A year ago today, I launched The Banh Mi Chronicles Podcast. It was my first ever independent project. A couple of months earlier, I was doing my normal iHop run with my friend and mentor Ada Cheng when she said to me, "I think it's time that you start your own independent project. I think you are overdue to start. You've been working with me, and I've been mentoring you, but I don't mentor you so that I can keep you. I mentor you so that you can fly on your own." The problem was, I didn't know what I wanted to do, and what I felt I could commit to.
Not long after, I was invited to be a guest on what was then, "The Gaysian Project" Podcast which is now the Queer Asian Social Club and remembered having such a great time with host Maya Reddy that it planted the first seed to start a podcast. I started listening to other podcasts such as Vietnamese Boat People Podcast and @Self Evident: Asian America's Stories, and became convinced that this is what I needed to do. I enjoyed the platform. I enjoyed the interviewing process. I needed an outlet to express my concerns and hopes in a world that is often cruel and challenging. Frankly, as fellow Asian Pacific Americans, we need more platforms to tell our stories as an opportunity to critically engage with one another, and for us to stop, uncover, and reimagine what we want our best selves to be through our history and hopes.
I created The Banh Mi Chronicles to center that. I wanted these episodes to show that the API experience is not a monolith, but that it's vastly layered, complicated, rich, and intersectional. I wanted to take on issues that are critical to our community and to push these conversations forward. I wanted to bring on folks who have been doing the work, or at the very least, igniting these conversations, and to share their experience to folks. I want them to be part archive of our past, but blueprint for our future.
I've read posts from other podcaster groups where many new podcasters come in asking, "If I only get 100 streams / downloads for 10 episodes, is that a failure?" Let me say this, you can't measure the success of a podcast or blog or virtual show specifically on metrics. What I see as my measure of success is being connected to new people through this work, solidifying my relationships with people that have supported me, being introduced to community spaces, ideas, campaigns, and resources, being empowered with the knowledge that I've been given and what it has done for me personally.
I'm ready to wrap up season 3 shortly with only 3 episodes left, and I still can't believe it's been a year since I started. Working on this podcast alone can often feel challenging, overwhelming, and bring out my own insecurities, but nevertheless, it is almost one of the most rewarding things that I've done so far. I would not have imagined the people that I've had the honor to interview, and more importantly, the trust they've had in me to share their stories.
I want to thank each of my guests for being on my show and for taking a chance on me. I want to send my thanks to Ada for giving me the push that I need and for taking me under her wings to know what this kind of work could really mean. Thank you to Huythang Tran who created the artwork for the podcast. I want to thank Jenni Ho of Lawrence & Argyle for being my sponsor of the podcast. Most importantly, I want to thank you for being supportive of me, whether you have listened to all the episodes, some of them, or just one, or have yet to listen, I'm grateful for your kindness and support along the way, and that I'm especially grateful to anyone that takes an hour out of their busy day to listen to me talk LOL. As I'm soon ready to close out another season, I'm looking forward to sharing more with you in the future, and see where this journey takes me to along the way. Thank you!