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Summer of 2008

Start of a new adventure!!! Africa

Diary Entries

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Location: Swakapmond, Namibia

Extreme Sandboarding on Saturday...no broken bones...
Intense Quadbiking in the Namibian desert...no broken bones...
Upgrading to get out of the nasty dorms...priceless.

Since we've added on to our group we've had several interesting bickering matches. A guy from the US (Typical cocky american) has caused a bit of controversy with several people on the trip.
Several older people (in their seventies and one 82 Year old) have caused us to bring about several new "rules" on the truck...hmmm...I would never want to travel like this when I get that age.

With less than a week left and only one coutry left to visit...I am missing the security of my own bed and the comfort of a frig!

Many animals, many people, many countries, and another adventure almost at it's end!

Africa has been very different than I expected, but then again I didn't know what to expect. I'm thankful for where I live and the friends I have. I've made several close friends on this trip that I'll keep in contact with and probably visit. (Ireland here I come)

Check out my new published photos! After five weeks on holiday, I've finally had enough time and fast enough internet to download photos.

Wednesday, 06 August 2008

Location: Etosha National Park, Namibia

Things are good. Finally saw a Leopard and Black Rhino. That makes it 5 for 5 of the BIG FIVE!

Write again soon. Time and internet is once again limited.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Location: South Africa

Things are still good.
The elephant ride wasn't as spectacular as I had expeceted. Only one elephant and two of us to ride it. Didn't any wildlife while riding it.
The lion walk was incredible! Two lions the age of 16 months. Trust me when I say they were not small. We got to walk with them and even pet them. I asked to scratch one on the chin. It was very cool.
After doing both of these things, Helen and I (the cute Irish girl) stayed on the Zimbabwe side to see Victoria Falls. Much better view from that side.
Later that same day I boarded a microplane for my first microflight ever. Basically a glider with a propeller on the back. It was an intense and great 15 minutes. We went directly over the falls and admired the views.

Sunday was the rafting. Fortunately I didn't fall out. Our boat worked well together. I was very scared at a few points. Huge rapids!!!!!

Last night spent in the Chobe National Park seeing and hearing wildlife!

My time on the computer is running out. T

Friday, 25 July 2008

Location: Livingstone, Zambia

Wow! The adventure continues.
While in Malawi, myself and four other girls decided to upgrade and rent a nice room rather than sleep in a tent. Hence, the room only had two beds so we shared sleeping on the floor. Great fun!
We also had a "costume" porty of sorts. We drew names and were to purchase random odd clothing for others at the market. Imagine only spending four dollars total on an outfit. Very interesting outfits and great fun!

The last three days we've spend driving to get to Zambia to see Vic Falls. One of the nights traveling we decided to upgrade to a room again. The five of us in a room with only one bed! We all crammed in and made room. Great group girls to hang out with. No...nothing is happening with any of them. Even though I do have a crush on the one Irish girl!

We stopped in Lusaka on our trip to Vic Falls. Lusaka was the first city we've stopped at that seems to be the rest of the world. Everything else around here is so third world. I can't believe the conditions in which people live. You hear stories, but it doesn't hit home until you've seen it!

Our group will be changing dramatically this weekend. We are losing 13 people and will be adding on 12 more. The whole dynamics will change!

Tomorrow I walk with the lions and ride an elephant through a national park. Later in the day I will be flying in a microflight plane over Vic Falls. Sunday...I've agreed to go white water rafting. How I get talked into these things I'll never know. (yes..I want to do it. I just don't want to drown!)

Write again soon!


Saturday, 19 July 2008

Location: Mzuzu, Liberia

Hey everyone...thanks for leaving messages. I am getting them, but internet access is so slow and far between that it makes it difficult to answer them all. The food is much better than I anticipated. Our cook is great at making wonderful meals. Our lunchs of course are lacking (cold cut sandwiches). We have just spent two days in Chitemba and will be staying here in Mzuzu for the next three nights. I purchased way too many wood carvings already that I'll have to ship them home.

Met a witch doctor yesterday. Crazy money making experience!

Everything is cheap here is Malawi. A snickers is more expensive than a beer!!!! We plan on hitting the markets and purchasing some humourus cloths for each other to try on and entertain each other. A sort of fashion show!!


Things are good. I'll stay away from the bungy jumping and skydiving!!

Hope things are well at home and my house is still intact! (Emily :)

Monday, 14 July 2008

Location: Zanzibar (Country), Tanzania

Well I finally picked up my luggage one week after arriving in Africa. Fortunately everything survived and made it to me. Everyone has been very nice and offering things of their own to lend me.

After arriving in Kenya at 9am on Saturday and dealing with the luggage issue, I got to a hotel around 10:30. I was so jet lagged I just decided to take a few hour nap. Our group had the orintation meeting at 5pm. It lasted for about an hour. I headed out and got a small pizza for my dinner. I've been shocked at what I've found while here in Africa. So many people live in what we would call miserable conditions. Even the major cities are very basic. Many roads are dirt and the ones that are paved are in very poor condition. There really aren't any proper shopes to purchase things. Hence, it's been hard getting receipts for the few clothes I have purchased.

We left Kenya for the Mesaranie (sp?) snake park. A free camping site for people taking part in the Serengeti excursion. I think they make more money from the purchase of beer! First thing in the morning we headed to Ngorongoro Crater (Sp?) Great place to see wildlife in what is a relatively small area. (Still a very vast place) We saw so many things. It is the dry season so most have left, but it allowed us to see animals hunting for food during the day when they normally hunt at night because they were so hungary. That afternoon we headed to the Serengeti and saw even more wildlife (Lions, Giraffes, Elephants, Cheetahs, Gazelles, etc) We were able to get so close it was like being in a zoo.
We were even able to see four lions (female) about to try and take on a hear of buffalo! I captured it all on video!!!!!

The next morning we spent more time wandering the Serengeti.
The night in the Serengeti was interesting as unsafe as if probably was!!!!

We've spent time in Tanzania and now we are chillaxing in Zanzibar. A small island country off the coast of Tanzania. We went snorking and visited a former prison island. Not real impressed with the so called prison part, but the Giant Tortises on the Island were incredible!!! So MASSIVE. I imagine they are similar in size to the ones in the Galapagos! Today will be another day of relaxing and possibly snorkling. Maybe a little volleyball and of course a few beers! I remember the last time I drank every night straight. Forunately only one morning I awoke with a headache. Thankgoodness I kept each night to a minimum of 3 or 4 beers. (about 16oz each)

We will be leaving hear 10 am tomorrow and heading back to Tanzania where we will be off to Malawi (sp?) Sounds like another great beautiful place to relax and take in the scenery and wildlife!

I am good, healthy and eating plenty!!!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Location: Arusha, Africa

Mom-email me your email address so I have it.
I am awaiting in Arusha to hear if my luggage has been dropped off hear. Nobody seems to know anything.
Hard to save receipts when most clothes come from the street markets. They really don't have any real shops to speak of to purchase things. I have a copy of the incident report, but would I go about getting the information about length of delay? Both flight from Det and JFK were delayed on the runway before takeoff. I then had to take another two flights from London.

All considering...THIS really is a fantastic trip. When I have more time to write about it I will. The Serengeti was fabulous! Tons of wildlife. Hyena's only meters from our tent site at night. Great group of people to be traveling with. Right now 23 people. Some stop at Vic Falls and others get on soon. I think will will have up to 29!

Hope I get my luggage!!!!!!!

Monday, 07 July 2008

Location: Tanzania

Finally off to the start of my new trek.
44 hours after leaving Detroit Metro I arrived in Nairobi. Only 10 minutes to get a visa! Yeah....however...my advice is to never fly with British Airways! They once again have my luggage. So I am once again in a foreign country without luggage. Good thing I brought extra undies and shirts in my carry on.
We are now in Arusha and I once again had to buy clothes. Interesting journey with the locals to get it. I went to THEIR market to buy clothes and then got a tour of the local central market! Very interesting. I got many looks, but did appreciate the journey I was taken on. I hope to get my luggage in a few days after I return from the Serengeti! It will be cold nights without the gear I need, but an adventure it will be.

Mom- Please contact my Travel insurance company to find out how to go about a claim and email what they say. The file is claimed through Kenya Airways reference number NBOKQ57489

www.wwwtracer.aero_filedsp_ kq.htm (forward slash where the underscores are!

Friday, 04 July 2008

Location: london, England

delay in detoit-1.5 hours
booked on new flight out of JFK and another delay.
I'm in London awaiting for a new flight as of course I missed my connecting one.
New plan-London to Dubai
Dubai to Nairbi
Arrival-16 hours after planned arrival!
Hope I get my Visa Quickly in Kenya !

Tuesday, 01 July 2008

Location: Home!, USA

Well I'm off on another new adventure. I've laid out all of my clothes and belongings and know that I will end up taking too much as usual. My other adventures I went without a care in the world. This one makes me a little nervous. Not sure why...but I'm sure all will be fine! I leave on Thursday and fly to New York (2.5 hrs) then to London(7.5 hrs) and then to Kenya (Namibia) (11.? hrs). Not looking forward to all that flight time! My first night in Namibia is at some hotel not associated with the company I'll be traveling with. I tried and was unable to book a room their over the internet. I hope when I arrive I'll be able to book a night there (Hotel Boulevard or something like that).

I'm not sure how often I'll be able to access internet in Africa, but I'll try as often as I can.

To track where I'm going and discover more about my trip, visit:
http://www.overlandafrica.com/tours_temp.asp?To...

I'll keep you all up to date as often as possible!
Todd

Monday, 13 August 2007

Location: Paris, France

Well...this will be my last entry.
Paris is great. So many beautiful sites and places to see.
Let me backtrack a little.

I left Florenze aboard an overnight train for Nice. In my cabin was a Canadian guy. His first worlds were something like, "Thank goodness someone normal." If he considers me normal...he's had some adventures. We start talking and get interupted my two girls staying next to us on the train. The one was way drunk and smelled really bad. The other was friendly and not drunk. They stayed in our cabin/entrance way for about an hour talking and telling stories. At about 1 am, they decided it was time to go to bed. Thank goodness!

The next morning as we arrive in Nice, we say our good byes and head off. Mind you...I have no guide book or idea of what to do. I was hoping to keep my bags at the train station and wander down to the beech. The train station did not have a baggage check, but thank goodness I found a hostel that would allow you to check baggage for the day. I was catching a train that night for Paris so all I really wanted to do was relax. I headed down to the beach and ran into the Canadian guy. We chatted and decided to hop on this little train that takes you around town. Not a bad way to see the city. The rest of the day was spent relaxing on the beeah and catching up on my fadding tan:-)

I boarded my train that night and headed for Paris!!!! I arrived the next morning around 8am. Headed for my hotel and had a hell of a time finding it. They were ready for me to check in so they sent me to their sister hotel that had a room for me. I've stayed there since. After finaly checking in, I headed for the Louvre. I can't believe how masive that place it!! I headed staright to see Mona Lisa and then ventured four hours looking at all the other fine pieces of art and sculpture. (The Winged Victory of Samothrace, Psyche and Cupid, Aphrodite known as Venus de Milo, and the Lacemaker to name a few famous ones!)
Off to Arc de Triomphe and Des Champs Elysses. Another awe inspiring site. After enjoying seeing a relighting ceremony at the Arc (They have an tomb of the unknown soldier that has an eternal flame that gets relite every night at 6:30) I headed to finally find the Eiffel Tower. A pure thrill! I stayed around long enough to see it lite up at night and be thrilled by the entertainers nearby. I found my way to the minature Stature of Liberty, but was not too empressed. At this point, I had walked countless miles and was ready for bed.

The next morning (Sun) I ventured back off to climb the Eiffel Tower. You could go up all four legs of it, but only one offered climbing only. This line was much shorter than the others so I climbed the 700 steps to the second level. I thought about heading to the top, but for me the line was too long. So I enjoyed a nice cold beer on the Eiffel Tower. A big one at that. I had a good buzz going by time I walked down. Mind you this was still 11:30 in the morning. I walked to find Notre Dame. Along the walk I saw many other famous sights and beautiful places. At Notre Dame, I skipped the line and went in the out exit (The visit was free anyway and the line was much shorter). The church is more beautiful from the outside. Then again, nothing compares to St. Peter's in Rome.

This morning I saw the tomb of Napoleon's Tomb and walked around town some more. Today however, I decided to rely more on the public transportation to get me around. My legs and feet are killing me.

This has been one unforgettable trip. I can't believe the things I've seen and experienced. My budget was broke many weeks ago, but in the name of seeing everything, I'll find the money somewhere. C'est le vie!!!

Thursday, 09 August 2007

Location: Pisa / Florence, Italy

My stay in Rome was good! Things went by fast and I walked a lot. I am getting tired of seeing churches. There are so many beautiful ones, but when youve seen so many...it becomes hard to appreciate each and everyone.

I decided to wrap up Rome and head out earlier than expected. I had to take the regionale train to Florence or wait in line for a reservation and pay more. Hence, a four hour train ride instead of two. My hotel in Florece if a little distance out of the city center, but still a nice walk. I check into my hotel around 5:30 and ventured to see if I could get into the Accademia where Michelangelos "David" can be found. Keep in mind they close at 6:50 and stop letting people in 30 mintures prior to closing and there is typcially a need for a reservation. All of this said...I walked right in with no wait. The small muesum houses many famous works by many famous artists. DAVID was huge and very cool to see in person. I got in trouble for taking a photo, but others were as well. Did I mention I got some great photos of the Sistine Chapel? Another place you are not suppose to take photos.
After the Accademia, I walked around Florence to get a feel of things. Big city, expensive, and very fashion oriented. Too expensive for me. Even the food is expensive. I cant wait to get home and make my own food. Let alone pay less than 3 dollars for a Coke. (A typically meal at McDonalds in Italy costs 7-8 US dollars.)
I try eating local food, but it costs even more. Thank goodness I will be coaching and getting more money to cover all of this.

I debated on getting up early and head to another museum to see more famous works of art. I decided my rest was more important. Instead, I headed to Pisa to see the leaning tower. I am glad I did. Quick stop, but a great stop. It was only an hour train ride from Florence. I will head back there today and catch the the overnight train to Nice, France. Spend the day there or in Cannes and then head for Paris.
Chio (Goodbye)


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Recent Messages

From maryann griffith
Hey Fry! Your trips are the stuff of a life well lived! Who needs luggage? It's just a man and his instincts, fighting his way to the next cold beer. Can't wait to hear more.
Maryann
From Mom & Dad
Hi Todd, Call us when you get this message please. No emergency, everybody and everthing is OK here, just want to talk to you. Your pictures are beautiful. They say Santorini is the most beautiful of the islands. It sure brings back memories for us. The white washed buildings and curbs, the old ladies in black, the cars honking their horns, the donkeys. Wish we were there!
Love Mom & Dad
From Mom & Dad
Hi Todd,
Hope you made it to Crete OK. You will no doubt enjoy a few days of rest. Isn't the Med sea beautiful? It was so good to hear your voice! All is well here.
Love Mom & Dad
From Nikki
I finally got my computer to work and got access to your new site. WOW sounds like an amazing trip! I am looking forward to many chats over lunch and hearing about everything. See you soon
Nikki
From Mom & Dad
Hi Todd, We continue to enjoy reading about your travels. Sounds like the tour choice was a good one! This is so nice, we not only hear about the good time you are having but we also know you are OK. You are gong to have Sooo many stories! All is well at home! Love, Mom & Dad
From Kirsten
Hey World Traveler,

Sounds like you are having a great adventure. All is well here.

Smile and be safe.

K
Response: Hey! Thanks for checking in. Things a very different here. Hope your summer is going well.
From Rod, Tre, Kaylin
Hi Todd! I was wondering if you received our previous message? It was kind of long. Just in case it didn't go through, we wanted you to know how happy we are for you! We keep reading your journals; it is so wonderful that you set this up for us! What a magnificent trip. It just sounds so incredible. Take care of yourself and enjoy this. It sounds like this trip is yet another adventure that will add a spectacular chapter to your already incredible life experience! We can't wait to see you. We loved the pictures that you posted!
From Jami
Hey Todd. Sounds like quite the adventure! Way to go out of your box and try the variety of food. We are really enjoying reading your blog entries. Have fun!

Jami
From Rod,Tre,Kaylin
Hey Todd! It sure has been wonderful being able to read your adventures online. I think everyone is in agreement that you are living the chance of a lifetime. I can't wait until you get back to tell us more! I have heard both positive and negative views of China. It sounds like, from your journals that you are having a wonderful time! The day you left was so interesting. I went to pick up Kaylin from your mom's house and Kaylin told me that "Todd plane!" She still says it occasionally. She was so impressed by the fact that you flew. Other than that, things here are pretty calm. I'm slowly trying to get things together for school while enjoying the summer with Kaylin. She is taking swimming lessons! Rod is working at his new job; he has the weekends off. That has been really nice. I thought of all of the traveling that I did and thought that I was so lucky. I can only imagine what you are seeing, such amazing things. . . Please keep us posted. We have enjoyed reading about your experiences so much. I promise I'll get better at checking and leaving messages. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Enjoy this to the fullest with a beginner's mind. . .so many possibilities! We can't wait to hear more!
Response: Thanks for keeping track of me. I've gotten both of your messages and am glad to hear things are well. I can't believe how different China is from the US. I'll have many stories to tell.
From Mom & Dad
Hi, Heard your voice on the phone last night around 10:30pm , you couldn't hear me. SO SORRY we couldn't connect. Wanted to talk to you so bad! Heard the operator say the call was being put on hold and then nothing! Hope all is well. You write wonderfully and we can follow along on your itinerary that you left us. All is well here. If you want to ship anything our address is 186 S. Edgemont St. Zip 48111 Love, Mom
Response: Sorry we couldn't connect! I was calling you from the GREAT WALL OF CHINA on a cell phone. At least you could hear me! I'll try to post some pictures. It's been hard to submit them online. Can't believe how quickly this trip is going and yet still so much to see!
From Lynn
Hey Todd
Read your journal. Sounds fun. Doesn't look like you have access to a computer in China very often. Enjoy your trip and talk to you later.
Response: Thanks for checking in. Hope everything at home is good. The weather here is always...always hot! Tell grandma and grandpa hi for me! Todd