Hey my name is Joel Balsam and welcome to my travel blog!

Who Am I? I’m a 21st century multi-media journalist. Unashamed of my curiosity, I am experiencing to experience and to tell you about it. Who inspires me? Hunter S. Thompson, Jian Ghomeshi, Shane Smith and Tin Tin.

All jokes aside (or inside), I love to produce media.

I recently graduated from Concordia University in Montreal with a Double Major in Journalism and Political Science. While there, I got involved with every media organization I could, including the campus radio station CJLO 1690 AM where I was News Director and co-creator/co-host of a radio show called Currently Concordia (think CBC Radio’s “Q,” but at University), the campus TV station CUTV, created three documentaries and more…

Forget The Box has graciously given me a soapbox to stand on while I partake on a potentially life-changing journey to South America (Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil). I’m packing light.

I’ve always been extremely interested in this particular continent. It is so steaming hot politically that the powder keg is bound to explode in revolution at any time and that is extremely attractive to a news junkie like me! Also, the culture and art scene there is extremely rich.

If you are looking for a travel blog with the hottest resorts, a daily account of where I went, or the best food, you won’t find it here (although there are some really cool blogs out there that you should check out if you are interested such as Legal Nomads What you will find here is real journalism – with interviews, background information and intriguing life stories from my perspective.

Sure, I realize that I am not the first twenty-something white male from the suburbs to travel to poor countries. I’m not going to “save the planet,” or to disrupt the local community (as much as possible). Instead, I am going to experience vastly different cultures and meet new people. Instead of hogging that information to myself, I will use my media skills to create a connection between you and the people I meet with this blog.

Make sure to subscribe to this page on your RSS feed and keep up with my journey.

Hasta Luego!

In an FTB SmartPhone Community Report, Emily Campbell speaks with Projet Montreal City Councillor Peter McQueen (Notre-Dame-de-Grace) and community activist Marlo Turner Ritchie who aren’t impressed with traffic plans surrounding the new McGill University Health Centre Super-Hospital. They and other local pedestrians, public transit users and cyclists don’t want to be cut off from an entire neighbourhood…

bear hug

CLASSE held a rally that included performances by Quebec artists speaking out against tuition increase last week. The evening featured speeches on issues from democracy to feminism within the student movement and was highlighted by the final speech by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois on behalf of CLASSE after his resignation. The student association intends to motivate students for a huge demonstration on August 22nd. Classe remains unaffiliated from any political party, but intends to influence their power from the streets despite who is elected. Interviews with Dan Bigras and Jeremie Bedard-Wien financial secretary of CLASSE.

Journalist and Editor: Emily Campbell, Videographer: Chris Zacchia

Peter Sergakis, owner of dozens of bars and restaurants in Montreal, has been accused of “waging war on the homeless” since expressing his desire to get pan-handlers and thieves away from his downtown businesses. He claims he’s not just trying to run them out of town though, having since offered to provide funding to Dans La Rue to try to help find proactive solutions to their problems as well as keep the homeless away from his outdoor patios.

FTB’s Emily Campbell sits down with Sergakis and Dans la rue’s Aki Tchitacov for this video interview

Journalist/Editor: Emily Campbell   Camera: Julian H. Ward & Chris Zacchia