Tag Archives: Chicago

Lisa Lubin-writer, producer, world traveler

On the eve of my first overseas adventure, I thought I’d share a story I wrote on former Columbia teacher and current world traveler extraordinaire Lisa Lubin.  You can follow Lisa on LLWorldTour.com.

Lisa Lubin refers to the future as L.A.W.T., life after the world tour. “As the months tick by I do think about what the heck I will do,” she says. But after a life like Lubin’s how much more exciting could it get?

Lubin is a former Columbia College television professor and was a specials producer in the programming department for ABC7 in Chicago for 9 years. She produced several weekly shows, most notably “190 North” a program focusing on Chicago entertainment, trends, and style. During her time at ABC, she was nominated for an Emmy 10 times, winning three of them.

Then she left it all to travel the world.

Lubin has visited 312 cities in 45 countries, that’s 22% of the world. Starting in October of 2006 Lubin traveled to South America, then to New Zealand and Australia, then up through Asia and over to Europe and the Middle East. She documented it all on her website, LLWorldtour.com.

“I have always loved traveling. Since I was little I loved exploring new towns and places. I would ride my bike down new streets mesmerized by something I’d never seen before,” said Lubin.

Lubin’s passion for travel was just as clear to her coworkers.

“No one was really surprised when she decided to travel. She talked about it for a long time,” said Cathy Vlahgiannis, who worked with Lubin at ABC.

“She is one of the most secure people I know and I thought it was a terrific idea,” said Frank Bianco, who hired Lubin to teach the “Creating the News Package Class” at Columbia College.

The travel bug bit Lubin after she backpacked through Europe after college. Since then, she’s made a promise to herself that she would travel “somewhere far away” every year. She stuck to her promise, but the longest she’d ever been away was three weeks. So how did she make the jump from occasional vacationer to yearlong world traveler?

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Women’s Pro Soccer and Chicago Red Stars post on Bleacher Report

So, through a strange turn of events I’ve been tapped to write articles for Bleacherreport.com as a Chicago Red Stars correspondent.

Let me explain. The Women’s Profession Soccer League (WPS) launched in April of this year. They have 7 teams, including one in Chicago that plays at Toyota Park. So my mom and I have gone to their two home games thus far and have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It’s great soccer, a great stadium and close to home. Well, I was reading a blog post about the games at Bleacher Report and I noticed the author wrongly attributed two goals. So I left a comment kindly correcting the oversight. The same thing happened on the blog post about the next game, and again I politely pointed out the mistake.

Well, a few days later the author of the posts, John Howell, asks if I would be interested in writing about the Red Stars for the site. I figure what the hey, might as well since I keep pretty up to date about the league anyway. Little did I know this would start a barrage of emails and welcomes from the Red Stars public relations team and the contributors at Bleacher Report. This might have been a bigger task then I thought.

So, I wrote my first official article (a preview of the Mother’s Day match up between the Red Stars and Sky Blue FC from New Jersey) and posted it Tuesday morning.

A screen shot of the article. I recently learned how to take a screen shot and I've been a bit trigger happy. Sorry.

A screen shot of the article. I recently learned how to take a screen shot and I've been a bit trigger happy. Sorry.

If you want to read the full article, click here. It’s a pretty cool site with tons of international and domestic sports reporting. I should be doing several more articles for them in the near future so keep your eyes peeled. I’ll try to update here letting you know when to check there.

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I could do that…

Yesterday, for my Reporting and Writing II class, we took a field trip to Chicago’s City Hall to cover a city council meeting. It was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced in my 19 short years. The Joint Committees on Finance and Economics, Capital and Technology Development discussed an ordinance that would create a new website to manage information on TIFs — tax increment financing — districts to make it easier for developers and residents to oversee construction in neighborhoods.

They spent two hours talking about a website.

A website.

"It's a series of tubes!"

"It's a series of tubes!"

In the time it took them to ever so graciously thank the generous aldermen and councilwomen and secretaries and doughnut delivery boys who worked so tirelessly to get this ordinance through (seriously there are less thank yous at the Oscars), I could have made the damn thing myself.

Witness after witness said how difficult it was to find information on TIFs and that the system of finding any information from the city council was flawed.

While sitting there, experiencing what could only be called hell on earth, I came to the realization that I might want to be in politics one day. I know what you’re thinking, “Laura, are you drunk? It’s not even noon.” To which I say “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”

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January 20th, 2009

Dawn on Inauguration Day
Dawn on Inauguration Day

It’s usually not going to be a good day when you wake up at 4am. But today was January 20th, 2008. A day when the dreams of so many would be realized with the Inauguration of the first African American President of the United States. I’d like to say I hopped out of bed rearing and ready to go.


But I didn’t. I’m a human and it was about 12 degrees out this morning. That’s damn cold. It’s really damn cold when you have to walk 2.3 miles to an open field to stand around for about 4 hours. I switched off the alarm and went back to bed.

Awaking at 5:45ish, I was still not welcoming the morning. But I understood that we had to leave now if we wanted a chance to get remotely close to the viewing screens. So, at 6:15, my roommate Melissa and I set out for the Capitol Building with more layers of clothing on than anyone should ever have to endure. It’s quite the hike, mostly downhill, but we made it there just as the sun was rising over the Nation’s capitol.  And we weren’t there alone.

After scoping out a spot it was time to hurry up and wait. Wait for 4 hours. In near freezing temperatures. Did I mention we had to wait 4 hours?

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Planes are for the birds.

It’s an equally comforting and disconcerting feeling knowing that the Mayor of Chicago is on your flight. Comforting because surely the plane won’t crash with such an important person on board. Disconcerting because… well it’s Richard Daley.

I put off boarding the plane as long as possible and was rewarded with a brief conversation with Mr. Mayor himself. I almost didn’t recognize him. Wearing a beige trench coat with brown fedora, he looked like any other windy citizen. Truth is, the entire thing was rather unremarkable. He was just standing around discussing the weather in Washington with a friend and a flight attendant.

He seemed to think it was always humid and damp here because of the Potomac RiverClearly he’s never spent July in Chicago.

The flight attendant brought up the recent plane crash into the Hudson River and how amazing the whole ordeal was. We all commented on the bravery of the pilot and that it’s a miracle no one was seriously injured.

The cause of the crash? Birds being sucked into the engine. I asked if they put anything on the fields to deter birds from being there and he said they couldn’t by law.  The flight attendant and friend suggested putting a grate over the engine, stopping the birds from getting in. Daley’s answer was much more simple and much more Daley.
“Ah, just kill ‘em all.”

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I have officially become a part of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. I’m the brother’s girlfriend’s cousin’s ex-roommate. I’m that girl with brown hair who sat two rows back in your sophomore math class. I am Bigfoot. I am the girl who’s going to the Inauguration.

People have been coming out of the woodwork to wish me good luck at the Inauguration. I’ve had former teachers contact me and tell me how proud they are. My boss looks at me with so much envy it’s frightening. My friends constantly question me about what I’ll be doing and when I leave. My mother gets teary eyed just thinking about it.

People I don’t even know have expressed jealousy and congratulated me on going: extended family members who last saw me when I was in diapers or peers who I see in the elevator occasionally. Everyone. And they don’t just say it to be nice. They look at me with reverence and unabashed interest and tell me they look forward to hearing about it. Like I hold some special place in society. It’s fascinating. I never thought it would hold the interest of so many. Sure, it’s the President and a “celebrity” at that. But when you are constantly bombarded with figures on the dismal voting turnout and told you’re part of the apathetic generation it’s easy to become jaded.

I know I’m lucky to be going. And I’m grateful to be attending such a prestigious event. However, the pride I feel for going to the historic Inauguration pales in comparison to how honored I am to have the respect and well wishes of so many that I care about. The most rewarding part is already over. The actual trip is just gravy.

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In 2009, I will…

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when everyone promises to become the best person they can be starting today. And then tomorrow rolls around and suddenly that idea doesn’t seem so great. But it just feels wrong to start a new year without sky high hopes for the coming days. If you’re like me and have to make resolutions, be specific, don’t start all at once, and be realistic.

1. Be happy. OK,  I know that doesn’t follow any of the three guidelines but I feel like it’s so crucial it transcends experts’ opinions. It’s very easy to lose sight of what’s important and how much you have when you forget to just be happy. If you focus on the positive I think everything becomes monumentally easier.

2. Ask one intelligent, well-thought out question at the Inauguration. When I’m around people of important social stature, I develop the IQ of a newt. (completed 1-19-09)

3. Eat raw for one week. I’ve been a vegetarian for 4+ years and I absolutely love it. I got a little over confident one day in high school and declared I was going vegan. I think I managed for three days and then called it quits. It was much more difficult than anticipated. I’ve met several “raw foodies” and all of them have raved about their lifestyle. It was undeniable that they were some of the most energetic people I’ve ever met. But they were also passionate. They loved telling anyone who would listen about the changes they’ve seen in themselves by simply changing their diet.

4. Participate in the 2009 Chicago Marathon. Notice the absence of the word “run.” This past year I was there to cheer on a family friend and was amazed and the determination and sheer strength of will. People of all kinds crossed that finish line and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. My mother and I pinky swore we’d run it in 2009. And I don’t go back on a pinky swear.

5. Get work published. As a journalist, that’s kind of a biggie.

6. Leave the country. Summer 2009. More on that later.

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