Category Archives: Culture

What We Do To Feel Like We Belong: Pushing Hairlines Beyond Feminism, Comfort and Closed Doors

I am a proud and fervent feminist. But I have done some things that would go against the more traditional grains of feminism and I am about to explain how and why.

I live in a traditional remote Anatolian town called Kars. It is a town that was featured in Orhan Pamuk’s novel SNOW, in which a writer (KA) visits Kars in winter to report on women committing suicides because they are not allowed to wear headscarves in school. This story is fictional. Kars is actually not that conservative. But I am more reserved here than I am in most places. I wear baggy clothes. I keep my eyes averted when I walk the streets. I flaunt a wedding ring. I am cautious about male guests. In public I am remarkably guarded for the spirit-exploding-from-the-inside-kind-of-person that I feel I am.

But behind closed doors my world, my body, my thoughts are ripe for the picking: by women. I recently saw the full potential of this when I uttered the following four words: My. Lover. Is. Visiting. (more…)

How the Powerful Bow: to the Hajis, Plates, and Boots with the Fur

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I feel comfortable.

Sitting in boarding lounge 101 for the morning flight to Kars, I am listening to loud remixed music and pounding away a grant application on my keyboard. I am coming off of two months back in Istanbul, the US, and Europe where a computer and a pair of earphones are my office no matter where I am. They require no roots other than outlets and extension cords.

I feel exposed.

I look up and see a line of old women shrouded in white veils, their white skirts and white shirts are tucked into white vests and white shawls. Their eyes are a grey murky color of old and they pour searchingly and judgingly into mine. I imagine what I must look like to them, a human wrapped in white cords of capitalism instead of white fabrics of Allah. Reminder: I am not in a world of my sleek Apple products. (more…)

We’re Back From 6,000 km of Traveling Across the Caucasus! And We Need Some Help Translating

Friends! I hope you have enjoyed Explorer’s Journal so far… there is a lot more from where that came! We have traveled now well over 6,000 km, met with hundreds of people, nearly 50 beekeepers spread across four countries, and now we are rushing against the clock to write-up new material to share about our epic quest in magazines and journals around the world…

But we need some help.

Do you speak Georgian, Turkish, Russian, Armenian, or Azeri? As we sift through all of our materials: thousands of photos, hours of interview, and stacks of notes, we know we can’t tackle this all on our own.

Would you be willing to do 30 – 60 minutes of loose translation for some of our footage? If so, we will publicly thank you and send you some of our printed photographs. You will also get to have a sneak peek into all of the work we have been doing over these last eight months.

If interested, send a message to inspiredbeeing (at) We would love to hear from you, and thank you for your support!

Interviewing by night in from Georgian to Turkish in Turkish Macahel. Join the adventure now! (photo of Claire and Davut by Cat Jaffee).

Explorer’s Journal: Conversing With The Caucasus From 3,500 Feet

Phrase from Field: For the first time in years, we are finally at the highest point on the horizon, where conversations are at once of mighty proportions, between the great peaks of the south and the towering crests of the north Caucasus, between the shores of the clouds and the hour-glass manipulations of the sun; they are also small, a spooked mountain chicken squawking behind a rock, the shocked and silent cries of flowers who grow this high to escape the treads of man-kind, only to fall beneath feet on a rare day of sun.

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Explorer’s Journal: Dropping 2,700 Meters, Nine Hours, Downhill, Through ‘Nam. And You Better Leave the Forest By Six.


Phrase from Field: Eager hands direct us to thick scratchy rhododendron bushes, promising a fast route down the 2,700 meter drop through the Macaheli cloud forest maze, mentioning little of waterfalls, river crossings, or the labyrinth of towering trees and their karakovan hives, beacons of history reminding us of the final words of mountain villagers, “Make sure you leave the forest by six.”

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