A 2005 graduate of Statesboro High School, Adam Nubern and his wife, Lindsey, spent the past
17 months traveling the world, and the couple recently shared their travels with seventh-graders at Southeast Bulloch Middle School.
Their travels took the Nuberns to Hawaii and other parts of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, but their talk at SEBMS focused primarily on Southeast Asia, because, as a teacher pointed out, "You have a test on Friday."
What began as a journey by two wanderlusts to explore the distinctions of other cultures actually turned into a revelation of sameness, and the Nuberns sought to share that concept with the students.
Lindsey Nubern told them: "Many times in the market in Asia, we would bargain for the price of something, and the natives would say, 'Same, same but different.' "
That's become somewhat of a motto for the Nuberns.
"We spent 17 months traveling around the world and found many differences, but what we realized was that it was just a different expression of the same ideals and values and human characteristics," Adam Nubern told the seventh-graders. "We all have similarities, just a different way of doing these things. And it's OK to be different, OK to have a different way of doing things."
Lindsey showed the students pictures of brain, eel and turtle for sale in an Asian market, and Adam told them he'd eaten fried bamboo worms and scoops of ice cream served in a hot dog bun.
With pictures as proof, Lindsey told the students that flying squirrels, monkeys and elephants are pets for some in Asia.
The students saw photos of women wearing sarongs or niqabs and families making their way to a temple in Bali with offerings of bananas.
The seventh-graders watched a short clip of a cluster of motorbikes in Vietnam navigate an intersection, with no accidents or injuries or traffic lights.
Lindsey's excited voice is heard on a video the couple shared of men in Thailand successfully playing takraw, a sport that basically combines volleyball, kickball and Hacky Sak.
In Indonesia, the couple filmed an after-school activity of kite flying.
Adam explained, "It's very windy in Indonesia, because it's an archipelago - a string of islands. So they go out and fly these massive kites with a tail longer than a football field."
The same, but different
"So what we really found out," Lindsey said, "is that we're all the same - we all eat, go to school, play sports. It's just different."
She then challenged the seventh-graders to think of a person they thought was weird or different.
"Do you have that person in mind?" she asked. "Think of how that person is different from you. But now, think of all the ways you are the same. You probably have more in common with that person than you have differences.
"We're all pretty much the same, we just go about things differently, and that makes each of us unique and special."
Adam told some of the teachers after the presentation that he and Lindsey traveled because they were looking for adventure, but they now hope to use their travels to teach others.
"Our mission is to do our little part to break through stereotypes by helping to see similarities rather than differences and to eradicate bullying," he said.
The Bulloch County native met his future wife while attending the University of Georgia. Adam majored in accounting and became a certified public accountant, moving to Colorado after graduation. Lindsey majored in advertising and public administration at UGA and attended graduate school in Colorado.
Both desired to travel and go on adventures and shared those dreams before marrying.
"The day we got back from our honeymoon," Lindsey said, "Adam, the accountant, sat us down, and we worked on a budget. We started with how much we wanted to save in order to travel and worked backward to see what was left to spend."
After working four years in a cubicle in Colorado, Adam decided it was time to take his work on the road and begin the adventure. He continues his work as an accountant, and Lindsey writes. They both find other creative ways to make the budget work for travel.
"Digital nomads - that's what it's called to figure out a way through cloud technologies to work while on the road," Adam explained.
The two are making it work, and the next part of their adventure involves the purchase of a camper van in which to travel around the United States.
Keep up with the couple at www.nuventuretravels.com.