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ajeesh
2946 days ago 2 comments Categories: Journeys Tags:

Hi!

In just 3 weeks, I'll be leaving the comfort of a "home", to become a world-wide homeless and begin a full-time travel lifestyle.

It's sometimes scary to think about... but I know once I'm on the road I'll be happier than ever before :-)

ajeesh
2947 days ago 2 comments Categories: Tags: Mexico, Children, adventure

We didn’t live “safe”! We traveled with our 4 children to foreign countries since they were babies. Our first trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, our youngest was 3 years old. He was thrilled to be on the airplane.

When the pilot announced that we were landing in Cabo, he announced over the speaker system: “This is your Captain speaking; I want to wish you all a great trip while in Mexico.”

 

Our son widened his eyes and exclaimed with enthusiasm: “I can’t believe we are going to see Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle!”

Samuel was remembering the story of Captain Hook and Peter Pan. He had never heard a “Captain” speak before; his innocent mind merely assumed that the captain speaking was Captain Hook.

My adult children still visit Cabo San Lucas. Attached is a photo of us- hot and grimey taken over 20 ago, on the glass bottom boat. All continue to travel and have volunteered in many a foreign country. Memories, of travel, are an amazing legacy to leave with your children…amazingly unsafe and therefore unforgettable

ajeesh
2948 days ago 1 comments Categories: Tags: Horacio and his baby girl Zaydita

In 2007 Horacio was one of my English students in Granada Nicaragua. Outgoing, warm, and genuine, Horacio soon took me to his humble home to meet his widowed young mother, Zayda. She had just been diagnosed with advanced ovarion cancer at her tender age of 51.

We three became genuine friends, and although ill, she always insisted on cooking for me.  I went with her  through her first treatments  of chemo;I returned in 2009 to "say good-bye" while she was still coherent; Zayda with all her hospitality, beauty and kindness said "good-bye" for the last time in 2010.

Horacio has since had this lovely little girl, who is the smitten image of her grandmother, Zayda. Her name too, is Zayda. They live in dire poverty, stuggling with dignity to keep the home "afloat", and rice and beans on the table.

Seldom is a complaint uttered, but the loss of Elegant Zayda is a more painful hurt than any an empty stomach.

Learn about the wonder and strength of the valient Nicaragua people, and then visit the tender country and you will be....blessed.

Brian
3001 days ago 0 comments Categories: Tags:

I have a long history as a traveller-- certainly not as extensive as many others, but still a credible status, I think. (As of this date, I am still working on filling in my personal travel map on this site.) How did it all get started? What early influences are actually operative is always a mater of debate, but I suspect it goes back to my childhood. I grew up in the country, with few playmates nearby. But there were the back fields and a large woodlot, and as far back as I can remember, I was heading off for adventure. I would spend hours exploring, discovering new worlds beyond the next copse or hillock. I returned home reluctantly for meals, or because of the fading light in the evening, and as long as we lived there (we moved to the city when I was 12 or 13) I never grew tired of the forays.

Brian
3011 days ago 0 comments Categories: Tags:

So, what's happening with the "Locations" feature? Well you should ask, and I suppose "We're working on it" is not a sufficient answer.

 

That feature was purchased as a third-party plug-in, which means that we should have been able to install it and have it running in fairly short order. Well, the installation went fine, but once we started looking at the function, it became clear the module had serious deficiencies. After many hours of custom programming, the more we worked the more deficiencies became clear-- some of them just bad programming, others were design issues that just didn't fit with the way TCE works.

 

So eventually I made the decision to put it aside and concentrate on other more pressing concerns. We will pick it up again as soon as there is an opportunity, and get it rolled out once it is up to the standard we need.

Brian
3022 days ago 0 comments Categories: Tags:

Interesting experience on American Airlines. Checked in and got to the boarding lounge, and they started calling for volunteers because they were overbooked. It was the last flight on a Sunday night, leaving NYC, so nobody wanted to volunteer. They kept upping the bid until they got to $1,200 denied baording compensation and tickets on the first flight out in the morning, at which point I and a few others took the bait, and they got enough volunteers.

 

Again, beacuse it was late, all the volunteers began crowdng the desk to arrange for their flights out on the next day. I decided to be patient, and got elbowed to the back of the line.

 

But I got my reward. When I got to the counter, the agent said, "Well, we are all out of coach seats on that flight, so I'll have to put you in First Class." I got to smile the next morning, as I watched all the impatient ones walk past me to coach.

Brian
3028 days ago 0 comments Categories: General Tags:

Of course there are a lot of rough edges left to fix. I had no idea when beginning this project the size and complexity of what I was taking on. So eventually a decision had to be made to get it out to the public, warts and all.

 

As an interim measure, I changed the membership term from six months to a year, so people who signed up in the early days, before we had built up a sizeable member base, would still get decent value from their membership.

 

But here's hoping they won't have long to wait. I'm trying to get the word out through many means, and aiming for 5,000 members by the end of three months.

 

We will continue to work on the rough spots we know about, and no doubt members will point out more! This site started with an off-the-shelf social networking platform, and there have been several thousand hours of custom programming put into it already, to get the features and functions needed. My hope is, once I recoup my initial investment, to rebuild the thing from the ground up, but I don't want to go too far till we've had some real-life experience and learn what users really want and need.

ajeesh
3028 days ago 0 comments Categories: Tags:

Interesting young boy we met in Cruz Bay on St. John, USVI. In the last levels of secondary school, he talked with us quite a while about his education, and his hopes and plans for the future. Not particularly poor, and not a member of the elite either. His father was a small merchant. But he upset any stereotypes. He had a very steady commitment to his education and had his sights on becoming an electrical engineer. Very sober and mature for his age-- perhaps about 15. Changed our view of what is possible.

Brian
3030 days ago 0 comments Categories: Tags:

"Not with a bang but a" . . . few strokes of the keyboard. At about 4:13 a.m. EST this morning, the new Travel Companion Exchange crossed a nearly imperceptible line and came to life on the Internet. Sitting in my home office in Toronto, conferring via Skype with my developer in Kochi, India, I gave the go-ahead to rename a single file on a datacenter in Atlanta (or somewhere– one can never be quite sure on the Internet), and a new presence blipped onto the World Wide Web.

T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men," from which the familiar phrase above is taken, observes:

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Well, maybe not so grim in this case!  But between the conception and the realization of this idea fell a great interval. From the original contract to now, has required about 7 times the amount of time and over 10 times the amount of money as originally planned, and it's far from over yet. In the interval, I have churned through several developers (from very good to very bad) and faced doubts and challenges more than I could have imagined, but never once have I considered abandoning this enterprise. It’s just too good an idea.

The background to this incarnation of Travel Companion Exchange is told in the article “About TCE” on this site. I owe a debt of gratitude to Jens Jurgen who founded the original TCE, and has been a source of ideas and encouragement as I worked to fashion this new platform. Along the way, many people have contributed ideas and skill, often appearing at just the right moment. So now we cross the threshold from a private enterprise to a public endeavour, and I’m excited to see what TCE will become. I hope you find the site useful and rewarding, and I’m sure many of you will contribute your own good ideas as we go along. Thanks for joining me, and . . . enjoy your travels!

ajeesh
3075 days ago 0 comments Categories: General Tags:

Sandomeircz was still affected by the floods which swept through northern Europe that spring. Looking over the river valley, large areas of land could be seen which were still under water

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