Every Friday evening, Lauren Lunstrum anchors a radio show that she streams live from her studio apartment in Northridge. She uses a website called blogtalkradio.com. The magic happens via Lunstrum’s cell phone and laptop.
“The show focuses on travel and the environment to encourage people to step out of their comfort zone,” she said. “I choose the speakers and topics based on the themes of travel and sustainability. I also take requests from listeners.”
The geology major said she has always had an interest in radio because of its potential to create an interactive environment with listeners.
The radio show she produces has allowed her the opportunity to talk to experts about different forms of sustainable travel, like bicycling and couch surfing.
“Cycling is a big part of sustainable travel, especially in major cities like Los Angeles. Public transit systems are important as well,” she said. “Everyone has heard of these options before, it just really comes down to taking the matter more seriously and being brave.”
A curiosity about her heritage coupled with consecutive summers of foreign culture and language immersion spearheaded an interest for traveling and sustainability for Lunstrum.
Lunstrum was first bitten by the travel bug while visiting a Swedish language village in Minnesota for every summer in high school.
When Lunstrum’s mother looked into their ethnic roots, she learned about their Swedish background. The experience allowed Lunstrum to learn more about the culture and language.
From there, Lunstrum learned about the Rotary International Youth Exchange, a program that sets students up with a host family abroad while attending school there. Having just graduated from high school, she embarked on a one-year journey to Sweden.
“I look back now and think that was pretty scary,” she said. “I was just really curious.”
After her European trip, Lunstrum said she returned to the states with a new perspective about her surroundings.
With an urge to explore the city life, the former Desert Hot Springs resident set her eye on Los Angeles. She eventually transfered to CSUN.
In January 2010, during her first semester at CSUN, Lunstrum launched Travel Atmosphere, a website she hosts, edits and manages about alternative forms of traveling, entertainment and social gatherings.
The site includes a variety of articles, videos, photos and blogs about unique locations across the country and more specifically, the greater Los Angeles area. It also gives visitors links to attend non-mainstream events like death rock and post punk music shows.
While Lunstrum said she enjoyed the life of a valley girl, the congestion and traffic is not for her. Lunstrum will start preparations for her next venture, a new school year in a new location. Although her Los Angeles adventures might be on pause, her travels elsewhere, as well as her website will continue. She hopes Travel Atmosphere can positively influence readers to let go of their inhibitions to explore.
“You don’t need to travel across the world to have a life-changing experience,” she said. “Start by investigating the locations that are close to where you live. You may be surprised by what you will find.”