All posts by Maria Fagerland


I never get nervous. I love giving speeches. I use to dance in front of hundred of people and never get nervous. I moved away from home when I was 16 and moved to Connecticut, but I never once was nervous. But the night before the trip to Arizona I am nothing but nerves.
I feel sick to my stomach, a sensation I’ve never really experienced in terms of anxiety before a trip. I’m not sure what exactly is the cause of my nerves. It is a mix of excitement and stress.
I want to make sure that this film is honest and that it tells a story. I don’t want to mess up filming, interviewing or to be the one who forgets to charge their camera battery (sorry nico).
I want to move outside my comfort zone and to do an interview and use the camera. I am hoping that after this trip I will be willing to take more risks. If I am able to do that I think it will have a profound impact on my quality of life.
As a type a person I can sometimes micromanage my life too much. My planner consists of:
7:00-wake up
7:05-get out of bed
7:10 make bed and pee
I wish I was joking. I need a constant schedule. I like how distracting schedules can be. But I get stuck in the constant motions and tend to not notice all the amazing things that are happening around me.
The good thing about these next two weeks is that I can’t micromanage my life. I like think that it’ll be a different type of schedule and structure that I’m not use to. The days will be long but it’ll be a new adventure and new task everyday.
Hopefully after his trip I will be able to input that idea into my everyday life and not get stuck in the motions.
Photo of the Backpack Journalism 2016
The crew. Minus Maria iii

10:30 p.m.





It has been three days since the start of Backpack Journalism 2016. I am physically and emotionally drained. Even now, as I am writing this blog at 10:30 p.m. I can barely keep my eyes open. I am reaching for the special k bars that my mom sent me back with in order to keep me awake.

This has been a tough week. I’ve had moments where I’ve thought about giving up and moment where I’ve had break-throughs.

Coming in to this program, I knew little to no information on cameras and how to use them. My biggest fear (and still to some extent) is how to use the camera. But, luckily I’ve had some really great and patient teachers who have allowed me to fail and to triumph these past few days.

When I go to bed (hopefully soon) I know that my head is going to be running in circles about aperture, shutter speed, ios and white balance. I am not confident in my abilities with the camera right now, which is making it very hard. I am constantly questioning myself and what I think is the right or wrong way to do something. Hopefully my head shuts up soon so I can take a step back and let my head and hands to connect.

Today, after a pretty long and successful day, a group of us went shopping to get some “adventure pants.” Look for a picture soon! It was nice to be able to talk about our current feelings and reservations thus far. I left feeling better and a little more secure and confident in my abilities.

After shopping we went to the Holy Family Shrine a place I have never been to but have seen incessantly on fellow backpacker Maria Watson’s Instagram.

The Holy Spirit is a presence that calls us to create an environment where God can express his love to us through miracles and everyday actions.  The inspiration for the shrine  came from the idea that the place was intended for travelers. To help them seek out the intervention of Holy Spirit, to be at peace, to heal, to be comforted, to pray and to discover or re-discover the power of Jesus. It is a place of peace and rest and solitude for people of ALL faiths and allows the Holy Spirit to have free access to their soul.

What a better way to end my day then to go to a place meant for travelers to recharge and reconnect with themselves and God. I hope to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit during the journey to Nogales. I already can see his presence in my friends and fellow backpackers. I plan to keep the image of the shrine in my head as I begin this journey in Mexico and Arizona.

A very tired Maria and Maria watching the sunset in the middle of nowhere at the Holy Family Shrine. Notice Maria’s hat. It’s new and very soft. If you ever meet her, touch the hat, you won’t regret it

Going to the shrine allowed me to recharge my brain and to gear up for another long and fun day in Hitchcok 205.

11:05 p.m. Time for bed and one more special k bar


Remember when you were little and you had that funny and slightly funny and scary feeling in your stomach on Christmas Eve? Well that is exactly how I feel as begin my 4 week adventure to Nogales, Arizona/Mexico.

Hi. How are you (yes Mom I’m having fun, it’s only been two days, I’ll text you…) My name is Maria Fagerland and I am from West Des Moines, Iowa. I am a senior at Creighton University in the Journalism Department on the Advertising track. I hope to either join JVC or America Corps for a couple of years after graduation and then do advertising for non profits.

Backpack journalism was first introduced to me at Creighton in my very first journalism class with Dr. Wirth. She mentioned it just in passing, but I remember pulling out my laptop in the middle of class (which she didn’t like) and I began to read pages and pages of blogs post from the previous trips. As I finally worked my way through past students triumphs and failures I found myself waiting in anticipation til I finally had the chance to be apart of this amazing trip.

I felt a physical pull toward this. Every part of my body told me that if I didn’t do this, I would be missing out on a huge and potentially life changing experience. In order to learn more I talked to Carol Zuegner (one of the professors in charge). We sat down in her office and she just talked to me about her past experiences on the trip and the a ha moments that she has had.

I found myself holding back tears because I couldn’t wait to have those feelings of clarity or to be apart of something so incredible with 11 other students. I mean who gets to say that they get to film a documentary in college with some of their best friends? I know I am very lucky to be apart of this and I can’t wait to see how we all will be after this.

I hope to be the voice for the voiceless and to shed some personal and real light on the current political tension and controversy. I am anxious to see what it is like at the border and what type of conditions we will be witnessing. I am nervous to be that up close and personal with those directly affected by the border.  But I do know I will somehow be able to get through it. This prayer has personally helped in times of uncertainty and anxiety:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Day 1:

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. Fellow backpacker, Aly Schreck and I walked (backpacked) from our apartments to the first day of class to reflect and talk about our fears and hopes.


The rest of the day consisted of “bootcamp” and lectures. It was a packed first day, but I enjoyed it immensely. Can’t wait for day 2. Stay up to date with all of our blogs during the next couple of weeks!