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Hello. I'm AHeneen. Former Wikitraveler of the same name. I'm busier these days than I used to be. I frequently edit Wikipedia and occasionally contribute to Commons, but I haven't really contributed much on Wikivoyage for a few years.
Unfortunately, I don't have the ability/money to travel much. Someday, though, I hope to be able to roam the corners of the globe. My interest shifts from region to region every few months, but the regions I am most interested in are Africa, the Caucasus, & Central Asia. I studied French for 4 years (& one summer) in high school, but I'm getting a bit rusty with grammar, irregular verbs in less-used tenses, & the gender of most nouns. I would really like to learn Russian (got the Cyrillic alphabet down) & Portuguese. Maybe a little bit of other useful languages like Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, & Mandarin.
Aside from travel, I'm interested in science/technology and current events...not many 20-something Americans read BBC News each day and I also check out sites like France24, AllAfrica.com, CNN, Drudge Report, Slate, & Technology Review frequently along with television shows like Globe Trekker & NOVA (both on PBS in the U.S., check your local listings). My education plans have been derailed for the present, but I hope to eventually be able to return to school and obtain a university degree in Mechanical Engineering and also study International Business (either as a second degree/major or minor).
I've recently been working on my ancestry...going from 8 direct ancestors I knew of in early 2012, to about 50 in mid-2012, and picking up the task again in May 2013 now have over 700 direct ancestors (which might double once I've copied the pedigrees of noble families from this awesome website) and nearly 2000 total ancestors (incl. siblings and other spouses). Needless to say, none of them traveled much, except perhaps this interesting man:
- Dom. Johannes Theodorus Polhemius — Born in Germany and received his divinity degree from from Heidelberg University. Moved to Netherlands. After his first wife died while giving birth to their first child, he applied to the Dutch East India Company. In 1638, he was sent as part of a colonizing fleet to Recife, Brazil, which the Dutch had recently taken from the Portuguese. He became a minister on the Island of Itamarca. He was valued for his ability to speak four languages—German, Dutch, French, & Portuguese—and great skill in his ability to communicate with the native tribes of the region. The Portuguese later recaptured the city and gave the Dutch 3 months to leave or else become Portuguese citizens and convert to Catholicism or face death (at the height of the Inquisition). For some reason, Theodorus was on a separate ship from his wife and children and his ship was captured by Spanish pirates. The ship was taken to Barbados, but soon after captured by a French privateer. The Dutchmen aboard the ship paid their French captors to be given passage to the New Netherlands colony. Despite several requests sent to Amsterdam, the residents of the newly established settlements on Long Island lacked a minister and had to travel across the East River to New Amsterdam for church services. When Dom. Polhemius arrived unexpectedly, he was appointed their interim minister. A couple years later, he was appointed the full-time minister and his family were sent to New Netherlands from Holland. Dom. Polhemius served the Long Island communities of Flatbush, Midwout, & Breukelen (which later incorporated the other two towns; spelled Brooklyn today) as minister until his death.
- California: Lived in Ventura County; been to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Barstow
- Arizona: Tucson, Nogales and areas in between them.
- Ohio: Lived in Columbus; been to most of central OH from Sidney/Wapakoneta in the west to Sugarcreek and Cambridge in the east and down to Marietta in the southeast
- West Virginia: Parkersburg
- Florida: Home since 1999, been almost everywhere except the panhandle west of Panama City and the Keys
- New York: Manhattan
- Utah: Salt Lake City, Provo
- Colorado: Denver, Boulder
Add to that, drives through (without a long stop) the following states: Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, & New Jersey. A layover in Texas should probably count too, as a state I've been in.
United Kingdom (1994)
- Queensland: Port Douglas, Cairns, Townsville, Charters Towers, Whitsunday Islands, Mackay, Rockhampton, Fraser Island, Brisbane, Surfers Paradise
- New South Wales: Byron Bay, Grafton, Sydney
Plus a layover in Melbourne.
Where I'd like to go
My primary interests are Africa (especially the Francophone countries), the Caucasus states (Georgia, Armenia, & Azerbaijan), and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, & Western China. Over time, I'll find the region I'm most interested in will shift for some reason (watch an intriguing tv show, read a great travel blog/article). Other regions which I'm interested in (to a lesser degree than the 3 above) are: the Middle East, Russia, Mongolia, Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia, Micronesia, Argentina, Chile, & Antarctica.
My Work on Wikivoyage
My contributions here can be somewhat random...working on a page in Africa one day, reviewing Recent changes the next, updating a town in Florida the following day, and adding lengthy, well-thought-out comments to policy discussions the next. This is just my style. Most of my work has been updating off-the-beaten-path destinations: places in Africa, Central Asia, the Caucasus, or the South Pacific. I hope to eventually get my home region—Polk County (Florida)—up to guide status and featured as the Off the Beaten Path destination. Lake Wales & Winter Haven may even be able to reach star status with some further work. I keep track of the work I've done on this page. My sandbox is here.
My biggest accomplishments are adding a substantial amount of content to the Africa page (a work in progress, but compare it to other continent pages!), writing most of the content on Dalton Highway (guide status & featured as OtBP in May 2009), Lake Wales, & Winter Haven (the latter two are in my home region and part of my contributions to Polk County (Florida)).
I'm an administrator on Wikivoyage. It basically just means I have a good grasp of community policies and have been entrusted with a few extra abilities (primarily the ability to delete, undelete, & protect pages). I am rather proud of Wikivoyage and only regret that I can't spend hours each day adding quality content and contributing even more to discussions. I'll go through recent changes and fix issues with edits and new pages. I try my best to be understanding and considerate when working with new/inexperience contributors. If you have any questions/concerns, don't hesitate to write on my talk page.
Whether you're looking for photos or a phrasebook, there are some websites, books, and simple tips which are worth sharing. These links are good both for travel AND to update Wikivoyage pages!
- Travelblog.org - read through travel blogs from any country in the world
- Flickr - sure it's a great place to host photos, but it's also a great place to view photos. Simply use the search. Better yet, search for a group that contains photos of your next destination (or dream voyage). Algeria? 9000 photos...Tajikistan? 1600 photos...or maybe you just want to see what passport stamps and visas look like.
(Online) Travel magazines
- Matador Network — Travel-focused articles, many written by fellow backpackers and other young travelers.
- Wanderlust — British magazine with a good deal of articles on travel.
- Skift — Travel news. Much is aimed for people in the travel industry rather than tourists, per se, but a large amount of content.
- The Expeditioner — Various travel news and articles discussing travel.
- CommuniTrip.com — Various travel news and articles discussing travel.
- Vagobond — Various travel news and articles discussing travel.
- Off Track Planet — Various travel news and articles discussing travel.
Basic Country/Safety info
- Wikipedia - simply go to a country or city's article and read up about it. Speak another language? Sometimes it's worth viewing the page in another language which may have more details (especially for small destinations).
- US State Dept.-Country Specific Info - general but very useful info about countries and worth printing and keeping while traveling. Includes pertinent info about: entry/exit req's, safety/crime (incl. common scams), traffic rules/safety, special circumstances, criminal penalties (read carefully...some countries may have severe penalties for actions that may be mundane in the US or be lightly punished). Other Western governments (UK, Canada, Australia, NZ) have similar info online, with details (like visa requirements) pertinent to their citizens.
- CDC Travel Health – The U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention has a great section devoted to travel health. You can find health concerns/dangers by country (such as required/recommended vaccinations), information on diseases found throughout the world, search for a travel health clinic near you, and how to get help if you contract an illness and are back home or want to return to the US (because your primary care doctor knows all about Yellow Fever or Chikungunya Fever).
- Word2word - a list of language resources online, incl. links to website where you can learn a plethora of languages both common (Chinese, Danish, Korean, Thai)and obscure (Breton, Igbo, Tibetan, Uzbek).
- Byki - free software download (for basic version) or viewable online, the software downloads "lists" relating to a particular topic, you then flip through flashcards to memorize words. The plus side: 70+ languages, including obscure ones (Altai, Georgian, Hausa, Luxembourgish, Turkmen), and the words/phrases are spoken by a native speaker...the downside: it's pretty much just memorizing words from the flashcards (no grammar, no insight into language).
- And of course, don't forget the phrasebooks here on Wikivoyage!
- Bradt Travel Guides – Cannot recommend highly enough! They publish guides to a large number of lesser-known destinations worldwide. This includes great, comprehensive guides to destinations such as the Congos, Belarus, Sierra Leone, Kazakhstan, the Azores, Mauritius, Spitsbergen, the Yukon, & Eastern Turkey. They also publish a few specialized guides like wildlife guides (Eastern Europe, East Africa, Antarctica, & more), Africa Overland, the Northern Lights, and more.
- Odyssey Books & Guides – A China-based publisher with a small but interesting range of guides. Their "guides" are generally very detailed with information about regions, cities, history, & culture, but thin on practical travel info like transportation, hotels, & restaurants. Guides include: Afghanistan, Tajikistan, the Seychelles, Mongolia, Yunnan, and more (mostly in Asia or Eastern Hemishere).
- Rough Guides – Many great travel guides. Especially of note are their "First-time" guides, which are for planning (no hotels, restaurant, detailed city info) but still really useful.
- Thorn Tree Travel forum - probably the best forum on the web to ask questions related to travel(please use the search to see if the question has already been answered...recently; also don't ask vague questions like "what can I do in X in a week")
- Horizons Unlimited - ever dreamed of driving overland in your own vehicle? The site is all about travelling overland in your own vehicle and, while focused on motorcycles, there are dedicated sections about travel with 4x4s and a lot of country-specific info (border requirements, repair shops, road conditions, etc) which is valid or all types of vehicles. Wanna know how to cross from Djibouti to Yemen? How to ship your vehicle from S. Africa to S. America? The forum is the most useful part of the site.
- seat61.com – A free, online guide to rail travel worldwide. Also has information for ferries in some countries (mainly Europe).
- Wikipedia – Especially useful for finding which airlines fly to smaller airports worldwide. Pages for airports list which airlines serve the airport along with the destinations for each route.
- airlinemeals.net - Delicious? Nauseating? Share your airline food experience with fellow travelers.
- GoAbroad.com — The self-described "resource for meaningful travel" is a clearinghouse of sorts for study abroad, volunteering, international internships, TEFL & International teaching opportunities.
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