Are we there yet? Week 3 Top post


arewethereyet

Our VIP for this week is Barbara from Barbara’s blog. Her post took us to Sweet Pete’s in Jacksonville.  Thank you so much Barbara for letting us visit with you.

 

Will we see your post here next week? If you’d like to know how you can take part please click here.

Tips when traveling to….Guatemala


Miranda over at Graceandgravy wrote this post for us about her travels to Guatemala. Enjoy!Guatemala Banner

 

Traveling is a passion of mine, which if you ask my close friends and family they will say is preposterous.

Preposterous you say?

Yes, Preposterous!

See I have a fear of traveling.

Sounds insane right?

It actually is.

I have a fear of interstates. I have a fear of semi trucks. I have a fear of other drivers.

I don’t mind trains, or planes, but automobiles, yes!

And the problem is, in the rural area I live, you must drive even if it is just to catch a train or a plane.

See the Catch 22 of the situation?

But I love to plan trips. I love to find new places to visit, sites to see and mission work to do. Once I can get over the fear of getting there, I am good to go.

I was asked by Amanda @LivingInAfrica to write a post about a travel experience and answer a set of questions to go with it.

I chose to write about my engaging and remarkable travels to Guatemala. What an eye opening experience it was. I hope you enjoy and plan a trip to visit soon!

Questions from Amanda:

Question: Why did you decide to travel to Guatemala?

Answer: I chose to travel to Guatemala for mission work at Shadow of His Wings Orphanage and service work in the community of Monjas.

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Question: Did you do any research online about Guatemala and what where your challenges?

Answer: Yes I researched and the biggest challenges I faced was that the villages had inadequate information.

Question: What information was hard to find?

Answer: Road conditions and driving directions and what to except from the town as far as lodging and restaurants.

Question: What places did you visit in Guatemala?

Answer: I flew into Guatemala City and spent a night at a local La Hosta. I then traveled four hours to the community of Monjas where I spent the majority of my time doing mission work. At the end of my trip I spent the day in Antigua shopping the local markets.

Question What was a highlight on your trip?

Answer: The highlight of my trip was serving the girls at Shadow of His Wings. Seeing the joy on their faces for the little things that we take for granted everyday.

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Question: What was a disappointment?

Answer: Leaving the beautiful country and the girls at Shadow.

Question: How would you describe the food in Guatemala?

Answer: Amazing! I LOVE Hispanic Cuisine. Guatemala food is not as spicy as the food we find in the areas I live, which was a bonus. I love the flavor but not so much heat. How could you not love homemade tortillas, guacamole, rice and beans.

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Question: Was is easy to exchange foreign currency?

Answer: Yes, very. The airport had a station to exchange, but if you waited til you arrived in the community, it was harder to exchange but cheaper. I also found ATM’s in Antigua that I used for money. Had to shop more!!

Question: Name a place in Guatemala that you would recommend visitors to see.

Answer: Antigua for shopping and local culture, but any small village or community to see how a Third World Country lives. It is an Eye Opening Experience.

Question: Any advice to future visitors to Guatemala?

Answer: Take it all in. Enjoy your visit and get to know the people in the community. Their stories will amaze you. Be prepared for CRAZY Drivers and Chicken Buses, steep mountain roads and lots of construction. Do not drink the water. Only bottled water and drinks. Don’t be scared but be aware of your surroundings. Leave your heart open for all the situations that you may be faced with in areas where you can help.

*Guatsoccer

 

*Through the ministry of the James Project of Latin America, orphans and widows at risk will receive the support needed spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally to become solid citizens in the Kingdom of God, ultimately for the glory of God and the advancement of the Kingdom.

Click here if you would like more information on how to become involved and support Shadow of His Wings.

**If you would like to support Miranda and her family on their journey back to Guatemala for Mission Work this November, click here.

 

If you would like to share your ideas and tips with us please let me know in the comments section.

 

 

Tips when travelling to…..Senegal


Mary Ellen over at http://www.jamessproject.com/ wrote this stunning post for us. Thank you so much Mary Ellen. I really enjoyed the post and it made me miss West Africa even more!

Visit her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter– It’s worth it 🙂

Over to Mary Ellen:

What moves you?

Think about it. What truly MOVES you?

What motivates you to get up? Get moving? To explore and discover places that you have never been; people you have never met; with languages spoken you do not understand?

What can get you to go there?

For me, it has been my children.

What else would give a middle aged suburban soccer mom who nearly failed high school French the guts to travel solo to West Africa?

That’s right. Her child.

My teen age daughter is living in a village in Senegal for the school year as part of her bridge year as a Fellow with Global Citizen Year. When the decision was made that she would go, the expectation is we would not see her until she returned in eight months to American soil. As life would have it, some gifts and hard work offered me the opportunity to visit her new home away from home. Only I would be travelling solo until we connected. And then still, it would be this not so continental middle aged mom and one young and growing American teen.

But my children move me. My daughters inspire me. It was time to say hello to the young traveler inside me that I had left on the side of the road of early motherhood some twenty years previous.

I started my journey to Senegal by doing a ton of online research. As much as I varied my search terms: Senegal, solo travel, woman travel in Senegal, developing country, best ways for Americans to travel; safe travel, etc – the google results were TripAdvisor and a couple of individual blogs including “LivingInAfrica”.

Unsure about what was more reliable I ate it ALL up! During the trip I realized that these websites that had landed on were quite reliable and I was anxious to help another a new traveler to Senegal have a positive experience too. Senegal is VERY do-able for any new traveler. You just need to be prepared.

Hopefully my experiences will help push anyone sitting on the fence about visiting Senegal to go ahead and book their flight. It’s an adventure worth having. It’s one that you will continue to discover new parts to it long after you have returned home, too. Here are Five Things to know About Westerners Travel to Senegal.

  1. Where to Stay: Booking.com & Trip Advisor are your best friends. The reviews on these sites are quite accurate which can help you determine what your non-negotiables are on hotel stays in a developing country. Senegal IS a third world country. There are power outages at times and the shower head usually is not affixed to the wall. Yet, the power always comes back on and its better than a bucket shower!  There are a couple five star, very expensive western hotel chains in Dakar, Senegal. However, if you are hoping to experience the feel of the host country I would encourage a stay at a locally owned hotel. I found Hotel Sunugal via the reviews at Booking.com. While it did not receive rave reviews for its wi-fi, they did have it available at the hotel restaurant and I just didn’t want to be glued to the web anyway. I did appreciate that the Hotel had a reputation of cleanliness and comfort. In addition, while there I much appreciated the respectful way the hotel staff allowed me to try my limited French and understood when it was better for us to communicate in English.
    1. Getting Around: I went the “easy” route and hired a driver. The quotes imply there is no easy way. Taxis and buses abound are very do-able. Taxis are reasonable so long as you feel confident haggling the price with the taxi driver before you get in the car. The reception staff at Hotel Sunugal where we stayed was very helpful finding a reliable taxi driver for us for an evening outing. However, daily use for extended driving it is probably best to get a driver for those days. Again, haggling the price is important before you go. Make sure that there is clear mutual agreement on who is paying for gas and what gas. I agreed on $40,000 CFA ($80 USD) a day plus gas. My understanding was I would pay for the gas needed for driving me places. Not the gas the driver used up going other places without me in the car. Buses are another option but certainly are not for the faint of heart.
    2. While On The Subject of Money: The best and easiest way to go here is to use your VISA/MC debit/credit card. Call your bank a few weeks in advance of your trip and ask your bank to mark the dates you will be travelling out of the country. Let them know what countries you will be in so there will be no difficulty in taking money out of an ATM machine. Keep in mind that sometimes the ATMs may be out of money – especially if it you arrive on a holiday or near a weekend. I arrived the day before New Year’s Eve and found that six different ATMs did not work. In this case, you may want to exchange a small amount of money at the airport just to make sure you have some case ($50,000 CFA) will be enough for taxi fare and getting settled in your hotel. You can always try to withdraw a lesser amount as well if it does not work at first.
    3. Religious Pilgrimages: These actually should be a sub section of “Getting Around”. When I visited, there was a religious pilgrimage to Gamu the same day we wanted to travel to Lac Rose and then on north to St-Louis. As the infrastructure is still being developed this meant we would run into all the traffic of this pilgrimage. It took us twice as long to make the journey as expected. Just something to keep in mind – check the Senegal Public Holiday calendar when setting an itinerary!
    4. Mosquitoes and Visas: You will want to set up an appointment with a travel doctor leaving ample time for a yellow fever and typhoid vaccination. While there talk to the clinician about what type of anti-malaria medication they would recommend for you. There are three possibilities at this time with a variety of side effects. Something for everyone! Most hotels will offer a mosquito net and you will want to use them. Learn how to properly tuck the net under the mattress. A little insect repellant should suffice throughout the day to keep the bugs at bay. The Senegalese Visa is also a process to allow time. Approximately one month before you travel you will apply for your Travel Visa online. Follow this link and follow the directions closely. You will be printing out your receipt. You will pick up your Visa once you get to the airport.
    5. Oi de toilette? There are a few common phrases you will want to understand while visiting Senegal. Americans are terribly insular – to our disadvantage. It is not only polite to your host country but quite helpful to you as a citizen of the world to at least TRY to communicate in the native tongue of where you are visiting. The official language of Senegal is French. “Ca va?” and “Cava bien?” are perfect ways to communicate – especially in the urban areas like Dakar. “Nange daf” is a nice greeting in the native tongue Wolof spoken by a large amount of the Senegalese. They will be surprised to hear you say it and their smiles will broaden. It’s a great way to show respect for their culture and give you a chance to explore in depth. A phrase book is a great help.

 

  • Leaving Dakar: It’s not easy. Chances are good you will not actually be ready to go. You will want to explore Goirree Island a second time. You will want another day at Lac Rose. You will wish you could have made it to Ngor Island. Then there is the night life – alive and vibrant in what is actually the wee hours of the morning! However, all good things must come to an end. Have your passport out and ready to show several times. You will show it to be able to enter the airport. You will need to show it at the enrance to the Check in line and at least another three times before you even get to the Customs Officers. Once you get through and to the other side. Don’t get that bottle of water and think you can bring it on the plane. You have to drink it all before going through ANOTHER luggage inspection. You will head out of the building, onto a bis and head to the place for your final departure. Watch your step leaving the Dakar airport building. The last step is a doozy! I know. I got to fly the 9.5 hour flight home with a sprained ankle on a full flight! (Ahem, Delta has a direct flight to New York but not the best customer service. That’ll be another post someday!)

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If you’d like to share your ideas here please let me know in the comments section 🙂

If you’d like to read about more tips when visiting different places please click here.

Have a great day!

Introducing Book Review Wednesdays: On Route in South Africa


As of Today I will host a book review on this blog. I am really excited to share all the great books out there with you! If you click here you will be guided to all the bbook review wednesdayook reviews on this site. Our first book will be:

On Route in South Africa

The 3rd revised of this book was published in 2014. When I think about this book I think of my grandfather and road tripping. He got the first edition as a gift and I’ve enjoyed paging through it when I was in high school and dreaming of all the wonderful places South Africa has to offer. Later we bought one for our family and I’ve had this copy on my lap through Meiringspoort, Kuruman, Stellenbosch, Ugie and a flight to Cape Town  just to name a few places. This book always goes into the car right next to the padkos (padkos direclty translates as “food for the road” snacks etc) and the camera. I’m so glad that it is in e book form now but there is just something about a book that’s been read so many times that it’s lost one cover.

As a family we enjoy history and knowing why a place got a certain name. It also keeps you busy in the car because you can choose a route and follow it and there will be something to say about each place on that route.

It has 27 chapters and includes detailed regional maps, incorporating up-to-date place names, and complemented by route directions within the text.

If you don’t have this book already please get yourself a copy and head out to discover South Africa.

Click on the pictures below to find out the prices and where you can buy it.

op pad  on route

Op pad in Suid Afrika Printed Edition

Op pad in Suid Afrika E book

On Route in South Africa Printed edition

On Route in South Africa E book

 

Are we there yet? Week 1 2015 3 January


I cannot drive past a sign next to the road without taking a picture! I find it very interesting and a momento of my travels. For 2015 I’ve decided to make the challenge wider. Add your holiday pictures as well now please and tell us where you went etc. It can be anywhere in the world.

How do I participate?

I would like to challenge you to take pictures of signposts of your holiday/travels and post it in a blog.

  1. Title the blog: Are we there yet? and add a photo of a signpost or your holiday.
  2. Please add a link to this page in order for others also to find this page and be part of the fun. (create a ping back)
  3. Add this badge to your page (If you’d like). 20140104_174036 arewethereyet
  4. Post a link to your page in my comments box it will be appreciated. Then I can see your great post as well.
  5. I will post the top 10 posts every Sunday on my blog and promote them on Social Media.

Click here to see what happened the previous weeks.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog in order for you to stay informed.

Are we there yet? 21 December 2014 link up


Here is this week’s Are we there yet challenge!

I cannot drive past a sign next to the road without taking a picture! I find it very interesting and a momento of my travels.

Because it is Christmas I thought to add a twist to it this week.  Add your favorite postcard to a post and link to me. (A post card is also a kind of sign right? 🙂20140204_144351_2

How do I participate?

I would like to challenge you to take pictures of signposts and post it in a blog.

  1. Title the blog: Are we there yet? and add a photo of a signpost. To make it more fun please add your country and more or less where this signpost is.
  2. Please add a link to this page in order for others also to find this page and be part of the fun.
  3. Add this badge to your page (If you’d like). 20140104_174036 arewethereyet
  4. Post a link to your page in my comments box it will be appreciated. Then I can see your great post as well.
  5. I will post the top 10 signposts every Sunday on my blog. Just post any signpost that you see.

Click here to see what happened the previous weeks.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog in order for you to stay informed.

Day 14:Why I love South Africa: Pilanesberg Part 2


Welcome to part 2.  In my previous post I related how we arrived at Pilanesberg and about a close encounter with an elephant. You can read that post here.

So after breakfast we decided to go on a game drive.

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We saw these water tortoises at the Mankwe dam bird hideout.

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I just couldn’t get enough of them!

 

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Time for a selfie with my sister!

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Springbokke

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Koedoe

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Wildebeest

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Wildebeest

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Hawie and Karin

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After the game viewing it was time for a braai picnic.

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In the heat of the day the animals go into the shade and rest. So we followed their lead and did the same.

31 days

For a full list of posts in this series please click here.

Please remember to visit  this website for more information. Please do join me on this adventure.

Click here for more blogs taking part in this challenge

If I only had 10 minutes…


10 minutes. You and your keyboard (or smartphone. Or tablet. Or pen and paper). No pauses, no edits, no looking back: it’s free-write time!

If I only had ten minutes in Africa

What would I look at

Where will I go?

Cape Town, Gabarone or Accra?

If I only had ten minutes on this earth

I will stay in Africa because of

The wide open spaces

The animals and birds

And youIMG_3809

Day 9: Why I love South Africa: So many places to visit: Cape Town Day 9


I’ve been to Cape Town a few times and every time it as an enjoyable experience.

The first time I went to Cape Town was in 1994 with my parents. We went by train it was then called the Trans Karoo. (Today it’s called the Shozaloza mile). There is and old Afrikaans song about it

We traveled overnight and my gran went with us. We spent the week in Cape Town visiting the Waterfront and the Castle. Click here if you’d like to read more about the attractions around Cape town.

Another  great holiday in Cape Town was with my friends Marleen and Marietjie. We went wine tasting and sightseeing.

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My most recent trip to Cape Town was in March this year. I went with my husband. He was born in the Western Cape so it was great to have a “local” showing me around.1924399_10152306185816882_312069171_n

We are already planning our next trip…so watch this space. My sister is heading there on Sunday for work so I’m going to ask her for pictures to share with you.

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31 days

For a full list of posts in this series please click here.

Day 1: Wedding

Day 2: Why I love South Africa Day 2: Growing up

Day 3: Why I love South Africa: Heritage Day 3

Day 4: Why I love South Africa: Diversity Day 4

Day 5: Why I love South Africa: The colors Day 5

Day 6: Why I love South Africa: Heritage sites Day 6

Day 7: Why I love South Africa: The open road Day 7

Day 8: Why I love South Africa: The food Day 8

Day 9: Why I love South Africa: So many places to visit: Cape Town Day 9

Day 10: Why I love South Africa: So many places to visit: Jozi Day 10

Day 11: Why I love South Africa: So many places to visit: Kruger National Park Day 11

Day 12: Why I love South Africa: So many places to visit: Kaapse Hoop Day 12

Day 13: Why I love South Africa: So many places to visit: Pilanesberg Day 13

Day 14: Why I love South Africa: So many places to visit: Eastern Cape Day 14

 

Please remember to visit  this website for more information. Please do join me on this adventure.

Click here for more blogs taking part in this challenge