Lost Girls of the Week: Kristen Refermat & Kelsey Ogden

Lost Girl of the Week — By on April 18, 2012 at 6:00 am

This week’s lost girls, Kristen Refermat and Kelsey Ogden, are the creators of Sixpenny Globe, a new documentary web series that follows their journey around the world on a budget of just $30 a day. The two best friends and San Diego natives spent 4 months traveling through 12 countries across Europe, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia and Australia in order to bring the story home and prove that adventure has no price tag. You can watch the trailer and the first two episodes now on Blip.tv!

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Every good story has a prologue, so let’s begin before the beginning. It was late in the summer of 2006 and the air was thick with autumn’s threats and freshmen’s perspiration. We were 18, freshly bereaved of our comfortable suburban childhoods, and desperate for acceptance and cafeteria tablemates. New Student Orientation, Point Loma Nazarene University. Kristen noticed Kelsey across the quad (because her Abercrombie puffer vest was the actual definition of 2006 chic), the necessary pleasantries were exchanged, and the rest is happy history.

The early bits of our higher education were spent google image-ing Ryan Gosling and inviting ourselves to strangers’ weddings, but eventually the wanderlust crept in, pushing our girlish frivolity into the background as our dreams grew large and began to fling themselves further and further from home. We studied in Italy, backpacked through Eastern Europe, and one day we got in the car and drove 10 hours straight through the night just to see the sun rise over the Grand Canyon. And then the unthinkable happened: we graduated.

Fast forward through a year of minimum wage jobs and unpaid internships. We found ourselves with nothing worth clinging to in San Diego, with 22 years’ worth of daydreams stored up, and with big wide empty futures to fill. The stars had aligned and the time was ripe to go. “But where?!” we asked ourselves. With resounding clarity and a drop of sass, we answered ourselves in unison: “Everywhere, obviously.”

So we impulse-bought two round-the-world tickets on credit, quit our jobs, settled on a laughably ambitious budget of $30 a day, and suddenly found ourselves at 30,000 feet, Paris bound, with the whole wide world before us. And we had big plans for it. We’d brought along cameras, microphones, a tripod, and the kind of amateurish enthusiasm that we hoped would make up for our lack of technical know-how. We had vowed to document our entire four-month trip, for better or worse across 12 countries, and turn it into a documentary web series. Thus, Sixpenny Globe was born.

We had absolutely no idea what we were doing. As we had never studied documentary filmmaking, had never operated anything more serious than a cell phone camera, and hadn’t made a single plan for the entire trip, it’s not hugely surprising that the word fiasco was in some way applicable to 70% of everything we did. The tripod was lost within the first 24 hours. The batteries were more often dead than alive. Lime green gum made its way onto the lens of the camera one day, cheekily escaped our notice, and therefore landed in every bit of footage we took of Petra, the ancient lost city of Jordan. We mistakenly deleted the entire contents of memory cards. Also, come to find out, the old adage “if you leave your camera on the beach in Thailand and go swimming for an hour, it will get stolen” knows what it’s talking about.

Plus, with a budget the size of a pinhead, we had to get creative not just with our filmmaking, but also with our day-to-day existence. We hitchhiked, couchsurfed, and street performed to make ends meet. We had several run-ins with the police, were abandoned in the desert, spent a night in a handicap bathroom, got drugged, got robbed, missed trains, peed our pants, and cried in the dark. But more worth noting is the fact that we had the time of our lives. Would we change a thing? Never. When you’re on the road, the road calls the shots; as soon as you accept that, fear and discomfort bow out and the good stuff can begin.

By the time our trip was over, we’d learned more about each other, our fellow humans, the world we all inhabit (and, incidentally, filmmaking) than we ever could have foreseen. You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it.  And while we may know more now than we did before we left, we’re not done. And we’ll never be done. The desire to fully understand this life is a desire that can’t ever really be fulfilled. But if this is lost, we don’t want to be found.

Watch the Sixpenny Globe trailer here, then watch our first two episodes at blip.tv/sixpennyglobe!  The rest of the series is on the way, so Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or check out sixpennyglobe.com to be the first to know when there’s some action! Happy trails!

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