Apr 112010
 
Thanks, Portugal! Europe is Cheaper Than We Feared!

My brother and I are shocked: It appears that beautiful Portugal can be rocked out for less than $50 U.S. Dollars a day, everything included!

When entering Europe after seven and a half months in Southeast Asia and West Africa, I had visions of a European ATM spouting tentacles and strangling me as it reached into the depths of my bank account to suck it dry.

But it hasn’t been quite so bad! [...Read More!]

Apr 092010
 
Really, What ARE The Best Hostels in the World?

“We stayed in the number one and number three hostels in the ENTIRE WORLD!” I sang out.

Whenever my brother and I declared this (and we declared it approximately seventy-eight times in one week), it was necessary to use the most dramatic booming deity voice possible. Why? Because that’s a really big deal to say something is number one in the entire world!

And it begs the question: How true are these hostel [...Read More!]

Apr 072010
 
Rescued from the Edge of Sanity at the Edge of Europe

Gaze down. There is nothing but a hundred-foot drop and waves crashing against rocks.

Gaze out. There is nothing but weeks and weeks at sea until you finally reach the outstretched arm of America. You are at the brink, baby.

Cabo da Roca, Portugal is the Western-most tip of Europe. It is the teetering edge of land before endless miles of ocean.

As I stood there in the whipping wind [...Read More!]

Apr 052010
 
Why RTW Travel Doesn't Need to be a Rich, White Thing

The wildly popular website, Stuff White People Like, has an article entitled: “Taking a Year Off.” It details the trend among rich Caucasians to flee the daily grind and jaunt around the world for a year, always thinking that they are the first to concoct such a brilliant idea.

“Give them a FAKE email address before they leave!” warns the site, or you will get nonstop annoying emails bragging about [...Read More!]

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!]