Things have been a little quiet around A Tipsy Gypsy Life, and for good reason. I didn’t want to spoil a surprise that I wasn’t certain was going to happen! This year, I promised I would personally explore a legitimate voluntourism venture and report back to my little spot on the interwebz, but with less than a month to get vaccines, a visa, and international bank transfers, I had my doubts. Before the drumroll, let’s catch up a little.
Where Have I Been This Summer?
After my exhilarating trip to Hawaii, I spent some time over in the scorching Southeastern U.S. First, I had the opportunity to watch my cousin get his Eagle Scout award in Tri-Cities, Tennessee. It was such a lovely party and needless to say, I was beyond proud of his accomplishments. Tri-Cities is a gorgeous little area in Eastern Tennessee that comprises of Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol. The communities are nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a stunning little portion of the Appalachian Mountains. If you make it over, be sure to get in camping and a visit to Dollywood, located a little under 2 hours drive away.
After Tennessee, I went straight to St. Petersburg for a few days of rest and relaxation. While visiting my hometown, I had to stop by the gem of the city- the Dali Museum. The collection never ceases to amaze, and the new building is the perfect setting for a post-tour rosé. I highly recommend grabbing the free audio tour- Dali had a mind worth exploring.
Last but definitely not least, I popped by New Orleans for a few days of sunshine and comfort food. No matter where I travel to, waltzing around the French Quarter on a Saturday is still one of my favorite past-times. Of course I had my favorite dish, pecan-crusted gulf fish, and a monsoon (or two). If you get the chance to visit, be sure to get at least a few of the city’s best drinks. Not much of a drinker? No worries, the food is what keeps people crawling back, anyways.
And the whole time I was worried because I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make my trip to (drumroll please)….
Ghana in August!
As we’ve discussed once or twice, voluntourism is a little like U.S. lawyers- it’s either really, really good or really, really bad. Good intentions can so easily be twisted to long-term negative impacts, like displacing locals from jobs. A wonderful documentary I highly recommend is “Poverty, Inc.” The film offers a staggeringly honest look into the industries that have fueled the global poverty cycle.
Luckily, I put it out in the universe that I really really really wanted this voluntourism experience in August, and of course, you always get what you expect. From August 3-23, I’ll be working with local media professionals in Accra, Ghana to make a portfolio as part of New Lens Travel. Not only does the fee go to the expert leading the individual session, it also funds a youth newspaper. As of now, I’m between a blog editor, head of news at a radio station, and the creator of an online satirical publication. I’m ready to learn a thing or two.
While I’m in Ghana, I’ll be posting about everything I can get my hands on, from food, to nightclubs (yes, they have a rocking nightlife!), to nature explorations. If there’s anything you want to know about Accra, let me know and I will scope it out. That’s what travelers do, yeah?
Fun Facts About Ghana
I’m not going to lie, I knew literally NOTHING about Ghana prior to hooking up with the founder of New Lens Travel. Here are just a few of the things that excited me about the trip.
They Speak English!
My Spanish is “get by-able” but not comfortably conversational. And any other languages? Maybe one day. But not today. And tomorrow doesn’t look too good either. Although I love the feeling of disorientation in a new country, creating a legitimate media portfolio might be a little difficult if I can’t communicate! I’ve been told Ghana is a perfect entry country for a first-time visitor to Africa, but each community in each country is extremely unique. How unique? Ghana’s official language may be English, but they have over 250 additional languages and dialects!
Everyone has their weaknesses, and mine is definitely chocolate. I’ll shamelessly eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I thoroughly believe at least 30% of my joy in life comes from chocolate. And just my luck, West Africa produces significantly more cocoa than the rest of the world. And most importantly? Ghana is the number 2 exporter world wide. Unfortunately, the country gets a measly portion of the $100 billion industry. I’m planning on visiting a cocoa farm, time-willing, in hopes of supporting a legitimate, slave-free cocoa production and
learning the tricks of the trade getting to know the people who make my favorite treat.
The Capital City Is On The Coast.
Y’all already know I’m a little mermaid! Even though I am *slightly* nervous about hanging out on a beach when I know it tends to be the target of plenty of terrorists attacks. As I’ve said before, I really am a bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to traveling, but that’s why we do it… Right? Not only do the beaches mean sunbathing and swimming, but the tropical weather makes for perfectly plump fruit like mangoes!