My guest post on studying in Ghana and other personal travel blogs of interest

dateline-accra

I was asked to guest post on Dateline Accra, the small, personal travel blog of Stephen Zook, a young journalist whose spirit I adored when I was editing his copy a few years ago at The Temple News, the college newspaper I once worked and this year he’ll lead. He is studying in Accra, the capital city of Ghana in West Africa, this summer.

This was my contribution:

Don’t be afraid of the satchel water.

Pretty quickly on in the urbanized sprawl of greater Accra in coastal Ghana, you just might notice that the kids buy plastic bags of water, a corner of which they bite off to chug the contents. If no one convinces you otherwise, you just might stick to the bottled variety.

Don’t be afraid of the satchel water — that much I learned.

I spent a portion of summer 2005 studying at the University of Ghana in East Legon outside of the capital city of Accra. It wasn’t long enough to fully familiarize myself with even the university, set aside the city, the country or the region and Hell if I have even a taste of the continent, as one of the great lessons from travel should be that cultural learning comes from decades not days in a place. I did, however, pick up that the satchel water was refreshing, cheap and unique. Read the rest here.

Before he left, I promised him a beer when he returned. Now, I think he owes me one.

I hope he has a transcendent summer, explores and shares everything he can on that site. I also hope he builds traffic to share his story. He’s using Twitter, though he has some ground he can certainly make, as he’ll have plenty of compelling stories to tell.

Of course, this made me realize I follow a handful of low-traffic, personal travel blogs of friends or acquaintances who offer interesting reading. After the jump, peep seven such blogs that might be worth your time, whether you know the writers and their locations or not.

Put in some made-up rank based on update frequency, interest and power of posts, though all I dutifully follow:

  • Nathan’s Notes — A good buddy and former soccer teammate of mine from high school is working in a health clinic in western Uganda and, as you might be unsurprised to learn, tends to have stories worth reading. I share his work often with others. It’s worth your time.
  • JTrek — A fellow member of an online-only travel podacst in which I participated for NBC back in fall 2006 is currently traveling the world, with all the stories and experiences you might expect.
  • Fulbright Year — Robin Kolodny, a popular Temple University political science professor and something of a mentor of mine, is blogging her personal travels and experiences as part of her year as a Fulbright scholar.
  • Abi Goes Abroad — Another high school mate is teaching English in Madrid, Spain and shares personal and professional experiences. She’s written about extending her work there, which may interest some out there thinking about extended foreign stays.
  • The Traveling Gnome — The travel blog from Claire St. Amant, who is teaching in a Ukranian school as a member of the U.S. Peace Corps. She has shared some fascinating experiences, though her posts have slowed of late. It’s worth tossing in a feed reader.
  • Schwartztronica — Former Philadelphia CityPaper contributor and proud LaSalle University graduate Christopher Schwartz, whose path I’ve crossed a few times online, is working to build a citizen media project on NewEurasia.net from various foreign locales. Last I read, he was applying to a graduate program in Belgium.
  • Americanna — The personal blog of a high school friend who now lives in London, though it includes travel pictures from elsewhere.
  • We Don’t Speak the Language — Discard it as feeling compulsory, but this is the home of the travel blog and video podcast I kept with my buddy Seany Blanda during our fall backpacking and couchsurfing through big European cities. Get it in your feed reader because we have

See some of my writing from when I studied abroad in Ghana.