Episodes
On this episode of Far From Home, I continue my series where I’m checking in with friends and colleagues around the world to get a sense of the many ways COVID-19 is affecting people and how their governments are handling the pandemic. This time we hear voices from Lithuania, South Africa, India, Ghana, and Guam. If you have a unique perspective or experience on COVID-19 from your part of the world, I’d love to hear from you. Please drop me a line at info@farfromhomepodcast.org. Far From...
Published 10/12/20
You probably missed it amid everything else going on in the world recently, but last week was the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, so on this episode, we’re staying within the U.S. for a change and going to New Orleans, revisiting what the storm was like for residents of the city and looking at parallels with the current situation with COVID-19. Katrina left lasting footprints on New Orleans that may never be erased, but for many people who don’t live on the Gulf Coast of the United...
Published 09/09/20
On this episode of Far From Home, I’m beginning an occasional series where I’m checking in with friends and colleagues around the world to get a sense of the many ways COVID-19 is affecting people and how their governments are handling the pandemic. This time we hear voices from France, Haiti, Brazil, the UK, Peru, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan. I’m hoping to do more shows like this, and I’d love to hear from listeners in far flung places! If you’re living somewhere outside of the...
Published 08/17/20
If you want to build a house on the Caribbean island of Barbuda, you can just put up a fence wherever you want, and have it. You don’t pay for it. You don’t sign for anything. You just have to be Barbudan. Barbudans have held their pink sand paradise “in common” since the 1800s. No titles. No paperwork. But on the heels of a major disaster, the Prime Minister has come up with a new plan. He wants to sell Barbudans the plot of land they’ve been living on for one Eastern Caribbean dollar and...
Published 07/29/20
From the 1930s to the 1960s, Black motorists driving across the United States and Canada often brought along a copy of The Negro Travelers’ Green Book, which was a sort of AAA guide that told them which gas stations, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses were safe for them to stop at, and which areas they should avoid. Publication eventually ended after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, when things seemed to be improving. But now two Colorado women are trying to revive it in digital...
Published 07/21/20
As COVID-19 continues to spread, I’ve been curious to hear stories of how it’s affecting people around the world in interesting or unexpected ways. On this episode, I interview writer and filmmaker Mike Hickey about how he and his fellow residents of Newfoundland, Canada are dealing with a government experiment to keep the infections under control by limiting who people can interact with. At the time we spoke, they were only allowed to expand their social bubble to one other household, which...
Published 07/09/20
In light of the recent protests for racial justice across the United States and around the world, I chat with two African American friends about what it’s like to travel as a Black person, both in their own country and abroad. The stories they tell are sometimes funny and sometimes sad, but always eye-opening, and they shed light on what it’s like to constantly stick out from the crowd, even when you’re just trying your best to fit in. Far From Home is a podcast where award-winning public...
Published 06/22/20
As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, I speak with Istanbul-based author and journalist Fariba Nawa about what the situation is like where she lives in Turkey. Then I play a recent episode of her podcast, On Spec, where she tells the story of her photographer friend Hilaneh Mahmoudi’s personal experience battling the virus. If you enjoy this episode, check out Hilaneh’s photo essay of what she went through. And listen to other shows in the On Spec archive wherever you get your...
Published 05/24/20
As the world is consumed by COVID-19, I check in with author and American expat Tiffany Parks, who lives on the outskirts of Rome, to get a sense of what things are like in Italy right now. Then, in my quest to find positive stories to share in this dispiriting time, I play an episode of The Bittersweet Life — the travel podcast Tiffany co-hosts with her friend Katy Sewall — about so-called travel angels, the unsung, everyday heroes who assist in small and not-so-small ways when we’re in a...
Published 04/21/20
Published 04/21/20
With a global pandemic, canceled flights, and closed borders, many travelers suddenly found themselves trapped in foreign countries, trying to figure out how to get home, even if they thought they were taking all the necessary precautions. I share the story of one of them. And I tell what happened when the virus recently came to my own household. Far From Home is a podcast where award-winning public radio journalist Scott Gurian visits parts of the world that most people never think about...
Published 03/25/20
While Far From Home is on a break between seasons, I’m popping into your feed from time to time to share segments from other shows I’ve enjoyed that I think all of you might like as well. Today I’m featuring an episode from The Radio Vagabond podcast, where Danish radio producer Palle Bo tells stories from his travels, kind of like I do. This time he goes to a place I’m not quite brave enough to go myself, at least not right now, and not as a journalist: North Korea. You can read more about...
Published 03/03/20
In light of the recent political developments that briefly brought the US and Iran to the brink of war, I’m re-releasing an excerpt of a story I produced for the first season of Far From Home. It’s about the time a few years ago when I drove through Iran with my brother Drew and our friends Jane and Rosi as part of an 11,000 mile road trip we took across Europe and Asia, raising money for charity. Along the way, we had enlightening conversations with average Iranians that made us see their...
Published 02/06/20
The historical accounts are a bit fuzzy, but the way the story is commonly told, Caribbean slaves in the 18th century gained a day of freedom two times a year, on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) and New Year’s Day. They made costumes and played music to celebrate, and over the centuries, that tradition evolved into what’s now know as the annual Junkanoo festival, an all-night parade through the streets that’s been compared to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Carnival in Brazil. On this...
Published 12/24/19
While driving across Russia on my way home from the Mongol Rally (the story I documented on the first season of this podcast), I had several conversations and interactions with people in Russia and Kazakhstan that surprised and even baffled me. So on this episode, I call up Charles Maynes, an American public radio journalist based in Moscow, to help me interpret and understand Russian culture. If you want to hear some of Charles’s reporting, I highly recommend the Spacebridge documentary...
Published 11/30/19
This week’s episode is a bit different from what I normally do on the show. I’ve been getting a lot of questions and comments from listeners recently, so I thought I’d spend some time today answering some of them and sharing a bit of the feedback I’ve received. Some of you were also curious about my background and how I created Far From Home, so in the second half of the program, I’m featuring a recent interview I did with Corey Cambridge on his show, OPP (Other People’s Podcast), where I...
Published 11/14/19
This upcoming January marks the tenth anniversary of the massive earthquake in Haiti. It came on a Tuesday afternoon, 12 days into the new year, and destroyed or severely damaged a quarter of a million homes, killing more than 100,000 people. Eight months later, in September of 2010, I traveled to Haiti with several journalist colleagues to document the country’s slow recovery process. On today’s episode, I revisit my journey and some of the reporting I did, and I check in with Haitian...
Published 11/05/19
When he was growing up in Southern California, Addi Somekh wasn't quite sure what to do with his life. But he knew from a young age that he wanted to "spread warmth" and make other people happy. On this week’s episode, the unusual story of how Addi’s quest to do just that set him off on a worldwide mission to make people laugh. Addi and his friend Charlie hatch a plan to travel around the globe making balloon hats for people, but what at first sounds like a fun and quirky adventure turns out...
Published 10/17/19
I feel like several of the trips I’ve taken in recent years have been to places people have urged me to go while I still can, or at least before things change. On today’s show, I visit Cambodia, which is one such place that’s changed dramatically, where the present no longer looks like the past. First I go to Angkor Wat, which had just 8000 tourists in 1993, but 2.5 million by 2018. Then I take a ride on Battambang’s famous bamboo railway, which was moved to a new location the year after my...
Published 10/04/19
As a follow-up to my last episode, I present the story of my friend Dennis, who also tried ayahuasca in Peru and also seemed to be immune to its effects. Far From Home is a podcast where award-winning public radio journalist Scott Gurian visits parts of the world that most people never think about and tells stories they've never heard. For more info, visit farfromhomepodcast.org
Published 09/28/19
In the previous episode of Far From Home, I visited Peru, where I met a traditional medicine man name Lucho. This time, I accompany him to a healing ceremony where he uses a hallucinogenic brew called ayahuasca. I also speak with an anthropologist to learn more about the history of shamanism. Visit my website to see some photos from the ceremony. Far From Home is a podcast where award-winning public radio journalist Scott Gurian visits parts of the world that most people never think about...
Published 09/23/19
Lucho is a traditional medicine man who describes himself as a "curandero," or someone who heals. Using medicinal herbs, archeological relics, and hallucinogenic plants (as well as some special powers), he claims to have rid himself of diabetes and his father of cancer. He regularly travels around Peru treating people with all sorts of ailments. On this episode of Far From Home, I join him as he goes on a journey, searching for a star-shaped stone with supposed magical powers that he saw in a...
Published 09/06/19
In 1998, political leaders in Northern Ireland signed a peace agreement they hoped would end 30 years of armed conflict between Catholic nationalists and Protestant loyalists. Decades later, the situation has improved, but cities like Belfast remain divided by dozens of fences and walls separating the two communities. And removing them isn’t going to be easy. On this episode of Far From Home, I visit Northern Ireland to learn about the history and speak to residents about why the walls are...
Published 08/22/19
Throat singing is one of the world’s oldest forms of music. It’s practiced by indigenous groups in several parts of the world, including South Africa and the Canadian Arctic. But mostly when people talk about throat singing, they’re referring to the style performed in the remote Russian republic of Tuva, which the local people call khoomei. It’s an ancient practice created by the nomadic people of Central Asia who were trying to mimic sounds of nature like the songs of birds, a babbling...
Published 08/13/19
For more than 80 years, Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market had a reputation for supplying some of the freshest and best quality seafood anywhere. But over the decades, it had become overcrowded, unsanitary, and unsafe. After years of planning, the city decided to move the market last fall to a larger and more modern facility about a mile-and-a-half away. Despite the obvious benefits, there were also plenty of complaints that the new location was harder to get to, felt sterile and soulless, and...
Published 07/25/19