Category Archives: TO THE OPEN ROAD

CATEGORY / TO THE OPEN ROAD / words & images from our travels from here to there, and everywhere ———>

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for me, there’s just something about eating a meal that’s been cooked outside & the campfire smell that lingers in your hair…

it’s just a slice of perfection.

we drove down to michigan at the beginning of the month to camp for a few days, and our friends amanda & abbey joined us! we went on hikes & napped in sand dunes in the sun. we kayaked, took lots of photos & made lots of fires. we watched sunsets & just listened to the waves of that little ocean, lake michigan.

it’s very true what they say : great lakes, great times.

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ludington state park, michigan / june 2014

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take highway 1 out of reykjavik heading east.

exit the road at at town called hveragerði.

drive past town to the end of the road & park in the lot.

start heading northeast on the trail marked reykjadalur-klambragil 3,2 km.

& be amazed.

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what our first evening in iceland looked like / october 2013

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adventure is arriving in a small town in the wind-swept desolate middle-of-nowhere in the dark.

we arrived in vik (which is icelandic for cove), a town of around 300 people after driving east from reykjavik along highway 1. it shouldn’t take all day to make the drive, but it’s our first day in iceland, and after many stops along the way it is well & truly dark by the time we roll into the town. adventure is saying, well, we’re here.. and peering out the windows of the car into darkness. we have no place to stay and no map more detailed than a fold-out map of the entire island. we are six of us, american & canadian, and none of us have data on our phones. it’s so dark we can barely make out any buildings. the only thing lit is a white church, which must be on the side of a hill as it seems to float eerily above the horizon surrounded by blackness.

we try to follow signs down dark empty roads. there are no cars, no people, no lights. after turning around a few times we find ourselves at what must be the ‘main strip’, basically a restaurant with an hotel and info center attached. we inquire inside and find rooms at the lundi hotel, which also goes by the name the puffin hostel. or maybe it’s the other way round, we are confused to this day.

there’s a restaurant attached and the glowing light radiates warmth out the windows and lures us in. it’s full, we barely manage to get a table, and we are immediately surrounded by the conversations of other travelers, and soon by our own conversations and relief that we find ourselves here over pints of beer.

adventure is arriving in the dark and going to sleep anticipating the first light, walking out and seeing the place where you are for the first time. the place you tried so hard to construct in your mind as you were lost in the night. and the imagined version always falls short.

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 vik, iceland / october 2013

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when people ask how our trip to the philippines was, it’s hard to know where to begin! we flew out the last week in january, missed two nights of sleep and traveled for thirty-six hours on four separate flights. we were there for one week total between two different cities & with crazy jet lag. we were there with a friend’s company, doing something both we & they had never really done before. you could say it was a bit of a whirlwind trip.

when i was nineteen i went on a trip to mexico to build an orphanage with an organization linked with my university. i stayed with a mexican family during part of my time there, and they had a daughter around my age. that was my first encounter with the idea of ‘escaping to america’, this attitude that i would come to see lives inside a lot of young people the world over. travel anywhere & i’m sure you’ve encountered it too. the hope that, if i’m lucky enough or if i can get into a school in the states, or canada, or england, then i can get out of where i come from. there’s nothing for me here — to make a better life for myself, i must go somewhere else.

the story we hear about the developing world is always the same, and it’s come to be expected. it’s poor. the conditions can be awful. there is splendor living right next door to poverty, and there is corruption. it’s not a good story.

i met a guy named ossie while we were in cebu city. he works for the company my friend chris is a part of. he likes surfing, zen & the art of motorcycle maintenance, and his rescue dog blanco. he’s twenty-five and told me one day about what he calls ‘the leftovers’. it’s the story of passionate, intelligent young people who are stuck in a hard place. with the opportunities for skilled & fulfilling work close to home so sparse, so many are leaving their communities and go abroad. and so the cycle continues.

i have another friend named liz. she runs a sandal company in uganda that enables young women to afford university. the story we hear about uganda is usually not a great story. again, it’s a story of corruption, poverty, disease… she tells the women she works with that they have the chance to tell another story about their country to the world. a story they’ve probably never heard before. a good story.

so this is a good story about the philippines. this is a story about people who are working to create meaningful employment opportunities for the young people there, so that maybe not so many of them have to leave or work in low wage or exploitative situations. and about people like ossie who can help build up the communities right where he lives, maybe help start more meaningful small businesses & keep bright leaders in the communities, and do this alongside the others he works with.

phew, long blog post, but all that to say : this is a good story about the philippines.

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cebu city & manila, the philippines / january 2014

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