Here’s an opportunity to take a vacation with a difference. Scott and Carol Kellerman are
missionaries running a clinic serving the Batwa people – a displaced Pygmy tribe in Uganda. The Batwa lived in
the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest through their entire tribal history, until the Ugandan
government declared it a national park in 1991 and relocated them. No longer able to follow their hunter/gatherer
traditions, the pygmies are struggling to survive.
The Kellermans put volunteers to work at their weekly clinic held
under a tree, providing hands-on medical training for the diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses and tropical
diseases like malaria. Every volunteer who comes leaves knowing they have played a vital role in saving many lives.
When not at the clinic, volunteers work on school and supply projects.
Visiting this region of Uganda offers other amazing opportunities, too:
gorilla trekking in the Bwindi National Forest will cost
about $275; only 12 visitors a day are allowed into the forest. There’s also a waterfall hike locally, and
in Kampala, the capitol, Nile rafting can be had for $120.
The Kellermans provide food and accomodation to their volunteers, and ask for a contribution of $25 a week in
return. Travelers will be very comfortable on a budget of around $125 a week. Information about travel and visas can be
Chris Duff has logged over 14,000 kayak paddling miles in was the first man to
circumnavigate Ireland in a sea kayak. The story of this journey,
On Celtic Tides, recounts his
three-month, 3,000-mile adventure through the seas, culture, people and history of Ireland. “A tender and
terrifying story. No one has written better of huge, cold seas in a very small boat, of self discovery in the face of
fear, and of gentle moments with Irish people.”
The book can be bought online, and is also out as a Palm Reader
Ebook, in case you’d like to take it on the go — like on
a kayaking trip!
[via Paddle Log]
It’s amazing that we’ve managed to
standardise on the width between train rails all around the world, and yet few countries can agree on a standard number
for emergency services. Americans automatically dial 911 while at home, but a crisis abroad is not the best time to
realise you have no idea what the local emergency number is. While 911 will work in Canada, the Dominican Republic and
the Cayman Islands, many countries (particularly in Europe) have standardised on 999 — but Australia uses
000, and many other places have completely different numbers.
This site provides a quick
chart with emergency numbers in countries around the globe so you can look them up before you go. It’s a good idea to
write down critical numbers like this, plus the number for the US consulate and the international dialing code
needed to reach the US from wherever you’re calling. Jot them on a post-it note and stick it to the inside of your
passport, where they should always be in easy and safe reach.
If we all travelled with everything we’re “supposed” to take
along when away from home, I doubt anyone would have any room in their lugguage for extras like shoes and
clothing. So I like travel gadgets that do double duty: one critical job, and one secondary job. And I like this
travel alarm clock that doubles as a flashlight from Hammacher Schlemmer.
The alarm clock has a back-lit LCD display, a solid beep to wake you, and a compact size that makes it easy to chuck
in your bag. Twist one end, and the flashlight comes on. While you’re not going to be able to navigate your way out of
a cave in the Urals with this light, it’s more than ample for a hotel blackout or late-night mission to find the door
to the bathroom in an unfamiliar room.
Whether you’re backpacking through Europe or
hiking in Honduras, sometimes you want a break from carrying all your worldly posessions on your back. But since they
are all your worldly posessions in a far-off world, it can be unsafe to leave them in hotel rooms or
campsites when you’re out and about for the day. It can also be unsafe to take them with you; many backpackers have had
their packs slit and their stuff stolen while they were totally unaware. And if you’re the victim of theft in a remote
or distant location, it can be a disaster.
Enter the Pac Safe, a web of light-weight stainless steel
mesh you wrap and lock around your backpack with a polycarbonate locking system. You can use the Pac Safe to secure
your backpack to anything from a tree trunk to a hotel bed, or you can make your posessions more secure when you’re
walking through city streets. Starting at $55, the Pac Safe is a good investment worth thinking about.