Tags Posts tagged with "vagabonding"

vagabonding

Friends and family ask us, “How do you do it? How do you manage to leave for a year?” Others say, “You are crazy; I would never do that!” These people usually think of the dictionary definition of a vagabond as “…a person who wanders from place to place without a home or job.” I prefer Ralph Potts’ definition in his book Vagabonding:

‘Vagabonding’ is about taking time off from your normal life — from six weeks, to four months, to two years — to discover and experience the world on your own terms.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I reflect on what Seth Godin said last year:

A modern Thanksgiving would celebrate two things: The people in our lives who give us the support and love we need to make a difference, and… the opportunity to build something bigger than ourselves, something worth contributing. The ability to make connections, to lend a hand, to invent and create.

When we departed to realize George’s dream of travel in SE Asia, I wrote every month to my friends and former students, wondering at the time if anyone would read our words. Would I make a difference if I wrote at all? I remembered Ralph Waldo Emerson’s thoughts:

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Leaving both our homes and our careers can free us to think about our path and what we want to do with our lives. If you are considering a long vacation or a career break you might ask, “From where am I leaving and how might I find a purpose? What will the trip be like? What will happen in this new unknown world?”

A Sabbatical may allow us to step back so we might give more to our lives in the future. An academic study, Sabbatical Leave: Who Gains and How Much? conducted by researchers from the US, Israel and New Zealand, researches this question. The study concludes: “Sabbatical leave promotes well-being…the present study confirmed the beneficial effect of a respite on positive well-being.”

Maybe we cannot all take a year-long sabbatical but at least we may find a sabbatical second or moment to acknowledge our dreams and pull our lives more into focus, and become closer to making our dreams come true. Support someone else’s idea for a Gap Year, Mini-retirement, Big Trip or Sabbatical—between stages of life, after college, or after the home nest empties.

Last year passed without a National Meet Plan Go event in Los Angeles. I discovered that no one had volunteered to host the occasion. So this year, we facilitated the day, and drew an incredible panel with a sold-out crowd of over a hundred attendees. I wasn’t sure how to bring the event to fruition, but as with all such tasks, the journey began with a first step.

This Thanksgiving season I am grateful for a support team that allows me to ship early and helps to make my dreams come true. For many of us who have left “the rat race” with a sabbatical or career break, we realize that the journey is for the sake of the adventure and that we can be transformed by our travels. I hope that you will put one foot in front of the other and proceed firmly in your life to make your dreams come true. Find a tribe that understands our world, takes care of our planet and also supports its members.

I hope that this during this Thanksgiving and holiday season, you can carve time out of your schedule and not be permanently tied to your Blackberry, carpool, office or deadlines, to focus on realizing your dreams, whether they involve travel or something that only you can imagine.

For a moment, a year, or a lifetime.

Author’s Note: This post was first published on Squidoo Thanksgiving Magazine on Nov 18, 2011. I thought you would enjoy it for Thanksgiving! I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with warmth and family. George and I have been in Thailand for the past month and fly to Kolkata, India on November 23rd. Namaste! Lisa


Thank you to everyone (all 106 of you) who joined us for our Meet Plan Go event Tuesday Oct 18!

Some thoughts from those who attended:

It was inspiring and encouraging to hear the stories and meet other people who have a desire for world travel like I do.
 
I hadnever been to an event with so many interesting people that interacted witheach other.   There were no wallflowers.   They were allthere for a reason.  Thespeakers and the questions just flowed effortlessly.
 

Imet some really interesting people and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Congratulations also on receiving official recognition of the impact of yourefforts on the community.

Join us this THURSDAY at 5pm ….
November3 at 5pm PST:Join us for an online real time conversation on Spreecast with Richard Bangsfrom PBS: Adventure with a Purpose, our keynote speaker for the Oct 18event. You can ask questions and participate from your computer!  http://www.spreecast.com/events/wesaidgotravel-richardbangs

November29 : Travelwith Technology “My favorite Travel App”
7-9 pm, Happy Hour Pricing on Drinks and Appetizers at Century City’s X-Bar.Meet fellow travelers and the creators of both ShipMates and StudioMini! Cometo share you favorite app and learn what others are using on the road! PARKING:$8 with validation or 2 hours free at Century City Mall http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=261533087221643

It does take a village to create an event! Thank you to:


Organizations:

Dave’s Travel Corner, Hostelling International, India’s Oven, IntrepidTravel, Jewish Journal, Meet Plan Go, The Napa Valley Wine Project, Penn ClubLA, Visit LA4Locals, We Said Go Travel, Westside Today

People:

Richard Bangs, Nicole Ben-Artzi, Susan Bernstein, Shane Cullen, JacobFrank, Doris Gallan, Jessica Gelson, Amy Gendel, Sarah Gottlieb, Jennifer Leo, DyanMcKie, Adam Morgenstern, Michael Morgenstern, Lisa Napoli, Lisa Nelson, FrankNiver, Judi Niver, Sherry Ott, Michelle Page, Michaela Potter,Spencer Quong, Kiera Reilly, Sham Sidheek, Amy Sommer Childress, Dave Thompson, Melissa Wu,Barbara Yorke

Thank you to Bill Rosendahl, City Councilmember and the City of Los Angeles for our Certificate of Appreciation for our leadership and community building in Los Angeles!

See our event photos by Spencer Quong:
He is an outdoors guide for Adventures in Florida adventuresinflorida.com  Find his blog:
Squong.blogspot.com

More Event photos by Michelle Yam  on Facebook: Please tag yourselves!

Video coming soon!

Recent Articles:
Frankly Penn http://franklypenn.com/2011/10/26/penn-club-of-la-is-the-place-to-be/

More.com Lisa is featured as #11 of 15 Ways to Reinvent Yourself Abroad:
http://www.more.com/15-ways-reinvent-yourself-abroad

Turbulent Tonga Part II: “Toni’s Guesthouse Tour”


The Ukranian Dracula lady, had just finished assaulting Jackie when we arrived at 10:00am.  Dracula had mistook the poor Brit for my wife Lisa, who simply “wouldn’t open the damn window” of the van when we arrived last night.  The Ukrainian scowled at Lisa but didn’t dare approach her while I was in the room.  Let’s just say it would not have been pretty.

We didn’t know that when we awoke in Toni’s Guesthouse, refreshed after the previous night’s debacle in the van.  After a Cup O’ Noodles for breakfast we wandered over to the Green House.  There we met the other travelers who planned to join us for the day tour of Tongatapu, the main island of the Tongan Archipelago.

Our tour was led by Toni, an expatriate from Liverpool who had lived over twenty years in Tonga.  Other companions included Jackie, who’d quickly got over the unexpected attack, and Dallas, not an American, but a lady from New Zealand enjoying a one-week holiday in the South Pacific.  Lee, another solo female traveler from the UK, who had lived on a sailboat for the last seven years, also came along with her partner.

Taking off, again swerving to avoid a cluster of potholes, Toni switched on a microphone that was linked to a rear speaker to make his discourse more audible.  We passed the opulent mansion of the Tongan king and his sisters, heading northwest toward the local plantations.  Tony stopped to point out the only three-headed coconut tree in the entire world, a must-stop photo op; a pic of it proves that you’ve been to Tonga.  He then stopped to point out a variety of crops including coconuts: “No, nobody wants to touch that stuff. They are everywhere!  Look around you for Christ’s sake!!” We saw papaya (“Em, the Tongans would eat this but they are all exported.”), taro, kumala, mango, bananas, and pineapple.  We then halted at the most northern spot of the island’s coastline. Toni claimed it was a very good beach.  We exited the van but were disappointed.  The weather was dreary and rain began to fall as we checked a surfing beach near the Ha’atafu Beach Reserve.  Its break looked weak, compared to the big-league waves of Samoa.

At this point Toni’s voice became slightly hoarse over the microphone and he began to cough up phlegm.  In response to Dallas, who asked, “Why don’t you sell beer at the guesthouse?” Toni said, “I gave up smoking about five years ago but I still have this cough. I don’t drink any more either.  So why would I want that stuff around?  Besides, the Tongan government has harsh rules.  For example, if a tourist who stayed at my guesthouse got out of hand while inebriated, it is me who would get fined by the police, even if I was home asleep.  It’s just not worth it.”  Lisa looked at me and said, “I think that he is the only person I have ever met who should have kept smoking,” referencing his voice’s guttural quality.

We headed south and stopped at the famous Mapu’a a Vaca Blowholes. Sheets of water poured down and I exited the van only long enough to take a photo.  Toni claimed, “Today is not a good day to see the blowholes because the tide is moving at an angle and it is not hitting the rocks directly.  You see how it hits?”  We left disappointed.  However, we returned to these same blowholes at the end of our trip and they proved amazingly powerful.

We continued in the rain and stopped for a decent “Chinese-type” lunch above Keleti Beach.  Even on this depressing day, while standing in the rain under a veranda in the cold, I could appreciate the view.  Blowholes exhaled the ocean’s foam here as well but they were not as impressive as those at Mapu’a a Vaca.

After a brief lunch we continued the tour northeast to see the “famous” Ha’amonga Trilithon Reserve, South Pacific’s Stonehenge.  I agree that the the ruins are similar to those of famous English site but only one structure is constructed from coral stones, in the shape of a square gate.  This gate was supposedly used to track the change in seasons.  We decided to not to visit the Hina Cave, possibly a mistake, since it is situated right next to the Oholei Beach area, perhaps the nicest place to stay in Tongatapu,  We didn’t discover this until we returned three weeks later.  Oholei Beach is well known for its feast on Friday nights with a live band perched over a scenic beach.

At the end of the day we returned to Tofa after stopping at a lovely overlook with an eroded hole framing a lovely ocean view. The tour ended and Toni drove us into Nuku’alofa.  We wanted to see the infamous (mentioned in 1,000 Places to See Before You Won’t See Anything Ever Again) Heilala Festival.  This is a multi-week bash that involves a mix of cultural events including parades, live music, dance, art, as well as beauty and sports competitions.  Yet we could not understand the Tongans enthusiasm, or I should say, lack of enthusiasm, regarding the festival.  We stopped by the cultural center and asked where the Heilala Festival events took place.  The lackadaisical response was, “Oh yeah, it will be on the field…I think.”  “Are you going?” I asked.  “No, I’ll just stay home and watch TV.”  I was stunned.  After seeing Nuku’alofa, a depressing and gloomy town with very little action, you’d think that the locals would be thrilled to have a few weeks of special fun.  Worse for tourists, the festival begins around 7:00-8:00pm and aside from the island tour, there is not much to do here.  Because of this small detail (and the poor weather) we decided to purchase tickets to Vava’u (islands in the northern Tonga) the next day.

Still, a group of us from the guesthouse that included our fellow veterans from the van tour managed to see an evening event called, “Tonga’s Got Talent”.  Here people of all ages, mostly from six to their mid-twenties, performed a variety of acts — either singing or engaging in “hip-hop,” where Tongans dance individually or in groups to hip-hop tunes.  The event was entertaining if at times painful.  What surprised me the most was that the emcee almost spoke entirely in English.  The following night we returned to see the teen beauty contest and we were given prime seats right behind the beauty queens themselves.

We warmed up to Tongatapu as we prepared to depart; perhaps our new feelings corresponded with the improved weather.  At any rate, our next stop in Tonga was Vava’u, where we planned to swim with the humpback whales, one of Tonga’s principal attractions an an excellent reason to visit the island country.

First published at theclymb.com as Turbulent Tonga – Part 2

George and Lisa Rajna of We Said Go Travel continue their travel series with the second installment of their trip to Tonga. You can read part one here. 

Thank you to the sell-out crowd of over 100 who joined us on Tuesday Oct 18 for Meet Plan Go! Los Angeles! We will have photos posted next week on the blog! We appreciate everyone who read about it, emailed, tweeted, participated and showed up!! THANK YOU! Lisa and George

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Some people ask us, “How do you do it? How do you leave for a year?” Some tell us, “You are crazy; I would never do that!” These people usually think of  a vagabond as “a person who wanders from place to place without a home or job” as does the dictionary but I prefer Ralph Potts’ definition from his book Vagabonding it is

‘Vagabonding’ is about taking time off from your normal life — from six weeks, to four months, to two years — to discover and experience the world on your own terms.

george in gobiIn this season of harvest with Sukkot and Halloween upon us, so soon after Yom Kippur, I reflect on the stories in the Torah about our people’s journey from slavery to freedom. These tales belong to other people in another time, but they are also my own travel stories. They are like signposts for all of our travels in both a literal and figurative sense, and they can inspire us.

I ask myself, “What are we personally enslaved to today? And how is it possible with so many time-saving devices, from the microwave to the personal computer, that we have so much less time?” Leaving both our homes and careers can free us to think about our paths and what is it that we want to do with our lives. If you are considering a long vacation or a career break you might wonder, “What can we journey from and what can we journey toward? What will the trip be like? What happens in this ‘wilderness’?”

As the Torah stories tell us, one year out of every seven the fields must lie fallow so that they can continue to be productive. And every seventh day on Shabbat we are offered the opportunity to rest. So a Sabbatical may allow us to step back so we might give more to our lives. The research agrees and was posted in an academic study, “Sabbatical Leave: Who Gains and How much? conducted by researchers from the US, Israel and New Zealand. In August 2010, American Psychological Association in its Journal of Applied Psychology worked to measure the impact of sabbatical on health and attitude. The study states: “Sabbatical leave promotes well-being…the present study confirmed the beneficial effect of a respite on positive well-being.”

Maybe we cannot all take a sabbatical year but at least we may find a sabbatical second or moment to acknowledge our dreams and pull our lives more into focus, and become closer to making our dreams come true.  Support someone else’s idea for a dream of a Gap Year, Mini-retirement, Big Trip or Sabbatical—between stages of life, after college, or after the home nest empties.

All journeys begin with one step, maybe your first one will be on October 18 for Meet Plan Go. The panelists that will speak in 17 cities across the USA have all struggled with these questions. I hope that the discussion of where they traveled to and why and how will help you with your questions from: Is it worth it to leave home? Will I learn anything? Can I come back? Is the journey for a destination? Is there a destination? What is the point of this trip and even of my life?

As Steve Jobs said at his 2005 Stanford University commencement address:

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.

For many of us who have left “the rat race” we realize that the journey is for the sake of the adventure and that we can be transformed by our travels. I hope that you will put one foot in front of the other and show up on October 18 even if you are not currently planning a trip. Meet Plan Go events around America have drawn a wonderful community of  travelers who are engaged in the idea of understanding our world and taking care of our planet and the road less traveled mongoliaeach other. We hope you can carve an evening out of your schedule and not be tied to your Blackberry, carpool, family, office or deadlines, to focus on realizing your dreams, whether they involve

travel, understanding or something else.
For a moment, a year, or a lifetime.

Article first published as First Step to Travel Dreams on Technorati. 

Photo of this article  — as it appeared top of travel page Sunday Oct 16 and Monday Oct 17!

Article first published as Mzungu: One who travels around on Technorati.


lostIn the book, The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World, the three “lost girls” are in Africa and learn the word, Muzungu.  “I learned that [muzungu] originally meant ‘one who travels around,’ referring to the European traders who came in the 1800s.” As a “muzungu” or one who travels around, I really enjoyed this travelogue with the three 20-somethings on a mission to see the world, have adventures, and as with all long journeys, to find themselves.
Their three voices share the storytelling and their personal sagas. Each brings personal experience and dreams to be fulfilled. Learning to scuba dive, teach yoga or help young African girls through creating a play, is mingled with the dramatic tuk tuk rides, muddy hikes and their evolving lives.
sigiriaDuring our summer Sri Lankan adventures and in my 103rd country of travel, while reading this book, I had an incredible new experience!  At the Flower Inn outside Sigiria Ancient Rock Fortress I went to the toilet and A FROG jumped out of the toilet. I was surprised to see a frog and it smelled like crap which makes sense since it must have climbed through the septic system. Later that night as I checked the toilet first, there were two smaller frogs and tons of ants. Not a huge shock, as we generally stay in hostels that rank on our scale of minus one star.
We did have a typical rice and curry dinner which was a feast of 14 dishes of curry including pumpkin, Jackfruit, carrot, potato, vegetable soup and an omelette at the family owned Flower Inn which was started in 1972.elepphant
 
Sri Lanka is definitely a wild adventure and was a great place to read, especially when we were not allowed out at night due to wild elephants that wander in Sigiriya. In the book, The Lost Girls, they learn to be better friends to each other and themselves as they evolve while discovering the beauty of the Taj Mahal, the forgiveness of a van company after you total their car, and the importance of true friends who support you through all of life’s struggles. dagobaMy favorite quote is from the beginning of the book, “The world is round, the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning. Ivy Baker Priest.” The more I travel, the more I learn about myself and that the end is only the beginning. Like the actual Lost Girls in the story, I have “prioritized adventure and discovery over stability and structure” and that has made all the difference on the road less traveled. 
We are leaving December 18 for Colombia to begin our next adventure, and I look forward to more dramas like frogs in the toilet or wild elephants at night. Who knows what these muzungus will see next!  
New article on Science and Education, at Science Isn’t Scary: for the article: Race to Nowhere

Leaving Los Angeles for our one year trip mainly in SE ASIA


Hello from
George and Lisa
We are leaving THURSDAY JULY 31st! We have one night of hotel planned and our flights so far are listed in the box.

We will email updates to you when we can!!
Thank you so much for all the bon voyage wishes!
See you in Cyberspace!
George and Lisa

Itinerary so far…

July 31st leave Los Angeles for Papeete, French Polynesia

Aug 15 fly to Auckland, NZ
Sept 2 Fly to Sydney, Australia
Sept 15 Fly to Bangkok, Thailand…to be continued….
Itinerary so far…

July 31st leave Los Angeles for Papeete, French Polynesia

Aug 15 fly to Auckland, NZ
Sept 2 Fly to Sydney, Australia
Sept 15 Fly to Bangkok, Thailand…to be continued….