Author: Cole (page 2 of 4)

Well everyone I am settled back to life at home by now and am thoroughly missing being out on the road and my recent trip to Africa. Here is a little something I made to show  you guys a little of what my last trip was like in the best way I can. I hope you will enjoy it!  Also I am making plans for my next adventure and will be most likely be redoing the blog as long with some hefty updates for my future.

Zanzibar and the End of This Adventure

Well everyone. I’m now finally able to take the time to talk about the latter part of my trip and whats next. I am back home in the US now enjoying the luxuries of first world life, although I’d kill to be back in Africa any day. No I didn’t hardly ever have a hot shower, and I’m not really going to explain how the bathrooms were at times, but I was seeing new things and having new experiences that were so incredibly perfect. Nothing I can say can really show the true story of how my time in Africa was and how being in Kenya and Tanzania felt like.

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Saying goodbye to Dar es Salaam

 

To update, I traveled with my dear friend Liv through Tanzania, starting from Nairobi to Arusha, then from Arusha to Dar es Salaam before taking a ferry to Zanzibar. Tanzania, in comparison to Kenya, was a lot less in your face and more chilled out. It was less busy and you didn’t feel like people were always coming up to you asking for things there. It may very well have had to do with my personal experience but Tanzania had a much more relaxed vibe than Kenya which in some way was a relief, and in another I missed the crazy business and intensity of Nairobi. It was exhilarating to be on a busy crowded street knowing you needed to get on a Matatu to Kamangu, and you had no idea whatsoever what Kamangu looked like or where it was, and you didn’t want to pay more than 50 kenyan shillings for the ride, and you never really know if the matatu you were being ushered on was the right one as it would just be a bunch of kenyan guys yelling Kiswahili at you and such. It always seemed to work out though, it always works out.

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Liv chilling on a boat at low tide in Zanzibar

Zanzibar was an absolute paradise Island. I don’t know how else to explain Zanzibar other than tropical paradise. From my experiences in life to date it was the closest thing I have ever been to Paradise, but it was primarily because of the experiences I had.

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I mean look at this place!

 

When we arrived in the beautiful Stone Town of Zanz we set off to the east coast for a village called Paje which pretty much became my home for two weeks. I ended up staying in Zanzibar for longer than I planned… what can I say? Why not? Anyhow, me and Liv arrived at the hostel where in the rooms the floor was sand. Never have I experienced something like this and we were so excited.

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Walking through the streets of Stone Town.. Look carefully at the pic

A summary of my two weeks was basically, meeting friends, going on adventures, laying on the beach, playing volleyball a lot, swimming, and partying a little.. It was a dream. I miss the coconuts dearly that I would pay about 30 cents for to refresh myself after a long day of laying out in the sun. But seriously I highly recommend anyone to travel to Zanzibar. Its a really cool place and a lot larger of an island than some may realize with over 1.5 million locals living there!

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Liv and Byron (a friend from South Africa) enjoying the fire on the beach

 

So me and Liv quickly made many great friends in Zanzibar and ended up staying in a locals rent house in the village of Paje which was an interesting experience but the reason we did this is because it only cost us $9 US a night opposed to the $20 a night rate most hostels were giving. While staying at the house we would hang out at a place called Jambo Beach Bungalows which was a really cool place with a bar that was right on the beach. We made most of our friends there and it was only about a 5 minute walk from our house in the village.

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Our house in the village was so nice!

 

After eight days in the house I ended up moving to Jambo to snag a room that was situated above the bar which was on the beach for the next five days. It was probably the coolest room I will have ever stayed in in my entire life. I found this room due to making great friends with two dutch guys name Coin and Cash, who had booked the rarely rented out room well before the trip. Okay their names were Koen and Gijs, but their names were really hard to say and they sound like Coin and Cash so thats what we called them. They were leaving and I wasn’t so I talked to management and snagged this loft room above a bar all to myself. Liv decided to go back to Tanzania so I was solo again for a while until we would meet in Nairobi before our flights home. Its hard to travel with a friend for two weeks and then say goodbye. You become so close to them and they are with you almost every second of the day and then just like that they are gone.

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Friends Gijs and Koen on our way out to an Island.

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So basically I’m standing in the water from this view and the triangle above the bar was my window.

I think thats what makes traveling so great is the loss you encounter while traveling. You meet so many great people and have the experiences of a lifetime and make best friends, then they leave, and you leave and its over. Then it just becomes a distant memory and you wish you would’ve taken more pictures to remember the occasions. This may seem sad but its so true with traveling. The reason why this is great is because this great loss yields incredibly amazing experiences. The sadness of the loss shows you how perfect things actually were and how happy you were at the time. I consider myself fortunate to go through these emotions where I miss people who I only knew for 3 days as if I knew them for 3 years. Life goes on and theres always the hope and sometimes promise of seeing them again. It was hard to stay in Zanzibar so long because I met so many great friends who I had to see come and go during my time. I also had to leave the connection I made with that place and the friends I met towards the end of my trip.

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Me and my best Maasai friend Christopher

 

I made friends with a Maasai man named Christopher and we would run around parties and laugh at each other and jump around. I witnessed the Maasai perform a goat slaughter then proceed to drink the goats blood and cook it right on the beach. It wasn’t the best of meats. I also ended up playing a soccer game on a local sand court with local maasai people while me and a German named Andi were the only mzungus(white people) playing. I stand up paddle boarded through mangoes, snorkeled out in the reef, went on runs and adventure. It really was the coolest experience.

 

Me, Liv, Coin and Cash

Me, Liv, Coin and Cash about to snorkel

 

Anyhow, I am home now, and my mindset is much different. I was planning to go back to school this fall of 2015 but can now say Africa has inspired me not to. Im ready to leave Louisiana for good. I also am not sure what I want out of life so for now, while I am young, and maybe a little crazy, with a completely different and new mindset, I am going to get out there and live life to the fullest. Pretty soon Ill update my blog with whats next but I couldn’t be more excited.

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Thanks for listening guys 🙂

-ColeB

 

Volunteering Is Done, Traveling Begins

So hello everyone. It has been quite some time since I have made a last post so I have a lot to say. I am currently writing this from a hostel in Arusha, Tanzania where I have consistent wifi for the first time in a month.

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Oh and yes I had corn rows for like a week. Cool eh?

So basically to be able to explain how incredible my time in Kenya has been would be impossible. This past month here has absolutely flown by and I feel I have done so much. I have made lifelong friends from around the world, rode camels on the east coast of Kenya, saw lions and leopards in the Maasai Mara National Park, taught children in a school, played endless games of football, and now I am currently traveling with a friendly Australian through Tanzania since my volunteer program is over.

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My School

My first week of volunteering was definitely a rough start. I was getting over my strep throat and jet lag and was not sleeping at all. I finally started feeling better and sleeping well which made the experience much better. I was placed in a village called Kamangu outside of Nairobi. It was quite a rural village with little roads and no shops. A lot of farm land and beautiful nature. The journey to my placement took about an hour and a half by busy matatus. Now matatus are these small mini vans that are decorated, drive fast, and are crammed full with more people than there are seats. It would cost me about 1 USD to get from Nairobi to my placement which is why I would use these. They were quite uncomfortable and at sometimes scary whilst driving through the busy unregulated streets of Nairobi. I was placed at a private school called Pleasant Hope Academy where I would graciously met by the family that owns the school and the teachers and children. The kids would all smile and laugh when they saw me, probably because of the length of my hair which isn’t normal to them. I began teaching various classes mostly upper graded (kindergarten through 8th).  I also played a lot with the kids for PE which usually consisted of football.

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My home for the past 4 weeks. It looks like a modern house but I had no running water and poor insulation. 

 

From the start of my program I made good friends with the other volunteers in my orientation group. While we were not all placed at the same location we would meet up on the weekends and do various things. The first weekend in Kenya nine of us decided to go to Diani Beach on the east coast of Kenya. It was an absolute dream. The beach stretched for miles of beautiful white sand and the ocean was a deep blue. We stayed at a really cool hostel called South Coast Backpackers which had a pool, lounge area, and a really cool open outdoor bar. We were able to ride camels along the beach, snorkel in the Indian ocean, and party on a beach bar at night. The experience was incredible and it was a great bonding experience for all of us.

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A sailboat in the Indian Ocean.

 

I went back to my placement late that week and left early unfortunately. NVS is the company I am volunteering with and I have been volunteering my services with them by doing some documentary video work. Which unfortunately took away time from my placement but I have really enjoyed going around with them to different placements to help give out donations and video the process. Towards the end of the week I went on an outreach program with several volunteers where we went to a school in Naivasha, Kenya where we met with a New Zealander named Marcus who has been working in the slums here and establishing a school for the past 7 years. It is called the KCC Programme and you can visit www.kccslumproject.org to check him out. On the second day of the outreach we went to a park called Hells Gate where we rode bicycles through the park with beautiful scenery and exotic animals roaming around us. It was such a neat experience to be able to have.

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Stephanie walking with some children from the KCC slum.

Immediately following the outreach program, I left for a safari in the Maasai Mara National park with several other volunteers. It was a 3 day safari and we stayed in a camp outside of the Mara which had really nice tents to stay in. We had some complications on the safari as the van were being escorted with kept breaking down. It was quite frustrating but we still had an incredible experience together. We were able to see lions, elephants, a leopard and cheetah, a lot of buffalo, giraffes and Zebras. We saw crocodiles in a river along with hippos. The only animal we didn’t see was the rhino, but the park was absolutely a dream to ride in. The scenery was stunning and being able to see the animals grazing about in their natural habitat was so neat.

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FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Skyler, Taylor, Ashley, Stephanie, Ina, Me, Nico, Tom, Liv.

 

After safari I continued to work at my placement and have various experiences. On our third weekend many of the volunteers we have grown so close with were leaving. My friend from England Tom was gone, Ashely from Atlanta was also gone, and our good friends Stephanie from Miami, Nico from Chile, and Taylor from China were all leaving this week. I wasn’t going to see Ina from Norway again so I had to tell her goodbye as well as a few others so me and Liv were the only people left. It was quite a sad feeling telling all these people goodbye as we had grown so close over the past few weeks and had quite good experiences together.

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Tom Ina & Liv | Shimba hills in Diani

I finished out my last week of volunteering this week and told my school goodbye. They were so grateful to have me and I am so appreciative for the experience I had there and the experiences with my host mom in my placement.

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Hitching a ride in Hells Gate park.

 

So now time for something new. Now that my placement is over I am traveling through Tanzania to the island paradise with an Australian girl named Liv. I am so ready for this next chapter in my travels!

-ColeB

Jambo! I Am Here

Hello all! I am here and Nairobi is incredible. I want to firstly apologize for my lack of posting but it is due to having extremely little access to wifi. I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t have enough time to type this post up and post before I don’t have wifi anymore. Regardless I will do my best to post when I can but it may be sporadic.

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Friends Nico from Chile and Liv from Australia walking through Nairobi. 

So I am currently in Nairobi inside the NVS (network for volunteer services) offices awaiting to be brought to my volunteer placement in a city called Ndeiya outside of Nairobi. It will be a more rural destination and I’m thrilled to get there and see what the situation is like.

 

As to recap, the traveling to Kenya was brutal. I made it here okay, and was thankfully picked up by a member of the NVS who brought me to the main volunteer house. I had a weird nights sleep, mentally and physically and woke up the next day to meet a few new and current volunteers. Everyone I have met so far has been absolutely incredible and I am super happy about the people who are here. I had quite an action packed day Sunday when I thought all I would do was rest. I ended up walking through Nairobi with a few of the friends I made to a Junction mall where we had some coffee at a restaurant and then went into the mall to buy a few things. I bought a cheap brick phone with a Kenyan number and all to be able to keep in touch with the other volunteers as most everyone does this. We ended up going to a current volunteers soccer match, or the kids he teaches had a soccer match and we went to go watch them. It was very cool watching the children play soccer and everything. After that we had lunch then went on a very unique tour of an incredibly unique place.

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Part of the Kibera slum on the left. 

 

Kibera slums is where we went. It is the second largest slum in the world with over 1 million people living in it and its absolutely mind boggling. I can’t even explain the sheer size of this place, nor the intricacy of the houses and the poor quality of living. No sanitation. We walked through this place and it was an unbelievable experience. We were being guided by a man who lives in the slums named James but works at one of the volunteer schools. He showed us inside his and his families houses and it was an incredible experience to have especially on your first day in Africa. There is no way to truly explain to you guys what this slum was like as pictures can’t do it justice and I tried not to take pictures at all. You would understand why if you were walking through these peoples homes in these conditions.

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Our group standing on the road talking about the slum we just walked through. 


I am excited to see what else Africa has in store and can assure you I will have some great experiences here. I am sorry I will be late and sporadic with posting but I can’t wait to share more in the future. Goodbye!

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An adorable girl from the slums who loved to have her picture taken. All the kids shout “How are you?!”

The Long Journey

Hello all! I am pleased to say that I am currently writing this post from London Heathrow airport, 7:36 local time 1:36 in CST (my hometown).  I am well on my way to Kenya and survived the first major leg of the journey. After waking up at 3am, leaving Nola to Miami at 8:39 on a two hour flight and then waiting in Miami for a six hour layover until my next flight to London which lasted eight and a half hours, I am quite lethargic, exhausted, and probably not in the clearest mindset to be typing this! Not to mention I have strep throat which doesn’t help anything, only worsens my feelings of exhaustion and jet lag. Luckily for me I am about to get on another plane ride from London to Nairobi which will last about eight and a half hours.

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The Pontchartrain Bridge from my flight to Miami.  


Underneath all of the extreme amount of traveling and illness I am going through to get to Africa, I must say I am still very excited. Mentally its been a weird day for me. I wasn’t nervous or stressed about the trip, but I must say it never hit me. Its still hasn’t hit me. Whilst having an already unclear mindset it’s a strange feeling to wake up and think everything about your life’s scenery is about to get extremely different. Its strange because the most excited you are is when you form the idea, when you make the decision to do something like this. That is when things are exciting. Its a totally different ballgame following through.

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Boeing 747 jet for my flight to London Heathrow operated by British Airways.


To all the wonderful people who read my blog and enjoy my updates I thank you and will be trying to post as often as I can but I will surely try to make a post every Sunday. I however can make no promises as I have no clue what my situation in Africa will be. I don’t know If I will have easy access to wifi or not but regardless I will do what I can. If you’d like to get in touch with me my email is colelbrian@gmail.com . I would love to hear from anyone for any reason it may be.

Also traveling tip I just learned. If your traveling on an extensive trip like I am (30hrs of traveling), please do yourself a favor and bring yourself a toothbrush and small bottle of toothpaste with your carry on. Not brushing your teeth for so long and having so many meals and drinks is terrible. Unfortunately I will have to wait until I get the pleasure of brushing my teeth again. So yea there you go.

Okay everyone, Im going to try last the next couple of hours in London before my flight and hopefully I will sleep on the plane. I look forward to updating again when I am in Nairobi, Kenya!

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-ColeB 

Another Adventure Awaits!

Hello all. It has been a while since my last trip and I am please to announce that I will be going on a new adventure soon!
This summer I will be traveling to Kenya, Africa!

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As you can Imagine my desire to travel the world has only increased every day since I have returned from my previous journey to Europe. A few weeks ago, as I was pondering what my plans were to be for my future I had two things in mind, going back to school and traveling. I have decided to return to school in pursuit of a goal to achieve a higher education and will begin in the fall of this year. However my heart desires to travel, therefore I knew I had to plan something.

As I am a fortunate person in health and life I have had a desire to reach out to those in need and to do something for the greater good of humanity, thus I will be volunteering for four weeks in Nairobi, Kenya. Africa has been at the top of my list in places to explore for some time now and I am absolutely thrilled to be able to take this trip and also be helping people in the process.

I feel I have a clear philosophy for why I am doing this trip in the manner of volunteering. Connecting with other human beings in a way to better understand other cultures  and provide assistance to those in need will likely be a rewarding and life changing experience. I desire to use my life in a way which will positively impact, inspire, or motivate other people no matter who they may be. My drive is happiness and my motivation is the chance to be free and explore.

I will be gone for six and a half weeks starting on June 12th until July 29th of 2015. My volunteer program will only be for four weeks and about two and a half weeks at the end I will use to travel and explore east Africa independently. My volunteer program is with an organization based out of New Zealand called International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ)

Here is there website for anyone interested in pursuing a similar path or wanting more information on my specific program. https://www.volunteerhq.org

I look forward to this trip and will be posting more updates from now on including during the trip.

-ColeB

A Video!

Here is a little video I put together of my trip. I did not take nearly enough video as I wished, but here is the result of what I did capture. Enjoy!

If anyone is wondering, life at home is the exact same as I left it. Quite sad but true. I think its safe to say I am missing Europe/traveling greatly. Who knows whats in store for me, but I’m sure if you check back here in the future you will see another adventure.

Thanks to all who Enjoyed what I’ve written and shared.

-ColeB

This Is It.

Eight months of decision making, planning, and saving was the start.

After taking ..

7 planes

17 Train rides

10 Buses

6 Taxis

3 Hitchhiking rides

and walking hundreds of miles…

This brought me to ..

13 countries in Europe including:

Ireland, England, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Italy, The Vatican, France, Scotland, and back to Ireland.

Through these countries I experienced ..

The Tour de France in London

Jumping off a 35ft rock in Greece

Driving a Ferrari through the mountains of Maranello, Italy

Celebrating the world cup win for Germany in Cologne, Germany

Watching a film at the International Film Festival in Sarajevo, Bosnia

Just to name a few..

But most importantly meeting friends that have changed the way I view this beautiful world and that I will forever be grateful for was incredible.
THANK YOU to all of my supporters.

To put this trip into words would be impossible. The lessons I have learned and the experiences I have had are irreplacable and priceless.

Farewell Europe. I will be back. You were AMAZING.

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One important thing I have learned is that it is not until you start moving that everything starts to become visible. Travel to me means visibility. I cannot express the importance.

-ColeB

ITALY

Hello All! Sorry It has been so long since I have last made a post. I have been truthfully very busy with traveling and adventures. I have not had much downtime. I write now from Rome, Italy and have been in Italy for the past two weeks which has been great. So let me summarize all thats happened and the things I have done since then.

Since my last post I was in Bosnia on my way to Sarajevo. Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, was a good time for me. I made a lot of new friends and was able to catch a movie at the Sarajevo International Film Festival. I learned more about the war in Bosnia and was able to explore an abandoned Olympic bob sled course.

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At the end of my time in Sarajevo I was hesitant about what to do with the rest of my trip. I wanted to get to Italy but was not so sure of how or when. I knew my trip is coming slowly to an end and there is a lot left in Europe Id like to see. So luckily for me, I met two Italian guys from Milan in Sarajevo, who were driving back to Milan the day I planned to leave. They offered me a ride and I happily accepted. So we went from Sarajevo to Zagreb, Croatia, stayed one night in Zagreb, then left the next day for Trieste where they dropped me off at the train station. I told them my goodbyes and took a train to Venice!

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Venice was an Incredible city. Around every corner in this incredible city beauty was to be seen. While it was quite touristy, expensive, and crowded in some places, I stayed outside of the city at night and avoided the crowded main areas of the Island. To my surprise it was quite a peaceful, quiet, and beautiful place if you knew where to go.

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I can’t say I did anything extraordinary in Venice. I simply just walked around and enjoyed the beauty of the city. My hostel was quite antisocial so I was not able to meet anyone. Although alone it was an enjoyable part of the trip.

After Venice I took a train to Verona for a night, then went to Bologna for a couple nights the next day. Bologna was a nice city with a few cool sites but nothing quite made it worth my while. Until I took a day trip to Ferrari. So if you don’t already know, I have always been a big fan of Ferrari. I absolutely love the cars and dream of owning one some day. The Ferrari HQ is located in Maranello, Italy, not far from Bologna. I took a day trip out to Maranello with a guy I met at the hostel from Singapore named Brian. It was quite possibly Ferrari heaven in Maranello. All the cafes and shops were Ferrari themed and there were Ferraris driving around just about everywhere. We took tons of pictures, visited the museum, and viewed the Ferrari HQ from out front. The highlight of this trip however, was when I drove my first Ferrari.

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I took the opportunity to drive a Ferrari F430 Spyder in Maranello Italy. I was able to drive my first Ferrari with incredible happiness and delight through the mountains of Maranello Italy, in the city where Ferraris are made. The thrill was everything I had hoped for and the opportunity to do this was priceless. While driving the Ferrari and seeing the HQ was a big tick off my bucket list, owning one is next!

After Bologna I went to Florence for a few days. Not much to say about Florence. Some people love it and I enjoyed it but cannot say I did much in the city. I just walked around, ate and Ran through the city. While florence had many sites to be seen none of them showed any interest to me. So off I went after Florence to a better place…

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…Cinque Terre!!

Cinque Terre was one of the most incredible places I have been so far on my trip. If you don’t know, Cinque Terre stands for “5 villages”. So five different villages are spread out among the coast here and you have the ability to hike to each one of them through some of the most beautiful hiking trails I have ever been on. I quickly made friends at my hostel and we set out to hike Cinque Terre.

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I can’t express my happiness for coming to this place. I recommend anyone traveling to visit here.

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I made a good friend from Melbourne, Australia, named Elliot, in Cinque Terre and we decided to travel to Rome together. So as you can imagine, Rome is next!

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Rome has been not what I expected but equally a great experience. Its so crazy visiting cities that are so Iconic and having your expectations meet the reality. My expectations were lowered than what I had previously thought about Rome, but that doesn’t mean its not an amazing city. I think when I thought of a place like Rome I thought about history, and perfection, but when you get there its just a big city with really iconic, historic sites, and a lot, I mean a lot, of tourist.

Me and Elliot however have been enjoying the city and walking everywhere. We have seen most of the great famous sites like the Vatican City, and the Colosseum.

My trip is sadly coming to an end with only two and a half weeks left to go. I do not wish for this trip to end as it had become such an important event in my life. I will never be the same after this trip and am not sure how I will go home from this amazing journey. If this trip has taught me anything however, it is that I can overcome anything.

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Tomorrow I fly from Rome to Paris, then after a couple days in Paris I fly to Edinburgh, Scotland. I will visit Scotland for about a week then visit Ireland for a week until I return home.

-ColeB

Eyes Wide Open

Hello All! I am currently 2 months into my journey with one month left to go. I am In the incredible country of Bosnia currently. After Kotor, we went to Dubrovnik where we only stayed two nights. I can say that Dubrovnik was quite an incredible city with a massive old town but I cannot say it was the best experience. Dubrovnik is what I would consider a bit too touristy. Due to the heavy tourism, prices are incredibly expensive and walking around the old town is very difficult to the sheer amount of people walking around. I understand I am a tourist just like every other foreigner that comes to the city and other popular cities, but when tour group after group comes packing down the streets, when you are just trying to walk around and enjoy the city, it can really kill the experience.

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Nonetheless, the coast of Croatia is absolutely stunning and I did in fact have a good time there. I wouldn’t visit dubrovnik again during peak season as it is now but it would be cooler to see in the spring or fall.

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Me and Ella took a bus to Mostar, Bosnia from Dubrovnik. This will be our last stop together as she will be meeting her dad in Croatia. I had no expectations of Bosnia, and I knew hardly anything about the place or the people or the war. If you didn’t know, there was a horrific war for control of Bosnia in 1992-1995. I say this because I knew hardly nothing about the war and highly consider researching it as it is very intriguing and so recent. When I say recent, I mean there are literally bullet holes peppered into the side of buildings that have not been replaced or fixed. You can see the war in this city, and you can see the impact to the people.

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While the next thing I talk about may come off possibly different to some people back home, I would just like to elaborate on some thoughts of mine and how my eyes have further been opened up here in Bosnia.

I went on a tour that is put on by my hostel yesterday. The man who runs the tour also owns the hostel and is a survivor from the war. His name is Miran and he is an amazing man.

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I’ve realized a good side to communism that I have never seen before. Growing up in America and learning about history, and the cold war, communism is taught to be the worst thing that could ever happen to a nation. I grew up with the mindset of communism being a terrible thing, and while I didn’t think much of it, that’s what I knew. Ive learned now that that is not the case. Yes, the Soviet Union was bad, yes communism has had very negative effects in such countries, but so has capitalism. That is what I am seeing today. I have traveled the Balkan countries in southeast Europe for 2 and a half weeks now and I can tell you one thing, ever since communism has collapsed in these countries its been hell. The economy is terrible, the people are bitter, no one has jobs (50% unemployment just in Bosnia), and there’s no signs of it getting better. This has been this way since 1992. Capitalism has not been nice and there is absolutely no room for growth. All most of the countries have is tourism to support the people. That is 3 months out of the year then the rest of the year they have nothing. Everything’s closed. When these countries had communism they thrived. People were happy, they lived normal lives, they got paid vacations and healthcare and support. Now they are poor and struggling. I can’t go in depth with the situation because there are many things even I do not know about the situation here. I just wanted to express my disappointment in myself for being so close minded regarding communism.

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The second thing I am very annoyed about is my views on muslims. I have always been one to try to accept anyone but until this trip I have never had a chance to encounter a muslim population or speak to people who are muslims. A sheltered person like me thought previously, oh muslim means taliban like in the middle east which means terrorist. While I never thought all muslims were bad they always had a bad taste in my mouth simply because I only ever heard one side of the situation and based my opinions on stereotypes. Bosnia is a large muslim country. Many of the muslims here are not very religious but nonetheless there are a lot of muslims. Nothing about the way these people live their lives or act is wrong. In fact most the people who run the hostel are muslims and I would have never been able to tell. They are such kind and amazing people. As its became clear to me, there are extremist muslims in the middle east which do horrible things. You however cannot relate those people to these. Because no where in their religion does it say to do those horrible things and even they don’t understand it. My eyes have been open up on religion throughout this trip and its sad I even had negative opinions of the people.

Id like to say these are realizations based on my previous thoughts, and in no way am I saying these things in a way that people reading did not already understand what I have realized. I am just glad I have now opened my eyes to two topics that I never really cared or knew much about. The experiences like this are what I came to Europe for and they are worth more than all of the time and money I could ever give to traveling.

DCIM100GOPRO

Oh and here is us in a cave behind a waterfall!

So Ella has gone off to Split, Croatia and tonight I go further into Bosnia to visit Sarajevo. I hope to make it to Italy soon, so after Sarajevo I will be working my way back to Croatia and find a way to get to Italy.

-ColeB

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