Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Getting Started

(February 12th, 2009)

So, after 3 weeks of complete craziness, dealing with returning my apartment, getting rid of furniture, selling my car, paying bills, closing accounts, deciding on my Middle East and Africa itinerary, working full time at JTBNA, getting shoots/vaccines (9 of them), applying for visas (12 of them), seeing incredible friends, and painfully saying good bye to my amazing sister, I'm now ready to let you know what I will be getting into during the next "few" months. Enjoy the itinerary… I cannot wait…

Feb 14-25 -> Jordan - I'm leaving to Jordan on Saturday, Feb. 14th for my last trip on behalf of the Jordan Tourism Board North America. It will definitely be a very tough trip for me to take. I'm sure you all know how much I love Jordan and enjoyed working for them for the past 7 years. But well, in a way I'm also very glad I will have this last opportunity to say thank you and good bye to all the incredible people I had the pleasure to meet and work with in Jordan.

Feb 26-Mar 1 -> Egypt - After Jordan I will be going to Egypt to explore Cairo with good friends from the tourism industry as well. I'm sure I will have a blast there. Pyramids… here I come….

Mar 2-8-> Iraq (Kurdistan) - Please do not freak out as my mom, dad, and sisters are doing that on behalf of everyone. Seriously!! I Anyway, this is really a once in a lifetime experience and I could not say NO. The bottom line is that I'm going with the head of Adventure Travel and Trade Association (a colleague from the industry) and he will be hosted by the Minister of Tourism over there. YES… I also questioned why they have a Minister of Tourism but I guess I'm taking advantage of it now. Instead of me trying to explain what I will be doing there, since I'm not really sure, below you will find the email Shannon received from the tour operator in Iraq regarding our itinerary:"Dear Sir, I hope that you are doing well. Don't worry as everything is going well. Our proposed program is to cover the mountains of Kurdistan as you are so interested in adventures and we will try our best to see the summer resorts in the three provinces in Erbil, Sulaimania and Dohuk. We will try to see Dokan dam and the lake of Dokan, Shaqlawa, Bikhal, Jondian and the tourist summer resort of Pank in Rawandouze. I am sure that you are going to love it as Spring is knocking the door and the weather will be so nice. Dohuk province is well known of it's summer resorts like Sarsing, Solaf, Anishki and Amedi. Any how we can change some items of the program in case of necessity. Please don't hesitate to ask for more information related to your trip. As for your Colleague, don't worry as we will try our best to make her enjoy it. I think we are going to have 4-5 days and we will try to show a good face. I wish you a lovely day."Doesn't it sound amazing??

Mar 9-13 -> Wash DC/North Carolina. I will just come back to check on Cris in North Caroline and then stop in DC for 2 days to change backpacks… and take more malaria pills…

Mar 14-April 14 -> UgandaAfter so much research I was able to find a NGO that really "spoke" to me. The African Child Foundation - ACF is African effort created to address the enormous challenges faced by millions of African children who have either been orphaned by AIDS or live with parents who are sick or dying from AIDS-related illnesses. Please check their website if you want to learn more about them: http://www.acf.org.ug/I will be volunteering there for a month, working in projects with kids and women. I already have great ideas for new projects we could be implementing there and I really cannot wait to get started! It may sound cheesy, but I truly believe I will be able to make a difference there.

April 15-Jun 13 -> Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa. I guess I could spend days writing about this specific trip, but instead, I will attach the detailed itinerary I received from the tour's organizers. To facilitate my mom's life, I also put together a jpg file with my itinerary/map, and as you can see, I'm more than happy to share this one with you as well.

June 14-30 -> MozambiqueThe trip is confirmed but I'm still deciding on what I will be doing there. I most probably will find a way to do some volunteer work there as well… Practice my Portuguese a little bit

July 1-12 -> Back to Tanzania – Climbing KilimanjaroBelow you will find few links to this website that will give you more information about this climb. I must confess I'm avoiding reading too much about it since I do not want to really know what I will be facing. I just want to do it and hopefully I will be able to get to handle all the tough times and get to the Summit. The only thing I read all the way was this blog, http://www.mtkilimanjarologue.com/planning/random/bootsnall-20089-new-year-summit.html, and if you read it, you will understand why I will not read anything else… Ahhhh, and YES, I'm doing the hardest and longest trail. The reason for that is not because it is more expensive and I want to prove to myself that even unemployed I can do it, but because it seems to be the safest one, since it works in a way that the climbers will be better able to handle the difference in altitude during the climb.(http://www.mtkilimanjarologue.com/)(http://www.mtkilimanjarologue.com/lemosho-route/). Yes, yes, yes… let's not talk about the fact I'm VERY prepared for this climb and travel environment since I've been training to endure this type of experience for the last past 7 years while enjoying all the five stars hotels and spas around the world…

July 13-17-> Back to South Africa – Kruger's ParkAfter my climb I will go back to South Africa and meet with my great friend Justin. We will be exploring Kruger's Park for few days before he has to go to London and I have to decide on my next step… Ahhhh, will I be ready for that???

July 17th -> I will most probably extend my stay in South Africa till end of August and do some volunteer work for Grootbos's Social Projects. There is also a slight chance of me coming back to DC to get my things and start thinking about what I will be doing next…

SO, I GUESS THAT IS IT!!! I will definitely try to send some news updates and few pictures whenever possible.

I will certainly miss you all.

Beijos, Gi

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