Posted by Lisa Niver Rajna
In Tiffany Hawk’s novel, Love Me Anyway: A Novel, Emily and KC seek new lives flying towards their unrealized dreams. Approaching their new job as United Airlines flight attendants from different runways, Emily explains, “For KC, picking up and heading to Chicago meant she was a grown-up. For me it was proof I was young after all.”
Emily’s high school sweetheart turns out to be a dangerous husband swinging calphalon pots, demanding perfection in the kitchen and no commentary allowed as he once kicked “his wife out of the car and left her on the side of the road late at night just for reminding him to turn on his headlights.” Carl’s escalating behavior frees Emily to leave home, however, her father and step-mother have tried to restrain her with their philosophy, “expecting too much from life would only lead to disappointment…Doing what you love was only for people with money or connections or both.” Despite these obstacles, she learns the ropes with KC and allows her deep desires for travel, love and being bolder to guide her.
KC’s seatbelt of beliefs about being abandoned by her father and her mother’s illness restrain her. She wears her secrets like a life vest but they are not helping her stay afloat. She does buoy up Emily, who says, “KC makes me want to try anything. She makes me believe I can have a rewarding career, a full passport, and true love. If I’m going to fail, I want to fail trying. “
6.6.13 at 8:54 pm | Meet Tiffany Hawk today at Book Soup at 7pm to. . .
5.31.13 at 2:11 am | In Courtney Angela Brkic's novel, The First Rule. . .
5.17.13 at 9:53 pm | $1000usd in CASH PRIZES for Independence Travel. . .
5.10.13 at 7:56 am | Our Inspiration Travel Writing Contest had sixty. . .
4.24.13 at 4:21 am | Thanks to Dave from Dave's Travel Corner for. . .
3.19.13 at 4:36 am | Hello from Pokhara! Our time in Nepal has been. . .
5.31.13 at 2:11 am | In Courtney Angela Brkic's novel, The First Rule. . . (6)
10.8.11 at 12:00 pm | Just because everyone says something is a good. . . (4)
1.2.13 at 9:26 am | Travel Writing Contest: FREE ENTRY, $200 CASH. . . (3)
May 31, 2013 | 2:11 am
Posted by Lisa Niver Rajna
In The First Rule of Swimming by Courtney Angela Brkic, Luka taught his granddaughter: “The first rule of swimming was to stay afloat.” Madgalena and Jadranka, two sisters who grew up on Rosmarina Island, Croatia, must find a path to balance in this novel. Through the details of decades of family history during the war and after, each family member discovered truths among what was told and what secrets went unsaid.
While Magdalena remains in Rosmarina and becomes a teacher, Jadranka “was not so much irresponsible as a force of nature, difficult to predict and difficult to contain.” Jandranka explained her philosophy: “Who needs a plan when the possibilities are endless?” Others commented about Jandranka, “She has always moved to her own music.” Her efforts to understand herself and her past create ripples throughout the family that turn into waves of understanding.
Their cousin, Katarina, spent one memorable summer with the girls on the island after her family moved away to America. The trio had challenges as youngsters, which reappear when they are reunited as adults. The sisters felt that Katarina’s family “had picked an easier life, and it only seemed fair that they should lose something in that transaction.” The two girls did not want to share their island with their cousin but involving her and connecting with her was crucial to their ability to move on with their lives.
As the novel evolves, every family member reveals surprising tales; the pieces of the puzzle fit together to create an endearing portrait of what we do for love.
Love to read books about travel? Read more reviews by Lisa Niver Rajna
May 17, 2013 | 9:53 pm
Posted by Lisa Niver Rajna
SUMMER 2013 INDEPENDENCE TRAVEL WRITING CONTEST
FREE ENTRY, $1,000USD IN CASH PRIZES
WeSaidGoTravel.com invites you to enter its Summer 2013 Travel Writing Contest with $1,000usd in CASH prizes and no fee for entry. The theme for the Summer 2013 contest is “Independence: A Place You Feel Free.” We hope your article will inspire others to travel more and find freedom! Enter from May 11, 2013 to July 4, 2013. We are looking for an article about your act of freedom–a place you chose or that makes you feel free.
THEME: Independence: A Place that Makes You Feel Free
1st Prize – $500usd
2nd Prize – $350usd
3rd Prize – $150usd
RULES go to http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/writing-contest
Enter by midnight PST on July 4, 2013
JUDGING: Richard Bangs, Amy Friedman and the We Said Go Travel Team
INSTRUCTIONS go to http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/writing-contest
May 10, 2013 | 7:56 am
Posted by Lisa Niver Rajna
The theme for our first travel Writing Contest was INSPIRATION! Our Judge, Richard Bangs, selected Rachel Zimmerman Brachman's article, "The Whale and The Trampoline," as our FIRST PLACE WINNER.
Our INDEPENDENCE WRITING CONTEST begins May 11 and ends on July 4th. We hope you will choose to share your stories with us and perhaps win some of the $1000usd in CASH PRIZES!
Something puzzled me as I drove my rented all-terrain vehicle through Barrow, Alaska. Why did so many homes have trampolines in their yards? In a place where it’s cold and dark most of the year, trampolines seemed out of place.
I had always wanted to visit the high north, but I never imagined I'd make it to Barrow, Alaska -- 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle. I was traveling with NASA scientists who wanted to compare the polar regions on Earth with the icy moons in our solar system. My job, as a NASA educator, was to meet with the science teachers at the local schools.
The hut where I stayed was a few minutes' walk from the Arctic Ocean. I wore my winter coat, hat, gloves, scarf, and boots, even though it was mid-August. The temperature was 38 degrees F, with a wind chill below freezing. I heard stories of winter temperatures reaching minus 120 F, and I couldn't imagine anywhere being that cold.
I visited an ice cellar, where families store their frozen salmon, seal, and whale. Since the ground is permafrost, people can dig a deep hole in the ground and carve out a cave 20 feet below the surface. The cave stays 18 degrees F all year, so food stays frozen. I got to taste muktuk -- whale skin and blubber -- a treat for the people who live there.
CLICK HERE to read the full article.
April 24, 2013 | 4:21 am
Posted by Lisa Niver Rajna
Thanks to Dave from Dave's Travel Corner for interviewing us about our world travels! We are honored to be included on his site and to share about our travels. Read a few of the fantastic questions below and the FULL INTERVIEW on Dave's Travel Corner
Q. What are your travel plans for the rest of your current RTW trip?
George: We are in Nepal until April 15 when we fly on AirAsia.com to Kaula Lumpur, Malaysia. We are planning to travel in Eastern Malaysia and Southern Thailand for a few months. After that we will use either the dice of price or some kind of sign to determine what to do next. We have ideas to continue heading North East in Asia to Korea, the Philippines and maybe following in your footsteps to Palau.
Lisa: The Dice of Price is when we see which flight is the cheapest and go there! Our new best way to figure that out is with the app, SkyScanner.
Q. Lisa – tell us about your time working on a cruise ships – that is certainly one way to see the world, versus how you are traveling now – independently.
Lisa: Traveling as a backpacker with no plans of where to stay was a huge adjustment for me after living in a five star moving hotel. I was very concerned that we would end up sleeping on the streets. During our first year sabbatical, we did have nowhere to sleep twice. Once in Yogakarta around Christmas time, we drove most of the night in the rain in a taxi and found over forty hotels that were “penu” or full! Another time in Koh Samet, Thailand, we arrived on a Sunday night during a three-day weekend and full moon party, and ended up sleeping under that stars on benches at a bar. Both times it all worked out and now I just don’t worry anymore! I have to say working for Princess Cruises, I always had a room to sleep in and I always knew where we were going, but I like traveling with George much more!
CLICK HERE to read the FULL INTERVIEW
More about us at www.wesaidgotravel.com
March 19, 2013 | 4:36 am
Posted by Lisa Niver Rajna
From our latest Newsletter: We Said: Hello from Nepal
Hello from Pokhara! Our time in Nepal has been filled with wonderful people and incredible views.
We hiked UP! to Sarangkot from Pokhara. This stair climb began at the lake (884 m) to Sarangkot (1590m). It was about 4 hours uphill but the views at the top and for sunrise the next day were worth every step. (Photos above and below at sunrise from Sherpa Resort). I have been concerned about my abilities to hike and trek in Nepal as I had a bit of trouble on our third day hike in Tansen but I did GREAT! All of our walking the last eight months and the practicing around Pokhara has really helped.
Pokhara is a hot spot for paragliders and there was recently a Russian Paragliding contest. It all looked great until we saw a tandem crash. If you are up for the experience, move Nepal to the top of your list. Within five years, there will be a new international airport in Pokhara and no more paragliding with a view of Annapurna.
We left on February 24th for a trek to Poon Hill. In the next newsletter, I will update you on how long we were gone and how it all went. We bought our permits, new down jackets, rented trekking poles and sleeping bags, took two of everything and are ready for adventure!
Our trip started on July 1, 2012 and we are still in Asia and stil having a great time! Follow all our travels at WeSaidGoTravel.com
January 30, 2013 | 7:51 am
Posted by Lisa Niver Rajna
Reading Chetan Bhagat's Revolution 2020 in December 2012 while traveling by bus throughout India, it has seemed that art imitates life. The newspaper has been alive with the protests in the street with the "pink revolution." The people of India are angry about the mistreatment of women and the lack of government response and protection.
The book chronicles the story of Gopal, a man from Varanasi, one of the oldest cities on earth: "People came here in 1200BC. The city gets its name from two rivers, the Varuna and Asi, both which pass through the city and meet at the Ganga."
The story described how many Indian students study intensely for the AIEEE (All Indian Engineering Entrance Exam) for college placement, and also for the top school test -- the ITT JEE (Indian Institute of Technology Joint Engineering Exam). The AIEEE attracts ten lakh students annually for thirty thousand seats at National Institutes of Technology (NIT). Readers not from India may not be familiar with the testing structure but are familiar in their own countries with intense stress pushed on students to compete and achieve, chronicled recently in the American movie, Race to Nowhere.
After achieving a score of 52,043 on the AIEEE, Gopal essentially felt his options for a good life were over and contemplated applying for a job at Café Coffee Day (similar to Starbucks). His best friend, Raghav, achieved a score of 5,820 and an all-India rank of 1,123 -- which meant any school or NIT was in his reach, akin to an all-access pass to Harvard, Yale and Stanford Universities.
Gopal moved to Kota, the capital of ITT coaching classes, costing tremendous amounts of money that he and his father could barely afford.
In fact, Kota has small coaching shops to coach you to get into the top coaching classes. From there, you are coached to get into an engineering college. Once there, you studied to become an engineer. Of course, most engineers want to do an MBA. Hence, the same coaching-class cycle would begin again. This complex vortex of tests, classes, selections and preparations is something every insignificant Indian student like me has to go through to have a shot at a decent life. Else I could always take the job of Birju the watchman or, if I wanted it simple, hang myself like my erstwhile room-resident Manoj Dutta.
This feeling that there are winners and losers, that some get access to the good life, led to the beginning of the revolution that Bhagat talked about. On the streets in India, women are not safe. But sadly, they are not safe at home either. India is ready for a change in how success at work, marriage and life are all defined and carried out.
In Gopal's world, life was hard. "We are losers. We don't get things easily. Marks, ranks, girls -- nothing is easy for us." With a superior ranking, Raghav easily got into school of his choice, but instead wanted to be a journalist and change the world. His first magazine BHUkamp, started with an expose on the disgusting state of his school's kitchen. "It starts here. We will shake the world."
"Gopal stated, 'Sorting out our own life is hard enough.' Raghav wanted to clean up the Varanasi River, the school's kitchens, and create a new reality."
After engineering school, Gopal learned, "Forty pe cent of students don't get placed? This could be worse than Kota, to finish your degree and get nothing at the end." Someone shared other options and Gopal exclaimed, "Finish engineering and join a call center?" An acquaintance of Gopal, Vineet, told him, "Don't be so shocked. We, like millions of other students, are the losers in the Great Indian Education Race. Be happy with whatever you get." This scarcity of employment, success and the good life, creates a second and even third-class of citizens in this country.
The remainder of the book detailed the incredible level of corruption and bribes in relation to the Indian education system. Sunil, Gopal's friend, stated, "You have land. You will open a college. Most people who own colleges in India haven't [been to college]. Stupid people go to college. Smart people own them." The pulse of good and evil between the two friends, those who have and have not been to college, have money or have love was an ongoing dynamic.
In the story, Raghav's goal was to create a Cultural Revolution in India by 2020, the power being transferred to the youth. Over the last few weeks, watching the youth of India assembled in Delhi and other cities after the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student made it seem that the revolution may occur sooner rather than later, well before 2020. "We will dismantle the old corrupt system and put a new one in place."
Which side will be triumphant in this giant land called India? Will it be the country that allowed Gopal's college to be built on corruption and bribery, or Raghav's ideal, "A society where truth, justice and equality are respected more than power. Such societies progress the most."
The front page of the Times of India on January 22, 2013 reported that "The fast-track court begins its hearing." The article stated:
A DNA investigation of bloodstained clothes and body swabs has linked all five men and a juvenile accused of the gang-rape and murder [on a moving bus December 16, 2012] of a 23-year-old physiotherapist in New Delhi to the crimes providing evidence the prosecution claims will be enough to convict them. However, the case against the men may not be open and shut in a country where shoddy forensic practices are one of the chief reasons for a low conviction rate in rape trials.
As the Reuters piece suggested, there may yet be more cause for revolution in this country.
The back cover of Revolution 2020 stated this story is, "about childhood friends Gopal, Raghav and Aarti who struggle to find success, love and happiness in Varanasi. However, it is not easy to attain these in an unfair society that rewards the corrupt. As Gopal gives in to they system, and Raghav fights it, who will win?"
In the words of the author, Chetan Bhagat, "And I hope not just you but our whole country will keep that spark alive. There is something cool about saying -- I come from the land of a billion sparks." Maybe 2013 is the year where the sparks come together to create a fire that will create the new paradigm for India in the coming century.
About the Author: Lisa and George Rajna met online in 2007 and started traveling together internationally almost immediately. By 2008, they had quit their jobs, rented their condo and left for a year on the road. After eleven countries, twelve months, losing sixty pounds and getting engaged underwater, they returned to Los Angeles. On July 1, 2012, the next year long adventure began in Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and now India.
Lisa Niver Rajna, Wandering Educators Geography Awareness Editor, was recently on National Television as a science teacher on the show Career Day. She is a 2012 nominee for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and a member of the Traveler's Century Club for travelers who have been to over one hundred countries. She and George are spending a sabbatical year in Asia. Follow their travels at We Said Go Travel.
January 2, 2013 | 9:26 am
Posted by Lisa Niver Rajna
We Said Go Travel Writing Contest
Winter 2013--Free Entry, Cash Prizes
WeSaidGoTravel.com invites you to enter its 2013 Travel Writing Contest with a $200 first-place prize and no fee for entry. The theme for the Winter 2013 contest is “Inspiration: A Place you Love.” We hope your article will encourage other’s to consider going to the place you love and travel more! Please see below for the full rules of our competition. Thank you for your participation in creating a growing global community of engaged travelers and concerned citizens. Writers of all ages and from all countries are encouraged to enter and share stories from any part of our planet.
THEME: Inspiration: A place you love
JUDGE: Richard Bangs, award winning writer of 1000s of magazine articles and dozens of books and host of PBS Adventure with Purpose
CASH PRIZES: 1st prize - $200usd, 2nd prize - $100usd, Vagabond’s Choice - $100usd
First and Second Prize will be selected by our judge, Richard Bangs and the We Said Go Travel Team. The Vagabonds’s Choice Award will be selected through voting on the We Said Go Travel Facebook Fan page. All award monies will be paid through Check or PayPal in United States Dollars. The contest begins January 2, 2013 and ends February 14, 2013. All winning entries will be promoted on We Said Go Travel social media channels and the author names recognized as winners of the first We Said Go Travel Writing contest.
RULES: Publication is dependent on proper use of English language and grammar, appropriateness of theme topic, and being family friendly (G rated). If your post is written in a language other than English, please also send an English translation. Travelers of all ages and from all countries are encouraged to participate. Each individual may send up to 5 entries that are 500-800 words with 1-2 photos. Your article must be an original and previously unpublished piece. All posts, which meet the requirements, will appear on WeSaidGoTravel.com. Enter by midnight PST on February 14, 2013. Voting for the Vagabond’s Choice Award will begin on our Facebook fan page after all eligible posts have been published on WeSaidGoTravel.com.
1. Email your entry to Inspiration@wesaidgotravel.com by February 14, 2013 by midnight PST (Pacific Standard Time).
2. Send your article in the body of the email and as a word doc attachment.
3. Include at least one or at most two photos as jpg attachments (only send photos that you have taken or have explicit permission to use).
4. In your email include the following information:
a. Name, Email Address, Country you are from, Country your article is about, Article Title
b. How you found out about this writing contest
c. Please include a short bio(1-3 sentences) with one link to you—either your personal website or some social media site like your Facebook page.
Inspiration about writing:
We are looking for an article that “speaks to readers, transforms them and transports them either to a place they’d like to live or like to travel.” Use “creative evocative writing that brings a destination to life” by combining “the tools of a novelist, the eyes of a journalist, and the general knowledge that comes from a never-ending education and a natural curiosity about the world around you—and its history.” When you are “capturing the essence of a place and engaging the senses,” you share your passion for the place you are writing about and everyone will want to read your writing. (Quotes from Travel Writing 2.0 by Tim Leffel)