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en This user is a native speaker of English.
fr-2 Cette personne peut contribuer avec un niveau moyen en français.

Hello. I'm AHeneen. Former Wikitraveler of the same name. 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,, 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.

Some of the earliest immigrants to a few American colonies and modern U.S. states:

  • Plymouth Colony (Massachusetts): Thomas Rogers. Crossed Atlantic aboard the Mayflower with son Joseph. Signer of the Mayflower Compact prior to landfall at Plymouth, Massachusetts on Nov 11/21, 1620. He died shortly thereafter sometime during the winter of 1620-21. I descend through his daughter who didn't migrate to Plymouth colony until 1630's.
  • New Netherlands (New York): Sarah Rapelje — First female born to European parents in the New Netherlands colony, July 9, 1625 in Fort Orange (present-day Albany), New York. Her parents Joris Jansen Rapalje and Catalyntje Trico are Walloons who arrived aboard the first immigrant-carrying fleet to Fort Orange, NY. The colony was moved from Ft.Orange to New Amsterdam in 1626. Thus, they were among the earliest residents of what is now New York City. Joris was among the earliest colonists to move across the river to the tiny settlement Breuckelen (later anglicized Brooklyn).
  • New Haven Colony (Connecticut): John Barlow & wife Ann Ward arrived at Watertown, Massachusetts in May 1635 and moved to Windsor later that year. The Connecticut colony was organized the following year and the couple became the progenitors of the Barlow family of Fairfield, CT
  • New Sweden (Delaware): Johan Andersson Stalcop (an ethnic Finn from southern Sweden) arrived in 1641 as part of the first colonizing fleet. He was an indentured servant for 5 years. He then became a soldier at Fort Christina, working in armory (firing the canons). When the Dutch fleet arrived, he was present at his post, but a later investigation revealed the commanding officer never gave an order to fire on the Dutch. He later became a wealthy landowner, at one point owning a couple thousand acres where downtown Wilmington, Delaware is now found.

Other ancestors settled in Maryland (1640s, but maybe not until 1689), New Jersey (1660s), Pennsylvania (1680s), Virginia (1690s), present-day West Virginia (1760s), & Ohio Country (1790s, became state of Ohio in 1803).

My first cousin (15 generations removed), Sir Francis Drake. Second explorer to circumnavigate the Earth, 1577-80, and legendary English privateer in the Caribbean.

I am also related to a few noteworthy individuals:

  • Sir Francis Drake — 1st cousin 15x removed (his grandfather John Drake V, 1479-1544, is my 15x great grandfather). Carried out the second circumnavigation of the Earth 1577-80 and was also a famous (or to the Spanish...infamous) English privateer in the Caribbean. Forbes estimates he was the second wealthiest pirate in history, with an equivalent net worth today of over US$122 million.
  • Maarten Schenck van Nydeggen — Brother of my 12th great grandfather (the Dutch General Peter Schenck van Nydeck).
  • Saint Ambrose Barlow Brother of my 11th great grandfather John Barlow. He was a Roman Catholic priest executed after Catholic priests were given one month to leave country or be tried for treason. The Vatican granted him sainthood in 1970.
  • Several U.S. presidents:
  • Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) Second cousin, six generations removed through his great-grandmother Rebecca Flowers (1720-1806).
  • Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881) Sixth cousin, seven generations removed through John Marsh (1579-1627) & wife Grace Baldwin (1592-1667).
  • Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885) Sixth cousin, eight generations removed through John Stevens (1575-1627) & wife Alice Atkins (1580-1650).
  • John "Calvin" Coolidge (1923-1929) Seventh cousin, five generations removed through Samuel Snow (1647-1717) & Sarah Wilson (c.1647/52-1686).
  • George W. Bush (2001-2009) Ninth cousin, two generations removed via his mother Barbara Pierce (herself First Lady of the U.S. 1989-1993) through Henry Lyon (1625-1707) & Elizabeth Bateman (d.1669). Henry Lyon and brothers arrived in Connecticut a year after they were supposedly among the Scottish soldiers separating the crowds from the execution scaffold at the execution of King Charles I.
  • Barack Obama (2009-present) Eighth cousin, 4 generations removed through Jonathan Singletary Dunham (1640-1724) & wife Mary Bloomfield (1642-1705).

Places visited[edit]

Countries visited.
U.S. States visited.

United States[edit]

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)[edit]

Australia (2002)[edit]

Plus a layover in Melbourne.

Mexico (2005)[edit]

Jamaica (2007)[edit]

France (1994, 2007)[edit]

Where I'd like to go[edit]

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[edit]

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.

This is, by far, my most active wiki account, but I also have accounts on Wikivoyage (French), Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, & Meta.

Travel resources[edit]

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!

Travel websites[edit]

  • - 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[edit]

  • 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.
  • Vagobond — Various travel news and articles discussing travel.

Basic Country/Safety info[edit]

  • 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.

Travel forums[edit]

  • 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.

Getting there/away[edit]

  • – 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.


  • - Delicious? Nauseating? Share your airline food experience with fellow travelers.
  • — 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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