- Culture Shock- Dealing with jarring situations and encountering the cultural other could be fun with Gipsy. Her writings are more accessible to someone from my paradigm, and so are probably easier to relate to (FN:7:19, FN:8:13).
- Physical Conditions- Being sick was something I pawned off on Gipsy, allowing me to be open and honest that drinking bad water is not fun, and there is little to romanticize like Ava would. I also fleshed out my Larium dreams (lucid dreams caused by my anti malarial medicine) and talked about some of the other strange side effects that the pills gave me (FN:9:6, FN:18:1, FN:21:1, FN:28:1-5, FN:67:1, FN:78:8).
- Honesty- Being Gipsy allowed me to be personal and less conscious of some of the taboos you run into with judgment calls in ethnography. My classic example for this was a poem I wrote in the field that I ended up feeling really bad about. There are just some things you cannot explain on a surface level when you are being a romantic anthropologist like Ava, so these two avatars would fight from time to time. However, as a writer I was able to be more honest about my initial impressions without worrying too much. This could make it more entertaining to read as well (FN:25:1, FN:29:1-2, FN:36:2, FN:40:1, FN:54:1-2, FN:70:1, FN:71:1, FN:78:4, FN:83:3).
- Honesty- Yes, this is also in the "pro" section. Having less reservation when talking about things I only half understand could be very problematic. The reason why I went into this project was because of biased and false portrayals of explorations by people like Henry Morton Stanley in Through the Dark Continent and Robert Louis Stevenson in his Polynesia descriptions in The South Seas. Our experiences are so limited that making entertaining statements on the surface level could be very detrimental in the long run (FN:25:1, FN:29:1-2, FN:36:2, FN:40:1, FN:54:1-2, FN:70:1, FN:71:1, FN:78:4, FN:83:3).
- Developing Style- As I mentioned earlier, my style was still in the process of developing while recording field notes. Ideally these notes would be less chronological and more stream of conscious. Having this ongoing development made it hard at times to distinguish any real difference between Gipsy and Ava.
- Not Here- There were times when I was so caught up in my own thoughts and feelings that I was not really in the present situation. One time I was walking down the street and if I was not with Chase I would have completely forgot to say my morning greets. Being Gipsy runs the risk of being in your own world instead of being in place, kind of the opposite of Shelley (FN:18:20).
Photo credit go to J. Les Gainous on flickr