The Backpacker Poem is ONLINE

8 Oct

This is it: Our around-the-world video project is done!

To give all the newbies a short recap: back in August 2012, while I was backpacking through Perú, I wrote a poem about the life on the road – and had the idea to ask backpackers around the world to participate in a film project based on this poem. I filmed myself talking about this idea and posted the resulting video onto my blog:

I honestly wasn’t sure how much interest this project would spark up. Having a blog is really like talking to yourself in the mirror when you think you’re all by yourself. I’m constantly being surprised with the lines: “I read in your blog that…” So after being given evidence from different corners that there are avid readers of my blog, I decided to risk it and take our relationship to the next level: active participation.

… And I received incredible feedback! The project was retweeted and passed around immediately, and I received the first video contribution on the very same day – thank you Val! Over the upcoming two months, the videos kept pouring in. I was in a fever whenever I received a new video. I must have watched them over & over again. It was pure christmas-presents feeling, pure excitement. Honestly: I’m sad it’s over! I loved opening my inbox to find a new video lying in wait.

Ofcourse I didn’t know, until the end, which lines people would choose and therefore which lines were taken. It was interesting to see which lines were the ones that people most identified with. “Joyful that my wealth was the landscapes around me” was a favourite. In this way, the poem came alive over the last two months, like a puppet slowly beginning to move. I loved hearing my words with so many different voices.

What was fun was when two people, who live on opposite sides of the planet and know nothing of each other, chose the same lines. In video, they have to share the lines, and while editing it sometimes looked to me as though these complete strangers were in the middle of an intimate dialogue…

I gained a lot of insight learning which lines touched you the most. As a writer, as a blogger, I’m constantly on a mission to find out which lines keep you awake at night. I have a few favourites in there too, that might have a cameo in Munay.

Back in Germany, I set up my computer and began editing. I took this picture last night, as I was almost done:

On a personal note: the best lesson this project gave me was the realisation that there’s a community reading this blog. So if you can hear me, if you’re reading this: it’s fantastic knowing you’re out there.

This is it. This is what happens when a bunch of creative and exciting people around the world read a poem.


The Backpacker Poem from ritti soncco on Vimeo.

If you liked it, please share it on your facebook, twitter, blogs, etc! If you liked it, join the blog so that you can join our next project!

Additionally to a line from the poem, I received a short film from a backpacker friend, who not only wanted to send me her line, but also her thoughts on the project itself. I compiled her words into a short video, so as to share it with all of you. This is what she had to say about backpacking and about our Backpacker Poem Project:


Some notes to editing THE BACKPACKER POEM:

Editing presented two major challenges: The first was, as it has always been, sound. Most people, when they’re backpacking, aren’t carrying professional sound equipment around in their backpacks – unless your name is Almuth, you worked at Radio Free FM, and you’re backpacking through Perú. When I recorded a video and played it back on the camera, the sound seemed good. Later, on the editing programme, not so much. Well. Such is life. I wanted to put subtitles so as to bring a little more focus onto the lines and less onto the changing locations – in the end, subtitles were good with the sound issue, too.

The second issue was that everyone, obviously, has their own rhythm of speech. I tackled it by laying a soundtrack: it’s “Unspoken” by Four Tet.

I loved your creative videos and your enthusiastic energy. Personally, I would love to do something like this again. So I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts on the final video, and if you think it would be sweet to see how far we can go with ideas like this.

It’s been a great ride with you guys in my car. I look forward to your thoughts, ideas, comments. Please feel free share the video on your every networking site! Here’s to more adventures on the road of our crazy little heads.


4 Responses to “The Backpacker Poem is ONLINE”

  1. Gerhard October 9, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    What a great outcome of your film project which seems for me like a short cut of your whole trip when I watched it. In combination with reading your entire posts since you started in Lima the backpacker poem is the rounding of your journey. It allowed us to almost discover your feelings and emotions that you`ve had in some silent moments.
    How encouraging it must be now for you after giving the poem birth at the beginning of your journey and having the idea to let us participate not knowing what the result will look like. Hey, that`s experimental art! You always define yourself as writer and film maker. What another wonderful example of combining both with being an avowed backpacker on top of it and traveling somewhere in South and Middle America. That makes it really unique.
    Even that I had only a backpack on for a long weekend recently hiking in Switzerland I immediately felt involved in the backpacker`s rhythm while watching the film. It`s like having spontaneous more than a dozen of new friends from all over the world who reciting lines of your poem. There is instant confidence that these must be sound and nice fellows because they are friends of yours (and that can`t be too bad). Thank you so much for giving the chance to participate and it should encourage all others who hesitated; listen, you don`t need to have skills in acting, just give it a try.
    According to your invitation to find lines of the poem where we`ll find ourselves or that touches us I think I didn`t read a poem that carefully and often like the backpacker poem since my school days to find something that fits and do rehearsals for the film shooting 😉 (could be a tip for teachers).
    You did a wonderful job with editing (directors cut) and yes, it would make definitely fun to do more rides with you like this.

  2. unevensurfaces November 23, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    Ritti… it’s awesome!


  1. Now Someone Has To Write the Blurb (and I Don’t Want That Someone To Be Me) | A Journal on Being a Writer - August 19, 2014

    […] in Lima is really helping, as I thought / hoped it would. Lima is, after all, the place I wrote The Backpacker Poem and started its around-the world-project. Some places are best for extroverting (like Cusco); others are best for introverting (Lima). Know […]

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