Update to OnlyABuck: Nepal Notebook Campaign

Education is the Answer in Nepal

A quick update on our OnlyABuck™: Nepal Notebook Campaign.  We’re just over 44% to our goal of $4,200!  This money will enable 30 students in Nepal who have applied for need-based scholarships to attend school for one year.  We are working together with the Nepal Volunteers Council to create a sustainable platform to ensure that those students selected will never miss a day of school again; not this year, not ever.  We are not alone in believing that education is the answer for Nepal as it is the only way to break the cycle that currently exists.

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Healthcare in Nepal: Volunteering at Bageshwari Hospital in Kathmandu

Bageshwari Hospital

While Erin was teaching during the morning hours I would hop on the packed local bus everyday to shortly arrive at Bageshwari Hospital for four to seven hours of volunteering. The hospital is a two-story “L” shaped brick building on the dusty, heavily-used road leading to central Kathmandu, serving a predominantly poor community and emergencies that needed immediate attention. It contains a ward with three beds, an out-patient room, a pharmacy located street-side, an ER, and an x-ray lab. It was eerily reminiscent of the very hospital I stayed in 3.5 years ago in India but much, much (much) cleaner.To be honest, once there, I mostly chatted with the doctors, comparing and contrasting the multitude of differences between our respective healthcare systems, and having them answer my questions about physiology and diagnoses.  While I believe every healthcare system is riddled with problems, this experience strengthened my convictions that healthcare in the U.S., despite all of its alleged flaws, is in really, really good shape.  I’m proud to say, “Hey USA, we’ve got it gooooooood!” Continue reading “Healthcare in Nepal: Volunteering at Bageshwari Hospital in Kathmandu”

The Mad Dash to Kathmandu

“Jay, wake up! It’s 8:00!”

“What, huh, what does that mean?”

“Wake up! It means our flight leaves in 55 minutes!”

I immediately reached for my phone to double-check the hour. After all, we have been having difficulties keeping time, the iPhone getting mixed up among time zones. The time was correct.

“How did this happen? We set two alarms,” I said. Both for 5:30 am. Mine never rang and Erin’s we somehow didn’t hear. Our flight was in less than an hour, the airport was 50 minutes away, and now we were leaving during Bangkok rush hour.

“We have to go for it,” Erin hurriedly said, stuffing things into her backpack. “Maybe they can get us on the next flight?”

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Traveler Profile: Steve McGrath

Every so often in your travels, you come across one of those travelers that just knocks your socks off.  They’ve been to the most obscure places in the world and have typically done it the hard way–by boat or overland.  Their stories are jaw-dropping and inspirational and leave you thirsty for more.  Steve is that traveler.  We met Steve McGrath while preparing for our wedding in Sayulita and were fortunate to spend several weeks with him (and another traveler Cat, who will hopefully be featured here soon too.)  Over some fresh fruit-smoothies in Steve’s “penthouse-by-the sea,” he humbly had us reeling for more when he said the following things:  “I’ve traveled for 11 of the last 20 years” and “I went from Vancouver to Hong Kong starting with $900.”  That’s $900 Canadian, folks…about $600 buck-a-roos at the time! 

Steve McGrath

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Monks, Bodhi Tree, The Soup Prayer, and Teaching English– Luang Prabang, Laos

How can some people say, that there is just one way? – Mason Jennings

Sisavangvong by Night

One morning in Luang Prabang, Erin and I rose early to witness the alms collection of over 300 Buddhist Monks. Once off of our hotel’s street, a quiet side street with guesthouses and local families, we were immediately asked by enterprising women if we’d like to buy rice for the monks. We passed with as much politeness as we could muster at this hour, and moved on. Continue reading “Monks, Bodhi Tree, The Soup Prayer, and Teaching English– Luang Prabang, Laos”

Volunteering with the Free Burma Rangers

While Erin was learning Thai Massage in Chiang Mai, I spent my days volunteering in the medical office of the Free Burma Rangers (and was Erin’s practice “dummy” by night…rough, I know.)  Erin’s friend Kate, an expat teacher living in Chiang Mai for the past 6 years, invited us to a BBQ during our first day in town.  There, amongst others, we met an Aussie named Mon who introduced us to her mission with the Free Burma Rangers.  My ears perked up upon hearing of the atrocities taking place on Thailand’s western border and immediately expressed interest in helping out while in town.  Two days later, after researching the situation on the internet to ensure my comfort level, I joined the team for their Monday meeting and agreed to spend 5-7 hours per day for the remainder of the week.  Day 1, with ample amounts of coffee in tow, was spent helping with bookkeeping (ah, bookkeeping, how I love thee so), while the rest of the week was spent packing medical bags, organizing supplies and creating manifests for everything which would be going “in,” a term they use to mean “Inside Burma.” There is inherent risk and things could go–and have gone– terribly wrong, with villages being attacked, burned and pillaged by the Burma Army while the FBR are there.  Continue reading “Volunteering with the Free Burma Rangers”

Traveler Profile: Richard Gordon

This is an interview with Richard Gordon in El Nido, Philippines that took place at The Alternative Hotel.  Richard is a well-seasoned traveler and has good bits to share.

Richard Gordon in his finest Traveler Chic

Name:  Richard Gordon

Nationality:  British

Sign:  Scorpio

Sex:  Male

Single/Married:  Single

Where are you now?

El Nido, Philippines

Where are you off to next?

Indonesia

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