This past Tuesday I had the best excuse to turn down any and all meeting requests.
“Sorry, I’ve got a meeting at the White House.”
The White House invited 100 travel bloggers to begin a dialog on how to increase the amount of students who study abroad. While 50% of students enter college with the desire to study abroad only 10% actually do. And of that 10% most are white and most go to Europe.
The administration made the case that getting Americans, especially young Americans, out into the world is a matter of national security and economic strength.
From Assistant Secretary Evan Ryan’s remarks:
“It is crucial for our country’s next generation of leaders to travel, live, work, intern or volunteer abroad in order to gain the skills needed to understand and operate…
There’s no good way to quantify travel. I wish folks would stop trying.
International travel has been part of my life and my career for the past 13 years. I started traveling right out of college. I did the 6-month backpacking thing through Hawaii, Australia, Thailand, Nepal, and zipped through Europe. The next year I went to New Zealand on the last leg of an around-the-world ticket I had purchased in Australia. There were other trips to Eastern Europe, Central America, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Western Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and beyond.
I’ve written two books about my travels. One to meet the folks who made my favorite items of clothing, and one to meet the farmers and fishermen responsible for much of the…
Shortly after I landed in Valledupar, Colombia, I was abducted by the indigenous Arhuaco.
Over the previous few week I had been in contact with them and must’ve asked, “Do I need a translator? My Spanish stinks,” ten times. They never answered. They never told me if they were going to pick me up at the airport. They never told me that I was going to be whisked away into the mountains down treacherous roads to the heart of their spiritual world. They never told me that I was about to have an amazing experience witnessing the most preserved indigenous culture I had ever seen.
Of course, I did use Google Translate for all of my emails, so maybe they thought my Spanish was better than it actually is.
I spent the previous night in the guest room of a gold miner who employed 15-year-old workers. The bus that was supposed to take me all the way to Ghana, had ended at a flooded road in Burkina Faso. We then took a dugout canoe across the road to a brakeless taxi to a city without a hotel.
The next morning I had to take the taxi back to the flooded road, which I crossed again in a dugout canoe to a bus that would take me to Ghana. That bus dropped me off in Pa, Burkina Faso, where I waited for a bus to Hamile, Ghana, that may or not show up.
I wanted a place to compile all that was said about the trip. This is that place.
Jennifer Sandler, Winthrop’s study abroad coordinator, as quoted on the Winthrop University website: The students were exposed to so many new experiences, ideas, situations and people, and they were nothing but engaged and enthusiastic the entire program. We were all sad to leave Guatemala, but I firmly believe that the students’ fire for travel and international experiences has been stoked, hopefully never to be extinguished.
In 2007, Bootsall Travel (one of the coolest travel communities online) named me as one of their rogue travelers, making them the first endorsement (other than my mom) of my idea to go all of the places my clothes were made to meet the people who made them. They hosted my blog. They shared my stories, and in doing so, became a part of my story.
Sean Keener, the co-founder and CEO of Bootsnall, is hosting a Google Hangout with me today at 3:30. Sign up to attend or just drop in. We’ll be talking about around the world travel, bananas, underwear (note to self: don’t use bananas…
People assume since I’ve traveled a lot, I must be good at it. I’m not exactly sure what makes a good traveler, perhaps it’s the ability to sit a very, very long time as the world passes by out the window, or to go with the flow when plans derail. I have no problem going with the flow because I often travel with no plan, just a to/from plane ticket and a vague idea of where I’ll go in between. If being a good traveler involves being a good…
This guest post is brought to you by Lauren Miller, a sophomore at Winthrop University and one of seven students who traveled with Kelly Campbell of the Village Experience and me to Guatemala. I’m not sure Lauren ever stops smiling. She studies biology and is interested in environmental science, so she was our resident Jack Hannah.
By Lauren Miller
#firstworldproblems are just getting out of hand it would seem. We have it so hard. Our chargers are never where we need them, there is never good food in the pantry, and our houses are so big we need two wireless routers.
Now if we look at #thirdworldproblems we will see that we are a spoiled…
This guest post is brought to you by Fatima Castro, a recent graduate of Winthrop University and one of seven students who traveled with Kelly Campbell of the Village Experience and me to Guatemala. It was awesome to see Fatima translate for our group. She was totally in her element. I could see her living in the mountains of Guatemala connecting languages and cultures. I pretty much appointed myself as her career coach. Her parents should be worried.
What a great honor it is to share a little of my experience in Guatemala with Kelsey, Kelly, Jennifer and my classmates! The trip made for the best graduation gift ever.
This guest post is brought to you by Ali Jensen, a junior at Winthrop University studying biology and one of seven students who traveled with Kelly Campbell of the Village Experience and me to Guatemala. It was awesome to see Ali connect her passion for biology and medicine with the experiences we had on our trip.
Often times in the states, kids don’t always like the food their parents prepare for them. So usually the parents just make something else, or don’t make that particular food for their child anymore. Kids in Guatemala don’t have that option. They…