Category Archives: Adventure

Of Wanderlust And Coming Home

Of Wanderlust And Coming Home

Elizabeth AtalayI try to keep a cool adult demeanor as I open the tiny package at my seat. In it I find a pair of socks, a diminutive set with toothpaste and toothbrush, and a sleep-mask. I want to turn to the older gentleman in the plane seat next to mine as I pull out each item to show him with bright eyes and exclaim “Look how cute this toothbrush set is!” but I manage to keep my cool.

Wanderlust ;  a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

Wanderlust is my favorite word.  Aside from being fun to say, it most aptly captures my enthusiastic desire to discover new places.   The more I traveled, the more I learned about new places I’d love to see. Put me on an airplane and I am as giddy as a child. I love to travel, and it’s not just about the destination. The journey itself thrills me as well. That sense of excitement and adventure as a trip launches. The forced stretches of time on the trip to read, write, or watch as many movies as I can fit in.  I love the diminutive compartments of the meals, accompanied by tiny bottles of wine.   I enjoy conversations struck up with other travelers, slices of lives in transit. Where we are, where we are going, and where we’ve been.  I’m excited by the anticipation of a new place, and of entering the unexpected.

Read the rest of this entry

Traveling To Ethiopia With The International Reporting Project New Media Fellowship

Traveling To Ethiopia With The International Reporting Project New Media Fellowship

“Eat only with your right hand, never with the left.” My friend advised, referring to the injera pancakes used in Ethiopian cuisine to scoop up food.  Her advice aimed to spare me the disapproving looks and awkward moment of a cultural lesson learned the hard way. Leaving in just a few days for my trip to Ethiopia, I have been gathering all the travel tips I can get.

I am thrilled be traveling to Ethiopia along with the eight other New Media Fellows selected for the International Reporting Project trip to report on Newborn Health.  The International Reporting Project was established to fill the void in reporting on global issues.  The IRP fellowship gives U.S. Journalists the opportunity to travel to foreign countries, and share the stories that would not typically be seen in the mainstream media.

We will be reporting on Ethiopia’s development in preventing newborn deaths, a challenge in a country where somewhere around 90% of women live in low resource, rural areas and tend to give birth at home.  We will also explore surrounding issues such as maternal and child health, immunizations, nutrition, and access to healthcare.  Ethiopia is the second most populated country on the African continent, and is a country comprised of diverse ethnicities.  It’s landscapes are varied as well, topography ranges from mountains to jungles, to one of the hottest inhabited regions on earth.  We will be visiting remote villages to meet with NGO’s, Frontline Heath care Workers, and mothers to witness first hand the challenges, and the progress towards saving lives in Ethiopia.

Please follow our journey at #EthiopiaNewborns , on Twitter , Facebook & Instagram

I will be reporting from Ethiopia as a fellow with the International Reporting Project (IRP)

Heading To South Africa With The Global Team of 200 #socialgoodmomsjoburg

Heading To South Africa With The Global Team of 200 #socialgoodmomsjoburg

New York-Dubai-Johannesburg

20131020-111138.jpg

An Exciting Announcement!

An Exciting Announcement!

More details to follow soon!

My Visitor from The Seychelles

My Visitor from The Seychelles

I wrote about my Flag Counter over a year ago when I started this blog, and it is thrilling for me to see the countries that have found their way here  since then. Today I noticed that someone from the Seychelles had visited documama, and I got all excited because I have been to the Seychelles, and it is one of my favorite places on this earth!  It was the end of six months traveling overland through Africa from Morocco down to Botswana, and I had heard of the stunning beauty of the Seychelles, so a couple of friends and I decided to check it out before heading home.  We were three backpackers, looking pretty scruffy,with little money to our names, but we jumped on a boat from Kenya, and made our way to Mahe, the main island.

On our boat ride over

We decided to stay on one of the smaller islands of the archipelago called La Digue. . There was only one (pricey) hotel on the island but we were unfazed, and unrolled our sleeping bags out on the beach to camp out.  We found what we thought would be a nice safe cove tucked away on an empty beach, (here I need to interject that all of the beaches were empty and the epitome of paradise with white powder sand and warm aquamarine water.) In the middle of the night we woke up to waves lapping at our feet, soaking our sleeping bags as we realized we could have easily been washed away!  When we awoke again in the morning, after adjusting our spot, a local young man, eager to practice his English, had sweetly brought us coffee, and breakfast after observing us setting up camp the day before in a what he may have recognized as not such a great spot. He showed us a better place where we slept safe and dry the next night.

Waking up on the beach

There were no cars on the island, only carts pulled by oxen, so we rented bikes and rode our way to the one hotel to lounge by the pool, and have some drinks at the pool bar. (Clearly we had our priorities!) Everyone assumed we belonged to one of the yachts docked offshore, because apparently they did not get too many back-packers in the area.  Despite our protests they would not believe that we were sleeping on the beach.  One day we took a day trip to Praslin island which was thought to be the original Garden of Eden by explorer Charles Gordon in the late 1800’s. With its exquisite and verdant tropical forest it certainly could have been. The day we went out on a fishing boat our friend Glen caught a huge Marlin within 10 minutes! It was crazy!

Island transportation

We enjoyed eating grilled fish on the beach with our toes in the sand, idyllic days on the beach or at the hotel pool. The Seychelles seemed to us to be paradise found.  So I want to say thank you to my visitor who stopped by documama today, for the hospitality of your people all those years ago, and for bringing those treasured memories back to me this evening.  My father in law travels the world and blogs at http://www.bulentatalay.com , and also has the Flag Counter on his site; whenever we travel we look up each other’s sites to give each other another flag.  This week I may see new flags from Qatar and Dubai from him, but I’m pretty sure he’s not in the Seychelles right now.

The Flag of The Republic of Seychelles

My Flag Counter now

My Flag Counter then

With the catch of the day!