Jewel of Travel

Jewel of Travel

Eiffel Tower - Paris France - Steven Andrew Martin - Jewel of Travel

Paris, France | 1993

THE JEWEL OF TRAVEL

By Steven A. Martin, PhD

First published as Great Expectations in 1999 by the International Honor Society, this experiential essay explores how the dream of world travel matches up with the reality.

Great expectations

As a young man in the 1980s, I was confident that the more I knew about the world, the more I would enjoy life. I dreamed of visiting the world's iconic places, having fun, and getting a global education. Then, in 1998, I met a man from the US State Department on a bus ride en route to the Dead Sea. He told me, “Travel makes you smarter but less happy.”

Jerusalem, Israel | 1998

My dream of international travel

In my early thirties, I was lucky enough to be able to realize some of those dreams. I visited the Far East and the Middle East. I paddled a boat through the Amazon Rainforest, drove a camper through the Australian Outback, and trekked through the Tibetan Plateau. I saw the Great Pyramid at Giza, skateboarded along the Great Wall of China, and saw the sunset at the Taj Mahal. I crossed the Yangtze, cruised down the Nile and studied the archaeological sites along the Indus. I visited the great museums and historical sites of London, Paris and Rome.

Taj Mahal Agra India 2001 - Steven Andrew Martin - Jewel of Travel

Taj Mahal, Agra, India | 2001

Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt | 1998

Great Wall of China | 2002

The first 10 countries

In the first three years, I visited ten countries, approaching them with a romantic and optimistic mindset. My great expectations were fulfilled – I was seeing the world, having fun, and living my dream of travel.

Surfing in the Bay of Biscay, Spain | 1993

10 to 20 countries

With the next ten countries, I became increasingly aware of the serious issues facing our planet. The more I saw, the more I needed to see.  At the same time, I felt increasingly concerned about the many interconnected threats to our world – such as climate change, pollution of the air, soil, and sea, economic inequality, terrorism, racism and religious bigotry.

Napo River, Ecuador, in the Amazon Rainforest | 2003 | Click to Amazonia Page

Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa | 1997 | Click to South Africa Page

20 to 30 countries

Between 20 and 30 countries, I was in a process of personal realization.

Along with fulfilling my colorful dream of world travel, I had directly encountered appalling acts of deliberate pollution, manufactured poverty, environmental disruption and human suffering.

In every corner of our world, I found a one-sided, undeclared war against nature. I realized that my own jet-set carbon footprint was contributing to the problem, and that I, like almost everyone else, did not know how to be part of the solution.

Johannesburg's South-western township (Soweto) 1997 | Click to South Africa Page

30 to 40 countries

Beyond thirty countries, I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. My enthusiasm for travel was tempered by my growing sense of impending doom for our beautiful world. Everywhere I met experts who told me that our world was imperiled, if not already damaged beyond repair, and there seemed to be very little I or anyone else could do about it.

Soweto, South Africa | 1997

Santo Domingo, Ecuador | 2004

Surat Thani, Thailand | 2007

Global issues

I had seen DDT powder scooped into baskets with bare hands in markets in Ecuador, and found gold- and oil-mining companies spilling mercury and lead into Amazon tributaries. I had witnessed organized religion tearing apart a Holy Land.

I had endured air pollution in China so thick that I could feel my life expectancy drop with each breath. I had witnessed violence, sickness and hunger in India and Africa. I had seen sewage, plastics, and nuclear waste dumped into our seas and oceans.

Everywhere I had met people who were concerned about these issues but could offer no solutions.

Cambodia's great lake, the Tonle Sap, in 2007 | Click to Cambodia Page

I began to realize that the troubles of others are also my own. How can anyone be truly happy when others are suffering? How can anyone in the world be safe as long as there are people – or corporations – damaging our health and the global environment?

Mekong Delta, Vietnam | 2014

Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, China | 2000

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | 1997

Burden of knowledge

Travel has taught me that I must, without surrender, be grateful for whatever happens.

Albert Einstein explained that the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is all comprehensible. Those who want to understand the current state and complexity of today's world are destined to carry the burden of that knowledge.

As I confront the geopolitical, economic and environmental issues that are harming our species and our planet, I inevitably feel deeply concerned and accountable. The more I know, the more I owe.

Xian, China | 1995

New Delhi, India | 2001

Coca, Ecuador | 2003

On the flight home from a trip around the world, I gazed through the airplane window, and reflected on my travels. I had explored forty countries and heard the tones of as many languages. I had spent my life savings and learned many things about our world, some of them fantastic, others unsettling and several terrifying.

I had to agree with Shakespeare that the jewel of experience comes at an infinite price.

Mount Everest, June 2000 | Click to Tibet Page

The Jewel of Travel was originally published as Great Expectations, in the 1999 International Honor Society Anthology Nota Bene. The essay also won top honors in the 1999 Hawaii Community College Literary Competition and the 1999 State of Hawaii League for Innovation Literary Competition.

I hope you enjoy my photos and the information in the links provided.

Thank you,

–Steven Martin

On expedition to the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in western Amazonia

My Story – Read More

My Story – Read More

From Homepage...

From GED to PhD –

After reading the Swiss Family Robinson at 15 years old, I left home in the Ohio rustbelt in 1978 and flew to Hawaii where I planned to live in a treehouse. I found work as cook and trained to become a chef.

 At the same time, I discovered Hawaii's big waves and surfing.

Over the following few years, I learned American Red Cross lifesaving skills, became a County of Hawaii beach lifeguard, and went on to start a surf school. I taught surf skills to hundreds of people including international celebrities, movie stars and astronauts from NASA.

 

Continued from Homepage...

My love for surfing, learning, and meeting new people led me to the University of Hawaii's Chinese philosophy summer program at Peking University. It was a great way to travel and earn a B.A. at the same time. This path led to study abroad in China, Costa Rica, South Africa, and Spain.

After graduating, I was fortunate enough to obtain a prestigious Taiwan Scholarship to study for a Master's degree. My research took me to the mountains of Taiwan to live among the world's last headhunters, the Formosan aborigines, and document their lives in ethnographic films.

But surfing remained my true passion, and after discovering perfect uncrowded waves on the Andaman Coast, I moved to Phuket, Thailand, to join the Faculty of International Studies at Prince of Songkla University.

My ongoing research on surf tourism and the environment has led to an MBA, a PhD, and a growing list of publications.

I hope others can benefit from my story and find success in their own lives.

Facebook

FACEBOOK PHOTO ALBUMS

This is an index to my photo albums, taken all over the world during my nine undergraduate study abroad programs, and in the course of my postgraduate work in Taiwan and Thailand.

Please note that viewers may need to have an active Facebook account in order to view the photo albums listed below.

Click photo to visit my Facebook

1995–2002 CHINA – SUMMER STUDY ABROAD

Featured here are the unedited photos taken during various international educational experiences with the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH) and Peking University (PKU). Most of these programs started out with university lectures and afternoon field trips in Beijing, followed by a group "Chinese Culture Study Tour", led by UHH Professor John HL Cheng.

1996 COSTA RICA & SOUTH AMERICA – SUMMER STUDY ABROAD

Summer abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica, with University of Nevada at Reno (UNR), University Study Abroad Consortium (USAC), and National University of Costa Rica (UNA).

  • 1996 COSTA RICA – Based in Heredia, with independent travel to Panama, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.

1997 SOUTH AFRICA – SEMESTER ABROAD

Semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, with the School for International Training (SIT) and University of Cape Town (UCT). Photos posted here were scanned from prints in different formats.

1998 SPAIN – SEMESTER ABROAD

Semester abroad in Seville, Spain, with Saint Bonaventure University (SBU), College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS), and the International College of Seville (ICS), Spain. The spring semester offered a number of holidays and long weekends, and I was fortunate enough to visit several other cities in Spain, as well as Portugal and Morocco.

1998 MIDDLE EAST

2007–2018  THAILAND – GRADUATE STUDIES AND TEACHING

CAMBODIA

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1995 Silk Road

About this Website

About this Website

A WEBSITE TO REACH STUDENTS

I developed the courses and Learning Adventures series for this website to visually support my university presentations and public talks. The text, photos, videos and online resources throughout this website provide an accessible multimedia platform for students to follow and explore on their mobile devices, such as laptop computers, tablets, and smart phones.

Encouraging Students to Reach for the Stars | NASA STS-105 Astronauts Go Surfing in Hawaii and Visit Local Schools | Read more on my Surfing Experience page...

International Education Online

This website showcases some of the many photos and videos from my Learning Adventures, and strongly reflects my passion for international education and travel. For students, I have a portfolio of courses that I teach, with links to relevant photo journals. Take a look at my educational talks on Eastern Civilization, featuring travel diaries from the Chinese Silk RoadPakistan, Taiwan and Tibet; or my Environmental Studies course, featuring stories from the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, and current research on sustainable surf tourism.

Experiential Learning

I also developed this website to share my philosophy of experiential learning.

At fifteen, I left the Ohio rust belt, and went to live in a jungle valley by the ocean in Hawaii, where I learned to surf and found freedom. Now, 40 years and 40 countries later, I am a university lecturer with a Ph.D., two MAs, and over 50 published articles, living and working on the amazing resort island of Phuket, Thailand.

Wherever I went, I always took my journal and my camera.

I hope other students will do the same.

What I want to do with this website is to inspire you to leave behind your boring classroom, get out into the surf, into the world, and learn through adventure and travel – as well as from the books and teachers you meet on the way.

Develop Your Own Personal and Educational Website

To learn more about personal website design, or for help in creating your own home page, please contact me or visit PersonalBiographics.com.

Personal Biographics Web Design | Dr. Steven Andrew Martin

PRESENTING TO THE WORLD

Why and How to Build a Personal Website for Yourself and Others

By Steven A. Martin

Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Asst. Professor Dr. Steven A. Martin

Author, educator, filmmaker

Asst. Professor of Asian Studies in Sociology and Anthropology at the Department of Thai Studies, Faculty of International Studies (FIS), Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Phuket Campus

An international academic, and a native speaker of English, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, USA, I have written over 50 published articles in research areas including environmental resource management, surf tourism, Thai geography, and the history of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan.

I have a proven track record of conducting high-level multidisciplinary research, including systematic literature reviews, as well as popularizing difficult subjects through my lectures and online articles for a wide range of audiences.

2007 – Present: Lecturer and Assistant Professor of Asian Studies in Sociology and Anthropology at the Department of Thai & ASEAN Studies, Faculty of International Studies (FIS), Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Phuket Campus, Thailand.

I have designed and delivered many courses in the fields of environmental studies, geography, ancient civilizations, interdisciplinary studies, qualitative research methodologies, and English language acquisition.

As an enthusiastic supporter of the movement towards digitization and globalization of education, I have developed a range of online learning materials, including professionally produced videos and other multimedia, complete university courses and my Learning Adventures series. These are all curated on my bio website and YouTube channel at:

Page/ Courses ; Page/ Learning-Adventures ; YouTube/ University-Filmworks

Complete listings of all my peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, theses, proceedings, and magazine articles are available online at any of the sites listed above. Please also visit the Taiwan Ethnographic Research  and Surf Tourism Research pages to learn more about my current projects and publication areas.

In 2013, I earned my PhD in Environmental Management from Prince of Songkla University by developing an index for coastal management. The surf resource sustainability index (SRSI) I developed is a methodology which is now used for assessing the conservation aptitude of surfing areas globally.

In 2010, I obtained my MBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Prince of Songkla University (PSU) in Phuket, and subsequently received a full scholarship for PhD research in Environmental Management.

Through the support of a Taiwan Scholarship from the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Los Angeles, I completed a Master's of Arts in Taiwan Studies (currently Asia-Pacific Studies) in 2006 at National Chengchi University (NCCU), Taipei, ROC.

I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Studies (Chinese Culture & Philosophy) with the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH) in 2001, after earning my Associate in Arts degree from the Hawaii Community College (HCC) in 2000.

  • 2013: PhD in Environmental Management, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand.
  • 2010: MBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand.
  • 2006: MA in Taiwan Studies, National Chengchi University, Taiwan.
  • 2001: BA in Liberal Studies (Chinese Culture), University of Hawaii, United States.
  • 2000: AA in Liberal Arts (Honors), Hawaii Community College, United States.

The study abroad programs listed below all counted towards either my BA degree from the University of Hawaii or my MA degree from the National Chengchi University, Taiwan. Full details of each of these courses, including the relevant accreditations and my photo journals, are available at:  Page/ Study-Abroad

  • 1995-2002: University of Hawaii – China (summer abroad). Participation in 5 accredited certificate programs, Peking University (PKU), Beijing, PRC.
  • 1996: University Study Abroad Consortium (USAC) – Costa Rica (summer abroad). National University of Costa Rica at Heredia.
  • 1997: School for International Training (SIT) – South Africa (semester abroad – fall). University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  • 1998: College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS) – Spain (semester abroad – spring). International College of Seville (ICS), Spain.
  • 2003-2004: University of Hawaii – Taiwan (academic year abroad). Ming-Hsin University of Science and Technology (MUST), Taiwan, ROC.

A full list of all my awards, scholarships, press and media appearances, and letters and documents of recognition are available at: Page/ Awards-Scholarship

When I was living in Taiwan, I was approached by an agent for a Taiwanese film production company. They recruited me to appear in various TV commercials, including some for blue-chip companies such as Nissan. This led to my being offered a leading role in the successful made-for-TV Taiwanese drama film Numbers.

One of my classmates introduced me to American filmmaker Tommie Williamson, who invited me to fly to Taitung in southeastern Taiwan, to work as a researcher and writer on an oral history project. We would be documenting on film the life-histories of a unique indigenous people who were among the last to be contacted and subjugated by the Japanese colonists.

The project changed the direction of my life, and I spent the next four years making ethnographic films for the Bunun, an ethnolinguistic group who had lost their traditional lands during the Japanese Colony on Taiwan (1895-1945).

In recent years, I worked with Edward E. Vaughan (1942-2018), an accomplished Associate Director (CBS News) and Assistant Director, Production Manager, Producer and Director on many popular TV shows and movies. The work focused on creating educational content including Course Portraits®, education media, and personal video-taped interviews of students and professors, exploring the diverse range of leadership and international education experiences currently available in Asia, particularly in Hong Kong, as well as Cambodia,Thailand and Vietnam.

Through Ed Vaughan's mentorship, I was able to develop University Filmworks Production and Learning, a video production entity offering educational film production and learning opportunities for students through workshops and short courses.

Inspired by reading the Swiss Family Robinson, I left home in the Ohio rustbelt in 1978, at 15 years old, and flew to Hawaii, where I planned to live in a treehouse. I found work as a cook, and trained to become a chef. At the same time, I discovered Hawaii's big waves and surfing. Over the next few years, I learned American Red Cross lifesaving skills, became a County of Hawaii Water Safety Officer, and went on to start a surf school. I taught water safety and surf skills to hundreds of people including international celebrities, movie stars and astronauts from NASA.

My love for traveling, learning, and meeting new people led me to the University of Hawaii's Chinese culture summer program at Peking University. It was a great way to travel and earn a B.A. at the same time. This path led to study abroad in China, Costa Rica, South Africa, and Spain.

After graduating, I was fortunate enough to obtain a prestigious Taiwan Scholarship to study for a Master's degree. My research took me to the mountains of Taiwan to live among the world's last headhunters, the Formosan aborigines, and document their lives in ethnographic films.

Surfing remained my true passion, and after discovering perfect uncrowded waves on the Andaman Coast, I moved to Phuket, Thailand, to join the Faculty of International Studies at Prince of Songkla University. My ongoing research on surf tourism and the environment has led to an MBA, a PhD, and a growing list of publications.

I hope others can benefit from my story and find success in their own lives.

Steven A. Martin Productions | University Filmworks | Youtube Channel

Study Abroad Journal

Study Abroad Journal

Study Abroad Journal (SAJ) encourages international education for social transformation across countries and economies. Our mission is to build goodwill between America and the world through enlightened engagement in global issues among diverse peoples.

I developed the Journal to promote and support international studies, educational and cultural exchanges, and all aspects of learning which foster a better understanding of the world and cultivate environmental responsibility.