GFord

~ Sunday, August 5 ~
Permalink

Home

We’re officially out of Alaska, and after tonight we’ll be out of Canada too. Our trip to the north has been a great learning experience for me. I got the opportunity to see a part of the world I have never experienced. I’ve never been cold in summer, seen so much green, or seen this amount of wildlife. I used to think that I’d always want to live in a large metropolitan area, but now I’m starting to question that. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll never see me living in the middle of nowhere, but I’m not as arrogant as I once was about where I’ll live.

I really appreciate all of these opportunities I’ve received to be able to travel so much in my young life. I think traveling is one of the best ways to learn about yourself, and I can’t wait to build upon these experiences.

Of course the hardest part about traveling is being away from Dominique. After 6 weeks in Europe I thought that my week on this cruise would fly by, yet it’s been really hard. It seems like the closer I get to coming home, the longer my days are. I miss you Dominique and I can’t wait for the day where you join me on these crazy adventures.

Until my next adventure,

G


~ Wednesday, August 1 ~
Permalink

Sailing

Usually on August 1st I am at home in shorts, trying my best to stay cool. August in Alaska is very different, and even though my nose got very red it wasn’t from the sun, it was from the cold. I had 4 jackets on this morning and I was still frozen. Even now as I write we are passing icebergs in the water.

Ever since we landed in Seattle I’ve been amazed at how green it is up here. I’m not used to the endless forests of trees that pop up everywhere you look. Yesterday in Ketchikan, Alaska my mom and I had the opportunity to take a small sea-hawk boat out to an island and explore. Along our little hike through the Tongass National Forest we got to see just how dense the forests really are. I kept looking for Bear Grylls to just pop up out of nowhere looking for some kind of rescue.

Of course this greenery comes at a cost…it rains a lot. We’ve been blessed that our first few days were sunny. Everyone warned us that Ketchikan is one of the wettest places on earth-something we experienced first hand. The whole time we were on the island exploring it was raining, yet the high dense trees kept most rain from reaching the ground. It wasn’t until our boat ride home that we truly got to appreciate the rain. I was dressed in multiple layers, covered by two different water proof jackets and a pair of water proof pants (provided by our guides). Yet the combination of rain and wind proved to be too much for my waterproof gear, and I returned to the boat soaking wet.

After a quick change and a quicker lunch onboard we walked in the rain to the nearby town. We shopped for cheesy souvenirs before making our way back to the ship, departing for northern waters.

Cruising has proven to be a great experience. There are plentiful amounts of food, activities, and most importantly free space. I really like to sit on a lounge chair along the edge of the deck, away from everyone, and just watch the water as we pass.

4 more days until we return home and I see my beloved.


~ Tuesday, July 31 ~
Permalink

In the Air

I like to consider myself a seasoned traveler. Ive packed a lot of suitcases, had a lot of airport food, and spent many hours in the air. Yet through all of my travel experiences, including my two trips to Europe, nothing would have prepared me for last night’s flight to Seattle.

For a summer vacation my family decided to fly us all up to Seattle to embark on a 7 day cruise through Alaska. We were set to fly out of LAX at 6:33, land in San Francisco, wait an hour for our connecting flight to Seattle, arriving around 11:00. However, we would soon learn that all of this was about to change.

We got to the airport 2 hours before our flight, and after going through security we had about 1.5 hours to wait for our take off. I wasn’t thrilled about flying again. Being back in an airport reminded me of the Czech extravaganza where I spent over 30 hours in airports or on planes. This flight was supposed to be different though. We had a combined flight time of 2.5 hours, which compared to Europe is nothing.

30 minutes before our plane was supposed to take off we were notified that our flight was delayed nearly 2 hours. This meant we would be missing our connecting flight to Seattle. After some tricky work from an extremely nice airline employee we were able to change our tickets for a nonstop flight to Seattle. We would be landing in Seattle only 50 minutes later then we had originally planned.

After a little wait in our new terminal we boarded the plane and left for Seattle. We were all happy to make it to our final destination. All that was left was to take a quick shuttle to our hotel and finally get some rest. All we had to do was get our luggage….

The only problem was that our luggage never came. Somehow amidst the flight delay and ticket exchange our luggage was never transferred to our new flight. We were initially told that we may not be able to get them for 2 days, until our ship reached its first port. This scared all of us considering we weren’t prepared to be stuck on a boat with nothing but the clothes on our backs.

It turns out the airline had acknowledged the mistake and put our luggage on a new plane which landed in Seattle at 1 am. We were all relieved to finally get our clothes back.

We were all incredibly tired and drained. The rest of the night was standard, get to the hotel and sleep.

The next day we had to take a shuttle back to the airport so we could take another shuttle to the boat. Our first shuttle was late due to a flat tire, and our second shuttle got lost on our way to the boat, but finally we made it, our travel nightmare had ended.

Alaska here we come!


~ Monday, April 30 ~
Permalink

Travel

This morning we are packing everything up, the journey home has begun


~ Sunday, April 29 ~
Permalink

Debrief

Today is officially my last day in the Czech Republic. I’ve spent the whole morning filling out evaluation forms which is always awkward because I have to submit them to my bosses….the same bosses I’m evaluating. I really don’t have anything bad to say about them or anyone here. I’ve really been taken care of well, I’m just a little more picky than others. For the rest of the day we have a little bit of free time before another meeting tonight and then a fancy dinner. We’ve been told to get a lot of sleep tonight because we’ll be out all day and night on monday. I really don’t know how we’re going to kill all of that time, or what we’ll do until we go to the airport around 4 am.

Once we are at the airport I plan on sleeping relatively quickly. It’ll be around 10 pm Los Angeles when we get on our first plane and I want to be asleep for it. Also we have then have a 7 hour layover in Munich. If I can sleep through most of that layover I think I’ll officially be back on LA time. However that does mean that I’ll need to stay up for the entire 12 hour plane ride. I don’t mind this as I have 6 hours worth of videos on my iPhone, and Tyler researched our plane and we’ll have individual tvs this time. Im actually looking forward to this because it’s been so long since I’ve watched American tv or seen good American movies. It’ll be nice to catch up and relax after a busy 6 weeks. I’ve heard it’s easier to adjust to the time difference when going west, so I guess we’ll see.


Permalink
Czech Sunset from last night

Czech Sunset from last night


1 note
~ Saturday, April 28 ~
Permalink

Done

I’m about to fall asleep after what has been a crazy week in Slovakia. I officially have no more responsibilities with the Exit Tour and I feel a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Today was the last time I was in front of students, and the last time we had to unload the vans. All that’s left are evaluations and also get our stuff ready for the plane.

It was a special drive home today. We were passing rolling hills in rural villages, trees covered with new leaves, and rivers running parallel to the road. We had the windows down and just enjoyed the fact that I’m in Europe and I have completed my task.

On a side and kind of embarrassing note, my time in Slovakia was an uncomfortable one. I forgot both my towel and soap, so for 6 days I did not shower. I had clean clothes and underwear just no means to shower. Don’t worry I’m clean now…


~ Friday, April 27 ~
Permalink

Peace Out

Today we finish up in Slovakia. We meet with churches and youth groups, eat lunch with a raffle winner, and have a goodbye party. We will be on the road by 4pm and hope to get home by 7-8. Today will be the last day we have to unload all of our gear. Last night we got all our guitars plane ready. Today we put all of the amps and gear we borrowed into a storage shack. Tomorrow we will debrief and evaluate the tour followed by a goodbye dinner with one of our main bosses. I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. Wish we could just fly today, the anticipation can be frustrating


Permalink
Fountains

Fountains


Permalink

Just played our last concert in Europe.

Now I can finally officially shift my focus on home. Obviously if you can read this you know I’ve missed home for some time now, I’m just happy that on Tuesday morning I’ll begin my 20 hour voyage home.

Tired


~ Thursday, April 26 ~
Permalink

Schools Out

I’ve learned that being able to drive backwards in Europe is just as important as driving forward.

In other news today was the our last day in schools. I’m kind of happy, because I find socializing with foreign teenagers awkward. Also unloading the van is draining.

The weather has turned out to be amazing today and is forecasted to continue to be sunny throughout the weeks. I think we actually hit 80 degrees today.

We are going to play some sports with kids today to help promote the concert then we will be having a cream and cheese pasta for dinner….
Tomorrow is the last time I’ll play guitar in Europe, Im going to make sure I remember that every second I’m on stage.


~ Wednesday, April 25 ~
Permalink
Who needs a real camera when you have an iPhone

Who needs a real camera when you have an iPhone


Permalink
Slovakian Square

Slovakian Square


Permalink
Banksa Bystrica

Banksa Bystrica


~ Tuesday, April 24 ~
Permalink

Tuesday

I’m in the middle of a lightning storm, watching from a window as electricity shoots behind dimly lit steeples. This is honestly the best part of my day.

The school we went to looked more like a prison then an academic refuge. It looked like Ghost Adventures filmed an episode here. I would have thought it was abandoned had I not seen students walking around.

Meals have been great so far, but I am battling some stomach pains. I have a feeling it comes from a diet full of breads, but I’m no expert.

Slovakia seems really poor. I know I haven’t been here long but I’m not really impressed with what I’ve seen.

It’s supposed to rain into tomorrow but will clear up for the rest of the week. Hoping tomorrow is better than today.