Apr 042010
 
In Praise of Airing Your Laundry, in Portugal and in Life

Word on the street is that an increasing number of cities are banning the practice of air-drying laundry outside houses.

“It looks like something country peasants would do,” city governors have sneered. “We are a developed, modern metropolis. Our people’s laundry should be dried by machines, not by the breeze. And it should certainly NOT be seen.”

But with such a law, legislators are erasing rainbows from the streets! [...Read More!]

Apr 022010
 
The Importance of Setting Objectives, as Seen in Porto, Portugal

First things first: Porto, Portugal is beautiful! Gaze at these photos and let’s all heave a collective sigh of “Oooh! Preeeety.”

Now let’s talk about goals.

Today, my wonderful brother, David, was mid-way through a bite of cheese and onion omelet when I popped my favorite type of question: “So what are your objectives for this week in Portugal?”

Objective-setting is key in a classroom (answering the whine: “what’s the POINT of [...Read More!]

Apr 012010
 
Whirlwind Day: 4 Countries in 35 Hours and 1,514 New Readers

I nearly fainted right there in the Madrid airport when my G-mail Inbox flickered open and I saw its contents.

Fifteen hours earlier, I had flown out of West Africa, leaving behind my beloved friends and coworkers at Youth Creating Change of Ghana after three stunning months. The flight from Accra to Frankfurt was six and a half hours and I slept for a groggy three. My layover in Germany [...Read More!]

Mar 312010
 
A Travel Packing List Secret: Multi-Use Items

When trying to pack light for your long or short term trip, your overarching mantra should be: “Things that are also other things.” Here are some examples of this motto in action to consider for your bag, graciously modeled by Sena Comfort of YCC, Ghana!

1. A sarong or large, lightweight cloth. Uses: Towel, light sheet on cold bus rides or nights, sleep sack in nasty dorm beds, screen for changing in [...Read More!]

Mar 292010
 
Why International Volunteering is a Glorious Way to Travel

“Ooo, you were CRYING last night, ooo!” laughed Sena Comfort this morning, pulling me into a hug.

How true her words were! Yesterday, Youth Creating Change threw me a “Thanks for the Past Three Months” Bon Voyage party with all my students in the afternoon, followed by a powerful ceremony with beloved co-workers in the evening. The day was unbelievable… and I cried a ton!

During the student party, kids belted out [...Read More!]

Mar 252010
 
Agnes's Story: Being a Forced Child Laborer

You are about to read the story of Madam Agnes Appiah: a remarkable woman who endured years of forced child labor in her youth, and went on to found and direct Living Faith School and Home for orphaned and deprived children in Ghana’s Volta Region.

All photos accompanying this article are from an academic competition held this week at Living Faith.

Here is Madam Agnes’s story in her own words.

“I was [...Read More!]

Mar 222010
 
How I Offended an Entire Class Through Cultural Ignorance

“We would like to present you with a gift,” said Madam Yvonne breathlessly over the phone, “to say thank you for teaching in our school these past three months! Please stop by our school anytime today.”

“Sounds great!” I said. So after our banku with palmnut soup lunch, and after hacking open coconuts with a machete to drink the water and scoop out the meat for dessert, Oliver and I [...Read More!]

Mar 122010
 
7 Straight Months of 'Round the World Travel!

The clock strikes midnight in Ghana, and all of a sudden I have officially been traveling around the world for SEVEN months!

Ten minutes ago, I was lying abed here in Sogakope: my eyes darting through the darkness, our rooster neighbor prematurely crowing outside, sweat gumming my limbs, tiny bugs crawling over… and my mind racing about how this journey has evolved.

It was nearly midnight but I couldn’t resist slithering to the [...Read More!]

Mar 092010
 
Sick and Reflecting During Long-Term Travel

Yesterday I had a freakish fever that sucked all the strength from my limbs and reeled my head with a dizzy swirl.

I tried to eat but couldn’t. “HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME?!” Millicent the melodramatic cook wailed.

“It’s not personal, honest!” I croaked out while Millicent sniffled back tears.

I tried to help John teach Cross-Culture class, but after five minutes of drooping in a fetal position on a plastic [...Read More!]

Feb 282010
 
Couchsurfing Instructions, and a Ghana Beach!

If you’ve got a good head on your shoulders and a good internet connection, you can stay for free, safely, in the houses of kind people all around the world! How? Couchsurfing.org.

For some of you, this article will be a review of a global trick you already know well. For others, however, this may be a thrilling new insight into budget travel!

As we proceed through the steps of how to use [...Read More!]