Update on Nepal Notebook Campaign – Funds on the Way!

Well, after all that work, back-and-forth stress, and endless paperwork, our friendly bank here in the USA didn’t approve our international bank account application.  In response, we gave them the American Salute, and opened up a different account to avoid paying exorbitant bank fees and ensure that ALL of the money donated ends up in the hands of these students.  Long story, but the moral is:

FUNDS ARE ON THEIR WAY TO NEPAL!

Volunteers Unload First Batch of Notebooks

It’s hard to imagine that it’s been over 9 months since we began this project and your generous donations started pouring in.  We’re up to $3,530 in donations, over 85% of the way to our goal.  If you have an extra buck to spare, can you donate to help 30 children in remote Nepal receive an education?  Or, can you click on the facebook button at the bottom and share this with friends to help us reach our goal? 

Thank you as always for your support and included in this post are some pictures of the notebooks that have been purchased thus far.  More updates to follow!

Back Cover of Notebooks

Hundreds of scholarship forms have been received and we will choose 30 students to receive supplies, uniforms, and a fully funded school year thanks to your donation!

As promised, if you donated $140 or more to support a student for the year, you will receive a letter and photo from your sponsored child when they receive their items. Thank you for your patience, as we finalize these international transactions.

If you would like to learn more about this project, please visit our Nepal Notebook Campaign site!

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View second update article on this subject.

Safari Know-How in Southern Africa (on a Budget)

Zebra Hugs

Lions and Cheetahs.  Leopards and Elephants.  Rhinos, Hippos, Buffalos, Zebras, Giraffes and more.  You’ve seen it on Nat Geo or Discovery and you’ve most likely said “someday, I want to do that.”  But, safaris are pricey adventures, right?  Google “Safari Africa” or “Safari South Africa” and seeing packages for a week costing over $10,000 USD, you’d soon be led to believe that you’d have to seriously break the bank in order to witness these gorgeous creatures completely in their element.  Not so.  Leave it up to us to find a less expensive way of getting it done.  Here’s the nitty gritty on where best to find the Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Black Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo) in Southern Africa and doing it on the cheap.

Continue reading “Safari Know-How in Southern Africa (on a Budget)”

How to Avoid Paying Bribes to Corrupt Police Officers Worldwide

Remember the last time you were abroad and were constantly getting pulled over or stopped by police, then asked for paperwork that doesn’t exist, fire extinguishers that don’t exist, and threats to take your license or passport to the capital 400 miles away?  Most times all these corrupt jerks wanted was a bribe and through bitten tongue, you ponied up.  Well, fear not, we’ve figured out how to avoid paying the bribe and you can too.  Just follow this simple advice and chances are you’ll be on your way!  BTW, we highly recommend color-photocopying and laminating your driver license for these exact scenarios and never, ever, giving up your passport.  Worst case scenario, tell them to keep the (fake) license!

Cape Town to Namibia: The Must-Do Activities

View from atop Table Mountain, Cape Town

Cape Town

Cape Town is pretty incredible.  First off, it’s stunning.  Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean, several bays, and the backdrop of Table Mountain, it’s pretty hard to beat for picturesque beauty.  Considering the city’s proximity to Wine Country, beaches and National Parks, not to mention near-perfect year-round weather, a great food scene, awesome music, and more culture than you can handle (this is Africa after all),  it’s no wonder that it has topped the list two years running for Best City for Tourists.

View to Camps Bay from Lion's Head in Cape Town

So, what to do, what to do.  Schneids and I like the outdoors so we were quick to climb Table Mountain and were  woefully underprepared, lacking ample food and water. (We actually were taking timed swigs every 10 minutes to conserve.)  It’s great at the top, no doubt, but if time is tight in town, save your hiking legs for nearby Lion’s Head.  It’s far less strenuous, more fun, and the 360-degree panam views are absolutely ridiculous.  City to beach, Table Mountain to the Twelve Apostles coastal range, you can see it all.  Time your summit with sunset, pack some wine and a flashlight and you’re in for a treat.

Live Music at Mama Africa on Long Street

Continue reading “Cape Town to Namibia: The Must-Do Activities”

48 Hours in London: Time to Reunite

Team Tartiflette sans Schneids

One of the best parts of extended travel is the great friends you make along the way.  No matter where you are in the world there will always be a common bond with that stranger sitting next to you on the bus, sharing the same dorm room, paddling for the same wave, or bellying up to the same bar.  The commonalities are endless but start with being away from home, friends, and fam, being on a budget, having a love for travel and good times, wanting to have incredible experiences, and naming your group of adventurers with silly yet meaningful names.  Fortunately for us, two of these groups of friends are centered in or would be in London around the time we’d be there, so it was only right to catch up, regale each other with more travel stories, and make more memories in the meantime.  This such time had us reuniting with Team Tartiflette, created in Laos in August 2011, and one of the founding members of Bolttin Hardcore, created in Indonesia in July 2011.

Keeping in mind our “good fortune” in getting delayed 24 hours from London to Dubai on Superbowl Sunday and getting a free $400 hotel room and $100 meal at a fancy-pants hotel in London, we were yet again delayed returning to London from Dubai to meet with Team Tartiflette, Joe and Carrie of London, Thomas and Claire from Nice, and of course, the PB Nomads.  But the short weekend was not lost and we met up with the team for some pints of really, really good English beer at a Samuel Smith’s Pub (the exact beer I wished for and received on my 21stbirthday!  Coincidence?  I think not) courtesy of Joe

Cheers!

and Carrie, our gracious local tour guides and hosts.  We had planned a dinner of authentic and very English fish & chips but since fish & chips are holy in England and this being a Sunday, the place was closed, so we audibled to a sinful, albeit amazing, American-style burger joint called Byron in SoHo.  Most, if not all, opted for the Burger, Bourbon and Craft Beer special which quickly made us miss the good ‘ol US of A for in all its glory. This place surely knows how to whip up incredible, fat, juicy burgers; wicked, high-gravity, artisan crafted beers; and sweet, strong, may-I-have-another, bourbons.  The Team, smacking their lips and feeling the buzz of the bourbon and beer, triumphantly agreed.  Bidding farewell to our London guides, we made plans to visit Abbey Road with the French delegation the following afternoon.

New vs. Original

I want you, Abbey Road.  Nearly 10 years have gone by since Erin and I began dating and this album played significance in its creation.  In that all-too-important moment of comparing musical-interests with the “girl you like,” Erin had the Abbey Road CD (as well as an impressive collection of Mason Jennings), thus cementing our relationship from “like” to “love.”  Being my all-time favorite Beatles album and crux of the PB Nomads relationship, it was only right to visit the site of the famous album cover.  Not at all surprising given that we were in London, the weather was cloudy and intermittently  rainy, and upon our arrival to the famous site, the hilarity had already begun.  The crosswalk is a real, active crosswalk at a relatively busy intersection with loads of traffic and even more tourists looking to recreate their own Beatles moment.  Time and time again, when traffic was lightest, tourists would rush into the crosswalk and their invited photographers would dash into the middle of the road, quickly posing and snapping as many photos as possible before horns began blaring and traffic lined up waiting for the “pedestrians” to cross.  Soon enough it was our turn and the picture turned out pretty darn good, with the passing of Peanut Butter– our prop to remember.  We dined on fish & chips with Thomas and Claire for lunch before bidding them farewell, hoping to meet up again soon, this time in the USA or France.

The French Abbey

That evening, the 48 hours of reunions continued and we met with Nick “Magico” of Bolttin Hardcore fame, whom we met in Indonesia.  We took the tube over to his hood and met at Tayyabs for Paki/Indian food, London’s second-most famous cuisine thanks in part to its abundance of immigrants over the last two centuries and its highly-traveled, worldly citizens.  It was, hands-down, the most delicious Pakistani food we had ever tried, and to make things even better, was actually affordable compared to the oft-expensive London eateries.  Nick treated, much to our protest, because “we were still traveling.”  These are the Good Karma rules of the road and we begrudgingly obliged, forever in debt to all of our good fortune and amazing hosts through the years, and eager to pay it forward again to visiting travelers in the USA.  So, next time you’re in London, go to Tayyabs!  Catching up with Nick was such a pleasure, as he stayed in Indo long after we had left and then continued onto the Philippines before returning home.  Responsible for arranging our amazing sailing trip around Komodo and Rinca Islands in Indonesia, he will forever be known as Magico.  Speaking loudly to the strength of Bolttin Hardcore, we had one last pint before bidding farewell, and were off to the airport for our flight to Cape Town, where we’d be reuniting with the last two members of Bolttin Hardcore, “Roger the First Mate” and “Sue Sea Q.”  We still need to see Captain Iggy Poppins and only Erin got to see Rio in SF in January.  Not fair!

Bolttin Hardcore: Reunite!

Well, until next time Team Tartiflette and Bolttin Hardcore, thank you for everything and looking forward to the next adventure, wherever that may be!

Ireland: Pubs, Music and Friends

Inspiration

My bucket list is a combination of things I’ve compiled from lucid dreams, wild flashbacks, vagabonding friends, other travelers, family and friends. And, maybe a thing or two from cool television shows, like “climbing a redwood tree.” So, how did we end up in Ireland? Well, semi-long story, semi-short: While in Nepal we dined with some Finnish friends, Ville and Anniina, recapping our spectacular hike around the Annapurna circuit when seemingly out of nowhere, Ville inquired, “Do Americans do heavy drinking?” A bit unsure how to answer that question, I probed deeper to find that in Finland, they “do heavy drinking.” This means when they go out with friends, they get wild, drink waaay too much, take shots, dance, shout, scream, sing, wake up with raging hangovers, wear dark sunglasses (unless it’s winter) and get together with the same friends for breakfast to find out what the hell actually happened the previous night. I smiled, laughed and answered him, “Yes, Ville, Americans do heavy drinking.” Immediately, I pulled out my handy-dandy iPhone, opened my notes app, and added “#35: Do some heavy drinking in Finland.” But before my phone could find its way back into my pocket, I quickly added,

#36: Do some heavy drinking in an Irish Pub (in Ireland)

Continue reading “Ireland: Pubs, Music and Friends”