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What’s in a Name? An Exploration of Identity in Serbia and Croatia

There I was: thousands of miles from home, with a total of zero English-speaking relatives, trying to connect with the place where my family originated from… only to find out that I wasn’t even in the right country!

Of course, to anyone familiar with the Balkans, and especially former-Yugoslavia, this story is a common one. Identifying as Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, or Montenegrin may actually have nothing to do with where you grew up. Or where your parents grew up. Or where your grandparents came from originally.

Woo-woo; Whale Magic?

Whales leave us with questions so puzzling they are unsettling, unshakeable, at times even disturbing. Are whales a product of magic, or something else?

Saving Sharks and Coral Reefs in Malaysian Borneo

Borneo. The name speaks of wildness, of dense rain forests, biodiversity, of elephants and orangutans. Eighteenth century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, co-theorist of speciation, natural selection and evolution, traveled extensively throughout Malaysia and Indonesia describing terrestrial flora and fauna. His work founded the field of biogeography, and Wallace’s Line describes the separation of species between the ecoregions…

Fighting Dynamite With Marine Protection in Borneo

This is the devastation left by blast fishing also called fish bombing, an illegal but rampant form of fishing here in the Coral Triangle. In the practice, a fisherman tosses dynamite, or homemade bombs made from a bottle filled with fertilizer and kerosene lit by a short fuse into the water. The blast kills or stuns all fish within the vicinity, which are easily collected for market. Dangerous to the reef, this method also maims and kills fishermen, and it is not uncommon to see men with fingers or hands missing. What is left behind is a wasteland of flattened coral rubble that can take decades or even centuries to recover.

Searching for Orangutans but Finding Hope for Borneo’s Endangered Wildlife

“Hold it.” Hasri’s upheld hand tells us. He takes two soundless steps on the dried leaves of the lowland Borneo rainforest and listens. We pause for the strange sound to repeat itself among the jungle cicadas and morning calls of birds. From the dense undergrowth comes a cross between a moan and a hoot. The Orangutan…

Warrior Princess, A Warning

When Mindy Budgor, a prospective MBA student, decided to go to Kenya as a volunteer to build a school for the Maasai, she had no idea where this choice would ultimately lead her. As Mindy helped build the school, she discovered that Maasai women were not allowed to become moran, or warriors, a reality that…

Tracking Desert Rhinos On Foot In Namibia

Desert rhino tracking on foot took us deep into the rocky mountains and gravel plains of Damaraland. We were inside the 450,000-hectare Palmwag Concession, where rhinos roam freely across the desert of Namibia. Desert-adapted black rhinos have large home ranges and aren’t easy to find, even for local trackers. Over the past 30 years, the…

The Story About Hiroshima and Nagasaki You’ve Never Heard

“Everything is connected,” exclaimed Takeshi Miyata as he walked along the railway at the Auschwitz death camps, almost 70 years after Jews were carted off to slaughter in the same location. “Jewish scientists escaped the Nazis, helped America build an atomic bomb, and it was dropped on me.” Anyone who entered Hiroshima and Nagasaki within two weeks of…