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Travel Photo – February 15, 2012

I would love to dine here and see the epic panoramic view of Bangkok…gorgeous…

jetsetterphoto:

Banyan Tree — Bangkok, Thailand

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Travel Fact of the Day – No Stress…The Better

Hello fellow travelers! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekends! This weekend, I did…frankly…nothing. I mean I did some routine grocery shopping and caught up on sleep. However, one interesting thing I did this past weekend was I went to a West African dance class. It was at the Peridance Capezio Center in Union Square of New York City. It is taught by Maguette Camara, who is a wonderful dance teacher. He originates from Senegal and he teaches authentic West African dance.

© Jeanell Allen

My classmates and I dancing with the locals during our DIVOG Homestay in the Volta Region of Ghana.

I had been going alone for the past two weekends, but this past weekend I went with my good friend Gaby, and we had a fabulous time! It was quite relaxing even though we were constantly moving in the class and sweating up a storm. It gets your mind concentrating on the class, rather than thinking about your obligations in your daily life and much more. I had been slightly stressed out at work, so the class was a much-needed stress buster! From this class, I came up with the topic for today’s Travel Fact of the Day – relaxing travel. Most of us lead busy lives and it is hard to squeeze a vacation/holiday into our schedules. But once we get the chance to do so, how do we make our travel less stressful?

© Jeanell Allen

Students at the New Horizons Special School performing new dances for the NYU in Accra students in April 2011.

From my past travels within the USA and outside the USA, I have learned about how to make travel less stressful. Here are some tips:

  • Plan ahead! It is always to take spontaneous trips, but if you are going somewhere at least an hour away from home base, you will be better planning ahead of time. It causes you stress when you are trying to rush and plan a trip. Schedule the dates you would like to travel and find the most affordable for accommodations, transportation and more for your desired location well ahead of time. Keeping your trip cheap and still enjoyable is quite important. No worries…
  • Pack light! I always have problems with this tip. My mother and I always over-pack for any trip we go on, and my brother and dad look at us with concerned faces. Depending on the location you are going to and how long you will be spending there, it is pack the right amount of items or lighter. It is easier to keep track of everything and if you decide to buy souvenirs while you are abroad, you will have room in your suitcase/luggage for the extra items.  Do you want to drag all of that stuff with you on a trip?
  • Research! You should always research your location before you go. I am notorious for doing this (hence why I have a travel site/blog). I love researching my location before leaving and learning about it as much as I can. You can research the climate and weather situation in your location, which will help you find the correct clothing and hygienic items. Also research can help you find cool things to do before leaving. Research is a key component in traveling because once you leave the comfort of home behind, you will not have the chance to be as prepared as you would like to.
  • Keep your schedule loose! Loose? What are you talking about, you crazy lady? Let me explain…I may love research but also I love doing random things that were not planned. Have designated times and dates for certain things, but leave enough space in your schedule to explore your current locale and do spontaneous activities. You never know what you may encounter. Be prepared for the worst, but expect the best.
  • Bring a camera! This is simple. You never what you may see or run into when you are traveling. Pictures are a great way to reminisce about the good times and it is great way to show your family and friends your adventures.
© Jeanell Allen

My friends and I buried our friend Lyanne in the sand in Cape Coast, Ghana in February 2011. We kept her face above the sand so she can still breathe. Here's the funny thing about the sand in Cape Coast: there were so many minerals in the sand that her skins and nails looked fresh and new when she emerged. Interesting, huh?

I know those are not many tips, but personally, those were the most important tips I follow by when I travel. I made the mistake of packing too much when I left for Ghana and I came back with a lot of souvenirs, so my luggage was overweight and I had to pay an $80 fee in Accra. Learn from my mistakes!

© Jeanell Allen

This is the pool area at the Coconut Grove Beach Resort in Cape Coast, Ghana. Isn't it glorious?

But I think the most important thing about a worry-free, stress-free vacation/holiday is choosing a location that is worry-free and stress-free. That can be anything from skiing in Colorado or basking in the sun in Miami or going on a safari in Kenya, the possibilities are endless. The locale truly has to be a place where you can unwind and let go of the stress of your daily life. It is a vacation, so enjoy it! Don’t go to a place that will cause a lot of stress of getting there and also cause you a lot of stress while you’re there. You are not going to enjoy yourself or the location at all if you do that. Pick somewhere that fits you because you are the one experiencing the trip. No one else can make that decision but you.

© Jeanell Allen

This is me taking a picture of myself in the side mirror on the way to the top of the mountains in the Eastern Region in Ghana. We wanted to go paragliding, but unfortunately, we didn't make it. Maybe another time...

I wish all of you stress-free and worry-free travels and that you may see the world one trip at a time!

Happy travels!

Jeanel (The Globe Trotting Rockstar)

Travel Photo – February 10, 2012

I think it is time to plan a vacation/holiday here to this tropical paradise…

Travel Fact of the Day – Toilet Paper Not Included

© Jeanell Allen

These are called "urinals" or "bathrooms" in northern Ghana. It is a ledge, where you squat over and relieve yourself onto a cement floor.

Hello fellow travelers! I hope all of you are enjoying this cold February! I am so ready for the spring and then SUMMER!

Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about an important topic. It is about your hygiene. Now I’m not saying all of you don’t have good hygiene, but sometimes it is hard to maintain good hygiene while abroad if you don’t have the right accoutrements. Thank goodness my mother is a chronic over-packer and taught me what I need to pack when I travel. I never knew the things I would need if I got stranded in an airport would be the right things I need when traveling/backpacking around Ghana.

First, toilet paper is not guaranteed everywhere you go outside the USA. There is usually an exception in Canada and Europe, but once you venture out of those locales, toilet paper is not as readily accessible as one may think. I learned this the hard way when we were taking an Easter trip into the mountains in the Eastern Region in Ghana and we stopped at a rest stop 2-3 hours outside of Accra. My 3 friends and I had to use the bathroom, and where stopped there wasn’t even a bathroom! It is a cinder block ledge and we had to squat over grass to relieve ourselves. I was beyond grossed out and I didn’t think about bringing toilet paper, but thank God, my roommate brought toilet paper with her in her bag and we all shared the paper. Like I said, YOU NEVER KNOW!

These photos are from my trip to Mole National Park. The bus made a rest stop in a rural town 2 hours outside of Tamale. This is where we encountered the “urinals.” I was terrified of them. The “urinals” or “bathrooms” were one large cement ledge where you squat over and relieve yourself onto a cement floor. No drain and no privacy. The person next to you can see everything if they wanted to look. I wasn’t down for that and neither was my friend LeeReyna. However, our friends Lena and Katie did it and they survived. Thank God!

© Jeanell Allen

My friend LeeReyna and I were completely grossed out by the "bathrooms" in northern Ghana. There weren't actually bathrooms. Just cement blocks. We were slightly disturbed the look and smell of the urinals, so we skipped. My expression is not an exaggeration of how I felt! Also they didn't provide toilet paper!

You have to be mindful when you are traveling to take care of your hygiene. It is very important. I packed a handful of little items that truly helped me during my travels. I recommend you bring the following items with you:

  • Toilet paper
  • Wipes (Preferably the brand Always Feminine Wipes. Men can use them too. On our way to Tamale in northern Ghana, we had to stay in a hostel overnight and the shower was suspect. So I used my wipes and cleansed my body that way. A good shower is not guaranteed either!
  • A bar of soap & wash-cloth (in case you stay at a place with a good shower or tub)
  • Toothpaste & toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • A big bottle filled with WATER (Every place will not running water and if they do, it may not be healthy to drink)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Medicine/prescribed medications (When I’m stressed out, I break out in hives and this happened to me in Kumasi, Ghana. Thankfully, I brought Benadryl with me on the trip and I ended up being fine.)
  • Feminine products (females only, obviously)

These listed items will be essential when you go traveling abroad, especially backpacking. This is a list meant for hygiene purposes and it will help you stay healthy while traveling. Health is very important! So always be prepared because you never know what you might encounter!

© Jeanell Allen

My friends Lena and Katie (not pictured) really had to use the bathroom and they used the "urinals". I was very proud of them. Obviously by the looks of this picture, Lena was scared beyond belief! Good thing she brought toilet paper!

Always be prepared for the unpredictable!

Happy travels!

Jeanell (The Globe Trotting Rockstar)

Travel Photo – February 6, 2012

I came here as a young kid and it was so epic. My first instinct was to grab a barrel or boat, and rush down the falls…good thing my dad was there to stop me! What can I say? I am the adventurous type…

-vindemiaa:

Niagara Falls – Canada Side (by LaurentBatailley)

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