Monday, June 21, 2010

Interview with Alyssa Martino

I had the good fortune of interviewing the very talented Alyssa Martino. Check out her website here or follow her on twitter. Alyssa is a writer and public affairs professional who loves all things travel, is interested in multiculturalism and does her bit in trying to fight social injustice in the world.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Alyssa : I'll soon be 23-years-old. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, and have traveled quite a bit (though it's not nearly enough!). After attending college, I moved down to Washington, DC and spent the past eight months working in public affairs. I'm already making moves--my new job entails writing and editing for the publications department of a medical association. It wasn't something I foresaw doing, but I'm excited. One thing I've realized is that you can write one thing for your day job, come home happy, and then sit at your computer and think, "Okay. Now what do I really want to get out there?"
Where did you study?
Alyssa : I studied Peace and Conflict Studies and Creative Writing at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. I fell in love with the campus after just one visit. It was a beautiful place to spend that time, both through snow and sun.
Growing up, who were the people you thought of as your 'heroes'?
Alyssa : My mom was also a journalist for a while, and is generally an amazing wordsmith, so she really inspired me to write. She has also always been really engaged in our community, whether it be through the school system or a charity organized in my hometown after 9/11. My dad has the greatest sense of humor and always follows his passion (even if that passion is something strange, like building halloween decorations in our basement--and now you can see why he makes me laugh!). I'm an only child so I'm incredibly close with my family and friends. I have a couple friends I've had for over 15 years. To me, even 4 years is a lifetime in friendship. They've always been incredibly supportive of me.
In terms of academics, I had a couple teachers in high school who were just really passionate about  social change and justice. Specifically, my newspaper advisor was a huge motivation. He always seemed to be stirring up some sort of opposition to the administration, or organizing some  walk-out or protest. Our newsroom was never quiet.
What is something that is uniquely Alyssa and very few people know about?
I'm useless when it comes to decision-making! I'm indecisive and beat myself up about even insignificant choices. It's something I'm working on--the ability to understand that whatever I do, it will all be fine in the end.
What entices you to travel?

 I'm a very perceptive person when it comes to strangers, and I love storytelling both through words and pictures. I think that's something that makes travel a one-of-a-kind experience for me. Even something as simple as a visit to my Nana's nursing home can result in a moving narrative. To me, that *is* travel. Going somewhere, engaging with people or place on an intimate and perceptive level, and then churning it out into some sort of story with detail and meaning. The reporter's curiosity in me also loves meeting new people and hearing about how they live. When I was in Tunisia, I met a law student named Akram who took my friends and I out to a hookah bar one night. We talked for hours about politics and gender roles. It's something I'll always remember; I'll continue to tell his stories for years, carrying them across seas and giving them life. I travel to make these memories and I write to make them last.
Thanks Alyssa : It was great fun interviewing you :D
(All pictures courtesy of Alyssa Martino)
(Pic 1: Alyssa (far right) with her friends and Pic 2 is a picture of a sunset in St Petersburg)

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