Best Travel Advice? Keep A Journal!


We started our travel adventure in March of 2007, writing down our thoughts and feelings on the brand-new Travelpod site to keep our own travel journal we could share. Some of our first thoughts were hectic and scared… is a site set up to promote fair exchange between budget travelers, language learners or culture seekers and families, individuals or organizations who are looking for help with a range of varied and interesting activities. This is a great place for travel, language, and work exchange.

For those travelers interested in working abroad, integrating in local cultures, learning a new language, acquiring new skills and making new friends, as well as experiencing the benefits of studying in the USA, this is the site for you. holds a database of families, individuals or organizations in an extensive range of different countries that have registered with us and are looking for volunteer help in a huge range of different fields. From painting to planting, building to babysitting, shopping to shearing, you’re sure to find something of interest here. No money is exchanged, so a work visa isn’t necessary.

While not as large as HelpX, Work Away has many fun opportunities available and to be prepared is knowledge and the Top Women’s Travel Bags on WomenStuff are a must. The standard Workaway volunteer rate is 5 hours per day 5 days a week in exchange for food and board. Of course, this is negotiable with your hosts upon your arrival.


“I just left my job of 16 years to prepare for this adventure! Tampa will be where it all starts. We are just planning right now – although we are trying not to plan it too much. I want the experience to be great without so many pre-conceived notions of the where’s and when’s!”

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“I woke up from a dream so real my heart was still pounding — I was in a roller coaster car looking straight down to a 90 degree drop. We met with the realtors to put the house up for sale – yep, it’s real now. Tomorrow the sign goes up.”



After 18 months of travel, we wrote this post called SO FAR to sum up a little of what we had experienced.

“In the past year and a half, we’ve traveled to four continents, twenty-seven countries, and visited over two hundred cities…

We’ve ridden camels across the Sahara, spent nights in safari tents listening to the breathing of lions outside in Africa, slept on a felucca on the Nile, and balanced (precariously!) on top of an Asian elephant…

We’ve battled tick-bite fever, gut-wrenching food poisoning, and being pick-pocketed in Paris (twice!)…

We’ve worshiped in a Buddhist temple, knelt in an Islamic mosque, and heard mass at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris…

We’ve sneezed at spice vendors in Nice, sipped champagne in Epernay, tasted heaven in Tuscany, and taken Thai cooking lessons in Chiang Mai…

We’ve participated in giraffe-poo spitting contests in S. Africa, munched on fried bugs in Bangkok, but balked at chicken feet in Beijing…

We’ve swapped stories with the Maasai in their cow dung huts, taught six-year-olds in a Mexican fishing village to protect the Tortugas, as well as smiling eight-year-olds in Thailand to say “nice to meet you” in English…and here we got back so much in return!

We’ve met a grey-haired angel on the streets of Athens, Guinness-wielding comedians falling off barstools in Ireland, and travelers from all corners willing to share their stories…

We’ve dog-eared guidebooks, rumpled maps, perused fish identification guides, and carried more weight in paperback books than of our clothes…

We’ve searched for sea horses in the South China Sea, rubbed the belly of manatees in Florida, and felt the ghosts hiding in the murky waters in a sunken wreck in Malaysia…

We’ve spent old holidays learning new customs, picked up a few useful words and phrases in Spanish, Thai, Italian, French, German, Mandarin, Balinese, Malaysian, Afrikaans, Indonesian, and Swahili…

We’ve walked in on a newborn cheetah in the wild, gently held an exotic Golden Baboon Spider, and spent a long night outdoors listening to the screech of baboons camped out near our African riverbed…

We’ve volunteered our time to Scuba dive the coral reef in the Mexican jungle, collecting data for research while living for ten weeks without electricity or running water, and we’ve woken at 4am for game drives to check in on a fresh lion kill in the South African bush…

We’ve taken trains with toilets that drop directly on the tracks, squatted in sweltering sheds in cemeteries, and carefully watched for marauding lions while attempting a quick bush pee…

We’ve changed quite a bit…

A year and a half ago we were two typical forty-something women, great jobs and nice homes, all the expected bells and whistles…what happened in between is our story. What Boundaries? Live Your Dream!”



We just celebrated our 1-year “Back To Traveling Anniversary”! Our thoughts, fears, and questions are shared via our own web sites or on Facebook where we interact with friends and family on a daily basis. We came back home for a while to earn more money for travel, but are now back on the road. This time it was Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore. Next month it’s off to Tuscany, Spain, and Ireland. Because you know that once the travel bug bites, there really isn’t any cure!

So our bit of travel advice – and this goes for life, too – keep a journal. You’ll appreciate reading about your “old self” down the road, no matter which road you choose to take!


Our New e-Book is Now Available!

Have you ever dreamed of seeing the world but thought it was way out of reach?  Maybe too expensive? Learn about the newest and hottest travel trend of House Sitting in Lisa and Cheryl’s latest book –


NOW AVAILABLE in e-book format!



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Lisa and Cheryl have been house sitting all over the world and now share with you some of their best practices and helpful hints to get you started as well!  Whether you want to explore your nearby cities and towns or you are ready to take on the world, this book provides practical information from finding the best house sitting websites to creating the perfect profile so you can land that great location!

You will find useful information on what to consider before choosing a location as well as the best communication practices to make the experience positive for both the home owner and the house sitter!

BONUS!!!  Included with the purchase is a discount to Trusted House Sitters, one of the premiere house sitting sites, valued up to $19 for house sitters and a $75 value for home owners!


The Live Your Dream! House Sitting Around the World e-Book can be purchased at Amazon for reading on many of your electronic reading devices including iPhone, iPad, Kindle, any device using the Kindle app and of course on your PC!  The print version will be available at Amazon in June.

Affiliate sales will be available shortly through e-junkie and more information will be provided soon!

Photo of the Day – Slope Point, NZ

DSCF8651 As far South as you can get on the South Island of New Zealand. Due south from Slope Point it is 4,803 kilometers to the South Pole – we’re really that close to Antarctica!

Slope Point is only accessible by a 20 minute walk through some of the most beautiful sheep pastures you could ever imagine – luckily we made it before September when the path is closed for lambing season!

What’s in your Camera Bag?

While we aren’t professional photographers by any means, we do like to take interesting videos and stills to share with friends and family while we’re on the road. The decisions of what camera and video equipment to take on long term travel are the most time-consuming of anything we pack.

For us, it’s got to be the perfect combination of features, quality, price, reliability and weight. The delicious Canon DSLR system with its lenses, flashes and drives stays home in favor of a Fujifilm Finepix HS20 24mm-720mm Superzoom. Bouncing around in the back of a safari truck in Africa has shown us that a heavy camera and lenses just don’t get used on the road as much as one that’s lighter and easy to focus on the fly.


olympusBWe spend a lot of time in and around water, so the Olympus Tough TG-610 was another obvious choice. Waterproof to 16 feet, it’s perfect for snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddling and hanging out at the beach. The fact that it’s also shock-poof from 5 feet makes this an ideal camera for someone like Lisa who tends to drop things – A LOT!

This time around, video is something we’re focused on doing well. Not professionally, but at better quality than we’ve done in the past. For quick snippets of B-roll and uploads to YouTube, we have the Kodak Zi6 HD video cam. While there’s not much of a zoom, it fits in a pocket and shoots surprisingly good video for its size.

canonbFor filming our “Will Work 4 Travel” videos, we have the Canon Vixia HFR21 HD camcorder. It’s compact size hides many professional quality features, like an internal 32GB flash memory, enhanced audio capture and dual SD memory card slots . For interviews and on-location work, we added a wireless microphone system from Azden, the WMS-Pro, and are very happy with the set-up.

All of our video electronics use SD cards both for availability in other countrbagbies and for ease of converting cards back and forth as they fill up. While the Olympus Tough and the Canon Vixia have proprietary batteries, the Fujifilm and Kodak share rechargeable AAs. A super-light Ambico tripod, various filters, Eye-Fi reader, spare batteries and chargers make up the rest of our camera gear.

But what about the bag itself? For us, this is one of the most important pieces of camera equipment. If it’s not easily accessible, light to carry and capable of protecting our investment then it’s not worth bringing along. So after MUCH trial and error (thank goodness for Amazon’s great policy on returns!) we decided on the Lowepro Passport Sling. It holds all of our gear with enough room for Priscilla to squeeze in as well. When not filled with camera equipment, it doubles as a nice shoulder bag – always a plus!


What are we forgetting? What’s the most important thing you carry in YOUR camera bag?

Photo of the Day – Tui Bird

Tui Bird of New Zealand
Tui Bird of New Zealand

The Tui Bird! Quite the singer, the Tui is a member of the honeyeater family and can only be found on the islands of New Zealand. With vocalizations that sound as though a small symphony orchestra is tuning up for a performance, listening to the Tui is a unique experience. Considered to be highly intelligent, these birds have the capacity to exactly mimic human speech. This can be quite unnerving when walking alone in a quiet forest!

This colorful character kept us company for several kilometers as we tramped along the track at Bluff, singing us a new song every time we stopped for a water break. Thanks for the company Tui!

10,000 Bulas – A Fijian Language Lesson

Fiji kidsFrom the moment we stepped onto the airplane bound for Fiji, we were greeted with BULA! their universal word of welcome. And the Bulas haven’t stopped since! Fijians definitely live up to their reputation as the Friendliest People on Earth!

BULA is Hello, To Your Health, Welcome; a smile and a nod on the street, a shout from the window from a small child, a chorus from a cluster of teenagers in the park, a lilting melody from a smiling Fijian woman.

“Bula! Bula!” says the man walking down the road with a machete in his hand and fresh bananas slung over his shoulder, “BOO-Laaa!!” sing the ladies with brilliant hibiscus blossoms tucked behind their ear. A Bula is exchanged and we’re fast friends. We’ve both given and received so many Bulas we could fill our suitcase ten times over – and would not have missed it for the world!

BULA VINAKA – Another form of Thank You Very Much. Heart-felt and freely given here on the islands.

VINAKA – Thank you

SULU – Also called a lava lava. A wrap or skirt worn by Fijian women. Traditional wear in the village where customs call for women to have knees and shoulders covered.

PAW-PAW – Papayas. Served in everything from curry to dessert custards, this island staple is also a favorite of the enormous fruit bats that circle around at dusk every evening. As soon as the first tingle of ripening yellow is visible on the fruit, the race is on with the bats for the prize!

LOVO – Traditional Fijian feast of fish, chicken and pork, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked on heated rocks in an underground oven. YUM!

KOKODA – National dish of Fiji. Raw fish marinated in coconut milk and lime juice, spiced with pepper, onions and tomato (Fijian ceviche)

FIJI TIME – While not part of the official language of the islands, this “slow down and take it easy” mantra is certainly a big part of Fijian life. It may take a while for the Type A personalities to embrace, but once it’s caught on, you wonder why every place else on earth doesn’t join in.

Our time in Fiji is always magical. The smiles, the heart-felt greetings, kindness, and true compassion you feel from those who make these beautiful islands their home. Thank you Fiji for making us feel welcome and for sharing your heart with us for a short time. I feel certain that we’ll be back!


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Buying a Car in New Zealand

Buying a car is a pretty big deal.  It is your primary source of transport and one of the highest priced items you will typically own after your home.  Considering a source to buy or repair a car while traveling abroad is a whole new experience though!  We did careful cost comparisons and estimates before deciding to buy a car – because that is what we do!  On the top of our considerations is the flexibility a car would offer because that is important to us when we travel.  I won’t even go into the fact that we seem to always accumulate more stuff when traveling and sorting it all out to get on a public transport is not always easy (or pretty!)


On first arrival to New Zealand we rented a car for 50 days.  The cost of the rental was $2,700 NZD including adding a small insurance policy with the Zego insurances.  In the states we always decline additional coverage, but in New Zealand it is highy recommended because many of your credit cards will not cover New Zealand (and a few other countries) car rentals.

After a short time out of New Zealand, we would be returning for another 70 days and during the high season.  Looking up car rental prices for that time period we learned it would cost us about $3,000.  We decided to look at other options, even if they did put us outside our comfort zone.  Here were our pro’s and con’s of each scenario:

All prices are in New Zealand dollars –

Car Rental:  70 days at a cost of $2,600 with insurance another $400 to total $3,000.

Pros:  Our own transport; can get to places public transport might not go; holds all our stuff!

Cons: Initial cost; petrol costs (although it would be the same for buying a car).

rentalPhoto courtesy of

Bus Pass:  Two passes that allowed 60 hours each would cost $900.  60 hours would get us all over both the North and South Island, following the common routes between major tourist areas.

Pros:  Lower initial cost; no petrol costs; Get to meet other travelers and share stories (it might not sound like such a great pro, but it truly is!)

Cons: Somewhat limited access to areas we might want to go; Managing our bags and carry on bags; Finding hostels near by bus stops so we can walk to them, or having to pay for additional transport.

 intercityNZPhoto courtesy of

Buying a car:  Cost can vary depending on the amount you will get back when you sell your car.  New Zealand has several weekly car fairs as well as on line backpacker sites where you can find low cost vehicles for sale.

Pros:  Our own transport; can get to places public transport might not go; holds all our stuff!

Cons: Initial cost; petrol costs (although it would be the same for renting a car) but at the end of the day safety is the most important, it is easy to see with the Doncaster Freepress information of the risk in collisions amongst the cities.  Unsure of net cost based on selling price; having to maintain the car in the event of a breakdown; Possible that you loose entire investment if you get a complete wreck of a car.

We choose to buy a car that had a guaranteed buy back, even though the guarantee buy back price was 50% of the original cost of the car.  Alternatively, we could sell it outright ourselves at whatever price we can get.  Initial cost of the car is $2,490 and we added insurance for $200 more.  Our goal is to try to sell the car for a minimum of $2,000 so estimate a total net cost of $700.  If we only get the 50% buy back price, the total net cost would be $1,450 including the added insurance.  If we are able to sell it for our goal of $2,000 we are still about $200 less than a bus pass and if we only get the 50% buy back price we are about $550 higher than the bus pass.  The deciding factor was the flexibility our own car would offer.  Of course petrol is not included in the price here and that would add about $400 more to the car buying option.  Still a better bet for us personally.



  • Warranty of Fitness (WOF) – Required to be up to date on all cars traveling the roads of New Zealand.  This is proof that the car is in good working order and by that it means the headlights, taillights, seat belts etc. are all in condition. It does not mean the car mechanics are all in perfect working order.  It simply means it is road worthy.  You can purchase a car without a WOF but we would not recommend it because YOU will be responsible for getting the car up to standards to make sure it is road legal.  It only costs about $40 – $50 to get a WOF that last 6 months for older cars (12 months for newer).  If your car fails, you need to fix the problem, then go back for another inspection.
  • Registration – Required to be up to date on all cars.  You can just extend a registration for the amount of time you need so if you will plan to own your car for 3 months, you can extend it for just 3 months.  Estimated costs are $40 per month for registration.  This will be checked at police road stops – we know from experience and were thankful we had an up to date registration!
  • Insurance – We were told that insurance is not required in New Zealand, but we would suggest the minimum coverage is purchased as it is pretty inexpensive and covers you if you damage another person or person’s property.  You can get more comprehensive coverage that would protect your car as well, but if you purchase an inexpensive care like we did, it might not be worth it.  The New Zealand Automotive Association quoted $108 to $311 per year based on coverage needs.  You can also purchase it monthly if you plan on owning your car for a short period.
  • Misc – The New Zealand AA also offers a membership like the US based AAA.  For $79 per year you can get roadside assistance as well as many other benefits including free road maps, discount on fuel purchases, and a place to sell your car for free.  The organization offers reciprocal services overseas so if your travel will continue, the protection goes with you.  If you are already a member of an Automobile Association in in your home country, check to see what reciprocal services they provide overseas.  You may already be covered!

If you are also planning to buy a new car, try to see the New 2021 Chevrolet Cars, this can be the perfect choice. Have a safe trip!!!

XCom Global – Keeping Connected on the Road

One of the biggest challenges on the road is finding a good (and low cost) internet connection so we can continue to keep up with our blogs and stay in contact with family and friends.  Sometimes we would find free internet spots, but more often than not there were charges.  When we arrived in New Zealand, we were also hit with pretty stiff limits on internet usage.  Many places would offer “free” internet but it was limited to 50mb.  Just turning on our MacBook Pro used a majority of that MB limit!  The standard costs were approximately 200MB for $20 NZD (about $17 US).  Again, we would blow through 200MB quickly and that was after we turned off all automatic software updates and any unnecessary internet applications.  We knew we would have to find an alternative.

We found XCom Global.  Essentially the product allows you to carry your personal and secure MiFi hot spot with you wherever you go with UNLIMITED MB usage*.  Our personal Mi-Fi was secured by a password we created and allowed us to connect up to 5 devices at once.  We could do blog work on the MacBook and use the iPad to make reservations for our next destination.  If we needed to, we could also connect our iPhone.  Two travelers, multiple devices, one Mi-Fi connection to share.  This worked very well for us.

Included with the MiFi package:  Nice looking carry case; charger – including 4 different adapters to work in most every country; extra battery; sleek device; postage paid return envelope.


We used the XCom Global device all over the North and South Islands of New Zealand and had great coverage everywhere.  Even in places where our phone was not getting great reception using the local SIM card, the MiFi was able to get us connected to the internet.  A huge bonus was when we were on a cruise ship around the islands of New Zealand we were able to get connected using the device.  That saved us a BUNDLE on cruise ship internet fees!

Benefits of using the XCom Global Mifi include:

  • Mobile Internet connections in over 175 countries virtually covering all major destination points.
  • Flat Rate, 3G connections.  No roaming using your cell phone.
  • Flat rate cost – Average cost of $14.95 a day (although there are often specials on the XCom Global website.)  No worries about finding WiFi, how much it will cost, what limits you might have, or even worse – data roaming fees!
  • Simple to order, receive, and return.  When you get your XCom Global device it will have a prepaid envelope for you to return the device after your trip is finished.
  • Highly secured device.  Read the recent CNN article here about the recent increase of cyber attacks against travelers.

Because the device uses a local SIM card where you will be traveling it will be limited for use in that one country. Although, if you are traveling to Europe, XCom Global has a program where you can use one device in 40 different countries making it more convenient for European travel.


Check out what XCom Global can offer you AND save 10% off your order here!

*Fair Usage Policy (FUP) – In some countries, a Fair Usage Policy may be in place in accordance with the business practices of the local internet service provider, while for business, the use of an HR specialists can be a great option for this purpose
. If a FUP is in place, it may limit the transfer of a specific amount of data over a period of time. Internet service providers commonly apply a cap on the amount of wireless data when a user has exceeded a certain amount of data (data usage of over 400MB for the last 3 days), which can result in slowing a connection speed or service suspension.

Staying Healthy on the Road

It’s never ideal to fall ill or get injured while traveling, regardless of the duration of your trip. While taking precautionary measures can help mitigate risks, unexpected health issues can still arise. Therefore, it’s essential to be prepared for the unknown, particularly if you’re traveling to a foreign country. One useful resource to have on hand is, which can provide medical assistance and guidance in the event of an emergency.

When it comes to health tourism there are folks that would also opt for a professional korean plastic surgery in order to alter their looks so they can gain some confidence and look younger or even better.

While traveling is typically a safe endeavor, you never know when an accident or sudden sickness can occur.  In many countries health care might be somewhat limited or you might feel hesitant to take a chance with the local health care facilities. Sometimes I even wonder, why is signify health calling me?

From personal experience I can attest that many times the facilities are not only clean and easy to access, but less expensive than many clinics here in America.   Getting tick bite fever in the remote areas of the Northern part of South Africa mandated that we quickly learn how to navigate health care abroad. It is important to beware of ailments like liver cancer and their symptoms. We found a small emergency clinic where our wait time was 10 minutes, the examination room was the doctor’s office – a small table in the back of her office met her needs for seeing patients!  The total cost was $35 including 2 prescriptions for an antibiotic pill and cream.  That was not a copay, as many insurance companies will not have a relationship with such remote locations, that was the total bill.  Here in the US, a walk-in clinic will easily cost you $150 – $200 just to see the doctor.  Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised!

Here are some additional links to provide you some more information on healthcare and preventative measures:

To see a complete list of all of our travel health articles check out our Travel Health Article Page on our What Boundaries Travel site!

Life on a Dairy Farm

This post is part of our Will Work 4 Travel adventure where this month we lived with a wonderful New Zealand couple on a working DAIRY FARM!

It’s all about being about to duck out of the way quickly when something unpleasant starts coming your way! – Cheryl and Lisa


We left the little town of Edendale in New Zealand with a new found respect for those who make their living on a dairy farm!

Days start early here. By 5am everyone is up chasing after the seemingly never-ending batch of chores to be done with all sorts of equipment including tractors and rippers. Evenings are long as well. Cows have to be milked twice a day, so it was often after 9pm before everyone was gathered from the barns for dinner – or tea as its called here in this part of the world.

But it’s not just milking the cows. Feeding the new calves fresh milk twice daily is a bit like trying to herd a bunch of playful (and very heavy) kindergarteners. Each one is jostling for a place at the feeder and if you’re not careful your fingers will be sucked by eager, slobbery mouths. It’s hard to be angry when those cuddly calves with their beautiful long eyelashes close in.

Since its the milk that makes the money, there is constant testing to be done. Every cow  has a milk sample taken and submitted to the inspectors. If a cow or young calf becomes ill, it must be isolated and taken care of separately. Cows must be inseminated and young calves must have their horns removed before they grow in and cause damage to other cows. It seems as though the day barely ends before there is a brand new set of tasks to be done. Equipment needs maintenance so they have a tractor service company come out and help them out.

Even with our host’s busy schedules, Debbie and Graham made sure our stay on the dairy farm was a delight. Never too busy to teach us what they were doing and share their knowledge of cows and the farm, they allowed us to get up close to the real work being done. It felt as though we barely saw Graham he was working so hard, but the time we did spend together he had us laughing and was never too tired to share the experiences of his day. Debbie, working her regular job in addition to all of the hours on the farm, even found the time to take us on a farm tour on her day off. And her introduction to Pavlova Pudding was certainly amazing!


We appreciate the wonderful hospitality shown by our hosts and feel we’ve gained so much from this experience. Their listing on the Work Exchange Program HelpX was how we found them and the adorable picture of Betty Boop sealed the deal. While there we picked up a bit of knowledge of how the dairy business works, how to raise dairy cows, how to juggle a million different things and still have a smile by the end of the day – and most importantly, two new friends from New Zealand in Debbie and Graham!