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

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...