Who Doesn’t Love A Road Trip?

Who Doesn’t Love A Road Trip?

Who Doesn’t Love A Road Trip?
August 30, 2019

Driving through a hot and humid Durban, what started off as a meaningless conversation about what we wanted to do in our own lives led to a series of questions;

“What if someone wanted to spend their vacation doing good, not just lying on a beach?” “And if they wanted to see more of a country than being limited to one place while volunteering?” “How about if they were able to spend their free time doing awesome activities?” “Or getting involved in the communities?”

Global Handprints’ Volunteer Road Trips were born. I mean, who doesn’t love a road trip? And what better way to improve an old classic but to add volunteering in to the mix.

So, we had the idea, the basics of what we wanted to put together and some kind of idea, between us, of what areas we could start exploring in this awesome country. Hmmmm, what comes next? We spent most of that night excitedly talking about itineraries, pouring over maps, making an all important excel spreadsheet with days and towns and activities. The spreadsheet that would come to be our most ‘fiddled with’ document, with us both making changes and edits nearly every time we opened it and something else came to mind.

As this went on, something became clear, no matter how much time we spent devouring maps or how much we read about regions, cultures and activities, nothing beat getting down and dirty on the road and discovering things for ourselves.

With bags packed, arrangements for the dogs to be fed made and the rental car (this was pre-Landy days) full of petrol, we hit the road.

Ever since coming to South Africa, I have been intrigued by the Transkei (Wild Coast) region so for me it was an easy decision to head south and focus on that route first. Leaving sunny Saint Lucia behind us (not too hard to do on a day when the municipality water ran out), we stayed in Durban with an old school friend of the boy’s and spent the night talking about the pros and cons of Land Rovers and work out how we could try to persuade them to give us a Landy for the tours…something we are still working on 🙂

From Durban, just as our Road Trippers would do, we headed South towards Port Shepstone and off the beaten track towards Coffee Bay. As soon as we left the tar roads I had a few doubts about whether the little rental would get us to destination B but, as they say here ‘every rental’s a 4 wheel drive’. Driving through the Transkei region as the sun sets, through the villages, passing traditional Xhosa, brightly coloured round rondavels that make up the communities, is something that will always stick in my mind. Seeing the real, rural South Africa in all her glory was that point that I knew these trips were an awesome idea.

We made it to Coffee Bay the round about way with a few stumbles and wrong turns resulting in us giving an elderly local a lift and he luckily pointed us in the right direction. Coffee Bay proved to be everything and more that I expected. It’s small and relatively un touched (for now) with a beautiful bay being overlooked by green grass, yes grass not yellow sandy, rolling dunes. We checked in to one of the 3 hostels and spent the evening watching a local band and making plans.

After having a wander on the beach to set ourselves up for the day, we headed to the nearest (read, only) ‘café’ ready to make lists and plans and get back to the excel spreadsheet. Little did we know that this pit stop, aptly named Friends, would be the answer to all our open ended questions for Coffee Bay. And that it would set the precedent for the rest of our (and our volunteer’s) adventures. Over two plungers of coffee we got to know the owner and manager who as it turns out are involved in several small community based projects, have a whole heap of ideas on how to expand them and a little book of contacts of more people who would be willing to get involved!

Over the next 10 days we spent our time exploring the (many more than necessary) back roads and dirt tracks of the region, knowing we wanted our volunteers to stay away from highways where possible. Outside of driving, our days were filled with meeting community members, asking questions, looking for contacts and ideas, turning up at peoples doorsteps unannounced, visiting projects, drinking a lot of coffee (and wine) and trying out the different adventure activities whilst also on the hunt for cultural experiences. All of which were to be incorporated into the itineraries born from the spreadsheet! We journeyed from the Transkei Wildcoast north towards the Drakensburg, across the mountains and back down through the Midlands.

The biggest shock to me was the amount of local people who are actively involved in community projects and who are passionate about the development of various local services and projects. It was inspiring to meet people who have gone out of their way to put something in place for others and I knew that this was where Global Handprints was meant to be. Since our inception in 2010, we’ve been all about the small, grass roots level projects. We believe in working with those who sometimes get overlooked by the larger organisations and in keeping the ownership of projects with those who start them and who benefit from them; the community.

I got back home having seen parts of this country I had called home for 6 months, but had never seen and having met people who made me want to go straight back and get involved with their work. This is what we want the Volunteer Road Trips to do for our Road Trippers; inspire them to empower and evolve. And to help them fall in love with Africa; the people, cultures, traditions and landscapes.

Fast forward to now, lots of exploration, new roads discovered ideas thrown out, inspiration received, many motivating people met, and two itineraries are finalised (the excel spreadsheets are locked). The first Landy has been purchased, partnerships are in place and the Volunteer Road trips are ready to go.

We have two routes both starting and ending in Durban with new routes running from Cape Town coming soon! You can check them out here and let us know what you think.

About Us

Global Handprints gives people like you guys, the opportunity to leave your mark on the world through volunteering and travel. In turn, with your support, Global Handprints is able to invest towards our social purpose, enabling projects and communities around the world to evolve and develop.

Find Out More About Our Projects

Join The TtT adventure Now!

Do you have a teaching qualification or are you enrolled in a teacher training course at the moment?

Are you available for an Easter 2020 placement?

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    Trippin’ Tunes

    Trippin’ Tunes

    Trippin’ Tunes
    August 7, 2019

    There are so many ingredients that ‘make’ a road trip, the country you are in, the roads you’re traveling, the people you are with and the sites you see. Many of these will be set in stone when you set off, or will come and go as you make your journey. Some you will have full control of and others you won’t (every group road trip has that one person).

    Over long and bumpy roads, music is a vital ingredient to any road trip. Looking back, once we are home and settled in to the everyday, music has the power to transport us. To take us back to a time, an experience and an emotion, whether that’s in the middle of the South African outback or the Brazilian rain forest. I asked a few Travel Bloggers to share their musical memories of a road trip they have taken.

    Read on and prepare to be inspired to jump in your vehicle and hit the road.

    One of our best road trips was in Romania during fall time when trees and landscapes colours are so red, yellow and brown that you feel like you’re inside a Canadian postcard! We took an amazing road trip from Timisoara, the western Romanian city, to Bucharest, passing by Sibiu, Sighisoara, Brasov, Viscri and many more little cities and small villages. So just close your eyes and imagine a couple in a rented car in the middle of a colourful wood going from Dracula city to Bucharest and listening to Hotel California by The Eagles. Is there any better song or situation?

    Eride blogs at Queidue. You can follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

    Our road trip was through Mexico and almost all the countries of Central America. We did the trip in a 25 year old toyota that we spent $3000 USD on and just prayed she’d hold up (she did! like a champ!) We wanted to travel the popular backpacking area on our own terms, by our own roads and see what different experiences we could have, not to mention to force a reset on a life that was going down a rough path. The trip was 5 months and we took almost a year to plan, 6 months of very serious planning.

    The song that reminds me the most of this trip is Bailando by Enrique Iglesias (the Spanish version). The song was released while we were on the trip and seemed to be the anthem for anyone traveling the area at the time. The beat is a classic Latin beat that permeates every single bar, shop, house throughout the warm days – the bass echoes through every street, whether it be this specific song or not – it all sounds the same. But this song was on everyone’s lips and every time you hear it you would put your cerveza down to dance with friends you met just minutes before. It brought everyone together. I still don’t know the song in English.

    Michelle writes about her travels at 2 Moose on the Loose. You can follow them on Facebook, and Instagram.

    My two best friends and I took a road trip throughout the American West. We traversed 4,500 miles in 10 days through 9 states, driving from Minnesota to California and back, and touched everything in between. We saw mountains for the first time, ate grilled mac & cheese sandwiches on the boardwalk on a San Diego evening, and were nearly killed in reservation country but stopped to stare at the stars anyway in that lightless night. Our trip was narrated by The Shouting Matches’ album “Grownass Man,” and the song I’ll Be True still makes me feel like I’m back behind the wheel of our car on the open road, my two best friends beside me, carefree and with the world ahead of me.

    Molly writes about being on the road at Molly on the Road. You can follow her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

    I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys reminds me of the time I was visiting my cousins who live in San Fran at the time and we decided to just take a couple days to visit LA. We didn’t take the Pacific Coast Highway but now that I know how pretty that route is, I definitely want to take that one next time! My cousins and I grew up with Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, Brittany Spears so we always like to listen to their old albums. We know almost all of the lyrics and they just bring back memories of us growing up. It’s also fun to roll down the window during traffic and see if anyone will sing with us. 😁

    Jojo from Expedition Jojo is from Philadelphia, PA, USA. Her road trip took her through California from San Fransisco to LA and back. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

    When I hear Fourfiveseconds by Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul Mccartney, I immediately come back to summer of 2015 in Italy. I remember I was lying near the sea reading a book about India when I heard this song. I started listening to it, to the words, to the meaning. And I thought, why? Why is “all of my kindness taken for weakness”? Why do we feel so trapped in our worlds? But of course, it is also a love song so I thought also about love and how I would never do some of the things they described the woman was did. Especially because nobody would want me, haha. But then I met this guy and I turned into EXACTLY this woman. It happened within few days and I just could not understand how it was possible. The only explanation for me was that this song cursed me and there was nothing I could do. I still kind of feel cursed 🙂

    Nikoleta blogs at The Bonfire Dream. You can follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

    Are there any songs that take you right back to a road trip moment? Let us know in the comments!

    About Us

    Global Handprints gives people like you guys, the opportunity to leave your mark on the world through volunteering and travel. In turn, with your support, Global Handprints is able to invest towards our social purpose, enabling projects and communities around the world to evolve and develop.

    Find Out More About Our Projects

    Join The TtT adventure Now!

    Do you have a teaching qualification or are you enrolled in a teacher training course at the moment?

    Are you available for an Easter 2020 placement?

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    Recent Comments

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