Friday, February 19, 2016

Travel Tales: Cape Town, South Africa

This week, All Africa reported that Khayelitsha Schools in South Africa are harvesting their own vegetable gardens in response to the country’s drought and rising food prices. According to the founder of the Ikhaya Food Garden at Isikhokele Primary School, these gardens are assisting students from poor households who have little to nothing to eat. The garden teaches students the importance of a green environment, and has sparked a passion for farming amongst the wider Khayelitsha population. More information on the gardens can be found here.
I chose to highlight this story because I too planted vegetable gardens in the Khayelitsha Township during my December 2012 study abroad trip to Cape Town, South Africa. I remember our bus arriving to the township which was lined with disheveled houses, some of which had been constructed out of scrap material that could be found alongside the roads. I remember seeing a few of the young children playing in the streets barefoot when we walked through the township to meet with the community service organization that had coordinated this opportunity for us. Even in their unfortunate living conditions, I remember the children of the township all having smiles on their faces.  
The young children insisted on helping us till the land and plant the seeds for the vegetable gardens in their community. Despite the strenuous manual labor that it took to plant the gardens throughout the township, this activity  was the highlight of my Cape Town trip! It felt good to be engaging in service that was going to have such a positive impact on the community. Going overseas and experiencing a new culture is rewarding, but there is no greater gift than being a gift to someone else.
Today, I encourage you to make a difference in the world! You do not have to necessarily take on an international initiative. There are numerous ways to give back to the community right here in the United States. Social media and crowd funding have made it possible to donate to various charitable organizations that are of interest to you. Additionally, social media platforms such as Twitter, can provide you with information on community service opportunities that are taking place in your local community. Do something that can change the course of someone's life for the better.
Here is a picture of my classmates and I playing with some of the children in the township after we planted the vegetable gardens together. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Travel Tales: Transportation Woes

Being able to travel around the world is truly rewarding. When going on a trip, there’s nothing better than getting to your final destination and being able to enjoy the wonders of your new location. However, transportation can sometimes put a damper on your travelling plans.

Today, Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) lost his battle against shrinking airline seats. According to the Congressman, the seat width on U.S. airlines “have shrunk from 18 inches in the 1970s to about 16.5 inches today.” His argument for the Congressional regulation of seat sizes on airplanes was due primarily to his concern of people’s safety. Unfortunately, a House committee defeated the legislation that would have mandated size standards for airline seats in a 26-33 vote. To read more on this, please click here.

Although I am a little iffy about putting airline regulations in the hands of the government, I would appreciate certain airlines making the proper adjustments to ensure that seating on their planes are safe and comfortable. If you would like to safely arrive at your final travelling destination as relaxed and comfortable as possible, I highly suggest travelling via Delta or Jet Blue Airlines. Both offer spacious seating in first-class and coach, with plenty of legroom to reduce any health hazards from taking place during your flight.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Travel Tales: New Orleans, Louisiana

As I mentioned in my first post, not all of my greatest travelling stories are from my international travels. Some of my best trips in life have taken place right here in the United States. Today, I would like to tell you about one of my favorite cities in the world, which is New Orleans. New Orleans  is a unique melting pot of food, culture, and music, located in southeastern Louisiana.  
A few years ago, I visited this amazing city with my mother for the annual Essence Music Festival , which has taken place in New Orleans since 1994. Upon our arrival, we were simply in awe of the beauty that fell before our eyes. Gorgeous French and Spanish Creole architecture adorned the streets of the city. As we walked through the French Quarter examining the elegant structures, we could hear a brass band melodiously playing their instruments in the distance. New Orleans is trademarked as the birthplace of Jazz, and tourists can often hear the sounds of legends, such as Louis Armstrong, playing in shops, markets, restaurants, and museums. Pictures, murals, and statues of famous jazz musicians can be found throughout the city.
New Orleans music is one of a kind, the architecture is stunning, but my favorite part about the city would have to be the food. As a Maryland native, I pride myself on knowing what good seafood is. All my life, I was under the impression that Maryland’s seafood was incomparable. However, after eating charbroiled oysters in New Orleans for the first time, I knew that my home state had come in second place when it came to preparing seafood. New Orleans has some of the most flavorful food that I’ve ever tasted. Some of my favorite New Orleans dishes are of course charbroiled oysters, po’boy sandwiches, and red snapper topped with a Cajun sauce. Below, you’ll find pictures of these delicious treats.

Shrimp Po'Boy Sandwich and an Assortment of Fried Seafood
Charbroiled Oysters
 Red Snapper topped with Cajun Sauce
If you would like to travel to a local US city filled with dynamic people, food, culture, and music, I highly recommend taking a trip to New Orleans, LA.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Travel Tales: Puerto Maldonado, Peru

While studying abroad in the Amazon Rainforest of Puerto Maldonado, Peru, I called Posada Amazonas home for four days. This tropical rainforest lodge was completely open to the surrounding ecosystem, which allowed guests to become one with the wildlife and natural wonders of the Amazon. As you can see from the photo above, our bedrooms also exposed us to the lovely oasis during our down time. My stay in Puerto Maldonado included daytime and nighttime hikes throughout the rainforest, trips to the local medicine garden, and a climb up the 120 ft. canopy tower that overlooked the Amazon. If you are a person that loves adventure and nature, I would highly recommend travelling to Puerto Maldonado, Peru!  

Below are additional pictures of the communal spaces at the lodge, as well as pictures of the  120 ft. canopy tower that I mentioned above.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Travel Tales: Overview

I've been quite the travel bug in my 24 years of living. While most of my travel experiences have been within the boundaries of the United States to cities such as Miami, Las Vegas, and New York City, other experiences have allowed me to travel abroad to different countries such as South Africa, Bermuda, Peru, and the Bahamas. What I like most about travelling is that I not only get to learn about a different location, but I also get the opportunity to learn more about myself (and I learned a whole lot about myself while staying in the Peruvian Amazon for 4 days). With this blog, I look forward to sharing with you the many exciting adventures that I've had while travelling. I'll be sure to include pictures if digital copies of the trip are still available on my laptop or IPhone! Please revisit my blog to read more about the adventures of a young traveler.