The Rains of Kpalime

Our last morning in Lomé, I awoke with a start on my brother Sean’s rainbow cot in the living room of his apartment. Like most residents in Lomé, Sean does not have air conditioning, so I started sweating at 6 a.m. and didn’t stop until we reached Kpalimé on the Ghanaian border. When Sean first…

Welcome to West Africa

My first impression of Togo, West Africa, was oppressive humidity, auburn sand and the smoky-sweet aroma of melted waste. My parents and I stepped out of the Lomé airport into darkness with nothing more than our backpacks and the desperate hope that my older brother, Sean, was somewhere nearby, ready to usher us through a…

Roaming the Bay Area

Traveling is always a blur, and none more so than the last day of a trip. On December 13, 2016, we dropped off our car, loitered for hours in the Christchurch airport, sprinted between terminals in Auckland (where I chugged a whole a liter of water for the security officers there), watched the Fellowship of…

Around the South Island in 14 Days

We spent our final two weeks in New Zealand on a road trip around the south island. Our route took us west from Marlborough Sounds up to Golden Bay and then down the west coast as far as Te Anau. After seeing Milford Sound, we worked our way north again through Queenstown, Lake Tekapo, Arthur’s…

Turkey Day, New Zealand, 2016

During our last week at Hopewell, Mike and Lynley announced that they wanted to throw a Thanksgiving party for us to celebrate our American heritage. It quickly turned into a huge feast with 15 other people from Germany, France, New Zealand, Sweden and Canada. Caitlin and I were the only two Americans at the meal.…

Stranded After an Earthquake

When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the coastal town of Kaikoura, New Zealand two minutes after midnight on Nov. 14, 2016, many travelers were stranded at Hopewell Lodge in Marlborough Sounds. Tremors continued throughout the day and walls of rain pummeled the little ensuite huts on the northern tip of the South Island. Coastal roads…

Meet Laure Virco

Laure Virco was our coworker and fellow WorkAwayer while we stayed at Hopewell Lodge in Marlborough Sounds. Laure Virco, 27, cannot sit still. She is constantly in motion, wiping down kitchen counters and straightening couch cushions, long after her work days are finished. Each leaf on the veranda is a menace and every book must…

Four Weeks in Paradise

We began our journey to the South Island by taking an enormous ferry across Cook Strait. We got on the so boat early that Caitlin and I found a really nice table with a window, but soon every seat was filled. Lounge chairs dotted the auburn carpets and the sounds of soft chatter mingled with…

The Secret Life of Lambs

Part of our daily routine at our host family in Wairarapa was feeding two baby lambs, Millie and Elvis, four times a day. Millie and Elvis both were abandoned by their mothers not long before we arrived, so Jon and Georgie took them home to be pets. Taking care of these lambs became a big…

Cavelands

We caught the 5:30pm commuter train out of Wellington into the pastures of the Wairarapa region. We were supposed to meet Jon, our host, for the first time on that train, but soon it was 5:29pm and there still was no sign of him. Then, as the train began to silently pull away from the…