Cape Coast Castle: The Door of No Return

The Cape Coast Castle was the most horrific historic building I have ever experienced. Situated merely yards from the shoreline, the castle became one of the most prominent slaving forts in West Africa because of its prime location for ships. European trade on the Ghanaian “gold” coast began with the extraction of natural resources but…

One Hundred Years of Fish Guts

After a brief stay in Accra, we had planned to move west along the Gold Coast to Elmina. Ghanaians would typically squeeze into a ten-person van called a bush taxi for this kind of trip. However, on the advice of the hostel owner, the Lundy-Livingston clan traveled to a taxi station in Accra called the…

Acclimating to Accra

We crossed the border from Togo into Ghana the most authentic way possible: on foot. Strapped into hefty backpacks, coated in dust and glistening with sweat, our band of bedraggled Midwesterners shuffled through the sand. The ocean wasn’t far from Sean’s apartment and then we followed the coast a short distance to the border. As…

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…