DSC_0877.jpg
Portraits.jpg
Portraits2.jpg
DSC_0734.JPG
DahrBcLXUAU8I2L.jpg
DSC_0364.jpg
DSC_0441.jpg
DSC_0877.jpg

Home


Welcome to

the observer effect

a podcast of travel stories

 

SCROLL DOWN

Home


Welcome to

the observer effect

a podcast of travel stories

 

Portraits.jpg

New Page


New Page


62 countries

This podcast documents my encounters overseas. In each episode, a stranger tells me the story of how travel has changed them. I want to capture the peculiar warmth of conversations on the road and the insights we take from new places. I am curious how listening might change me, how I can get better at it, and how listening affects others—in other words, the observer effect.

More than 300 interviews

Portraits2.jpg

New Page


New Page


In Burma i met Mr. Book.

Just before I left Hsipaw, he invited me to visit his teacher, who was 94 years old. Sao Myo Cit took us into her bamboo house and explained that in 1953 she won a fellowship—the only—to study in London and afterwards decided to devote her career to the students back in her village, like Mr. Book, who sat next to me with his chin in his palms, beaming. She spoke with eyes closed, and I studied her wrinkles, imagining her youth abroad.

As we listened, a toddler came up the steps and knelt behind her with a small chocolate. Then another arrived silently with a pear. Another brought a tamarind, until there were a dozen. Finally, she interrupted her story to say, “Excuse me. I have to bless these children.” I witnessed the gift that passes between the experienced and the inexperienced, and since then, not only do I want to be 94-year-old teacher but I try harder to listen and understand how encounters like this shape us.

Now I look for Mr. Book everywhere I go.

DSC_0734.JPG

Featured Episodes


"I came back from each of my journeys a little different ...

 

Featured Episodes


"I came back from each of my journeys a little different ...

 

FEATURED EPISODES

42 KENYA

WHERE ANNA KIDNAPPED A BABY

35 ATHENS

WHERE FREUD LED US ASTRAY

75 IRAQ

WHERE TRAVIS FELT A TUG ON HIS JACKET

89 SAHARA

WHERE ILHAM SLID DOWN A DUNE

70 CHICAGO LIVE SHOW

WHERE ANNE TOOK OFF HER HIJAB

47 SYRIA

WHERE BINTA MET AN OLD MAN

30 NORWAY

WHERE ORRY WENT IN SEARCH OF DEEP WINTER

DahrBcLXUAU8I2L.jpg

Latest Episode


"... it never occurred to me that my new experiences were having an effect on me, and it was not till long afterwards that I saw how they had formed my character.  In contact with all these strange people I lost the smoothness I had acquired when, leading the humdrum life ... I was one of the stones in a bag.  I got back my jagged edges.  I was at last myself."

—W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM

Latest Episode


"... it never occurred to me that my new experiences were having an effect on me, and it was not till long afterwards that I saw how they had formed my character.  In contact with all these strange people I lost the smoothness I had acquired when, leading the humdrum life ... I was one of the stones in a bag.  I got back my jagged edges.  I was at last myself."

—W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM

Current EPISODE

DSC_0364.jpg

New Page


DSC_0441.jpg

New Page


New Page


Any careful word may suggest a route out of which much, or all, will develop.
— Annie Dillard