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crAsh13


15 Blog Entries
4 Trips
35 Photos

Trips:

wanderlust - 2008
East Africa in 2007
adventures in the US
Europe 2002 and 2004

Shorthand link:

http://www.blogabond.com/crAsh13




beginning of my long journey

Atlanta, United States



’A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.’
~lao tzu
'i feel at home whenever the unknown surrounds me'
~ bjork
'the journey is the destination'
~dan eldon
’may your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing views’
~edward abbey

wanderlust -defined:
- a human condition; searching for a new philosophy, religion or place
- a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about
- a need to understand one's very existence, that starts with the first step of a long journey

the long journey continues:
New Zealand - Australia - Cambodia/Vietnam/Laos/Thailand - Kenya - West Africa
time lapse - three years traveling


permalink written by  crAsh13 on August 4, 2008 from Atlanta, United States
from the travel blog: wanderlust - 2008
tagged Wanderlust

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Escape from LA

Los Angeles, United States


There are few people in my life that I feel I will forever be bonded to in a particular way. Melodie is one. We can go ages with out seeing or talking to each other. However, when we finally get to romp around the same city the adventures will make the ground shake.

Feeling stagnant and tired in Atlanta, I set out for Los Angeles. Five days of craziness followed and a rejuvenated lust for travel lingered as I went back to Atlanta. Meeting people, bar hoping, drinking champagne in the pool and eating out in the LA fashion were enjoyable. Meeting up with Carl and getting to spend some time with him was a delight. However, watching Melodie throw a tantrum for the power being out in 100 heat, yelling at bicycles that we were 'bylegicles' on the Venice Beach bike path, 'marching around the block with a sword and shield, falling and getting four HUGE bruises, rocking Disneyland with whiskey sours and all the good conversations in between were what made this trip.

Arriving at LAX at 6am to find that all the standbys were full...for the entire day...was not as much fun. I went into traveler mode, hightailed it to John Wayne Airport in Orange County and got on a flight out of there. In the six hours I was forced to wait in the airport, I acquired an Arnold Schwarzenegger t-shirt that says 'the Govenator,' satisfaction for a day spent watching planes take off.

The downfall of an amazing week in LA is that it gave me the strongest desire to just keep traveling and not come back to Atlanta. I thought the break would make me happier at home but it left me with stronger urges to be in other cities. The coping mechanism; meet new people here.

LA - I fell in love with you, in that strange sort of 'i know you will hurt me but I can't help it' way. I want to come back before I leave the country...we will see.



permalink written by  crAsh13 on June 19, 2008 from Los Angeles, United States
from the travel blog: adventures in the US
tagged Disneyland, LosAngeles and VeniceBeach

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An attempt at a roadtrip

Seattle, United States


I flew to Seattle to drive my 1985 Volts wagon Golf to Atlanta. Somehow, I thought I would be able to drive this archaic (yet wonderful) car from Seattle to Atlanta...in the dead of winter. My ambitions were high, outlandish some might say. I had my travel compainion, Kelsey, with me and we were willing to make the trip.

From the beginning of planning, I had this deep down, mostly ignored, feeling that my car would break down beyond repair on this trip. I threw caution to the wind and did it any way. I figured if it broke down in New Mexico or Texas, I would at least get a good adventure and bus ride out of it.

I could not believe it. We left Seattle late on a Saturday and headed South. First stop was to be somewhere to sleep along northern California and then on to Melodies in LA. My car was reluctant, to say the least, at attempting the passes of Oregon, however, I knew these would be the only big passes we would be going over, as we were taking the southern route the rest of the way.

At 11pm, my car seized to shift gears and made horrible noises, after a brief stop in a dangerous point on the freeway we made it to a gas station in which AAA came to the rescue. We were in Phoenix, Oregon. They took us back to Medford, Oregon. Rowdy times at Gypsy Blues bar, A 'to Hell with Hitler' button was acquired as well as a few lawn flamingos kidnapped. Kelsey and I fell in love with Medford

On Monday morning my car was pronounced dead. Both the Clutch and Transmission had gone out. The decision was made and my car was buried in Medford. Malia, Keith and Adam came to the rescue and drove down Monday to pick us up. We had one last night in Medford and then headed back north. Stopped in Portland for some dinner and a bewildering venture to Powell Books.

Got back to Seattle, had a day and a half and then Kelsey flew to Georgia with me. Adventure had, sadly at the expense of one awesome car.

permalink written by  crAsh13 on January 15, 2008 from Seattle, United States
from the travel blog: adventures in the US
tagged RoadTrip, Oregon, Portland and Flamingos

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Stuff being stolen...in retrospect

Atlanta, United States


Within the first week of my departure to Africa, all of my stuff was stolen from my friend's house. He lives in a compound in Karen (a suburb of Nairobi). To this day we believe that it was his house keeper. However, the police system in Kenya is one of corruption and payoffs, and without actually catching the guy in the act there was little to nothing that could be done.

I had my passport, iPod, and Olympus with me at the coast...so I could not hang on to the anger that I felt at first.

and I know that having less makes you appreciate more, is very cliche but Africa has taught me that this is true...

as most know, I am one of those super organized, and planning for everything (to the extent that I packed about six times before I left). However, when all of my stuff was taken I was allowed to let go and not worry about anything anymore.

it never really got me down, and it was a running joke on the trip. It taught me that I can be prepared without all the preparation...that I am capable and I can let go...

permalink written by  crAsh13 on November 13, 2007 from Atlanta, United States
from the travel blog: East Africa in 2007
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Stone Town

Stone Town, Tanzania


I have a cold, fear of malaria rattles my brain, but i am sure it is, just a cold. We have entered Stone Town and are staying at Karibu Inn, Our room is accommodating, however it also feels like we have been put in a jail cell or asylum of some sort. Barred windows look at cement walls. To exacerbate the situation I have been lying in bed staring at a tin celling, feeling ill. At night, bringing down the mosquito net, I form a pod of isolation and 'quarantine.' I was woken up by many sounds, from the call to prayer and cat fights to the terentual downpours of rain bouncing off tin roof. I lay in bed believing this room could be anywhere in the world. I allow my exhausted mind to take me to those far off places. The orchestral sounds of dripping water and pouring rain take me far from here. As I drift off I hear the rooster crow and know morning is coming. That I am in Zanzibar during Ramadan. I dream of traveling far but forget how far I really am. Realization of this comforts me. I finally fade back into sleep. The rain has stopped. The sun of Zanzibar will warm me tomorrow and remind me how far from home I really am.

permalink written by  crAsh13 on October 1, 2007 from Stone Town, Tanzania
from the travel blog: East Africa in 2007
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Tanzania

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Tanzania!

First stop Arusha. The land of the Genocide tribunals and UN development projects. We went on a camel ride and I have bruises to prove that I am a bad ass and rode that camel like a champ. Stayed one night with snakes and crocodiles and then headed to the Ngorogoro Crater. 130km across and full of animals…first animal of the day…lions feeding. Traveled around, saw a lot but the best had to be three lionesses that hung out with our car for about 25 minutes.

Rushed through the rest of Tanzania and to the coast of Dar es Saalem, followed shortly by ZANZIBAR!!!

Traveling through Hell and paying for my sins.

We had a hellish adventure of mixed ferries, excruciatingly heat, bags breaking and high seas to get to Zanzibar I can only describe it as paying our sins to enter paradise…however once we got here thing have been perfect.

I am in paradise right now…the white sand creeps into the café that I write this on and the crystal blue water is calling to me. I can not believe how amazing the area is here and am glad that I will be staying here for a while. I am up north right now and will be here for the next couple of days, just relaxing, snorkeling, meeting people and watching time crawl by. Then it is back to stone town for a faster pace life and lots of activities, the seafood is amazing. It is Ramadan here right now so everyone is fasting during the day but at 630 the streets come alive. Food markets by lantern appear all up and down the shore; full of everything you could imagine. People are full of energy and very friendly, lots of music and celebration.

Our tour is over and the majority will be heading out. I have made some good friends that I am sad to see go…and yes I am already plotting my trip to Australia and New Zealand. As the group and Malia leave Kels and I are left to our own devices…in paradise…full of beaches, seafood and alcohol…I just don’t know how we will manage…

Where to next…either the next two weeks will be spent living it up here or I will be leaving the beginning of October to head south to Malawi with James and Kuzi for a music festival, called Stars of the Lake on Lake Tanganika. Kuzi is Djing there and it is suppose to be amazing…time will only…if this connection holds up I might even try to post some pictures.

I will be back home soon….too soon…however since my bag was stolen I don’t have my cell so send me your numbers and if you want to get a hold of me after the 10th of October, call my mom at 425.770.4364

permalink written by  crAsh13 on September 24, 2007 from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
from the travel blog: East Africa in 2007
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Ngorogoro Crater

Arusha, Tanzania


Our first stop in Tanzania was Arusha and the Ngorongoro Crater.

Background: The Crater is a volcano that imploded on itself. It is actually the world's largest volcanic caldera; which is when a volcano caves in after an eruption. It is 610 meters deep and 260 sq km. This allows for a very interesting habitat for animals. Some migrate through and some stay. One of the most densely populated regions of East Africa for animals.

Waking up at 430am, we packed our tents, attempted an early morning breakfast; I poured as much coffee in me as I could, and then headed to the Crater. We had to climb up the walls of the Crater as then sun was rising in order to drive back down into the Crater.

the first animal that we saw: a pride of lions...eating. They were pretty far off in the distance, but still amazing. We saw many many zebras and wildebeest. the highlight of this trip was seeing three female lions up very close for a long time.

permalink written by  crAsh13 on September 18, 2007 from Arusha, Tanzania
from the travel blog: East Africa in 2007
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The land that stole my heart

Kampala, Uganda


Uganda and Guerillas (gorillas)

The tour got under way and we quickly headed out of Kenya and into one of the most beautiful places on Earth. This place mesmorized me by the people, the landscape and the struggles it had over come. We entered into Uganda through a long wait at the border and construction that had us sitting on deadend roads for hours. Got to Jinja late at night and could only hear the roar of the White Nile. In the morning, I sat with coffee watching calibus monkeys groom each other on the edge of the source of the great nile, knowing that the water I am seeing now would soon be passing through the turbulent Sudan and then on into the land of pharohs. Kampala is a city I could see myself living in and everywhere in Uganda only leave you speechless with its beauty. We went to a small town called Kusoro to trek the gorillas. The place we stayed had two doctors without borders guys staying there because 10000 refugees had just fled the Congo. The air in this region is tense. You can smell the gun powder waiting to erupt and see in everyone’s faces that they have seen more than we can even imagine; it borders both Rwanda and the Congo.

Watching gorillas eat bananas in the rain forest of africa…. Not much more I can say then what is assumed by reading that statement…awesome!

Moved back through Uganda, unwanting to leave but heading back to amazing places. On the return I white water rafted through the nile. Lost my shorts on the last rapid, lovingly referred to as THE BAD PLACE. Crazy nights at amazing bars and lots of cool people to meet. Uganda, I will return to…not soon, because now it is flooded, southern borders are closed because of eboli outbreaks and the conogolese rebels are firing Morter shells at Kusoro…but someday, I will live there.

permalink written by  crAsh13 on September 7, 2007 from Kampala, Uganda
from the travel blog: East Africa in 2007
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Rafting the Nile

Jinja, Uganda


The benefits of Jinja, Uganda:

1. beautiful scenery (Lake Victoria and source of Nile)map2

2. White Water Rafting

3. Monkeys in the trees

4. Nile Special is brewed locally

So while in Jinja, we relaxed, met friends, went shopping in town AND white water rafted the White Nile River (beginning of the Nile river system). I fear that I could, if given the opportunity, become an Adrenaline junky like the guides of the rafting trip. The river was amazing. We started out with smaller rapids that built in intensity and forced us to work hard. Our guide was a crazy Irishmen who had no qualms with dumping us into the water. However, except for the occasional times that the entire raft went into the air and over, I managed to stay in the boat. Malia did not have the same luck and she somehow managed to go into the water on almost every rapid. Midday we beached on an island and had a lunch, followed by a slow paddle through CROC infested waters...don't fall in there.

At one point the safety boat (nothing bad suppose to happen to it) broke an ore and at another he actually flipped in the rapid. This was a little unnerving to us waiting to go through the rapid. To calm our troubled minds there we kayakers around us at all kayak times. The second you fell in they would scoop you up and take you back to your boat. They seemed to really enjoy the fact that all they did was ride through rapids all day, everyday.

Last rapid of the day, called 'BAD PLACE' it is the strongest rapid of the river and well, being badasses we decided to take it as hard as we could. I think Graham, our guide, said to be prepared to be under water for ten seconds at a time. He made us all count it out really slow so we would know how long that really is. Oh, and he said every time your head breaks the surface of the water to take a quick breath, because you are going under again. We had to walk the boat around the first part, too dangerous and prepare for the second. I think we lasted about 30 seconds before our raft was flying into the air and we were cascading into the water.

Kels shot through the rapids and emerged in calm water, not sure exactly Malia's route but I went for the entire rapid being jostled about, dunked and spun until I raft emerged, hanging onto shorts with one hand and the ore with the other. I was told I could get rid of it but it made a good weapon against the rocks I was battling. Just at the end of the rapid I felt myself bump into something, prepared for another rock I realized it was the tip of my kayak rescuer. I chose to discard the ore and keep my shorts. hanging on to him I was paddled over to a boat, Yes I was the last one of our entire group to emerge from the rapid.

A great day and beers waited for us at the top of the hill to celebrate or success.

This story seems to have a happy ending but that is not the case. The river has been dammed and the rapids have been destroyed. We got word from a friend hat they are no good now and all the rafting guides are leaving. There are so many affects of this that it is hard to focus on the good; increased electricity. Jinja thrives off of the rafting tourism and will suffer greatly if it is completely lost. As well the wildlife in the surrounding areas, as always when a dam is created suffer. I am very torn between the pros and cons of damming rivers but I know in the case of this one it saddens me. I will never again get to experience rafting that river. All things change, but sometimes you can relive experiences, not this one!

permalink written by  crAsh13 on September 5, 2007 from Jinja, Uganda
from the travel blog: East Africa in 2007
tagged Rafting and Nile

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Trekking to see Gorillas

Kampala, Uganda


An experience I would not have if it were not for my parents. They financial supported this expedition, as it get continuously more expensive to see gorillas in the wild. This is mostly due to politics and high cost of protection.

We drove like bats out of hell across Uganda to get to the Southwest corner. A place where Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo. We were initially suppose to go into Rwanda to see gorillas. However, there were only three of us so are guide got us on a group in Uganda (I would have loved to go to Rwanda but then our visas would have become invalid...costs going up even more). So, we went to Kusoro. A small town in the corner, from the hills you could see both Rwanda and the Congo; my cell phone bounced between signals.

We stayed at a small campsite right outside of the town. It is hard to describe the atmosphere in this area. This region has seen refugees from Rwanda, the Tutsi army hid out in Southern Uganda, Idi Amin reeked havoc all over, and the wars in the Congo often pour over into this region. There was already one refugee camp with around 10000 refugees from the Congo. You could see this past on everyone's face. The tension in the air made it obvious that the past was not long ago and could erupt at anytime. At night I was actually woken up by the sound of mortar being shot into the refugee camp that was 6km away by Congolese rebels. However, all this said, there was a wedding that night and the people that came by our campsite were excited and happy. You would not be able to foresee what we would find out a week later. But first the actual trekking experience.

we woke at 4am to head up into the Ugandan mountains. driving for an hour and a half and meeting up with the rest of the group. While waiting to head out we were told that the day before they trekked for 6 hours and it rained for 4 of those hours. With doubts of even seeing gorillas, we piled into the cars. Our guides rode with us. A nice young man sat next to me with his rifle between his legs and the tip wedged into the ceiling of the car. we rode for another 15 minutes and then piled out. about four guides for six trekkers. All, but the lead guide, had rifles. We headed out. First were a series of villages, some having Sunday mass in small clay churches, in others little kids would walk with us and giggle, speaking a little English with us. We went down one mountain and up the next, on the way down that one, through the rain forest (which actually looked a lot like Washington forests) and to a stream. Here we were stopped, it had been about 45 minutes and the guide had been on his walki talki with the scouts the whole time. We were worried that maybe it was bad news...quite the opposite. The gorillas were coming towards us. We walked down the side of the stream and around a bend we almost stumbled right into a gorilla sitting on a branch right above the stream dipping his hands in and drinking. His back was to us but he immediately noticed us and moved into the bushes. We went slightly up the hill and waited. He emerged from the bushes sat down and ate right with us. We then moved up the hill and were able to watch a whole family of gorillas eat.

The funny thing about this is as we were standing watching these gorillas, we could here shouting just over the ridge. I asked our guide what was going on and he told me that it was the local farmers chasing the gorillas out of their banana plantation. We had trekked for an hour to see these creatures and these people were chasing them out of their property like crows or rabbits. Granted the gorillas were eating a lot of the bananas, tree and all. After an hour we were forced to leave, and made a different trek back. I chatted up the nice young man with the gun in front of me and learned that these rangers work f three weeks(seven days a week) and then have a week off. He told me that if he leaves at dawn he would get home at dusk that day. Interesting that this is how he could describe the distance from here to his home. Not in miles, km or time to drive. Literally if he sets out on foot how long it will take him.

We got out to the main road and it started to rain. I talked to some little kids while waiting for the car to come back. We all piled in Guns and all. On the way back, I felt it safe to ask the question, 'why the guns?' I was told what I was afraid to be true. Guerrilla fighters come over the border a lot and so the guns are for our protection.

We got back to camp, said good bye to the Doctors without Borders that I had met the night before and Kelsey and Malia returned from a trek of a different kind. They went into one of the local villages with a guy from the campsite and played with the kids, tried banana beer and talked to locals. We headed out. Our guides were set on getting out, they said for our safety but we just assumed it was their asshole ways again. However, we learned the truth to this about a week later.

Two days after we left another 10,000 refugees flooded into Kusoro and set up another camp. And an added bonus the campsite we were in actually had guerrillas come in, looking for someone. We were very lucky. I honestly know how close we were to the conflict now. An idea that excites me and makes me want to go back. an idea that scares the crap out of my parents, both my location and my excitement about it.

That is it my trekking gorillas experience. I loved it and have about 300 pictures of these mountain gorillas, 18 of only 500 left in the wild.

permalink written by  crAsh13 on September 2, 2007 from Kampala, Uganda
from the travel blog: East Africa in 2007
tagged Uganda and Gorillas

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