Shelby Simpson was born and raised in Enid, Oklahoma, until leaving to attend college in Arizona at age eighteen. During her time in Flagstaff, she took out a loan to study in Spain—a decision that would launch a ten-year travel career. To count, she's visited forty countries and lived in seven. Simpson recently returned to Oklahoma and has since completed a masters in professional writing, started a publishing company, and released two narrative nonfiction books. Her third is in the works. It will take her on an adventure through five countries over the summer of 2017. Simpson believes in treating her body like a temple Monday through Friday and a carnival Saturday through Sunday. Rugged nature is her happy place, with a solid dance session (to throwback hip-hop jams) on a an LED dance floor as a close second. She is currently working on fitting five lifetimes into one.
Visit Shelby at shelbysimpson.com, and check out her piece here in our Afterthoughts series, in which writers look back on important journeys in their lives.
Grace Ng Dung is an artist, illustrator, and writer. After two years in the Illustration and Fiction Writing program at Columbia College Chicago, she followed her heart's guidance and left college to pursue a more individual and authentic education fueled by travel, creative ventures, and spiritual exploration. A student of nature, mysticism, and the occult, her artwork focuses on reconnecting to the spirit world, liberating the imagination, and celebrating nature.
Though she travels frequently from her home base in Wisconsin, she will soon be putting roots out West.
Visit her art at www.gracengdung.com
Melanie Hackney is Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of the Intermediate Program in the Department of French at New York University. Melanie has a B.A. from Tulane University, an M.A. from the University of South Florida, and she received her PhD in French in 2013 from Louisiana State University. Originally from Rockport, Massachusetts, she has also lived in France and has traveled extensively. Her academic research focuses on writing as technology in twelfth-century French literature and on French New Wave film. Melanie considers her wandering essential to her teaching: it has taught her to respect and value the diversity of people and points of view in the classroom, and more importantly, she wants to share her passion for other cultures and for discovery (intellectual and geographical) with her students. Melanie currently lives in Manhattan with her handsome cat, Desi.
Jasmine Amara is an artist who lives and wanders in California's Owens Valley. Though she's traveled extensively, much of her creative life is dedicated to photographing this landscape because, she writes, "The Owens Valley tells a history of water being stolen from the Paiute-Shoshone—the first people residing here for thousands of years—the plants and wildlife who were here before them, and from the settlers who recently came. The act of taking water by the Department of Water and Power in order to build and grow Los Angeles has significantly impacted the landscape, nature, and spirit of this place as well as the hearts of those who love it."
Explore her website: jasmineamara.com