Thank you David Bonderman!

Because of Mr. Bonderman's generosity, I have been given the opportunity to travel the world and learn about culture. As a Bonderman Travel Fellow I plan on traveling through Western and Eastern Europe, East Africa, Northern India and Southeast Asia. I am excited to experience new and amazing things that will better enable me to empower and inspire the next generation of young students.

ALSO!!! If you are interested in following the nasty development of my beard and can follow it at

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Zebras, Camels, Black Mambas and Ants

First, Zebras:

Several days ago, John Fisher and I decided to go on a little piki (dirt bike) ride in the Great Rift Valley near Kijabe...the goal: find animals and chase them. After 30 minutes of riding on the highway and 20 minutes of riding through 2 feet deep and soft dirt/sand we found some Zebras! There were between 25 or 30 of them (4 of which were little babies) grazing in an open field. So, John and I geared up and chased them for a solid 15 minutes! It was unbelievable...chasing 30 zebras and coming within feet of them made me feel like a wild animal on the hunt, which is fitting because I look like an animal right now.

After zebras, we scoured the valley for Giraffes, but didn't find any...maybe next time


Camels on Christmas Eve?? Yes. I felt like one of the Magi. John is on the right.

Black Mamba Christmas:

It definitely didn't feel a whole lot like Christmas this family, no christmas tree, no christmas music and lots of mosquitos. On Christmas Day there were two girls swimming in the pool when they saw a snake hop in the pool with them, swim across the pool and climb out on the other side. After hearing a scream of death I ran over there to see what the problem was...a 6 ft long snake!! Shortly after my arrival, a wise African man came with a ten foot long stick and smacked the mamba on the head several times, killing it. After decapitating the monster, I picked it up (it was just as tall as me) and we determined it was a black mamba (the most deadly snake in Africa). Baller


To finish our wonderful adventure on the coast of Kenya, the Fishers and I declared war against the invading ants. If any of you have seen the TV show "McGyver" (sp?) and the episode where those intelligent ants invade the city....the same thing happened to us on Dec. 26th. At around 9 pm million upon millions of ants starting streaming into our house. It was insane! John, Warren and I took it upon ourselves to attack fire, fireworks and DOOM (basically the "cruciatus curse" for ants). We took down well over a million ants in 1 hour and deterred the rest of the ant population from invading with our strategically placed fire works and bon fires. Thanks to McGyver, humans 2 - ants 0

Godspeed and Good Fortune

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kenyan Reboot

I left the orphanage on Friday, Dec. 10th (completing a full 3 weeks of orfanato enjoyment) and made my way to's a completely different world here

-unbearable mid-day heat:temperate, crisp, African beauty
-steady diet of rice and beans:diverse selection of fruits, veggies and meats
-constant irritation from an itchy sweat rash:cool, dry nights that require a fleece and krochet beanie :)
-instant coffee:REAL coffee

But, strangely, I desperately miss MZ and those precious kids at the Orfanato...A big part of me wants to go back right now. I hope to return VERY soon

Update on my Kenyan Activities
Day 1: visited a Kenyan oasis known as Mayor's Ranch and wrestled with a 160 lb. Great Dane named Zeus for 30 min.
Day 2: Toured Rift Valley Academy and enjoyed two glorious hours of basketball
Day 3: Traveled out to "the Kenyan bush" to visit a missionary family camp, tear it up on a slip n slide, and fly off a rope swing
Day 4: Learned how to ride Piky (dirt bike), mobbed out to Mount Margaret (named after a woman who was supposed to be burried at the top), found a tombstone inscribed with the name "Russel Bowker" and renamed the mountain "Mount Russmore"

Next big adventure: Lake Baringo and hippos


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another Defeat

Yesterday, more soccer....

In a quick 20 min., we found ourselves down by 6 the "bad guys" were advancing yet again, I attempted a "header" to clear the ball out of our goal box....another miserable failure resulting in an own goal...The 10 yr olds proceded to call our team North Korea and rub our faces into the dust....what could I say?

Today they told me that they have a football...I think I've found my road back to dominance...if this doesnt work, i'm purchasing a basketball


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back to Reality

After being on an all-time high from beating malnourished, pre-teen African children at pointless American games....yesterday, I crashed back to earth and collided with reality...


I'm bigger, faster and older than every kid at the orphanage...but, yesterday I was practically re-taught how to play soccer...10 year old boys nut-megging me left and right...8 year old girls taking the ball right out from under me...and, literally, EVERYONE running circles around me after only playing for 30 minutes

I'm trying to figure out how to get back on top

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Orfanato, Nampula

After living in a Mozambican orphanage for a week and hanging out with 50 portugese speaking kids every day, I've discovered that they're almost exactly same as American kids (with the exception that almost every American child owns an XBox and plays "Call of Duty" without rest, while Mozambican children are lucky to own a deck of cards).

My discovery surfaced on Day 2....Kids LOVE new games!! I was hanging out with Carneto (sp?)and got the bright idea to teach him how to thumb wrestle: "One, two, three, four, let's have a thumb war, five, six, seven, eight, try to keep your thumb straight..." It caught on like wild fire! Now, approximately 20 times per day, a kid offers me a "high five" and it immediately progresses into a short thumb war battle. Naturally, the combination of my competitiveness, "thumb war" expertise and old-man strength means that my W-L record is an impressive 97-5. I keep beating them and they keep asking for more :)

I've made it my goal to teach the kids atleast 1 new "American" game every 3, they wanted to arm wrestle (my W-L: 33-0) 4, i taught a competitive variation of "patty-cake" (24-5) 5, two games: "finger sword fighting" (16-0) and "2-person keep your balance high-five battle" (25-3) 6, "Big cirlce Ninja elimination game" (0-1, i'll come back), it's day 7 and I think i'll teach them "duck, duck, goose" and show them who's boss

Winning feels good...even if its against children 1/2 or 1/4 my size

I'm running out of ideas, so if you know anymore sweet games, share them in a comment!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

May 10th, 1975

Every single Mozambican thinks I look 35 years's heart-wrenching

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mozambique Bus Facts and The Story

-each ticket can cover more than one person...but, everybody using the same ticket has to cram into one seat. I saw 6 people stuffed into the two seats ahead of me
-average price for a 4-6 hour trip is between 3 and 7 dollars
-most mozambican bus users "kill two birds with one stone" (not literally). The birds: personal travelling and business ventures...I've seen bags upon bags of rice, nuts, salt, etc picked up and dropped off in little villages along the way.....I've seen people transporting chickens, goats, and other farm animals.
-African babies/toddlers DO NOT cry! Last month, I remember whining about how hot i was on a train in Italy...looking back, I'm glad I had my own seat, could shift body positions after losing feeling in my legs and IT WAS ONLY 85 DEGREES!

The Story
So, the very first Mozambican bus route i enjoyed was from Maputo (the capital) to Tofo. We woke up at 4:30 am to catch a 5:00 shuttle that would take us to a 5:30 bus. The bus wasn't terrible...I had my own seat as opposed to the 6 people in front of me who were sharing two seats. To be fair, there were only two women and four children...but still, it looked miserable. 3 hrs into the ride, one of the women ahead of me asked the driver when our first stop would be. He said, "not for another two hours." So, the woman proceeded to take out a plastic grocery bag (like one you would find at Safeway) and hold it open in front of her son...he emptied himself with great satisfaction and was left with a half-leaking bag of piss. Obviously, the mom went to throw it out the window...BUT we were going at least 60 mph...naturally, the wind took control of both the bag and it's contents! I ended up with a healthy portion of urine on my face, glasses and shirt...THANK GOD MY MOUTH WAS CLOSED!!! All I could do was dry off my glasses and laugh. I think there will be a few more stories to tell by the end :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What are the freakin odds!?!?!?!?

Yesterday I woke up at the backpacker hostel in Tofo and decided to try and make it to Vilankulo... I knew that I needed to walk 2km and catch a bus from Tofo to Inhambane...then walk 1.5 km and catch and little boat across the bay to Maxixe...then walk 1km and catch a final, 4hr bus to Vilankulo...with no plans, no reservations and no real idea of what to do, I went for it!!! Astonishingly, I made it to Vilankulo at around 3 pm....and checked into my hostel......

The CRAZIEST part of this whole thing is that as I was checking in to the place in Vilankulo, I heard the voices of two girls speaking in flawless "American"....I was very excited so, after checking in, I approached the girls to introduce myself AND IT WAS TWO GIRLS ON THE BONDERMAN FELLOWSHIP!!!!!!!!! Andrea Gough and Alena Suazo....I had met them in May during our first meeting and had seen/talked to them a little before leaving the states...they're both grad students and they met up in Maputo...absolutely insanity

I had NO idea other bondermaners were in Africa right now...what are the chances? I have no idea, but I'm excited to see people I know!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Off to Tofo...

I'm finishing up my time here in Maputo..when I arrived on Thursday I seriously debated leaving the next morning, but I decided against it and now I've been here for 5 nights...lovin it all

-I initially staggered while looking at my hostel bill of 1750 meticais...but after dividing that number by 35, I quickly realized $50 for 5 nights wasn't too bad...very pumped

-For the first two days I wandered the streets with eyes in the back of my head, looking for people eager to jump me. For the last three days I wandered the streets actively looking for trouble, but all I found were soldiers asking for "cold drinks"

-Today I visited a school and played basketball for the second time since leaving the states. One boy said, "That Mulungu can play basketball..." I think that means that I'm white, bigger than all of the seventh graders and didn't hold back

I'm sad to leave Maputo, but very excited for what's ahead. I've heard some horror stories about road conditions on the highways north and that makes it all the more fun.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I made it across the South African border on Nov. 4th without too much trouble :) I almost "snuck" into Mozambique without getting a visa would've been TERRIBLE!!! Luckily the bus driver stopped me from getting back on the bus and told me I needed my visa (I thought I got stamped through, but apparently I missed out on THE stamp). In Maputo, I've already been asked to show my visa three times, by three different soldiers with AK47's slung around their necks. I'm pretty sure I'd be in a Mozambican prison right now if it wasn't for that bus driver..thankya Jesus!

Besides illegal immigration, AK47's and the threat of imprisonment...Maputo has been AWESOME!!! I feel incredibly safe here, the people are so kind/helpful, I've made friends with other sweet travelers and we've had a few adventures already

I'm scheduled to visit a Mozambican school on Monday and then I think I'm heading north (to Tofo) on Tuesday...slowly working my way to Nampula! I really like where I am right now and I'm excited for more adventures

Foreshadow: A dood from Seattle, named TJ, is working at the orphanage in Nampula and I've been talking with him since arriving on the 4th...He sounds LEGIT and I wouldn't be surprised if we have go on some adventures together...i'm stoked already

Alls good in da hood

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Great White Adventure

After epic adventures in Cape Town, along the Garden Route and on the Sunshine Coast I am back in Joburg, ready to make my way towards Mozambique...

Cape Town proved to be the most dangerous, colorful, exciting and picturesque city I visited in SA....the mix of cultures, city life and natural beauty, rocky mountains and sandy beaches, green landscapes and blue oceans, wildlife and South Africans were unforgettable...I finished my time in Cape Town with a trip to the top of Table Mountain, an excursion out to Cape Point (where we saw wild baboons) and re-learning how to drive (steering wheel on the right, gears on the left, driving on the left side of the road, etc.)...

My next stop after CPT was a quiet, rural town along the Garden Route called Oudtshoorn...not much to do in Oudtshoorn, but nearby in Mossel Bay there was Great White Shark diving!!!!

I showed up on an early Thursday morning, ready to get close and personal with some sharks...but, to my dismay, the boat's captain had something to say: "We're dealing with wild animals in their natural habitat. We, as crew members, have no control over these sharks. We just do the best we can to attract the sharks with fish guts. We CANNOT guarantee seeing ANY sharks today....That being said, we have seen at least one shark everyday for the last two weeks and two days ago we saw a record number, 5 different sharks! So let's go!!!" Needless to say, I was nervous about not seeing any sharks

About an hour into setting anchor and chumming nasty, rotten, dead fish into the water, I heard "SHARK AROUND!!" Instinctively, I sprinted to the cabin, stripped down to my undies, slipped on the wetsuit and jumped in the water before anybody else even moved...I was the first in the water and saw PLENTY of action! While in the water, 3 other sharks showed up and I stared face to face with one of them about 5 inches was AWESOME!!! After 20 minutes of seeing plenty of shark, I hopped out and started taking pictures/videos from the boat deck. Seven different sharks visited us throughout the day!!! At one point, there were six different sharks swimming around our boat!!! And all of them were Great Whites!! It was unbelievable!

After Mossel Bay, I stopped along the coast in Knysna (a beautiful port town) and Jeffry's Bay (surfer's paradise). Those smaller coastal towns couldn't have been more different from Cape Town or Joburg...very quiet, much safer and amazingly mellow...I had some awesome adventures hiking on my own again, jumping off the highest bungy jump in the world, meeting lots of other travelers (including a group of ladies from BC and a dood from Port Angeles, Washington) and replenishing my soul :)

Now, it's off to Mozambique!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


"A picture is worth a thousand words?" Cape Town has taught me that a picture can start a 1000 word conversation with a stranger, initiate a friendship, break down barriers and capture glimpses of the moments we wish to treasure. It isn't the picture that I find valuable, but the idea of stopping time, freezing the moment, creating eternity.

It seems as though we love pictures because of our inate desire to eternalize momentary joy, love, happiness, excitement, etc. Unfortunately, when we look back at a picture, we only see a small glimpse of the moment we had. We miss out on the sounds, the context, the emotions, the realness...the true experience. I think natural beauty and God similarly relate. Beauty is a mere glimpse of who created this world. Snow-tipped mountain peaks, seemingly endless oceans, a new-born child, a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary, an unlikely stranger lending a hand, the calmness of a sunset and the excitement of a marriage proposal are tiny glimpses of something more...something truer. Just as pictures miss out on the full experience, worldly beauty doesn't include the fullness of the God who created it...we're looking at a snapshot of something much more beautiful, much more satisfying, much more thirst-quenching.

I'll look back on the Capetonian pictures and remember meeting those strangers (Notizi and Palesa), Joburg Bar, show-repairman-(or woman)-Stanton, the knife point mugger, very late nights, Table Mountain, Uncle Thami, Food Inn 24/7, late night Internet Cafe hang out and falling asleep at 5 am...But it isn't these things that will bring me the truest's the newfound friendships with Notizi and Palesa that will last through fire, tsunami, earthquake, etc. when the pictures won't.

The moment is over, the picture has been taken...but the story isn't over, I have new friends, there is more to be written...

Monday, October 18, 2010

After only a week in Joburg I've learned a lot...

Education can be as different as chalk and cheese...

On Friday I visited a lovely school in northern Joburg called HeronBridge College (college=high school). It's a small christian school with the most beautiful high school campus I've seen in my life. The faculty members were welcoming, the students were motivated and I had a blast! As I was leaving I said, "I might come back to Joburg just to teach at this school..." Fantastic place

Today (Monday) I experienced something a little different. Kingsway is a school for under-privileged kids living in "squatter camps." "Squatter camps" are similar to "Tent City" in Seattle, except much bigger...basically, hundreds of homeless families congregate in an open field and start building "homes" out of cinder blocks, rebar, tin sheets, cardboard, etc. Eventually, when violence and corruption overrun the camp, the government goes in with bull dozers to destroy the "houses". The families are forced to move out and find another field for their home. Sometimes "squatter camps" can be around for years before they get destroyed. The particular camp that most of the Kingsway students live in is just 5 km from the school. Eye opening! I was much more involved with the kids at this school than I was at HeronBridge on Friday....I taught 6th/7th graders a lesson on fractions and co-taught a class of 1st/2nd/3rd graders. It was SUPER challenging, but incredibly rewarding. As I was leaving I said, "I might come back to Joburg just to teach at this school..." Inspiring place

Along with South African education, I've learned a lot about the Marshall family! I couldn't have asked for a better welcoming than what I've received from the Marshall's extended family. I've stayed at three different Marshall houses, taken part in a big family dinner (including cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and pets), been escorted all over Joburg and have sincerely bonded with many of them :) I finally understand where Stephen gets his good looks and how he managed to bag such an awesome babe (it seems as though all of the Marshalls have found the sweetest/warmest/friendliest spouses in all of South Africa...) I couldn't say thank you enough!

I'm off to Soweto (township outside of Johannesburg) tomorrow....Then flying to Cape Town on Thursday! Woohoo

Monday, October 11, 2010


Although I flew on this plane

I made it to South Africa! WOOHOO!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Italy Experience

It's hard to believe, but I've been tromping through Italy for three weeks now! Before leaving the states, I NEVER planned on spending more than a week in a single country...But looking back on these last three weeks, I wish I could have more time's been beautiful

Here is the update:

Venice (Sept. 16-Sept. 18)
-Became lifelong friends with a Hungarian student studying abroad in Italy for a semester. Zsolt and I agreed that if either of us visit each other's home countries in the future, we'll have a place to stay :)
-Successfully explored almost every Venetian street in a matter of 2.5 hours and wandered aimlessly for the next 1.5 days.
-Overcame all previous urges to visit Venice and will not return unless someone pays me to :)

Florence (Sept. 18-Sept. 21)
-I was looking quite haggard (as expected with a 2+ month-old beard) on the train from Venice to Florence, BUT, fortunately, I was wearing my Jermaine O'neal Blazers jersey...a contagiously outgoing oregonian girl saw past the seattle grunge and introduced herself. Turns out she is from Ptown, a Baylor student, and studying in Florence this semester with 7 other american girls...God is good! The result: 4 unbelievable days exploring Florence as a true insider. I learned Florentine secrets that I'll take to the grave. I never thought my jersey would bring such good fortune.
-O ya and Michaelangelo's David was cool too

Cinque Terre (Sept. 21 -Sept. 23)
-Clear blue skies, the beautiful mediterranean, 40+ ft cliffs, and Birra Morretti...could it have been better? I guess if Eney, Kruse and Brock were there with us.

Roma: Round 1 (Sept. 23- Sept. 26)
-Spent three awesome days exploring with Zach Hunter and Matt Woods (a fellow traveler we met in Northern Ireland)
-Colloseum, Pallatine Hill, Forum, St. Peters Basilica, ...and countless other ancient marvels
-Finally said goodbye to the last of the UW travel companions. Zach left from the train station in Rome at 10:52 pm on September was really hard (I kinda wanted to go with him)
-SHAVED off the beard :/

Italy with my DAD: Roma, Umbria, Tuscany, Chianti, Piedmont (Sept. 28 - Oct. 11)
-Major adjustment going from a 36 euro/day budget (including room, food, travel, etc.) to having dinner that costs more than 36 euros...but I made the adjustment just fine :)
-Spent 4 glorious days in Roma and fell in love with Gian Lorenzo Bernini, an Italian artist known as the Michaelangelo of the Baroque era. If you ask me, Michaelangelo is the Bernini of the Renaissance era...his work at the Borghese Galleria was insane!!
- Amazing food and wine tours through various areas north of Roma. Our travels included Orvieto, Fabbri, Montefalco, Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, Greve in Chianti, Firenze, Monterosso al Mare, Santo Stefano Belbo and Alba.
-A few more towns are on the docket, but nothing is certain :)
-Dad leaves for Portland and I leave for Joburg on Monday, the 11th

Travelling with pops has been awesome! Much different than I originally expected, but unbelievable. I feel like we've both learned a lot about each other during these two intense weeks. A couple of conversations have opened up some relational avenues that didn't exist before. We're making bonds that will really last forever.

But, its a little awkward because every Italian that we meet is surprised to hear that we are father and son. They say (to my dad), "You look too young to be his father." We wonder what kind of relationship they think we have. Are we brothers? Or something more? We've chosen to decide that they think we're brothers. Thats okay with us, because we kind of are...I grew up kicking his ass at almost everything...and I've always said that I got the good looking genes

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hungarian Horntail


Harry Potter has faced many challenges in his over-dramatic, but inspiring, life. I'd argue that one of his toughest challenges came during the first task of the Triwizard Tournament, when he was matched up against a Hungarian Horntail. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Hungarian Horntails, these are a breed of dragon native to Hungary. Most wizards would say that they are the most dangerous of all dragons...but Harry came out on top! How does this apply to my life right now?? Well, I feel as though I was met with a challenge in Hungary last night, and I came out on top!

Here's the story:
Yesterday I took a night train from Prague to Budapest to save money and time. The train left from Prague at 23:11 and was scheduled to arrive in Budapest at 8:20 this morning. I got to the train station about an hour before departure so that I could brush my teeth, get my book ready and have my choice of seats. Everything was going perfectly! I found an empty compartment with bench seats and no armrest (the seats were long enough to fully extend my legs and wide enough to lay very comfortably)!

At midnight, I started to fall asleep, but a random conversation with my mom popped into my head. I remember her asking, "How do you secure all of your luggage when you're on night trains so nobody steals your stuff?" I told her that I've never really had any problems with my luggage so I don't worry about it too much. But for some reason, on the train I was a little more paranoid than usual. So, I used my handy dandy combination lock and all of the buckles on both of my back packs to securely fasten each of them to the overhead luggage rack (it took me about five minutes to free the bags from my own security system this morning). I fell asleep with a clear conscious.

But, periodically throughout the night, various conductors woke me up to ask for my ticket and make sure I wasn't riding the train for free. Then, at around 3 am, a conductor busted into my compartment and demanded my ticket. I showed him my Eurail Pass, but he started scolding me because it isn't valid in Slovakia and my train went 130 km through Slovakia at one point. I dealt with it and fell right back to sleep. But then, at around 4 am I woke up and saw another man standing over me in the dark. I thought it was another conductor, so I sprang to my feet and looked at him...he definitely wasn't a conductor and he was holding my jeans and my jacket. I approached him and he backed up into the corner of the compartment. I took back my stuff and kicked him out of the room. Then, looking at my bags, I noticed that he definitely tried to pull my smaller pack off the rack. My security system was successful!

I stayed awake for the rest of the night and two different thieves came into my room to rob me while I was laying down. Good thing I wasn't asleep because I scared them off pretty good. It was definitely nerve racking. I can't believe that there were at least three people on my train stealing things from sleeping passengers!!! Crazy!

Thank goodness, nothing of mine was stolen and now I know what to look for. I guess you could say I'm reading for the second task in the Triwizard Tournament.

And thanks mommy for haunting my thoughts :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mission Maroc

So, I spent the last four nights in Africa...away from the comforts and luxuries of having friends, drinkable water and a semi-recognizable language nearby. On the 25th I arrived in Melilla, Spain (Spanish Morocco) and spent the night there. Then I spent the 26th and 27th in a rural area of Morocco. I slept at a typical countryside home with a family friend from the states (Melodie) and a Moroccan family (Parents, Siham and Mohammed; Siham's Aunt; Elias, 4; and Teetee, 2). Out in the country I spent my time picking figs, harvesting cactus fruit, cracking almonds, digging the foundation of the future community center, playing with the kids, going to the beach and eating a lot of great food cooked by Mohammed.
The beautiful home that Melodie and the Moroccan family live in

The house from the backside

Teetee, Elias and I

Cracking Almonds with the family

Picking Cactus fruit with Elias

The Moroccan sunset from my bedroom (aka the roof)

On the morning of the 28th Melodie and I headed west towards a small mountain town called Chefchaouen. Along the way we passed hundreds and hundreds of fields full of lush marijuana plants. It was absolutely crazy! Marijuana is definitely illegal in Morocco, but the authorities and government turn a blind eye to almost all drug activity. Chefchaouen is a beautiful and somewhat touristed area that looks and feels a lot more like Europe than the country did.
Chefchaouen at sunset

This is Melodie :)

I needed to leave very early in the morning on the 29th...around 6 am. So, I got up, got ready and started to head out the door, however, the main entrance to the hotel was locked and the manager was nowhere to be found!!! I started scouring the entire building for an alternative exit, but was unsuccessful. The main door was the only exit other than windows, and all of the first floor windows were barred shut. So, I resorted to using a rope from REI and an open second story window(seen in the picture below right behind me). It may not look it from the photo, but the drop from that window is about fifteen feet....thats pretty far. First, I lowered my 30 lb pack from the window. Step 1 was simple and accomplished without any hiccups. Next, I wrapped the rope around the middle window frame so that half the rope hung out the right window and the other half hung out the left window (I did this so that after I climbed down I could get my rope back). Then, I barely squeezed through the left window, feet first with my pack on my back. I proceeded to lower myself down from the window, but the rope didn't reach all the way to the bottom! I ended up jumpiing the last 5 or 6 feet with my 10 lb pack on my back. I landed safely without any broken ankles or bruised joints, was able to regain my rope and was ready to find my way across the mediterranean and through Spain to Barcelona. It was an adventure!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Moving 299,792,456 m/s (really fast!)

I think today marks my 31st day of being abroad! It definitely doesn't feel like I've been gone that long, though. Maybe that's because I'm in the company of some of the coolest people I've met in my entire life (Zach Hunter, Michael Eney, Brian Kruse and Brock Hartman). I haven't had proper computer access since my last blog post, which was more than two weeks ago! Since then, the five of us had a spectacular time exploring Northern Ireland and Dublin, Brock flew back home for law school, I explored western Ireland alone, Eney Zach and I spent two nights in Lagos Portugal, we met Kruse for three nights in Sevilla Spain, and now the four of us are in Granada! It has been an absolute blur! Everywhere we've gone has been wonderful, beautiful and special in its own way. All of us are pretty worn out from the heat and constant walking (it was 109 in Sevilla and now is 97 here in Granada).

Zach, Eney and Kruse are all heading north to Madrid on the 25th, but I've decided to do my own thing on the 25th and head south, across the water, into Morocco. I have a family friend who's been living there for a really long time, so I'm excited to see her and experience the kind of work she does, first hand. I'm not sure how long I'll spend in Morocco, I'll try to keep you all updated :)

Here are some pictures highlighting the last few weeks

Northern Ireland! The boys in front of Dunluce Castle. For those of you who do not know, CS Lewis was born and raised in Northern Ireland. Throughout his books, he references Northern Ireland a lot. Apparently, Dunluce provided the inspiration for Cair Paravel (the castle from his acclaimed series The Chronicles of Narnia)

Z, Brock and I got to spend a wonderful afternoon and evening with Harold and Eileen Lynas. Zach and I met this sweet couple on the train from Southern Ireland to Belfast and we hit it off. In the short conversation we had with them, we exchanged emails, phone numbers and adresses, and they offerred to have us over for tea. So we rang them up one night and had tea with them the next day. It was awesome

On my own in Westport, Ireland

Beautiful Croagh Patrick the day before I climbed it

Beautiful Croagh Patrick the day I climbed it :)

It was definitely foggy and very rainy! But I made it anyways!

One of the awesome beaches in Lagos

Fresh figs from the trees on the cliff above the good! and free!

Together again, in Sevilla. La Catedral

Saturday, August 7, 2010

France: The French Riviera and Paris

Finished up Gimmelwald with a sweet hike up to Spritzhorn and a very relaxing last day. We traveled all night on August 3rd and arrived in Cap d'Ail early on the 4th. After exploring the entire town in less than an hour, we decided to only spend one night at our hostel overlooking the Mediterranean. So we traveled the following night (the 6th) to Paris! We've pretty much seen it all and we're thinking about going to Disneyland Paris tomorrow....I know Brock is down, I just hope the other three hop on the band wagon! On the 9th, we head for Ireland!
Arc de Triomphe

Sacre Coeur

Eiffel Tower

Hostel on Mediterranian

Cap d'Ail

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Gimmelwald, Switzerland

Wow! This place could not be more different than Amsterdam! Zach and I arrived in Lauterbrunnen yesterday morning at around 8:30 and took a gondola up to what seemed like a tiny farming community. But, to our joy, we stepped off the gondola and found ourselves in Gimmelwald...the closest thing to Heaven I`ve seen. The Swiss Alps are all around us, there`s not a single cloud in the sky, we are drinking milk straight out of cow utters, the Mountain Hostel is welcoming and homelike, AND all five of us have finally convened to mark the beginning of Brofest Europe. I want to stay here the rest of my life...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Now, it's Switzerland!

After meeting up with Zach Hunter on Wednesday I have had a great time in Amsterdam. Wednesday night, we went to bed at 5:30!...not in the morning, but in the evening...since yesterday we were able to cruise the city as members of a biker gang, visit the Rijksmuseum, have a picnic at Vondelpark, tour the Anne Frank house and become comfortable as true European Navigators. Here are some highlights:

This is the hostel in Vondelpark

I took this illegal picture of Z in front of the secret door in Anne (and Margot) Frank's house

Amsterdam-Centraal Station

Cool Church..not sure of the name

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Couple Days in Brugges!

After spending a glorious Saturday morning/afternoon in Seattle with my mom, dad, and little sis I took off for Europe and landed in Amsterdam the next (Sunday) afternoon. On the spur of the moment, I decided to hop on a train and make my way to Brugges, Belgium. I spent two days scouring the city of Brugges and enoying every second of it!

The Brugges bell tower...I climbed 366 stairs to the top!

I met a sheep in the middle of the city...i named him Louis

A little bit of greenery in a town that was lacking

I was in awe of this mural on the second floor of the Chapel of Saint Basil

This is the front side of the Chapel of Saint Basil

"Basilica of the Holy Blood": supposedly the Belgians stole a vial of Christ's blood from Jerusalem in the 12th century and I paid a euro to see it...who knows

One of the many horse-drawn carriages parked in Burg Square

Michelangelo's Madonna and Child in The Church of Our Lady

Today, I met up with Zach Hunter in Amsterdam!!! Stay posted :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010


This whole adventure is actually becoming real! The Bonderman was on the UW homepage today with a link to the official announcement. So now the whole world knows that I'm a Bonderman Fellow and I am very excited about sharing my passions with those who ask me about my travels...but I kinda enjoyed it when nobody knew :)

I have my first meeting with Brook Kelly on Monday and I'm super excited. By the way, Brook is freakin amazing...the coolest faculty I've met at UW (not to offend anybody else at all, Brook is just that awesome)

More updates will come as necessary.

And I got my camera! Canon Powershot G11...very nice

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gettin Immune..

I just scheduled an appointment with the UW Hall Health Travel clinic to get my immunizations! They asked me for a list of countries I may visit and this is what I said (I definitely said as many countries as I could, just in case)

EUROPE (lots of them) Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, India, Pakistan??? :), Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan

I'm leaving my options open...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

I'm currently on the search for a reliable camera that I can take with me on my "yearish-long" exploration. I'm incredibly inexperienced when it comes to photography, so I'm looking for a camera that takes HIGH quality photos, but isn't anything like an SLR (where I actually need to know what I'm doing).

I've narrowed down the selection pool to basically 3 different cameras (I've ranked them according to how much I like them)

1. Canon Powershot G11

2. Canon Powershot S90

3. Panasonic Lumix DMX ZS7

This is a serious decision... who will be my companion for 8+ months?

Friday, April 16, 2010

A New Adventure

I am officially a 2010 Bonderman Fellow!!!!!!! I'm so excited its ridiculous!

For those of you who want to read more about the Bonderman Travel Fellowship, click here!

For those of you who are interested in reading a brief little description about my proposal and the other Bonderman Fellows, click here!

For those of you who want more updates, stay posted :)