Christy and Aaron Tracker

Follow Christy and Aaron on their backpacking trip around the world

Living in the Moment

Posted by Christy in Posts on 12 30th, 2010

As our trip draws nearer and nearer to a close, Aaron and I have been thinking more about what we will do when we are back in the States. What will we do? Where will we live?

I mean, it’s always good to plan for the future, right? RIGHT?!

WRONG.

Sometimes we tend to live either too much in the future or too much in the past and not enough in the present. Coming to this realization, we have put an immediate stop to our planning and returned to live in the moment. After all, that is what this trip is all about: Living for today and not tomorrow, as well as for ourselves and no one else.

We will have plenty of time for the future and for everyone else when we get back, but, for now, this is our time.

Here’s to three more months. And we aren’t going to waste one more minute of it.

:-)



Weirdest Christmas Ever

Posted by Aaron in Posts on 12 26th, 2010

Every year of our lives, Christy and I have spent Christmas and the holiday season with our families in Ohio. For obvious reasons (the world trip), we were going to spend Christmas away from our hometowns for the first time. We went to a hotel at Hua Hin to celebrate this Christmas at the beach. We tried to blend some of our favorite holiday traditions with the amazing local atmosphere. In the end we both found ourselves saying, “It wasn’t the best Christmas. It wasn’t the worst Christmas. But it was definitely the weirdest Christmas.”

Thanks to Christy’s Grandma and Aunts, we were treated to a hotel room for Christmas. We felt like we were living in luxury. We could only remember 7 other times we had a room to ourselves with our own bathroom. We also made sure to get a room with free wi-fi so we could call our families on Christmas day.

We spent our time in Hua Hin trying to find the Christmas spirit in the city and ourselves.

We went to the beach:

Christy and Aaron at Hua Hin beach

We admired the decorations and lights throughout the city. The city was decorated with lots of lights to celebrate the king’s birthday on December fifth and they are left up through the new year celebrations. We pretended they were Christmas decorations too.

Christy in Hua Hin

The malls had real Christmas decorations up for the tourists:

Christy and Thailand Christmas decorations

One of the best thing in Thailand are the night markets. It is fun to look around at all of the stuff with out getting pressured by the shop keepers. It has been months since we could look at souvenirs without getting hassled. It is such a relief once the hassle is gone.

Christy in the night market

We go to the night markets almost every night to eat good cheap street food.  We usually pay around $1 per item, including full plates of pad thai. There are also a lot of exotic foods available. Look how happy I am with my special Christmas Eve treat, squid on a stick . As you will see later, I would come to regret this decision.

Aaron and squid on a stick

Christy went for a different Christmas Eve treat, a festive ice cream sundae.

Christy and her ice cream sundae

We spent the rest of Christmas Eve night watching Christmas shows on Youtube and my favorite holiday movie, A Christmas Story.

Christy watching A Christmas Story

Christmas day we went to a safari park to ride elephants as the second part of our gift from Christy’s aunts. As a bonus we got to hold a tiger cub.

Christy and a tiger cub

Christy and Aaron riding an elephant

As the day wore on I started feeling sicker and sicker. We ended up back in our hotel room for the rest of the day while I battled food poisoning from the squid on a stick.

Aaron sick with food poisoning

We did not go out to dinner at a nice restaurant like planned, because I could not leave the hotel room. Christy’s Christmas dinner ended up being a Pizza Hut pizza.

Christmas dinner pizza

Later that night we Skyped with our families. While Skype calls are nice, we wished we could be with them, instead of watching them open presents on the computer screen. This is the first time we have felt really homesick on the trip and wanted to be home. Christmas is always such a nice time of year in the United States it was sad to be somewhere else. Now that Christmas is over I am sure our desire to return home will fade as new adventures begin.

Beaches, lights, elephant rides, squid on a stick, and Skype, it was a weird Christmas.



Merry Christmas from Thailand!

Posted by Aaron in Posts on 12 25th, 2010

Christy and Aaron riding an elephant



Africa Top Three

Posted by Christy in Posts on 12 14th, 2010

Here are my lists for our trek through Africa:

Favorite Countries:

1.)    Namibia

2.)    Zambia

3.)    Tanzania

Favorite Cities:

1.)    Cape Town, South Africa

2.)    Livingstone, Zambia

3.)    Stone Town, Zanzibar

Best Adventures:

1.)    Bungee jumping at Victoria Falls

2.)    Whitewater rafting on the Zambezi River

3.)    Sandboarding in the Namibian Desert

Best Moments:

1.)    The waterhole in Etosha National Park

2.)    Bungee jump

3.)    Elephants breaking into the truck in Mufuwe, Zambia

Best Wildlife Experiences:

1.)    Etosha National Park

2.)    Cheetah Park in Kamanjab, Namibia

3.)    Croc Valley campground in Mufuwe, Zambia

Best Times with the African Trails Group:

1.)    Dorm discussion of a certain occurrence in Swakopmund, Namibia

2.)    Christmas Cracker night

3.)    Tie – Me falling off the top bunk in Cape Town and the night of the “woman with the horn” discussion in Chitimba, Malawi

Scariest Moments:

1.)    Aaron having a knife pulled on him in Cape Town, South Africa

2.)    Bungee jump

3.)    Monkeys chasing me in Mufuwe, Zambia



So Long, Friends

Posted by Christy in Posts on 12 12th, 2010

As fast as they came into our lives, they have now left us to return to their homes. I can’t lie, I am on the verge of tears as I write this. How can I feel this way about people that I have only known for eight weeks?

I am so glad that we chose to do the tour through Africa; I can’t imagine exploring the continent without our new friends.

To all of you from African Trails: you are always welcome to stay with us in the U.S. (wherever that may be). Thanks for making our trip that much better.

XOXO,

Christy and Aaron



At Knifepoint

Posted by Aaron in Posts on 12 5th, 2010

I had a knife pulled on me in Cape Town, South Africa today. Yes, I am OK. No, the thief did not get anything from me. I will try my best to describe the encounter. It is difficult to describe without exaggerating or downplaying the danger of the situation.

Christy and I were walking in a group of six people in the middle of the day. We were walking between two major tourists points, the waterfront and Long Street, so we were in a nice part of town surrounded by tourists. I was at the back of our group preoccupied with pulling thorns out of my flip flops not paying attention to anything else.  We passed a group of people headed in the other direction as we walked by the Audi dealership. One skinny guy (even smaller than me) stepped in front of me got really close and blocked my way. He said something which sounded like gibberish to me, but it could have been Afrikaans or one of the other languages spoken in South Africa. When I realized I couldn’t understand him I said “No” in an annoyed voice, assuming he was begging for money. Before I made my move to walk off I glanced down at his hand which he was raising. I expected he was holding out his hand for money. Instead of empty, there was a half open knife laying in the palm of his hand. It looked a lot like this picture:

A knife similar to the one I saw in Cape Town

Instead of begging, he was suggesting I give him money using a knife. He was actually trying to rob me. My annoyance turned to anger and I pushed him away from me. Christy says I had a disgusted look on my face and I pushed him really hard. I just remember wanting this guy out of my face so I pushed him and continued walking on my way. I kept looking over my shoulder as I walked down the block, but the guy never turned back towards me.

Two major thoughts go through my head and I sit here writing this post:

The details of the situation make such a big difference. This was not how I would have envisioned a knifing to be. The guy was small, it was daylight, he was not holding the knife correctly for stabbing, I was is a group, and he did not pursue me after I pushed him. Looking back I think the guy was just looking for an easy victim. I do not think he wanted to have attention brought to him where there were so many tourists and police in the area. When I offered some resistance he walked off looking for an easier victim.

I feel the way I reacted was perfect for the situation. I have played through lots of “what if” scenarios in my mind. What if the guy had the knife blade already open all the way? What if he was bigger? What if the other people walking in his direction were actually associated with him? What if he turned back toward me after I pushed him? After my experience, all I can say to these “what ifs” is I don’t know how I would react to them. I do not know how I would have reacted in any other situation because that is not what happened. As I tell the story to other people they often tell me what they think they would have done. My response is, you don’t know how you will react until the situation presents itself with all of its unique details. In this specific encounter I did not have a fear response at all, just annoyance and anger. I do not value money more than my life, so I would expect myself to give over my money in an armed robbery situation. However, I have also thought about how I would fight someone if they attacked me on the street and I was forced to fight. In my particular situation, I instinctively chose a third hybrid option over fight or flight, and I think it worked out as well as possible.