Amanda Koster

thoughts and experiences of an international documentarian

how lucky am i…

with one comment


today in the shower (where i do much of my deep thinking) i was in tears of gratitude. absolute tears almost whimpering. i am amazed. salaamgarage is taking off in places i had dreamed of, and places i forgot to dream about. what i forgot to dream about was with the incredible people i would meet along this path.

so, take a look at the people headed to India with us in September. i mean, i am in awe. i get to co: travel, create, inspire, experience, journey, laugh, and stare in amazement with truly incredible people. and.. this is my job, a job i have created out of passion and a purpose i self-defined: storytelling for the greater good.

look who i get to be with:

..and India of all places. i LOVE India! i have a history with India as many of you who know me well, know i do. others who don’t.. i have spent about 6 months total in India throughout my life alone as a backpacker, working, leading the 1st salaamgarage trip, shooting professionally…and have never ever felt so alive, aware, awake and totally tuned into soul energy as i have in India. be it happy, sad, fear, anger, pain, bliss, curiosity, the whole gamut.. i have felt it there in the most intensely concentrated way. my past -who i will love forever- boyfriend’s (indian) cousin said it to me best: “india is like turning up the volume for everything, whatever it is” (i am paraphrasing). that about says it. get ready! (by the way, there is 1 more spot left for India)

so i get to travel with amazing photographers, writers, entrepreneurs, designers, ceo’s, social media junkies, geeks, hippys, leaders, BALLSY people who i am just amazed by! and… these are my ‘customers’!!?? more like my team, or posse,  people who i think truly believe that their storytelling combined with social media, passion, work, vision and inspiration WILL cause change for the greater good. how did i get so lucky?

Look at this from Jesse Powell: “Ideally, I’d be able to create or contribute to a sustainable independent organization that can take the necessary risks to set the examples that governments need in order to adopt the programs on a larger scale. While I think it’d be great to be a teacher, I ought to utilize the skills I’ve learned as an entrepreneur and in the business world to create more opportunities for other people to have rewarding experiences as teachers.”

and this, from Todd Gehman who is just brutally honest about a past travel experience: “I literally shot from the hip most of the time because I was too self-conscious to shove a camera in the faces of strangers. I’d like to be more integrated with the community and positively affect the lives of my subjects.”

And Lisa Field-Elliot “She says, “I believe this trip chose me, rather than the inverse. I am beyond excited for the beautiful images and stories that will be gathered, the connections that will be made, and the doorways that will be opened.”

a new sponsor joby tripods ( just wrote me out of the blue and saidI am excited to support your endeavors and work with you..’ A travel agent yesterday who working on logistics for custom built SalaamGarage trips in africa (stay tuned, late 2010): locally owned and operated collaborators. (  she put it all together for me. i asked ‘are your fees included?’ she said “As for fees from us, there are none!”

Again I am in awe of how this feels. it is so powerful to step right into ones dreams. step right in. throughout the day i have to hold back my tears of joy, really. and i sit hear listing to old U2 and peter gabriel songs (which REALLY touches that magic place for me) right now: ‘one tree hill’… just desiring the whole world to feel this way. this joy, this realization of my dreams and the knowing that this path will inspire many many more people. the stories these travelers will create, and share, spread far and wide and the quiet, personal experiences they will all have, the humility they will witness. i am truly in tears imagining this, feeling this. i KNOW their lives will never ever be the same because mine wasn’t. i know what is out there and i don’t know what is out there. this and the other SalaamGarage journeys will have an impact on others that at the moment we can only dream of but i tell you i can see it. i can see the change, i can feel the shift. look at this India team. look at these faces, their websites, read about their passion, drive, these are changemakers. and not because of SalaamGarage, they always were. we just found each other.

and now, together we are all greater, much more powerful than the sum of our parts. (still in tears)

how did i get so lucky? i have had this vision, quietly, for over a decade and here it is. and it keeps happening, growing. the people i meet, the travelers who come with us, the partners, the sponsors, board of advisers (yep, that’s right!), even just the quiet questions in the corner, very timid emails. all of it. every single person. the janitor at the web 2.0 conference. look at the good we have all tapped into. this is just the beginning. i can feel that too, the same way i felt when i picked up a camera way back when…

i thank you all. this is yours too. this is all yours.

thank you.

Written by amandakoster

July 9, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Posted in salaamgarage

One Response

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  1. well, now i’m in tears. it’s been quite a week since i leapt and clicked go on
    that paypal deposit. the volume is already turned up. and you’ve just confirmed for me that there is something so kindred happening here, so right and so unbelievably f-ing inspiring, that it simply has to happen.
    thanks for the vision. happy to oblige.
    much love, lisa

    doorways traveler

    July 10, 2009 at 8:27 pm

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