Month: March 2014

20,000 miles by motorbike, 10,874 miles by bicycle and now over 7,000 by VW bus

duncan stokoe motorbike

10 months. 20,000 miles. Santiago, Chile to San Francisco, California on a motorbike. I met Duncan Stokoe, a 23-year old from England, during his journey last year while he was passing through Arizona. By chance, I happened to be diddling around Couchsurfing and found his post about looking for a place to crash in Arizona. I immediately emailed him offering up my dorm room. Luckily, a friend loaned me their air mattress and he slept in my dorm for a night. I gave him a tour of the university and we hung out in my dorm room with my roommate Chris. He told us some of the wildest stories like accidentally hanging out with drug cartel members in Ecuador and working on a ferry selling bananas between Colombia and Panama. Unfortunately, I had a few exams that week so he didn’t stay longer. He was one of the kindest people I ever met and extremely grateful for being able to stay there. After he left, he added me to an email list of people he had met along the way to keep us updated on his trip. In March of 2013, he arrived in San Francisco and completed his trip.


Fortunate for him, the traveling didn’t stop there. On March 23rd, he flew to London to spend a day catching up with his family and then traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, to begin another journey- cycling from Cape Town to Trafalgar Square in London, England. 17,500km(10,874 miles) on a bicycle.  Again, he sent out emails to the people he had met along the way and kept us updated on his trip.

duncan stokoe

During his journey, he said that one of the highlights was, “Seeing wildlife on the bike is pretty cool – so far I’ve seen oryx, zebras, monkeys, ostrich, an amazing herd of springbok that I chased for about 10 minutes before they turned and came sprinting either side of me, and an amusing stand off with a warthog.” He also included a highlight as, “be allowed to stay at a friend of a friend’s game reserve in Namibia. Spending two days driving round with the farm hand ended up turning into my own private two day safari with the highlight easily being getting to feed the rhinos at the end (see photo 3) – slightly nervous as i stand between a fast approaching 3 ton rhino and his dinner.”

duncan stokoe feeding a rhino

I remember seeing this for the first time and saying to myself, “WOW! Wouldn’t that be cool? To see this animals in the wildlife instead of at a zoo?” He finished this journey on December 22nd, 2013, just in time for Christmas! Now, I bet you can guess what he’s doing- another adventure! This time, he’s traveling with a group from Chile to Alaska in a VW van. Click on the link to like their page on Facebook and follow along with them! After hearing about Duncan’s adventures in person and by email, he’s truly inspired me and motivated me to want to explore the world in a different way. I chose to share his story this week because I hope it inspires you the way it inspired me. It’s fascinating to consider all of the places we can travel in the world. All we need is the drive and motivation to do it. The world is our oyster and it’s up to us to take advantage of it. I hope you enjoyed reading about Duncan’s story! Please share this with others who you think might enjoy it 🙂 ###

Why isn’t the news more positive?

The other night, I was at home eating ice cream and watching Fox 10 News with my dad when they showed a video of a security guard being beaten up in a subway station by a bum. It was a video from YouTube taken by a person watching.

My brows moved in and confused look came across myself. I asked myself, “What’s the point of this? Why are they telling me this? Yes, I understand that this man was almost injured but why should this be on the news?” I remembered a Ted talk I once watched where the speaker, Shawn Achor, brought up the fact that the majority of news is negative and about drugs, death, and violence and it’s true!

Take a look at the latest headlines on CNN in this screenshot from today(3/20/2014):

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 1.00.39 PM

If you look at the headlines, the majority of them are negative. “killed herself” or  “lost arm in accident” or “most hated man dies.”

I had never questioned the topics covered in the news until I heard Shawn Achor say that. It made me start to think about the news in a different way.  As a society, it seems as though we’re more interested in hearing about death, drugs and violence. Or maybe that’s just what major news outlets believe.  BUT!

What if all news was positive? What if we only focused on the positive aspects of issues and stories? Imagine the impact that would have on society. I think more people would look at life from an optimistic perspective. The world would be a happier place.

I wanted to share this because I think it’s important to think about the effects of media on society and I’m curious to know what others think. What do you think about the news in society? Would the world be different if news didn’t cover drugs, violence or death? Can we do anything about it?


One Young World and Under 20 Summit- Two amazing leadership conferences to check out

Last week, I was checking out other blog posts on Students Gone Global and learned about an awesome leadership conference called One Young World, which is a “UK-based not-for-profit that gathers together the brightest young people from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change.” I watched the film for last year’s conference and it just sounds amazing.

I wanted to share it because you can apply now to attend this year’s conference which will be held in Dublin, Ireland from October 15 to the 19th. Unfortunately, the cost of the event is around $4,500 plus tax, which is a little hefty, especially for a college student. The good thing- there are tons of scholarships out there that may be used to fund you to go!

The other conference I want to mention is the Under 20 Summit conference. The conference is put on twice a year-once in San Francisco and once in New York and it’s put on by the Thiel Fellowship. The Thiel Fellowship is a fellowship for under-20 adolescents who are motivated and ambitious and want to change the world. They’re” given a no-strings-attached grant of $100,000 to skip college and focus on their work, their research, and their self-education.” Even though the fellowship is for students under-20, the conference is open to all ages and it’s free! As long as you pay for yourself to travel to San Francisco or New York,  the conference itself is free to attend.

I found out about it last summer while interning in San Francisco. I met someone in my hostel who was attending and she invited me to go. At the conference, I met hundreds of young, bright individuals with ambitions of changing the world. I also heard from many inspiring and motivating speakers and had a wonderful experience overall. I would definitely encourage attending the conference if you have the opportunity.

Well, that’s it for today’s post! Hopefully this is new and helpful information to you! Thanks for reading!

P.S.- if you’re from Arizona, help support computer science education and take two minutes to send a message to the senator by filling out this form here! If the bill passes, computer science will count as a high school math course!

Credit to Ellen for sharing about One Young World on her blog post 


Why you should consider learning Portuguese if you already speak Spanish

picture of brazilIf you like languages and are considering picking up a third, check out Portuguese(Brazilian)! It’s a really cool language and if you already know Spanish, it’ll seem so much easier! The pronunciation is different but the grammar and vocabulary are super similar! Here are a few reasons to consider it:

Between 80-95% of Portuguese and Spanish are similar

I couldn’t find a credible source to cite this fact but I researched it as best as I could and the numbers varied but the point is Spanish and Portuguese are VERY similar. My professor once said that 80% of the grammar is similar but then after googling around, some people said 89% of the vocabulary was similar. I’m not too sure which it is BUT there are several similarities- enough to make the process 100x easier learning it as a third language.

Portuguese is the official language in 9 countries(plus 1 “place” where it’s the official language along with Cantonese)

In the following countries, Portuguese is listed as the official language:

  • Brazil
  • Portugal
  • Mozambique(in Africa)
  • Angola(in Africa)
  • Guinea-Bissau(in Africa)
  • Equatorial Guinea(in Africa)
  • Cape Verde(island off the coast of West Africa)
  • East Timor(island near Australia)
  • Sao Tome and Principe(islands near coast of West Africa)
  • Macau(technically not a country, part of China but special)

So if you learn Portuguese, it gives you a reason to visit all these countries and islands and even Macau, the “Special Administrated Region of the People’s Republic of China!” I think it’s so cool that Portuguese is one of the official languages there. It makes me really want to go there.

Speaking three languages will increase your job opportunities

This one is pretty obvious but the fact that you speak Spanish AND Portuguese could really help you especially if you’d like to work for a company that deals with clients from around the world. Instead of having to hire a Spanish and a Portuguese speaker, they could just hire YOU! Or, if you don’t like the jobs you’re finding as a bilingual Spanish-English speaker, maybe you’ll find one you like as a bilingual Portuguese-English speaker? You never know!

Unlike Spanish, you only really need to know three verb forms when conjugating

In Portuguese, you will only really need to know these conjugations:

  • I- eu
  • you/he/she/us- você/ele/ela/a gente
  • them, you all- eles/elas/vocês

So the main difference is that instead of using a separate nós form, in Brazil, they typically use a gente which is conjugated the same way as you, he, she, and us.  That’s also really awesome especially if you’re used to learning 5 or 6 different conjugations in Spanish. Now, you only have to learn 3!

Hopefully some of this information was new to you or you enjoyed reading this post! I decided to share it because I love learning languages. I’m also learning Portuguese and wanted to share this information because maybe you’ll find it helpful or interesting! Feel free to leave any comments or thoughts below! 🙂