith shade from a straw sombrerobalances his wheelbarrow as he boltsdown the heightened aisles of earth,lifting a load full to the brimwith pltanos tree cuttings.

    Now pauses, picks one & places itinto a cradle of soil, tucking it in& kissing it like it was his own son, while beads of sweat diveoff the curl in his mustache,falling & fertilizing the fruit of his labors.

    Planting Pltanos in Jaibon, Dominican RepublicBy Eric Obscherning


  • 8Tranquila.

    At that moment, my host mom Anas voice echoed in my head. Americans are always on the go, but here in the tropical paradise that is Costa Rica, life is all about placidity. I surprise myself by just how tranquil I actually feel. Here I am in a place completely opposite of how I had imagined my normal New Years Eve. In fact, I could picture it now: my parents and sister, all asleep, having barely made it to 10:45 p.m. We always joked about how we were clearly the life of the party. To say the least, New Years was just another television program back at my home in Wisconsin. Yet here I am in Manuel Antonio, soaking up the wonders of a moonlit night on the beach.

    Many people asked us why we would go to the beach for New Years Eve, as most of the parties occur in the nearby town of Quepos. Despite this, I knew we made the right decision: When my friend Maddy told us that she always had the tradition back home of ringing in the New Year on the beach with her loved ones, we realized that was exactly what we wanted to do. She said it had brought her family luck, and I am nothing if not partial to superstition. So when we arrive to see the reasons why tourists rave about this beach, we are not disappointed.

    Prior to this night, I had never seen an ocean never truly felt the rush of water against my feet racing towards me, then ever

    so slowly regressing back to the sparkling abyss. There was hardly a cloud in the sky that night and the moon cast its glow upon the horizon, lighting up what would otherwise be an opaque cove. I dig my toes into the sand, thankful for its silky feel. The ever-present roar of the waves, despite its newness, is comforting. Why would anyone go to the beach during the day? I wondered. The nights spent at a beach are simply unparalleled.

    I hadnt expected the evening to become any more extraordinary than it already was, but then midnight starts to draw near. There are very few tourists, as they all went to the city for the party. We are surrounded by local families who, one by one, light floating lanterns. We watch as they peacefully float into the sky, lit with the hopes of a prosperous year to come.

    A rogue firework. Screams. Giggles. Merriment. Tres. Dos. Uno. Feliz ao nuevo!

    Fireworks whir and pop as I glance around at my companions. I dont recall a time that I have been so blissfully happy, especially in a place so foreign. I miss my family, but the hurt subsides as I look up at the moon and remember that it is the very same one I can see in Wisconsin. I close my eyes and sigh, soaking in the felicity that surrounds me.

    Ahhh, que tranquila!

    Un Ano NuevoBy Lindsey Bliefernicht (Costa Rica)

    Top photo by Cong Mu, bottom photo by Sara Easa (Costa Rica)


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    Toque Toque PequenoBy Mason Purtell (Brazil)

    photos by Jane Thompson (Argentina)


    E, ali, o mundo se ajoelhava a meus ps

    trapped on that Beach

    free to the World


    i Splashed, we Splashed

    And, there, the world knelt at my feet

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    June 20, 2014 Tiputini Biodiversity Station

    The rainforest strives for balance. An intricate equilibrium of its biomass is always distributed amongst various life forms. Each entity waits for the chance to use anothers energy to build itself. This is the law of the rainforest.

    I find myself unable to comprehend the concept of beauty. It is a word reserved for something truly majestic, something that takes your breath away, something that appeals to your senses and touches your soul. Many people use this word to describe the tropical rainforest surrounding me: the Amazon. The sights and sounds of the rainforest and all of its ecological intricacies exist nearly untouched by human hands. The true power of nature is present here. But, unlike my peers, I havent found much of this experience to be beautiful; I sit and wonder how that could even be possible.

    I am in one of the few places in the world where I can observe such biodiversity. All the information in the textbooks that I have read comes forth from this very ground I stand on, this very forest I am swallowed in. Each day, I witness everyone frantically pulling out their cameras and binoculars to record the rarest species of whatever, as I stand there wondering why I would even want to look in the first place. People could write novels on the levels of beauty they have been exposed to during their stays, but I have yet to see that beauty. I keep wondering if there is something wrong with me, if I am the black sheep of the flock, turning a blind eye to the obvious or too stubborn to admit what is right in front of me. I start to wonder what kind of things I find beautiful.

    I find that secrets can be beautiful. A bond of knowledge between two people, exclusive only

    to the keepers. Or a secret from the worldinformation that has yet to be discovered about a scientific process within the laws of nature; or an author that has discovered a hidden emotion unknown to the spectrum. Maybe a secret location that transcends the planes of time and space, existing outside the bounds of reality. Keeping a part of this world as your personal secret allows you to take ownership of the place or moment or thought, and gives you the satisfaction that you are one of the few people who know about it.

    I find faith to be beautifulfaith in oneself, in another or in an otherworldly being; trusting someone so much that there is no doubt associated with them; believing so wholeheartedly, and building reliability in turn. You create this connection knowing that standards might not be met, that expectations may be unfufilled, and that in your time of need you might be completely alone, but you chose to believe anyway. That level of knowing