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Africa, Consumer Advice, Europe, Lifestyle

In search of the missing parts of me

December 27, 2016 • By

There’s something to be said for knowing who you are and where you come from.  There’s clarity when you have evidence, documented or anecdotal, of which ancestor first arrived on these shores.  There’s closure when you can pinpoint the village that your forebear(s) left in their quest to seek a greater fortune or better life.  That is the story of so many who live in this country called “America”.  Unfortunately, it’s not mine.

My ancestors didn’t come here of their own free will.  They didn’t come to seek a greater fortune but rather were forced to create fortunes for others.  They were held as chattel, beaten, worked relentlessly from sunup to sundown, raped and dehumanized because some people were too lazy to do their own work, they would rather cross an ocean to savagely kidnap people from a foreign land to do it.

I had started my own journey into my past by signing up for an membership.  It’s not as easy when you try to review the limited documents kept by men who deemed it acceptable to own humans like the people who are responsible for my existence.  In fact, when reviewing the slave schedules, it’s a bit unsettling and hurtful to see your ancestors listed as property with no names… will have to guess if the male slave listed as aged 6 is that missing great, great grandfather that you are searching for.  If you are fortunate enough to find the right family that owned them, surmise the age of the ancestor and sex and where they lived, you will have a chance….otherwise, it’s not until after slavery was abolished that they are mentioned by name (which isn’t really theirs or yours – but the slave masters).READ MORE

Africa, Inspiration, Lifestyle

Climbing Kilimanjaro by George Lancaster

January 25, 2016 • By
Today’s post is a little bittersweet for me.  As you may recall, I have mused about my desire to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. As luck would have it, one of my dearest friends who happens to be my former boss, recently completed this feat along with his family, in November.

It was for a worthy cause and since he is one of the best people that I know, I applaud his accomplishment (the jerk!). Here is his first person account of their amazing journey. Please be sure to read the entire, unfiltered story by clicking the link at the end of this post. You won’t regret it. Thanks, George. Now, I really have to play catch up.  

Climbing Kilimanjaro

Arriving in Arusha, Tanzania after the 32-hour journey, the four of us are exhausted.  And jittery, for the next day we start our six-day trek up Mount Kilimanjaro.  I think back on the year. My wife Nicky coming home one day, excited, having convinced the board where she works, The GI Cancer Institute, of her idea to solicit donors keen to climb Kilimanjaro. The Institute raises funds for clinical trial research dedicated to improving treatments for patients suffering from gastro-intestinal (GI) cancers.

Finding people touched by these cancers is not difficult. Whether any of them want to climb Kilimanjaro is another matter. At first it’s us four– Nicky, me, son Benjamin (age 25) and daughter Jessica (age 23). Luckily others join, and in the end, there are fourteen climbers, who together raise $142,000, doubling our initial goal.

The next day we arrive at Rongai Gate, elevation 1800 metres (5900 feet), and pour out of the bus. We see the porters for the first time: Dozens of them, preparing for our arrival. Lunch is served but I am too excited to eat. The trail is visible, snaking off into the trees. C’mon everybody, I think, finish up so we can get started!READ MORE

Africa, Inspiration

The Siren Call of Mount Kilimanjaro – Revisited

July 9, 2012 • By

This is day 9 of the July 2012 Ultimate Blog Challenge! Today’s post is literally one of the most favorite pieces that I have ever written. I consider myself to be quite imaginative when it comes to pretending to be something that I am not….which is adventurous. You will never find me jumping out of airplanes or climbing mountains due to my fear of heights, but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming that you would. I felt the same way about the possibilities of conquering Kilimanjaro. So, I wrote a story about it and here it goes……


I spied the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro, at dusk, through the bluish-grey clouds that gave them shelter from prying eyes like mine. Yet through it all, its coquettish beauty was neither easily hidden nor denied but instead was a covenant of spiritual enlightenment.READ MORE

Africa, Trip Reports

Traveling in Tunisia – Guest Writer

January 14, 2010 • By

Today, A View To A Thrill welcomes a new friend and fellow world-traveler, Sheridan Lucas, as a guest writer.  She will share her impressions of her splendid visit to the country of Tunisia in Northern Africa.  Sheridan is an aspiring writer who is always looking for fun-loving travel companions to roam the world with.  If you enjoy adventure travel and would like to do some trekking, cycling, kayaking and/or walking tours please contact her at hot mail dot com.

About Sheridan Lucas:Sheridan-Tunisia-2009-177-300x300

“I was a navy brat who made my first cross-country trip when I was two weeks old, in a cardboard box on the seat of my parents’ car.   I think that imprinted me for travel, like a baby duck, and I’ve been going ever since.  When I was 20,  I went to Europe and hitch-hiked around for 8 months, then resumed my education.   After graduation from Berkeley in 1975 ( during which time I worked as a proofreader and editorial assistant),  I moved to Oregon, got married, built a house and now manage my personal timber stand in the country, outside of Portland.

I participate in a lot of sports and have cycled from Canada to San Francisco,  in the Caribbean, and in various European countries.   I also trekked for two weeks in the Andes and eventually, I want to do more.   My favorite countries so far are Turkey,  Morocco andPeru.   I enjoy active travel and especially like to see folklore or dance festivals that involve local costumes,  fabrics and handwork.   I also like to interact with the locals, like the time when I rode the third class bus with a pig on the roof and the chickens inside, in Guatemala.  That is where you gain the most authentic and interesting experiences.   I would say that I am inquisitive and intrepid.   The only way we’re going to have peace in this world is by really getting to know each other.  Some other interests- and I have many- are theater, dancing, music,  singing and reading.”READ MORE

Africa, Inspiration

The Siren Call of Mount Kilimanjaro | A View To A Thrill

November 11, 2008 • By

The Siren Call of Mount Kilimanjaro

I spied the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro, at dusk, through the bluish-grey clouds that gave them shelter from prying eyes like mine.  Yet through it all, its coquettish beauty was neither easily hidden nor denied but instead was a covenant of spiritual enlightenment.

So, it seemed to beckon, like so many other fools before me, to scale each of its 19,340 feet, if I dared.  Was it a trick?  Would she lead me into an interminable trap that would ensnare me before my senses could react?  Or did she hold the promise of unmitigated beauty meant only for my visage?

I held my breath and began to exhale slowly as I took one long leap forward clinging to branches, rocks, vines—–anything that would keep me lucid, aware, mobile and functioning—-as I made my way up the peak.  Up, up, up I go, resting, breathing, walking, pacing, gasping, focused, tired, but unwilling to give up or give in.READ MORE