The Post Ayana Didn’t Want Me to Write – But You Should Absolutely Read

by brian on February 19, 2009

Some of you looked up, saw me suddenly traveling with Ayana and was like, “Who is that?”

The short story: I’ve known Ayana for 2 years through mutual friends and loyal readers Scott and Naomi but I’ve only seen her 3 times. So I’ve been around her MAYBE 15 hours TOTAL before this trip.

How did she get on this trip? I asked her after her emails to me were dead on about what to do and what to eat. And she jumped at the chance to get out of the US for a little while.

When she arrived at Gatwick Airport in London I didn’t know what to expect. She had great insight, but could she be a real road warrior? Would she be a prima donna and slow me down?

I knew we would be OK when I saw how she packed. One bag. That is it. She had been reading the blog and listened to me when I said to take all the stuff packed and cut it in half.

Ladies, take note. Nobody cares if you wear the same thing twice in a row. There are laundries all over the world besides in your neighborhood.

Ayana showing everyone how to pack – One Bag, 12 Days, 3 Countries, 2 Continents, All Types of Weather, No Problem!
IMGP1622 The Post Ayana Didnt Want Me to Write   But You Should Absolutely ReadThis picture was taken when she was leaving, so she had things in the bag she bought in Morocco. She had plenty of space in the bag when she first arrived in London.

I’ll tell you what I learned from having Ayana on this trip:

1. Language skills can make a big difference.

Ayana told me she knew French and Spanish. I thought she meant she would look thru the phrases in the back of the guidebook and piece together – ‘Me llama es Ayana’.

Far from it. She was having full on conversations with cab drivers and vendors in French in Morocco. That made things so much easier. She was excited when she realized she was understanding the French spoken around her. Travel shows you skills you didn’t know you had or shows you skills that lay dormant for years.

Ayana, you better find that high school French teacher and send her a thank you note.

Understand that you can go anywhere with English as I have stated before. Know a bit of the local language and the trip is enhanced. Know a lot of the language, as Ayana did, and it makes people open up more. It may even get you a better deal at the souks or at a restaurant.

2. The right partner can mean the difference between a great trip – or maybe never speaking to someone ever again.

Ayana and I were of the same mindset. I’m more adventurous and she’s had more knowledge of the locations. Between the two of us we had some idea of what to do each day, even if plans went awry. Never were there any major disagreements. How did I know we would be OK? I didn’t. But I trusted my instincts about her and thankfully I was right.

Or this could be a completely different blog post – like “Forget Partners – Why You Should ALWAYS Travel Alone!!”

3. Y’All Really Read This Blog

And when I say really read it I mean really look forward to it. Ayana was a powerful advocate on your behalf while she was here. She encouraged me to reply to the emails, the comments in the blog and get the posts out in a timely fashion. All because she looks forward to the updates and she knew there were others like her. That is the most gratifying thing about this trip. I’ll find a way to continue to serve the loyal readers of this blog for as long as I can.

Ayana diligently working at the Mobile Command Unit – a ThinkPad T41 laptop

 The Post Ayana Didnt Want Me to Write   But You Should Absolutely Read

Ayana, after working so diligently, being sleep deprived, hopping planes and crossing continents, goes nap time

 The Post Ayana Didnt Want Me to Write   But You Should Absolutely Read

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzanne February 19, 2009 at 9:44 AM


You’re a rock star! You will be missed on the trail.

Brian, Are you going through Ayana withdrawal symptoms?


ScottFro February 19, 2009 at 3:19 PM

LOL great blog! Glad to see you had a great time! Ayana came by and we saw her pics. Awesome! You need to get her to send you the one which should be the NDWT logo or at least your facebook profile picture.

As much as we miss you and can’t wait for you to get back home, we want you to keep on traveling! Thanks for all the postcards, and enjoy the trips!


brian February 20, 2009 at 2:20 PM

I’m shuddering and shaking like Pookie in ‘New Jack City’. But I’ll be OK…

Y’all got to tell me which pic that is. We’ve taken so many and I think I have all of her pics on my laptop already.


Ohso Kool February 22, 2009 at 4:01 PM least i have a passport now. it will get put to use…really.


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