Thursday, March 17, 2011

The long journey home

Two hour flight from Kilimanjaro to Addis Ababa, 26 hour layover in Ethiopia, 18 hour flight to Washington D.C., 10 hour layover in Washington D.C., 5 hour flight to SLC. By the time we got home we had been traveling for 3 full days straight. I was very dirty and tired and sick of airplane food. But, we're home safe and sound! We're glad to be back in our own place and getting back into the routine of the fast-paced, stressful American lifestyle.

My next several post will probably still be Africa related, but they'll all include photos. I'm sure that won't disappoint most of you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Afrishare Solutions

The countdown has begun. In four days we'll leave Tanzania and this trip we have been looking forward to for so long will be over. It has been such a great experience, and one that I'm especially grateful to have been able to experience with Mark. Not many people get a two-month long honeymoon.

People are always asking me how I'm so lucky to have done the traveling that I have up to this point in my life. Usually, my answer is that it's not about luck, it's about just making it happen. True, I have been blessed with a great job that lets me take extended periods of time off and with a great family (and now great in-laws) who are very supportive and helpful in many more ways than just financially. But where I'm from, those things aren't very unique. Most of the people that ask me that question have everything that I have. The only difference between me and them is that I've made traveling a priority in my life thus far. Mark and I didn't just happen upon a bunch of money one day and decide that we would use it to spend a couple months in Africa. He has been planning and saving for this trip for a few years now and since we are now husband and wife, his plans have become my plans.

So we planned, we saved and we researched. We looked into a few different living arrangements for our stay here and finally decided on going with an organization called Afrishare Solutions. It's headed by a local named Ibrah who had a few years' experience with housing volunteers through Cross Cultural Solutions before he decided to start his own organization. We have loved our stay here. We feel safe and comfortable and have been very well taken care of. The food is great (too great in fact...I'm going to need to hit the gym when we get home), our room is comfortable, and Ibrah has been very ready and willing to talk to us about cultural differences, show us around town, and help us organize our little vacations. We've been made to feel welcome and at home. That makes a huge difference when staying in a foreign country for an extended period of time and we're glad this is the place we chose.

So to any of you who are interested in doing some traveling or volunteering, stop dreaming about it and start planning for it! There are plenty of companies and organizations out there to choose from. And if Tanzania just happens to be the place where you decide to go, check out Afrishare Solutions.

We've loved our stay here, but we're excited to be going back home and starting the next stage in our life. We don't know what the immediate future will hold, but I can say that we've already started planning a trip to Europe in the (hopefully not so) distant future. What can I say, we're addicted. See you all in less than a week!