Search Tours

Photo Friday – Friday the 13th

We had a busy week around the globe and here are some of the highlights:

Nicole Long/Laos Director/Luang Prabang, Laos

Nicole says, “Here are two pictures from a small celebration our small office had this week.   This week the office celebrated a successful end to the high season and also Woman’s Day, which is a national holiday.  First is a picture of Phaeng saying nyok (cheers in Laos) to me first as his boss and secondly as his adopted sister for Woman’s Day.  We were sitting at a local goat restaurant  on the Mekong.  If you can believe that the image behind him is the Mekong!  It is the dry season so where you  see sand is usually water.  Actually last year the Mekong River was almost flooding the restaurant where we were eating!  It’s amazing the difference!”

“The second picture is of me and one of our beloved and top guides, Somphone.  He came out as well to celebrate the occasion.   He is a person that goes far beyond his duties as a guide.  Last week he went along on a tour to visit JWOC project work in the countryside as a guide for FREE!  He also begs me to let him help teach at the JWOC language school when he has free time in the low season.  Of course you can Somphone!  We LOVE volunteers! ”


April O’Connell -Cole/Tour Consultant/Truckee, USA

April says, “This weekend my little brother John came to visit from Seattle. So we packed up the car and headed down the mountain to my mom’s house to visit with Uncle John and have a fun-filled-family day. We played cards (hand and foot is the new “it” game to play) and went to John’s favorite spot for lunch, Maria’s Tacos in Auburn. I love getting to hang out with my family, they rock.”


Andrea Ross/Director of Tours/Siem Reap, Cambodia

I say: “When we moved to Cambodia six years ago our then-landlord negotiated our rent-to-buy lease on the fact that our dirt road was going to be paved the following month. In fact, every six months or so for the last six years we have been told by someone, whether it be a government official or random signs that keep appearing, that our road was going to be paved. At first I looked forward to it, but somehow the dust in the dry season and the pot holes the size of VW Bugs in the wet season, started to grow on me and eventually that red dirt road became a part of us. I think it was that after driving down that potholed dust bowl turning into our driveway you had an even greater sense of an oasis.  Whatever it was, I followed the red dust road home and well, there’s no place like home!

This week is the end of an era. After all the promises and signs and gossip we actually have a paved road! Though it is nice to have less dust and a smooth road to town, everyone seems to think the smooth surface is the Indy500 track and they are driving too fast! For the sake of Tuna and the kids I am yelling at them…it’s okay, it’s one of my strengths.”



And After:


Philippa Nigg/Tour Consultant/Truckee, USA

Philippa says,”So here is my Friday photo – I spent the week enjoying the snow – not always this deep in it!”


Narla Phay/Cambodia Director/Siem Reap, Cambodia

Narla says, “This week a donor came to Cambodia and met her student she had sponsored to university through JWOC. I’m very glad that I had a chance to meet the donor and introduce them to the student that they sponsor. On that day the student showed them the university that she studying at and the house where she living. She a little shy to speak in English but she brave to speak Khmer then I can translate to her sponsor. I wish I will have this opportunity again, it’s fun and feel like I helping someone and changing some body life to be better in the furture.”


JWOC photo of the week:

Andrea says, “Se (JWOC Scholarship Student and Clean Water Project supervisor), Narla (JWOC board of directors country advisor) and Andrea did a conference call with a great high school class studying the global water crises in Washington DC. Narla and Se talked about the JWOC Clean Water Program and the reason it is so necessary in Cambodia. It was great for all the students to be able to connect and talk even while they’re a world apart.”


Kwanchanok “Jeab” Meechai/Thailand Director/Bangkok, Thailand

Jeab says, “This is Wong Duean beach located in Samet Island, Rayong, Thailand. I went there for away from the noise of the town with a buddy. This beach called Wong Duean because the shape of it looks like the moon curve, so Wong Duean in Thai means the moon curve. There were so lovely and nice dogs aswell. Oh, I miss them already!”




Thanks and see you next week!

The Debut of Photo Friday

Many of the blogs I follow feature a Photo Friday and I love the idea. I asked each of my directors as well as my tour consultants and staff around the world to send me a photo each Friday that summed up their week. I wasn’t picky…A beautiful sunset, a night out with friends, anything from where they are in the last week. So here it is, the Journeys Within Photo Friday Debut!

April O’Connell Cole/Tour Consultant/Truckee, CA, USA

April says: “This week we experienced a full-on blizzard in Truckee. Four feet of fresh snow Tuesday night alone. It is so nice of my husband to allow me to always park in the garage. This is what he had to deal with Wednesday morning before heading to work.”


Narla Phay/Cambodia Director/Siem Reap, Cambodia

Narla says, “Spending time with friends on weekend at Kulen Mountain which 50km from Siem Reap town. Nice and cold there.”


Andrea Ross/Director or Tours/Siem Reap, Cambodia

I say, ” The last time I crossed from Thailand to Cambodia by bus was seven years ago and after an epic 19 hour journey I swore I would never do it again. With the promise of new roads and an easier crossing I reneged and tried it this weekend. It took me 6 hours and was a piece of cake. The roads are better, but the border hasn’t changed at all, still a bit scary and very poor. Imagine the San Diego/TJ border, now imagine that TJ is the good size. Yea, not pretty.”


Van Thanh and Loan Ho/Vietnam Directors/Hanoi, Vietnam

Loan and Van sent me two photos this week and say, “I think these photos will make you laugh. One is of Van in Dalat dressed in traditional dress and the other is the old photo of Van trying rice wine with Callie and Couper watching.”


Callie and Couper watching Van drink the rice wine

JWOC photo of the week.

JWOC says, “19 new scholarship students in Cambodia, thank you donors and here’s to a great year of over 60 students working on JWOC projects. “


Kwanchanok “Jeab” Meechai /Thailand Director/Bangkok, Thailand

Jeab says, “There was the farewell of the previous director and I had booked the private room for 15 persons at Yok Yor restaurant. About 7 pm, tour guides were coming at the restaurant one by one. The dinner was going well, most the food are healthy menu like fish this, fish that, veggie that veggie this…Oyyy! Very busy ordering and talking after haven’t seen each other quite long time. But after the foods had arrived there is silence, the food’s so great “Aroii maak!” After ate, Andrea said good bye to Waew and Waew said good bye officially and also said welcome to me and Aoy as well. I didn’t say much just said, “Thank you and I will survive” because there was an excitement made all the word that I thought I have to say that day has gone. But anyway the farewell went well. Wish Waew have a good luck and great time with her husband in Canada and I will replace her to be director, Thailand! I will enjoy my job, wish me luck!


Nicole Long/Laos Director/Luang Prabang, Laos

Phaeng was taking the pics during the ceremony.  The pic of just Jim (a Journeys Within guest) is pretty great.  Traditionally, for the Basi the oldest women of the village put everything together and in the pic of Jim is the oldest and most respected woman in the village tying on the blessing strings.  The other woman was showing him how to hold his hand correctly to the revered elders in the community.