Tag Archives: Travelocity

Unfortunately, our August is Open

Well, yesterday we learned that we were not selected for the Travelocity Travel for Good grant. We were really encouraged by all of your support and are disappointed that we do not have this opportunity to volunteer in Alaska and share our stories.

So what now?

We are open to possibilities and welcome your suggestions.

We are open between August 12th and September 10th. Anyone know of a great volunteer opportunity in the Western U.S. or Canada (or overseas with a way to get there cheaply?)

Things we might do:
Look for donated airfare or grants to get to Alaska anyways
Do another trip with Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana
Take more time to explore the Pacific Northwest, volunteering for one time gigs along the way
Try to find paid summer work that would let us extend the trip

17th Week In Review: the Car is Fixed!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!  Voting has closed for the Travelocity, Travel for Good contest, and we received a total of 3,109 votes.  When voting closed, we were in 15th place, which should be enough to get us into the 2nd round.  The 2nd round is determined solely by the Travelocity judges, and we will not find out the results until the end of June.  By then we should be in Alberta, Canada.

This week was all about getting the car back and getting ready to hit the road once again.  My mom and I drove down to Huntsville, AL, all in one day.  The following day we retrieved the Rav4 (thank you Lott Motor Company!), dropped off the money hungry rental car, and headed back to Virginia (in 2 days).  It was an exhausting turnaround, but blessedly uneventful.  Big shout out to mom for tackling 24 hours of driving with me.

welcome to virginia sign

Back to Virginia in the Rav for the first time since early February

Tomorrow we plan to get back on the road, this time for the longest stretch yet: 5 months between “headquarters”.  We’re already registered for a week-long trail building volunteer trip in northern Montana through the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation.  The trip starts on June 16th, so we are going to be moving at a pretty quick pace through the great lakes and the Dakotas to get to our assignment.  After using hand tools to clear trees from a historic phone line in the wilds of Montana, we will continue north towards Canmore, to visit Sharon’s Uncle Tony and Aunt Barbara.  On the way we plan to volunteer with a First Nation community through the Muskoka Foundation.  We will be teaching teens about photography and helping them to develop a portfolio.

john patton at Chrysalis Vineyard

John Patton at Chrysalis Vineyard

It’s going to be an awesome summer discovering the Rocky Mountain states and provinces and the Pacific Northwest. … and hopefully Alaska!

Hours volunteered: 0, but completed registration for a volunteer trail building trip in Montana in mid-June


4 (Sharon and Melinda), Virginia –  Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Manassas; Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama

2 (Jay): Virginia & Maryland

Budget: Over – finally got to drop off the rental car which was acting as a hole in our wallet

People Visited:  Kelly Pugh, John Patton, Susan Barrett, Angela Churchill, Cousin Amy & Karl & baby Samantha, Aunt Mariel & Uncle Nathan, Uncle Steve, Aunt Janet, Cousin Janet, Cousin Will, Cousin Dennis & Hadyn & baby Soren, Tracy Rickett, Aunt Madelon & Uncle Chris, Cousin Stephanie & “baby” Natalia, Carmelita & Julius and their son Xan, biking buddies: Matt & Tom; the REI crew: John, Nick, Mike & Maria, Mike

Nights under the stars:  0

Best meal: Homemade beef tenderloin with horseradish sauce and greens from Sharon’s parents garden

Shout out to Celadon Thai Cuisine and the Afghan Kabob Restaurant in Springfield for some standout dishes.

Best beer: This week we branched out with margaritas and wine, we did not tour any breweries or sample any unique beers

Update On Travel for Good Contest

Thank you so much to everyone who has voted and has encouraged others to vote for us in the Travelocity Travel for Good contest.

If you have not yet voted in the last 24 hours, PLEASE VOTE NOW: http://www.volunteerjournals.com/volunteer-travel-grants/entries/send-sharon-and-jay-full-time-volunteers-alaska

Sharon and Jay in tentAs of this writing, we are in 21st place (out of 77 entries) and have 482 votes.  There are 4 winners, so our goal is to move into the top four by the end of May when voting ends.



THE PROBLEM:  Some people are being told that they have already voted when they have not.  This happens when you are voting from a computer that is networked with other computers and shares the same IP address.  For instance, at a workplace like Arlington County or even on your home network if you multiple computers that are connected.

THE SOLUTION: if you get a message saying you’ve already voted, please vote from a different computer, such as your iphone or your home computer.  You can also connect to a free wifi network to vote (that will show up as a new IP address).

More about the trip we are trying to win:

Kodiak Island

We are competing for a trip to Kodiak Island, a 5,000 square foot archipelago with only 100 miles of roads on it.  The trip is organized through the American Hiking Society, which puts together trail building volunteer vacations all over the United States.  We would be working with a local organization, the Island Trails Network to build trail.  From the trip description:

Volunteers will assist with the design and building of wilderness hiking trails on Near Island under the leadership and guidance of trails professionals. During the 10-day experience, volunteers will also learn about sustainable trails, and become familiar with the wildlife, geography and culture of this beautiful island.

The trip runs from August 20th to August 30th.  We plan to be visiting my Uncle Tony in Canmore, Alberta in July, so hopefully, if we win the travel grant, we could drive from Canmore to Homer, Alaska and then take a ferry over to the island.  Before or after our American Hiking Society project, we hope to explore Alaska and volunteer along the way.  Ideally we could take a ferry with our car all the way back down the coastline to Vancouver after the trip to see Alaska from a unique viewpoint.


Puffin (image credit: Kodiak.org, click on photo to see original)

I am most excited about all of the possibilities for wildlife viewing and photography.  Kodiak Island is most famous for the Kodiak Bear.  I’m more of a bird enthusiast, so I prefer to see the puffins and find out more about the other 240 species  of bird that frequent the archipelago.

The more I read about the trip and about Alaska, the more excited I get.  I really really hope that we win this trip.  Thank you so much for helping us get there!

Help Us Win a Trip to Alaska to Volunteer

Many of our friends, family, and blog readers have shared their support for our trip and their concern for Jay’s well being since the accident.  You have asked how you can help.  Here’s how:

Please click on the photo below to go to the Travel for Good site and vote for us to win a travel grant to volunteer in Alaska.
jay and sharon in tent
The grant is for up to $5,000 and will help to balance out the costs of Jay’s treatment so that we can keep on schedule to volunteer for a year.

Here are the details of the contest:

  • You are allowed 1 vote per day per computer from now until May 31st
  • You can vote from your mobile device as well
  • You do not have to sign up or give any information to vote
  • The photo of us in the tent on the right sidebar gives you a direct link to the voting page.
  • Four winners will be chosen, so feel free to vote for another video as well if you would like
  • If we win, we will participate in one of these trips from the American Hiking Society

Please let us know if you have any questions.  If you have suggestions of where we can share our story and encourage others to vote,  please let us know.

Here is our contest video that is linked to in the photo above: