Samoa

Thank you to Gemma Bowes from The Guardian Travel Section for including us in the article, “Backpacking: a guide to classic and new must-do experiences.”

We Said Go Travel recommended:

India: “Instead of Goa, Gokarna, further south, is the seaside region for quieter, lovelier sands, at Kudlee Beach, Om Beach, Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach.”

Mongolia: “Mongolia, including multi-day trips by van into the Gobi Desert, surprisingly full of delicate purple flowers (book with popular hostel theUB Guesthouse.”

Nepal: “Sarangkot, Pokhara, in Nepal offers parahawking, which is a new paragliding experience with birds of prey as guides. Trained vultures lead the tandem divers into thermals and land on backpackers’ arms to be fed, all while swooping through the sky.”

Samoa: “Seeing sunrise at Falealupo, Samoa in the South Pacific. Until 30 December 2011, it was all about going to the last place on the planet to see sunset. But then Samoa jumped over to the other side of the dateline, so the village is now one of the first to see the sunrise instead. Visitors can celebrate New Year’s Eve in Samoa, then fly one hour to American Samoa and do it again the next day, or go for a birthday to celebrate twice.”

WATCH: Parahawking in Nepal  from Scott Mason

Read the full article and see all the TOP TIPS for 2013 in The Guardian.

Thank you to  Amy Sommer for her article in Westside Today!

I will be on NATIONAL TELEVISION on Saturday September 29 on KTLA’s Career Day.

The article begins:

On Saturday, September 29, 2012 KTLA’s “Career Day” will invite viewers in to science teacher Lisa Niver Rajna’s classroom and see first hand how she inspires her Kindergarten through sixth grade students by integrating science concepts in an engaging way that connects with our community.

Niver Rajna’s fourth grade students had a Question and Answer session with the director of “Trouble in Paradise” a film that documents how the inhabitants of this Polynesian island nation are dealing with the rising sea waters which will force them to abandon their homes in the near future. Several students were so inspired to help they had a weekend bake sale to raise money to help the Tuvaluans relocate.

Rajna in the classroom during the shoot

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: CLICK HERE

Niver Rajna speeks to her worldwide classroom thanks to KTLA

Niver Rajna speeks to her worldwide classroom thanks to KTLA’s ‘Career Day’

In the 45 days before she turns 45 she is raising money to assist 45 families receive Solar Cookers from Jewish World Watch. She is already half way to her goal having raised funds to help 23 families. For more information on this project: www.wesaidgotravel.com/we-said-do-good

Being able to explain the Ho Chi Ming Trail, all about Nomads and Gers in Mongolia, as well water issues around the world with both photos and video from her personal perspective engages students of all ages. Find out how Lisa Niver Rajna does it on KTLA Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 1:00pm.

A sunset at Falealupo, Savaii, Samoa.

When I travel, I imagine that I am talking to strangers from a different culture and that I witness different lives to learn about those same lives, but in reality I always reach hidden treasures; insights into my own reality and dreams. Sometimes the action of travel teaches me about myself: I learn to locate my destinations via public transportation in Beijing at night, I determine how to proceed while visiting Taipei, or perhaps that I really might eat fried cricket in Chiang Mai.

I can be bold, courageous and full of adventure. I know because I have succeeded in these endeavors. In The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost Rachel Friedman states, “…sometimes travel and being adventurous do not fit with the model I hold of myself, …but it does not coexist with how I picture myself—a sheltered, scared, predictable kind of girl, definitely not a girl who has adventures. I come from rooted people; people who prefer chlorinated bodies of water and career paths.”

Travel allows us all to step out of “normal” life, to see other cultures, meet people, learn languages—learn about others while learning about ourselves.

This same opportunity is available to us through our daily calendar: we can question if our current routines are what we actually want to follow. Again, as Ms. Friedman says: “What’s the right way to go about … our lives? Should you do what you love, what’s outrageous and unpredictable, and worry about the future later? Or plug away at a steady job first and go off and have your fun when you retire?”

Elisabeth Eaves, in Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents,tells tales of love, misadventure and wringing every second of life out of every moment. She says:

My life wouldn’t be so easy to fix. I’d woken up at the age of thirty-four to realize that I wanted to go home, only to discover that I had no idea where that was. Wanderlust, the very strong or irresistible impulse to travel, is adopted untouched from the German, presumably because it couldn’t be improved upon.
Celebrating at the Vegetarian Festival in Trang, Thailand.

Her challenges seem much greater while living in varied locales like Cairo, Karachi, a boat shed, or surviving on the Kokoda Trail, compared to those I surmounted on my year trip in South East Asia with my husband, George. But her comments do remind me of our journey; “It was the place that had showed me, for the first time, that when you were somewhere else, you could be someone else.”

Her questions about life are important to me this time of year as I reflect on Rosh Hashannah (the Jewish New Year) and what will I do with the year ahead? What are my goals and what should they be?

Are we obligated to know the important events of our time? Or is the whole project of knowing, of being part of a society, neither moral nor immoral, but just away to pass the time? Is it enough to do no harm to the world, or do you have to contribute too? I wanted to go toward the man-made heat and light, the cultural center, the heart of civilization. At the same time, I didn’t want to get off the boat. (Wanderlust)

So take a moment to hug the ones you love and fill your days with meaning. Maybe this year you’ll decide to wear white for Yom Kippur; a white ribbon, pin, bracelet or shirt may remind you to stop and smell the roses and fill your soul with moments that take your breath away.

Author’s Notes:
This article first appeared in Westside Today September 24, 2011. I decided to share it for the Jewish New Year and I hope all your dreams and goals come true. Please consider participating in my #45×45 Do Good Birthday Solar Cooker Project. One person really can make a difference!

George and I wish everyone a wonderful sweet New Year filled with health, happiness and adventure!! Enjoy this video of song for the New Year:

Our year journey in South East Asia started July 2, 2012. When we were gone for eleven months in 2008, one of the common questions was, “How can you spend so much time together?”

We were recently  interviewed about Traveling as a Couple by Travelinksites:

Today we have the fine pair behind the super blog We Said Go Travel.  With well over 100 countries tucked away in Lisa and George’s repetoire, these guys are experts!  Their blog is full of videos, info and tales from far flung places so make sure you check them out. But first, let’s hear how they travel successfully as a married couple…

 

1.  Could you briefly introduce yourselves and your site?

Hello! We are a traveling couple. I worked for seven years at sea for Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Renaissance Cruises in the youth program and as cruise staff and went scuba diving and traveling on six continents. My husband George lived in Paraguay as part of the Peace Corps Program and traveled around South America. Both of us had been to nearly 100 countries (by Traveler’s Century Club count) before we met.

2. Tell us the story!  How did you guys meet and what made you choose to write a travel blog?

George found me online—and we started traveling together almost immediately. Our first journey was to Fiji and Vanuatu. In Vanuatu, we went to a village, met a Peace Corps worker and I had my first bucket bath. When we started our first year-long journey, we wrote a newsletter every month. After we got married, we went from our “He Said, She Said” to our website: We said Go Travel.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW

Thank you to Travelinksites.com for choosing us as a Traveling Couple for their site! We hope to share more about how we do it while we are gone this year!

Happy Independence Day! We hope you find a way to make all your dreams come true and feel INDEPENDENT this year!

 

Enjoy this article and video about Samoa and my personal Drama at Virgin Cove–right where they filmed SURVIVOR SAMOA!

Drama at Virgin Cove:
Face-Planted on the Ground
At 1:30am as I lay on the cement step outside the bathroom. I thought, “Hmm, why am I on the ground? How did this happen?” Leaving Los Angeles for a summer of sun in Samoa and the South Pacific, I had no idea about the Survivor Stories that would unfold so quickly.

I had eaten the chicken at dinner, apparently a mistake that night.

During the dark hours before dawn I fainted at the edge of the bathroom steps and there I regained consciousness, scraped and bruised on both arms and chin. I guess when I needed to run to the bathroom again and again I should have woken George, especially after falling, but I was so stunned that I ended up face-planted on the ground.  Once back in our room I lay on the mat, moaning. George woke up and asked what was wrong. After hearing my tale of woe he offered to help. Because of his concern, and despite the many eariler explosions, I was finally able to rest.

This video shows some of the gorgeous beauty of Virgin Cove, our nighttime arrival and the many steps to the bathroom. All aspects of travel are not beautiful but some of them do make us appreciate better the postcard days!

Video: Drama at Virgin Cove

Article first published as Drama at Virgin Cove on Technorati.

In Los Angeles? Join us TODAY at JetSet Extra Social!
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More info on our website: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/los-angeles.html

I love Lucy clothes! Just like the ads claim they are perfectly packable.While stuck inside for a couple of days in torrential rain while cookingupstairs at Fifita’s guesthouse in Pangai, Ha’apai, Tonga, Dwight asked me “Whois Lucy? And why is her name onall your clothes?” 

It is true nearly everything in my backpack is from the Lucy store, on our summertrip in Tonga and Samoa this summer, I had two shorts, two capris, one longpants, half a dozen t-shirts and a long sleeve shirt all from the store. My oneskirt and one zip up warmer shirt are also great Lucy products. Nothingwrinkles, the fabric is easy to clean and the colors are great. I figure why goanywhere else?
When we were away traveling for a year in SE Asia, I lost so much weightwhen we came home I needed clothes in a new size. I had already discovered Lucyclothes but now became a walking store.

As Laura Frasersays in her new book, All Over the Map “My desires—to be free and tobelong, to be independent and to be inextricably loved, to be in motion and tobe still—pull me back and forth.” Luckily I can use my Lucy clothes at my job,on my two-mile walk to work and for travel. If only everything fit my life thiswell!

One thing I am so happy about is the new Everyday Pant! Last year I wore myfour pairs (I have them in every color) every day from October to April. I hadhoped that the new version would be more slim leg and it is and they look greaton! I like the new gray asphalt color and the new band at the waist iscomfortable and flattering! I am glad they got rid of the zippers at the bottomof the pants because I never knew what those were for! Like all Lucy clothesthey never wrinkle and wash and dry perfectly. The new fabric feels great, islightweight and they are definitely my favorite pants. 

At another time Fraser states in All Over the Map, “Almost anyone whois middle-aged can give you a long list of things that have gone wrong or thatdidn’t turn out the way they expected. But at least by now we have some measureof experience and wisdom to deal with it all. Things definitely aren’t easy foranyone.” She is a consummate traveler and does describe finding her own way bythe end of this story but one thing I can tell you as a fellow traveler, somethings can be easy! Shop at Lucy and you will have great clothes to wear andpack! 
Author’s Note: We are posting on a SATURDAY instead of our usual SUNDAY so that you do not miss out on the ONE DAY SALE at LUCY.COM and in the stores! Get to lucy.com or a store near you–this 25% off Birthday Sale only happens ONCE a year!! Get something for you and a gift for someone you love!!
More news and stories next Sunday! Save the date: Nov 29 for our next Los Angeles Travel event: Travel with Technology: My Favorite Travel App. Our website: www.wesaidgotravel.com

I hate you and I hate Samoa:” the Beginning of a Great Travel Adventure!

Just because everyone says something is a good idea doesn’t make it true. And early on our first full day in Savaii, I looked at George and said, “I hate you and I hate Samoa.” Not the sound of a good day starting but somehow, like all our journeys, Samoa worked out.

The previous forty-eight hours had been drama-filled. A noon ferry was canceled so we sat at the pier in Upolu for half a day, and after rushing to get seats we arrived for one night in Salelologa, Savaii. After my Survivor Night of fainting and falling on the ground, George wanted me in a hotel with electricity and a bathroom less than 100 steps from the front door. And so we found the Salafai Backpackers Inn with the backpacker rate of 100Tala.

Other tourists told us “You have to take the bus; it is a great experience.” Well, we usually take the bus to get to any destination. Tuesday morning, we waited for an hour for a bus and after two hours on its hard wooden seats, the contraption stopped in Falealup-uta. The ride had great views of the sea and Savaii looked beautiful but the trip was so mundane that I felt unclear about all the fuss over the ride.

But soon there would be fuss galore.

We had left the “backpacker-friendly” hotel which had zero reasons that we could see to be called that, with no breakfast except for a few crackers from my bag. Several locals on the bus looked at our map with us and told us when to get off for Falealupo. So at high noon, we arrived at our stop and saw not a single taxi. Other exiting passengers, including an elderly woman laden with many heavy-looking packages, started down the sealed road and we followed, hoisting our packs, as by our figuring the hostel was four, maybe five kilometers away.

After 45 min in the high-noon sun with extra heat rising from the blacktop, we stopped to eat some canned peanuts and talk to some boys and look at the map. No cars had passed us but a couple of men had ridden by on bicycles. When we reached the 300-year-old Banyan Tree Canopy Walk after nearly an hour and looked at the map, we realized it was possibly closer to fifteen kilometers to our destination.

Nearly out of water and realizing that we had possibly made a dumb choice, I put my pack down, and with as much sweaty drama as possible, exclaimed, “I hate you and I hate Samoa.” George (called Siaosi in Samoan) looked at me and said, “Give me your pack.” I said, “You cannot possibly carry both our packs, especially in this heat.” He said, “You said you hate me. I cannot have that. Give me your pack. I am George Powell.” (from Extreme Makeover: Chris Powell).

So he walked with both packs and broke the drama and I laughed. I said, “You look like an Israeli boyfriend in Thailand!” That is the only place I have seen someone walk with one backpack on their back and one on their front! They carry their own pack and their girlfriends thus “Israeli boyfriend.” Another laugh and photo moment marked the end of humor failure.

seligasSoon a car appeared and stopped for us. George says it always works out; the issue becomes how long you define the period of time and use your perspective? The heat plus sense of humor failure and hunger made me concerned, especially after fainting only the day before.

The Seligas recognized us from the ferry (there were very few palangi onboard) and offered us a ride to our hostel. During our time together, we picked up a grandmother and her daughter on their way to the weekly Church Bingo game. She informed us that Samoans give their extra money to family (after Bingo) and she didn’t have money to travel although she wished to travel like us.
After stopping at our hostel, we were invited to a family dinner down the road, which turned out to be a Samoan feast. Tupu Salule’s family included nearly a dozen children and for the first time in my life, the sight of me made a three-year-old cry!
Not to worry; I don’t think Samoa hated me!

Article first published as Samoa – The beginning of a Great Travel Adventure on Technorati.

Video: Saved by the Seligas

Survivor Samoa Or How did I fall on my Head and other survivor stories at Virgin Cove.treasure Island Leaving Los Angeles for a summer of sun in Samoa and the South Pacific, I had no idea of the Survivor Stories that would unfold so quickly. It took us nearly 3 days just to get there as we had a 15 hour layover in Fiji and after landing, I could tell George was exhausted. We’d left Los Angeles Wednesday near midnight and flew 10 hours to arrive on Friday July 1st in Nadi, Fiji.For our all-day Fiji layover, we took a thirty-minute ride on the Tiger IV Catamaran and spent the day at Treasure Island. The weather did not cooperate but we relaxed by the pool and ate the Mongolian buffet (clearly none of the cooks had ever seen Mongolia). After that day of adventure, we narrowly made our bus back to the airport for our flight to Samoa.We finally arrived Thursday night. Our driver from the airport tried to chat with us on the hour ride but we could not keep our eyes open.

Right away we were told that they were filming Survivor, the television show, to the west of our fale in Virgin Cove. “Don’t go that way,” the security guard said. It is never good to tell George what not to do as he immediately only wants to do that one thing. After hearing that the local village would be fined if we showed up, we promised to follow directions. We didn’t realize that the next evening I would have my own Survivor moment, waking up outside the communal toilet with my chin in the dirt. But let’s not get too far ahead.


Find more photos like this on EveryJew.com
Virgin Cove is a lovely spot but arriving at night after days of travel, our fale looked as it was a large empty oval with a piece of foam on the floor and a mosquito net and palm-frond sides. I decided we could think more about the room after sleeping and we were too tired and jet-lagged to do anything but sleep that night.

Upon completing a journey of 100 steps to the bathroom, we could see the gorgeous azure seas and could not wait to explore the calm waters for snorkeling. There were palm trees lining the dirt path and we could see the other fales. George thought they were closer to the water but we were closer to the bathroom. After a breakfast with eggs (included in our 144T a night price, $70USD—although now you do have to pay extra for the eggs), we were ready to snorkel. Our new Aussie friends thought the snorkeling was great; our vote—fair.

eatingFollowing our day by the sea, we indulged in a buffet dinner of many nasty inedible delicacies like baby octopus, squid ink pasta, baby suckling pig roasted, and things I can eat but would have far too much of over the summer – like taro root and fresh fish (my favorite), and chicken with rice, a combo that came back to haunt me. With dinner consumed we attended a fiafia (traditional dancing and fire show) and later went to sleep on our mat.
Around 1:30am I started my first of my journeys to the common bathroom. Over an hour of painful cramps and diarrhea was in store for me but I was shocked when I woke up on the ground. I had fainted at the edge of the steps and so I regained consciousness, scraped and bruised on both arms and chin. I guess when I needed to go to the bathroom again and again I should have woken George, especially after falling down but I was so stunned that I ended up face-planted on the ground, I wasn’t thinking clearly. Back in our room I lay on the mat, moaning. George woke up and asked what was wrong. After my telling my tale of woe, he offered to help. Because of his concern and despite the many explosions earlier on, I was finally able to go rest.

samoaThe next day, after noticing more war wounds from my experience, I said, “I need Horatio,” which inspired a long discussion of CSI with another group of new Aussie friends. It turned out that many who had the chicken at dinner had a long and difficult night!
But I survived and was well enough to eat breakfast. I was surprised that I could eat at all after my night of adventure. I did enjoy the eggs, hot toast, and fresh fruit. Finally, sleeping on the ground wasn’t too bad and hotel’s location in Upulo was lovely. We had many geat walks and fresh fish meals. Our Samoan summer had begun with a good start of surviving and thriving.

Video of Virgin Cove Traditional Dancing FiaFia 

Thank you for your support of our blog and our travels!! More videos on our youtube channel.
This article first published as Samoa Survivor on Technorati.

Manuia Le Aso (Good Afternoon) from Apia!

We have had some great adventures so far! Last night in Apia was our first hot water shower since we left June 29 and really our first bed with a frame. We have been staying in fales (thatched palm frond sides to an open oval “building” with a mat on the floor with a woven mat of palm fronds with a bathroom about 100 steps away). I missed the view of the ocean and the sounds of the waves last night. The matafaga (beaches) and the colors of the ocean have been some of the most gorgeous we have seen. Photos and video to be posted when we can as we have had limited electricity and internet access.

We have been to both Savai’i and Upolu (the two main islands) we may go to Lalomanu and Manono Island next (no cars) or fly to American Samoa for a few days. On the 22nd we fly to Fiji and then Tonga to see the whales.

We are off to the Marine reserve here in Apia for high tide and great snorkeling. We went to a place in Savai’i that sees the final sunset of the world…just at the edge of the international date line…soon Samoa will MOVE to the other side of the date line so they will not be just at the edge of tomorrow.

From near the Coral Curtain,
Lisa and George