So often it’s our first travel experiences that we remember most fondly and it is no exception for Margy Stevenson. Her overlanding adventures as a young woman may now be worlds away from her daily routine, but wow, what an incredible journey to look back on…
“The year was 1971, the place was Kathmandu, it was January 24th and it was my 18th birthday. Of all the fantastic places to be in at that time. Nepal had only been open to the rest of the world since about 1953 – the year I was born.
The island of Floreana was once home to the Floreana mockingbird, one of four endemic species of mockingbirds only found in the Galapagos Archipelago. The introduction of cattle, goats, cats and rats by humans since the 1800’s caused dramatic changes in the ecosystem of Floreana, including heavy grazing on the island’s vegetation and predation on nests and adult birds, such as the Floreana mockingbird.
Fortunately, two islets off the coast of Floreana remained free of introduced species of mammals and currently represent the last strongholds for the Floreana mockingbird: Champion and Gardner. In 2007, an ambitious plan to restore this species in its former territory was launched and consists of three phases:
Sharing a meal with a family who live on the shores of Lake Titicaca in Peru remains one of Julio Padilla’s fondest memories. This is a place where people’s passions and priorities are clear and the opportunity to break bread together and take part in their daily lives is a privilege…
“Arriving on the island community we were welcomed with a delicious homemade lunch and enjoyed the chance to get to know our hostess, Viviana. This lovely 54-year-old woman, who invited us to call her Vivi, exudes a gentle charm and it touched our hearts to hear her moving story.
In February we called all Foodies and Food-ettes to let us know the best local dishes that they discovered on their travels. The competition to WIN a trip from the Intrepid Delicious Discoveries digital brochure has now closed and after spending days in the kitchen testing recipes and reading about your scrumptious journeys, our judges have reached a verdict… Congratulations Donna Mackereth, your Cinque Terre pesto is a winner!
Thanks so much to everyone for sharing your own Delicious Discoveries – it was a very tough decision to choose just one winner! We are going to keep this blog post live so that you can enjoy trying all the recipes at home and we shall be publishing many of them over time in separate blog posts so that they will be easy to find under the ‘recipe’ theme.
2011 saw some big challenges and changes in Egypt. The revolution in January marked the start of a new era, but while the country regroups many regions are experiencing a dramatic drop in visitors. With so many Egyptians relying on tourist dollars to support their families, sadly pictures of starving animals are making headlines.
The Animal Care in Egypt (ACE) hospital on the outskirts of Luxor has had its hands full, and Kim from ACE reports on how one special in-patient touched the hearts of everyone at this Intrepid Foundation-supported project…
Braille reading kits and Braille canes were deservedly top sellers amongst Intrepid Foundation ‘Global Gifts’ sales this Christmas. These will be distributed by Braille Without Borders (BWB), a wonderful organisation bringing education to blind children in Tibet. They have made extraordinary inroads in not just education, but also dispelling myths around disability in Tibet. Sabriye, the founder of BWB, updates us on their news…
“Right now, Tibet is freezing cold. On the farm, at an altitude of 3900m, the temperature varies between 11 degrees celsius during daytime and minus 11 degrees at night. Everyone has prepared for the coldest winter months of January and February. Our Tibetan colleagues use south-facing greenhouse like structures in front of the dormitory-windows to collect the heat of the sun. On the doors the house parents have placed extra quilts and blankets to protect the kids from the icy winds.
When Alison Meredith took up the challenge to travel the world for over a year, she probably never expected to be berated by border police, forced to ask strangers for help to get cash from an ATM or touching down in someone’s front yard in a hot air balloon. But all this and more happened in the first country she visited…
“The following is an email account of my initial experiences in China. It was the first destination of a life changing, 15-month journey through over 30 counties and still remains at the top of my list of favourites. I travelled with a German girl whom I met en route and despite the absolute chaos of China, or perhaps because of it, we had a fantastic time. I can’t recommend China highly enough if you’re after an eye-opening, all sense-assaulting, entertaining and thoroughly worthwhile travel experience.
A 5-day eye camp in the Kampong Chen Cheung commune of Stong District, Cambodia, has recently restored sight to over 190 people. Around 500 people lined up to have their eyes checked by an outreach surgical team consisting of an ophthalmologist, a resident and three nurses. Intrepid travellers and The Intrepid Foundation have supported The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Cambodia program over many years, and have helped restore hope and dignity to many Cambodians through the restoration of their sight.
Mr Chhun Chat, the commune chief, said that every year The Fred Hollows Foundation’s eye camp brings hope, smiles and laughter to his villages. “As far as I remember it has been the fifth eye camp conducted in my commune,” he says. “We were waiting for their visit to arrive sooner, so hundreds of people would have the chance to see their loved ones again.”
A challenge for vulnerable youth in many communities is finding the opportunity to forge their future. If you have been raised in poverty, homelessness or suffering other disadvantages, finding a right fit might simply be having your eyes opened to possibility. Such possibilities were recently presented to a group of young Laotian men, who are training in mechanics with Peuan Mit, a project supported by The Intrepid Foundation and based in Vientiane.
The 14 young men went on a study trip to a large Kolao workshop accompanied by their teachers. At Kolao, they met the head of the mechanics garage and the manager. Kolao is a Korean brand of motorcycle that is extremely popular in Laos, so the mechanics students learn every possible way to repair and service them because in their future job, they are most likely to see these models.
Intrepid’s Skye McIver discovered that there are few experiences more poignant or humbling than seeing the pain that other people have had to go through for their gains, and realising what we too often take for granted…
“At the age of 14 I walked the Kokoda Track, an experience that changed my outlook on life forever and ultimately led to me working for a company like Intrepid. Yes, it was physically and mentally challenging, but it was actually meeting the local people and experiencing their way of village life that put things in perspective for me as a teenage girl. Fifteen years on, I had another of these life-altering experiences – I travelled to Cambodia.