I Think I Need to Buy an Army Tank to Drive With!

Its funny. Back in my buying days at Six Flags, when I would go to SE Asia each year for the two months to purchase souvenirs, trinkets and gifts for the park system. I was always amazed at how the car traffic seemed to be in total disarray. I was comfortable driving back home in the US and wondered how the people survived the stress of the frantic driving habits in SE Asia.

 

Japanese Road Sign

Japanese Road Sign

 

Fast forward to 2013 in the states. I am making lettuce wraps for my wife and I, this evening. I discover I need water chestnuts for the online recipe, for Asian wraps with Hamburger. I left the house and merged into a heavily traveled Highway, that runs Northwest out of Austin to the Hill country. Highway 183. I was in the right (slow lane) and there had to have been no more that 1 1/2 car lengths between me and the car in front. As we approached a major intersection, this individual rammed in between us and I had to hit my brakes to avoid hitting her. Yes I said her. I was surprised as this type of behavior from a young female, as its primarily men that drive so aggressively these days.

 

I don’t know if its my age or what, but this infuriates me when somebody can’t wait five seconds and merge in behind me. They clearly think their “time” is more important than mine. It seems to be escalating lately and more and more drivers are acting like horse’s rears and showing no concern for safety or other drivers. Its insane. So I go shopping and get my chestnuts and a few other items.

 

Cuenca Traffic but Could Be Anywhere US

Heavy Traffic

 

I start back home and mind you have a back seat with several bags of groceries. I approach a 4-way stop. I am on the right as another smaller vehicle stops to my left. This time its a man driving. I am in a two lane surface street and I push the accelerator. The car on the left turns into the cross street area and with no blinker moves over to my lane and immediately veers into the library. Again I have to hit my brakes and am thankful nothing in the sacks of groceries is breakable, as the bags obviously hit the floor when I jammed on my brakes.

 

I don’t get it. Why is there no concern for others anymore on the streets and highways. People drive like there is no tomorrow, which might be true if they don’t start showing a little caution. People cut people off all the time and can’t understand why you get irritated. Hardly anyone uses a turn blinker anymore, to warn you that they are turning this two ton or more weapon. We have lost all respect and common courtesy and I think its time for me to start walking everywhere. It will probably make me healthier and I might just live a little longer! Time to make the wraps!

All I Want to Do is Go Home and Get Some Sleep

The young man appeared gaunt and his eyes wore deep dark shadows. He was obviously very tired and stretched to the limit. I felt sorry for him to be in this disarray at such a young age. His recent odyssey with Adecco has obviously pushed Turner Barr to the limits of human ability. He is worn to a frazzle and completely fatigued in my humble opinion. His smart-phone went off incessantly. First a reporter from German called. Then a reporter from Australia called. All the while Turner was trying to balance the social media and information flow. I am not sure I could have handled the amount of pressure he was carrying or the expected interaction from his supporters, journalists and news personnel.

 

Nomadic Texan with Turner Barr aroundtheworldin80jobs.com

Nomadic Texan & Turner Barr aroundtheworldin80jobs.com Photo credit: Stephen Oddo

 

“When this is all over I just want to go home and get some sleep”! “I am so tired”. I really don’t think that any of us can appreciate what Turner has been though. This battle has been going on for six weeks, beginning with phone calls back and forth when he was in Laos and Thailand. He interrupted his trip to come home and battle this issue.

 

I asked him what he wanted to say to his supporters. He welled up a bit and said “I want them to know that I am humbled and honored that they stood tall behind me,  stood up for me and I would not have been able to go this route without them”. I am learning this young man is indeed a very humble and gentle soul and is so appreciative of the groundswell from the weekend, he has a hard time expressing his feelings.

 

I took the interview in another direction.

 

What was your favorite job?

Definitely it was being the Krampus in Austria. I mean where else can you dress up like a monster and drive through the Alps in a 4-wheel vehicle looking at all the beautiful snow scenes?

 

Who was your favorite character in the travels around the world? 

No question it was Lek, the Elephant Whisperer. When she had the elephant stand over her with its paw in her face and grabbed its trunk to sing a lullaby I was overcome. She could have been dead in an instant, but she completely trusted this elephant and he trusted her. It was amazing.

 

What was the most difficult job you performed?

Probably I would have to say it was the Agave harvesting job. It was outside all day in the sun. The work is eight straight hours of hard manual labor and you work with a “coa” a sharp blade on the end of a stick that the individual swings back and forth. After about three hours you start losing your concentration and if you are not careful you could hack your toes or feet off. Its that sharp!

The second hardest was Rice Harvesting job in Thailand. It was so hot!

 

What was your favorite country overall?

I would have to say Colombia or Mexico. “They have the best looking women”.

 

What was your favorite food?

1) Thai…it was consistent everywhere and was excellent. 2) Italian I could eat forever. 3) Mexican is always great.

 

As our interview progressed Turner got up and answered as many calls as he received and maintained his composure. He really  is a very laid back guy and is so appreciative and humbled by all the support that I think he is a little overwhelmed. Who wouldn’t be? After all he has worked for two straight years to build his brand and in an instant it was tainted!

 

Turner it kills me that some are changing their stance and not speaking up still as a result of your being quiet. I have seen first hand the amount of pressure you are under and I would not wish it on my worst enemy. I am also having a hard time biting my tongue, since I am aware (overheard your conversation my friend) that there may be a resolution very quickly that you cannot talk about. I hope that you get what you are asking for and it was my pleasure to interview you and have lunch with you in Austin. Safe Travels mi amigo!

 

Epilogue: The interview was conducted the day prior to Turner settling with Adecco. His requests were met by Adecco and the company stepped up and made it right. I think in large it was a result of the massive response from the blogging community and Turner’s friends campaign over the weekend. The Internet was overwhelmed with push back on many social media platforms and Adecco learned this community of bloggers is a vibrant, zealous and compassionate group, willing to fight for what is right!

 

 

 

David vs Goliath: Adecco Style

Recently a friend in the travel blogger industry had the misfortune of  having a large corporation pilfer his theme. Turner Barr has been on a Round The World quest, to sustain himself, by working at various unusual jobs. His blog aroundtheworldin80jobs.com as been very successful and he has devoted over two years of his life to establish a following and share his inner feelings and thoughts about each of the jobs. He has made many personal sacrifices and wanted to show the world if you really want to work, there are a myriad of “odd” jobs that one can hold.

 

On June 20, 2013 Turner went public as Adecco, the large corporation that appropriated Turner’s theme, wanted no part of admitting their fault or even negotiating at any level. How I Got Fired From The Job I Invented  was written seeking the large corporation’s admission of fault and a fair and legitimate compensation for actually and outright plagiarizing his theme and creation. Over the weekend Turner sat idly, as friends and fellow bloggers try to escalate Adecco’s blunder into a ground swirl, which could not be ignored. Adecco’s Twitter handle was shut down from too many tweets. Various social media platforms were closed to additional comments, as the response was overwhelmingly in Turner’s favor and Adecco had no supporter’s for their swindle.

 

The blogging community and especially the travel blogging community is a large and vibrant family eager to express themselves and broadcast the misdeeds of Adecco’s theft of Turner’s campaign. All weekend long Adecco was silent with no answer except to state they were in negotiations. This was another untruth, but what should one suspect from a company that advertise’s a stolen campaign and presents a purloined agenda to young people who are desperate to find a job.

 

 

Turner all through this ordeal has taken the high road and had tried in vain to maintain a open and positive dialogue. Just a few minutes ago Turner released this post Even Multi-Billion Dollar Corporations Should Apologize When They Are Wrong: An Open Letter to Adecco to #makeitright stating what he desired to settle the issue. Adecco apparently wanted him to keep quiet and not continue use of the “AroundTheWorldIn80Jobs campaign”.

 

 

I think that in this “David vs Goliath” battle David (Turner) is completely in the right. Please read and completely digest Turner’s story, especially if you are a small business owner. As I discovered with a simple Google search, there are predators willing to steal even my theme and domain name. Beware you might be next! I would appreciate it if you would share this among all your friends and family and let the world know we are tired of large corporations running rampant over the little guy! Turner I sincerely wish you well my friend! #MakeItRight Adecco!.

 

Tilley to the Rescue

As Kim and I clamored along the back trail at Ingapirca, heading towards the face carved in the mountain, it became very obvious to me that I had made a dreadful error in judgment. The back trail is optional, and is treacherous and unstable at best. The rambling path and elevated steps at 10,000 feet, were placing me in a very precarious position, especially when the wind picked up. I wore my straw Panama hat and did not want to lose it to a sudden gust. This presented a significant opportunity to injure myself or fall down the steps of the muddy trail. I was traversing this trail in a delicate manner.

 

Face on upper trail at Ingapirca

Face on upper trail at Ingapirca

 

I literally only had one free hand, if I chose not to let the wind abscond with my hat. At that moment I made a decision to investigate additional chapeaus and look into a more suitable headgear for rough terrains. I needed a rugged headpiece with resistance to high winds. In other words, it needed a wind-cord to prevent it from blowing off of my head and it was essential that the hat would provide sufficient protection for the sun, a UPF of 50+. I have experienced skin cancer in my family and do not want heavy sun exposure.

 

T4MO Organic Cotton Airflo

T4MO Organic Cotton Airflo

 

In my opinion, after exhaustive research, I determined there was only one option that fit the bill so to speak. I had to secure a Tilley hat. Tilley Endurables was founded in 1980 by Alex Tilley and began manufacturing adventure clothing in 1984 on a whim. Mr. Tilley was a sailor on lake Ontario and decided he needed a more durable hat to withstand the torrential downpours and high winds that were typical of the lake. He also wanted a very rugged material and desired that if by chance the wind somehow blew it off his head it would float. The result was the Tilley Hat and one that is considered the Rolls Royce of the industry.

 

LTM8 Nylamtium with Mesh

LTM6 Airflo Nylamtium

 

As I was attending the TBEX event in Toronto, I thought this would provide an excellent opportunity to visit one of their block and mortar locations and purchase a hat to wear in extreme and rugged conditions. In addition, TBEX offers a session of Speed Dating, where bloggers sit with potential partners and get to know each other in a brief interlude.  As Tilley was on the list of participants, I extended an invite to meet with them.

 

T4MO Organic Cotton Airflo

T4MO Organic Cotton Airflo

 

Fortunately Tilley accepted and we discussed my niche, brand and Tilley requirements. As I am walking the Camino Frances next spring, I asked advice on which hat was appropriate. Tilley’s Marketing manager suggested the LTM6 Airflo Nylamtium, stating it was a cooler headgear to wear. We agreed on the basics and I have begun a relationship with Tilley that I sincerely value. In addition to the LTM6 I received a T4MO Organic Cotton Airflo hat from Tilley and will be testing both on my upcoming trip to Ecuador in August, to determine which I favor for the Camino walk. Who knows it may be both!

 

LTM8 Nylamtium with Mesh

LTM6 Airflo Nylamtium

 

I received my hats this past week and you know me. I couldn’t wait to get out and test them. I was all over Austin this weekend, hiking and in various environments beginning my testing. I have sincere and positive testimonials from friends and co-horts in the industry in regards to the Tilley durability and the ease that maintenance presents. I can’t wait to get to Ecuador and give the hats a real test with several excursions I have planned. Stay tuned!

 

 

The Hat

Before I came to Toronto for the TBEX conference, I wrote on my social media platforms that everyone should look for me with my hat, my white beard and my Hawaiian shirts. I figured that there would not be too many old geezers that had this “look”. Little did I know that my Panama hat would become an institution in my life. This was my first experience mingling with the elite of the Travel Blogger world and I wanted to try and meet as many of my new “online friends” as possible. I encouraged all to introduce themselves, as I wanted photo ops and truly like meeting new people face to face.

 

Nomadic Texan & Miret Padovani (http://flaneriefeminine.com/) from Zurich. A Lady Blogger with Fabulous Talents

Nomadic Texan & Miret Padovani (FlanerieFeminine.com) from Zurich. A Lady Blogger with Fabulous Talents

 

 

I really had no idea what to expect at TBEX or what the experience would teach me. I did know that I wanted to gain as much knowledge about traffic, SEO and building my brand as possible. Looking through the options on the first day I selected all the business topics from the various categories (HHMM maybe my background had something to do with this-Ha!). Of course I waited too long to get to the opening session and was frantically trying to locate the room, when I discovered and icon in the business, Johnny Jet was also a little lost. We teamed our brilliant minds together and eventually found our destination (after I mislead him–not a good start to my first meet up with Mr. Jet)!

 

Trey Ratcliff Was Phenomenal

Trey Ratcliff Was Phenomenal

 

The opening keynote by Trey Ratcliff blew me away. This young man of StuckInCustoms is a phenomenal photographer and has vision issues in one eye. When you look at his photography you will be amazed. He was wearing his new Google glasses and told us all the finer qualities and attribute of the glasses. I was in awe! As I was  leaving the opening session a young man approached me and said “Hi Mike”. I was a little lost, thinking about my first breakout and did not recognize him at first. Turned out to be Will Castillo a friend and blogger I am trying to help out. You can follow him at IWillTravel and he is a very interesting young man, who loves South America almost as much as I do! Between the opening session and my first breakout no less than five bloggers came up and said hello. One even had me wait to meet her Mother! All because they saw “The Hat” from across the room.

 

A Slide from Ted Murphy's Presentation

A Slide Stating the Blogger’s Value to Direct Marketing Organizations

 

I headed out of the session to my first breakout “Brands, Blogger & Dollars” given by Ted Murphy. I wrote two pages of notes (I am still trying to decipher a few words–my writing is atrocious) and discovered I should have brought a tablet or I-Phone and recorded the breakouts. I couldn’t write as fast as they talked! In essence Ted’s most important factors in dealing with brands or sponsors are the following; 1) Quality of Content, 2) Relevance to Industry, 3) Personality, 4) Engagement and 5) Traffic. Ted also focused extremely deeply on the FTC guidelines and what is acceptable and what isn’t. He stated we all need to read the guidelines for sponsorship. Who knew? I was extremely excited at the information learned and stepped out to head toward my second breakout. This time it was six or seven bloggers that came up and introduced themselves and I got a few photo ops. They saw “The Hat” from across the room again. See the pattern starting to develop?

 

William Bakker from Think! Social Media-Brilliant Man

William Bakker from Think! Social Media-Brilliant Man

 

My second breakout was with William Bakker of “Think! Social Media” and his topic was Lesson Learned: “Working with Bloggers & Destinations”. This young man energized everyone in the room, even though his dutch accent was pervasive, we could interpret his talk. He gave a myriad of facts and again I couldn’t keep up and write fast enough. Did you know the #1 social media platform for determining travel is Facebook. People trust their friends feedback more than any other source.

 

William Tells Us What They Look For in Blogger Trips

DMO Take-Aways For Blogger Trips

 

William stated that bloggers are “Content Creators” or Story Tellers and we must be authentic, and honest, if we desire credibility in the profession. He gave us Think’s blogger requirements on their selection process for press trips: 1) The blogger has to value the destination of Think’s trip, 2) What is your reach-Size of Audience, 3) What are your audience demographics, 4) What is your influence in a niche (Twitter & Facebook Activity), 5) Do you have a connection to other Influencers 6) What is your Quality & Style, 7) What is your speed of communication, 8) What is your level of technology & tools use, 9) Do you have a Personality.  I could have listened to him all day, but had to grab a bite to eat.

 

Will Castillo of IWill_Travel (Your Eyes are Supposed to be Open Will)!

Will Castillo, of “I Will Travel” (Your Eyes are Supposed to be Open Will)!

 

Will had offered to buy my lunch and I am not one to turn food down! I told him at lunch that he needed to find an item like “The Hat” and establish his brand. We talked about various travel topics and it was time to get back.  After lunch I had pre-selected my friend Stephen Oddo of Walks of Italy breakout and thought I would give him a hard time. His title was “Where’s my ROI? Campaign & Strategies in Digital Marketing”. Stephen stated “Marketing is the practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from another product”. Prior to the start of the third breakout, one of my closet online friends Jill of Road Warrior, came running up to where I sat and gave me a hug. She saw “The Hat” from the back of the room. So my design or symbol became “The Hat” without any conscience effort on my part. It just transpired!

 

Stephen Oddo from Walks of Italy

Stephen Oddo from Walks of Italy

 

 

Stephen stated you do this with 1) Personality, 2) Set standards and follow them, 3) Be Consistent, 4) Develop a Positive Reputation. He also said that blogs are the third most influential digital resource for purchasing travel. He stated 50% of travelers changed their minds based on what they read on trusted blogs. Wow! Had no idea “The Hat” had this much responsibility!

 

Janice Waugh, publisher of Solo Traveler (http://solotravelerblog.com), the blog for those who travel alone and author of The Solo Traveler's Handbook (http://thetravelershandbooks.com) navigating Speed Dating

Janice Waugh, publisher of Solo Traveler (http://solotravelerblog.com), the blog for those who travel alone and author of The Solo Traveler’s Handbook (http://thetravelershandbooks.com), navigating Speed Dating

 

Time was flying by and my first experience in Speed Dating was staring me in the face. Was I ready. Had I gathered the correct statistics. How hard could it really be? I soon discovered. We had 10 minutes for each date and it became a whirlwind of activity and discussion and just as you got to know the vendor it was time to change and move on. This was one of the two hardest hours I have ever worked in my life. Not physically, but trying to give my presentation and communicate my niche and brand was extremely difficult in under 10 minutes. I was worn out and the night hadn’t even begun, for “The Hat”!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Virgin’s Very First Time

Okay I know the title might be a little misleading, but in essence I was a virgin at TBEX and had no idea what to expect or what I would gain from the experience. In reality it was an eye-opening learning experience and enhanced my ego (my wife Kim’s feedback)! I knew going in that the fact my Speed Dating calendar had almost been filled, that I was in for an extraordinary event. I just didn’t think about the fact that I had just returned from my expedition to Tijuana, building the house for Homes of Hope and would wind up worn down and really tired. I will never put back to back weekends of this much exercise together again, unless I am asked of course!

 

A church photo from the bus ride in and in the rain

A church photo from the bus ride in and in the rain

 

My flight arrived in Toronto at 5:30 PM and I arranged for a round trip bus trip, thinking this would provide plenty of time to get my bags to the hotel and go to the opening night party. Bummer…it didn’t transpire exactly like I hoped. There was a transfer to a shuttle van with about 11 other people and of course I was the LAST one dropped off. I got to my hotel at around 7:45 and the party started at 7:00 PM. So…no shower, no change of clothes, however I was able to brush my teeth! Started walking to Roy Thomson Hall for the party arriving about 8:30 half way through.

 

Street art/graffiti on the walk to Roy Thomson Hall

Street art/graffiti on the walk to Roy Thomson Hall

 

I met a charming lady who was just as lost as me trying to get into the party. All of a sudden I hear “Mike” being yelled and I recognize the face right away. It was Kenin Bassart of The Constant Rambler and I knew I wouldn’t be alone at the party. He and his wife Lauren have been very cool connections on my social media links and we have grown to know each other fairly well. Kenin directed me to the other side for my entry. I received my badge and walked into the zoo! It was like something out of a movie. A band was playing, food stations were everywhere (with fantastic eats) and of course the bars were flowing with alcohol.

 

Kenin and Lauren Bassart...Two Wonderful Bloggers & Friends

Kenin and Lauren Bassart…Two Wonderful Bloggers & Friends

 

I met with Kenin and Lauren downstairs and ran into Derek4Real  from Austin. It was going to be a good night, but I had no idea how good! Toronto was hot and humid, just like Austin so I went back upstairs and enjoyed the A/C inside. Great step! I started walking around and ran into several bloggers that I have met online. I ran into Maria Laborde from LatinAbroad.com and had the ugliest picture of me taken all night! Then I bumped into Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline.de and didn’t even recognize her. She had to tell me who she was (embarrassing)!

 

Derek4Real on the right along with Jum and Warren

Jim and Warren with Derek4Real on the right

 

Poor Maria...She has to be embarrassed by my ugly mouth

Poor Maria…She has to be embarrassed by my ugly mouth

 

I had people coming up and saying hi and it finally dawned on me that my hat was a “brand”. Everyone kept saying they saw my hat and came over to introduce themselves, as I had asked ahead of time. I lot of the bloggers did not look like their profile photos and this old man struggled all night long trying to see who was who. A few that I talk with regularly like Charu Suri of the ButterflyDiary.com, Michael and Nicole of SuitcaseStories.com, Pola Henderson of JettingAround.com, and Alexandra Kovacova of CrazySexyFunTraveler.com I recognized immediately. Others I had to read their badges and at times even that was rough as my eyes are not what they used to be.

 

Charu from Butterfly Diaries

Charu from Butterfly Diaries

 

Alex from Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler

Alex from Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler (This may be worse than my photo with Maria–my darn mouth)

 

Pola from Jetting Around

Pola from Jetting Around

 

As the hours flew by it all became a whirlwind and I realized it was time for the “Senior” travel blogger to retire! I knew I had a jaunt back to the hotel and decided to use the men’s room on the way out. As I left and was climbing back up the stairs a voice asked “Are you Mike”? I turned and had absolutely no idea who had approached me “leaving the men’s room”. I was a little nervous to say the least. He showed me his badge and I almost fell over. It was Ted Nelson of TravelingTed.com , but he didn’t have his hat or sunglasses on and I didn’t put two and two together until I looked at his badge! We both got a big laugh. I asked someone passing by to take our photo and we were on record (of course if you know Ted, you know he had a beer in his hand)!

 

Traveleing Ted, the beer man!

Traveleing Ted, the beer man!

 

I walked home wondering what the next day would bring and how the “Virgin” would handle his first ever #TBEX conference. Time would tell! I have to learn to keep my darn big mouth shut for photos, if I learn nothing else from the conference!!!

 

Nicole and Michael of Suitcase Stories, with Emma of Got to Keep Moving in the Center

Nicole and Michael of Suitcase Stories, with Emma of “Got to Keep Moving”, in the Center

 

 

 

Homes of Hope…Epilogue

In my life I have accomplished my fair share of success and have always tried to display compassion for my fellow human beings. Some say I am naive and living in a dream world, but it is my dream world and you are free to leave, when you feel compelled. My life has been a dramatic roll-a-coaster and I have had my peaks and valleys for sure. Getting on the plane to go with Sean and Chris I had no idea what I was getting into or how the trip would effect me. I just knew I was headed for some valuable time with my sons and that can never be a bad thing in my book. It is so rare these days, now that they are grown men, to find time and successive days to spend together. I jumped at the opportunity when Sean inquired if I wanted to go to Rosarito Beach and help build a house.

 

Welcome to My World

Welcome to My World

 

I was not prepared though for the experience and how it would change my life, my outlook on volunteering and the maturity displayed, by my two youngest sons. I have been to Ensenada and Rosarito Beach before, but it was a while back. I was not ready for the mecca of condos and house that had sprung up, not to mention new businesses. It was kind of a cultural overload at first. The massive construction initiatives and a great deal unfinished were everywhere.

 

Chris and Sean

Chris and Sean

 

I have traveled abroad and visited many countries that have issues with housing their population. The worst being the cardboard shanties outside of Kowloon, where immigrants from then Red China, swam the channel and landed on the free shore. It made me sick to my stomach. I was ill equipped for the living conditions we found in Tijuana and had to look away, when I realized in this day and age human beings still lived in squalor just to survive. A very esoteric feeling came over me at our arrival the first day and I was determined to do what I could physically to help this family.

 

Lifting a side wall

Lifting a side wall

 

I have not worked consistently that hard in a very long time and at the end of the first day I fell, literally into the bed. When the alarm went off the second morning I feared I wouldn’t be able to pitch in and complete the house, as my entire body ached and longed for rest. After breakfast and the inspirational talks given at YWAM/Homes of Hope it became much easier and I knew, no matter how I felt, I had to help finish the house. The ceremony after completion and the lunch was tough to go through and it was an emotional and heart wrenching moment.  When I told Reina I was glad she did not have to worry about getting wet any longer from her roof leaking we both started sobbing out of control.

 

The Team at the End of Day One

The Team at the End of Day One

 

We had time to shower and take a look at the beach and grounds, after we finished the house. I took a few photos of the beach and hotel since I wouldn’t have time to actually use the facilities. We then drove to the camp. Dinner was an excellent buffet again and we ate and sat waiting for the next item on the agenda. Dennis called each team up to the front and had each member state to the complete group how we felt about what had transpired over the past two days. Listening to others and especially my two sons, was an awe inspiring epiphany in my life. I could not contain my emotions and balled like a baby trying to get my words out to the group. I had no idea on Friday when we left Austin that this project sponsored by Defender Direct, my son Sean’s employer, would effect me this deeply. I was not composed at all. I grabbed a napkin and wiped away the tears and tried not to embarrass my sons, but this weekend and the project was a life changing phenomenon for me.

 

On the Pier Looking Back at the Hotel

On the Pier Looking Back at the Hotel

 

Horses on the Beach

Horses on the Beach

 

The next morning we grabbed our luggage and took the bus back across the border to San Diego and our flight home. We had about three hours to wait uin the airport and grab lunch, but mostly we just sank in our chairs and tried to rest and in the boys case, lay on the floor and nap. I thought and thought about the circumstances that brought me to this point in my life and felt I had done something good for a change and it wasn’t just write about places and destinations. I had perspired and worn myself out constructing a shelter, that this family would treasure for a long time to come and I met a team of people that wouldn’t let the hard labor, the sun or the lack of energy stop them from helping this family. I will do this again!

 

Three Tuckered Out Young Men... Brad with Chris and Sean laying on the Floor at the Airport

Three Tuckered Out Young Men… Brad with Chris and Sean laying on the Floor at the Airport

 

JOHN LENNON
“Imagine”
A Partial Quote of the Lyrics

 

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Homes of Hope…Day Three

The alarm went off at 6:00 AM again and this time I struggled to get out of bed. My bones were weary from the prior day’s efforts and I had to quickly down a couple of cups of coffee, in order to get this old man going. We all lined up outside and prepared to go to the camp again for breakfast. Chris came up without Brad and it appears Montezuma had rared his ugly head at Brad. Brad was unable to make day number two and had to be left alone to fend off the evil spirits, in his hotel room. The buffet was set up when we arrived at YWAM/Homes of Hope and this time sausage was added to the menu, after only bacon the first day. I was never so glad to see it. I needed the protein for the day ahead.

 

Sean and Chris at breakfast! HHmmm!

Sean and Chris at breakfast! HHmmm!

 

After breakfast and our morning round of updates and instructions, we jumped back on our bus and rode to the house site. We circled up and listened, as Colby gave us the details of the second day and assigned tasks. He stated that after an hour, volunteers would accompany the family to Wal-Mart and purchase items they needed and could use in their new house. Sean raised his hand and went to Wal-Mart about an hour after we started work. Chris climbed back on the roof with Brody and had to finish the plywood. Throughout the morning they continued with adding the felt and then finally the shingles to complete the roof.

 

Dora the daughter on their way to Wal-Mart

Dora the daughter on their way to Wal-Mart ,That is paint in her hair

 

I was given the detail or trim work and it is an very precise process with the 1×2 lath wood. Not to mention you have to balance on a ladder, to do the top of the wall trim (after falling the day before I was nervous). This trim was substituted for our normal tape and floating and the seams were all covered with wood. The remaining exposed sheetrock was painted! We kept getting in each other’s way and I truly think I got about half the paint wound up on my hands, arms and face as I touched and grabbed for balance. It was a little frustrating, but had to be done this way, to complete the house inside within the time allotted. Sean took the camera to Wal-Mart with him, so I have very limited photos of the second day of work.

 

Sean helping Dora decide

Sean helping Dora decide

 

Sean took the job of babysitting Dora the family’s daughter and told me later that Alberto and Reina had never shopped at Wal-Mart. Both became very emotional as they went for their first visit. They weren’t really sure what was what and had to be coached and directed to items that would be of benefit. Sean personally bought a bicycle for Dora and when I discovered this it stirred my feelings. After all Sean thought, why shouldn’t she have a bike? Sean said he was very touched during the entire shopping experience and was only sidetracked by trying to keep up with Dora.

 

Sean and Chris putting the bike together

Sean and Chris putting the bike together

 

They got back earlier than we thought and rode around a few minutes to let us finish the house. When they arrived, we emptied the supplies, groceries and few toys inside the house. While they were gone shopping, we setup a new bed set, a propane oven and a dining table and chairs for their use purchased by Homes of Hope from Ikea. We then set up lunch, which Reina made partially. In addition to the pre-made sandwiches we had her tamales, frijoles and salsa. I couldn’t eat enough of her fabulous tamales. We ate outside their new house and discussed our efforts.

 

The family ate first

The family ate first, The Tamales were in the big pot…Yum!

 

After lunch we circled and each said a word or gave a thought to the family and had our wishes translated by Felipe. I have never been prouder of Chris and Sean in my life. They both stated very impassioned, prophetic phrases and when it came my time I stated I was glad that Reina’s wish of not being wet any longer was coming to fruition. Reina started crying and I couldn’t control my emotions and burst out crying also. It finally came time for Alberto to speak and he teared up and thanked us profusely for building their new house and providing shelter for his family. We gave them the keys and let them go in for a few minutes and then knocked so as to be their first guests. It was a phenomenal ceremony and allowed everyone to express themselves.

 

Alberto and Reina brought to tears during the ceremony

Alberto and Reina brought to tears during the ceremony

 

We presented them with a photo of our group. The words on the photo expressed the house was given with love in hearts and a desire they would cherish their new home.  We left and waved our goodbyes and headed for the hotel, with time left to shower and explore before the final nights activities. I was ready and was literally all worn out. I had no energy left, as we boarded the bus I looked back and knew that in my 63 years I had never done such great volunteer work.

 

The first thing they hung on their walls

The first thing they hung on their walls

Thanks to our Sponsors


Recognition and Awards


Interviews



Latest Tweets

Flag Counter



Amateur Traveler Episode 471 - Travel to Austin, Texas



css.php