Journey Guides are individuals who have a deep passion for the people and places where Sacred Travel Journeys takes travelers. Guides have either lived in or have an extensive knowledge of the place. Guides have been to each of the locations many times and we work tirelessly to maintain special relationships with our partners. A guide will never take travelers where they haven’t been and we always follow the lead of our hosts in every place we go. Connect with them on Twitter and check out their websites! These are some extraordinary folks and we are blessed to travel together!
Meet Rozella – The Lover (@rozellahw)
Profession: Faith-Based Social Entrepreneur (Website: Rozella H. White)
Favorite Food: Anything Latin or Italian. And seafood.
Favorite City: Barcelona. The music, landscape and culture make me want to move there.
Awkward Travel Moment: Trying to quickly chug water while at the security gate in London’s Heathrow Airport and promptly choking, inciting security and numerous other personnel to come running.
Sacred Travel Journey Experience: Visiting Ethiopia in 2004 changed the trajectory of my life. The people, the culture, and the land all called into question my values and I decided to live for something more. Until that point, I was all about success as it was materially defined in our context of the USA. After that trip, my life became all about my relationships with others and using my gifts to change the world.
Why the lover? Because my whole life is about fostering radical self-love so that I can radically love others. I believe that life is most fully lived when we love wholeheartedly.
Travel Journeys: The Netherlands, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Israel & Palestine, Jordan, Nicaragua, Mexico, Italy, France, Spain, Monaco, Germany, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and every state in the US except Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota, Maine, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Montana and Colorado. I’m on a mission to visit every one!
Meet Leila – The Heart (@la_luthercostal)
Profession: Pastor, Theologian, Teacher (Website: Leila M. Ortiz)
Favorite Food: I love anything and everything crunchy, so tacos and nachos are on top of the food chain for me.
Favorite City: I too have to say Barcelona. It took my breath away. It reminded me so much of home (Puerto Rico) because of the Spanish architecture, but then it also had Gaudi (!!!). I was just overwhelmed by structural beauty. I want to go back and just spend a day in front of each side of the cathedral, La Sagrada Familia. And to be honest, I don’t think a day per side would be enough.
Awkward Travel Moment: That would probably be with Roze. We were coming down from Mt. Horeb, in Egypt, and after about an hour of walking she attempted to rest on a “rock” that turned out to be a camel. We were yelled at… by the camel!
Sacred Travel Journey Experience: Visiting El Salvador. Even though I am a 1.5 generation Puerto Rican who was often asked to represent the Latin@ community in various settings, I had not yet recognized that the Latin@ experience was/is not one. Also, I had this strange idea that I was simply going to have an academic experience. Instead, I ended up being marked for life by the stories of struggle and hope, the conversations full of tears and laughter, and the disarming power of sincerity and love… Oh, and the pupusas!
Why the heart? Because I believe that often times in matters of discipleship and relationship building, the heart, over and above reason, is the best discernment tool.
Travel Journeys: Puerto Rico, Uruguay, El Salvador, Egypt, Spain, Germany, and South Korea. Here in the states: most of the east coast, and then Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Arizona, Chicago, Nebraska and Wisconsin. I think a road trip may be in order!
Meet Ulysses – The Listener (@ulyssesburley)
Profession: Social Justice Advocate, Doctor, Lay Theologian, Preacher/Speaker (Website: Loose Change)
Favorite Food: Asian Cuisine, Tex-Mex and Spaghetti
Favorite City: Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s the perfect mix of laid back Latin America and posh Paris.
Awkward Travel Moment: I don’t know if this was awkward, but on my last day in London I went on a shopping spree and spent over $900. Unbeknownst to me, my bank flagged my purchases as fraudulent. I went to the airport to leave and couldn’t pay for my bags because my card was declined. This was before smart phones and international plans. The Virgin Airways people let me through without paying and I thanked God all the way home.
Sacred Travel Experience: My year living in Buenos Aires – working with people who were experiencing poverty and living with HIV and AIDS changed my life. Even in the midst of poverty and struggling, they enjoyed life and lived fully. It redefined the whole working to live versus living to work paradigm. They taught me the importance of living differently and changed my outlook on what was important. I was more socially conscious and my faith deepened when I returned.
Why the listener? Because you have two ears and one mouth. That means you need to listen twice as much as you speak. Listening = learning.
Travel Journeys: Every country in South America except Venezuela and Ecuador; Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, France, England, The Netherlands, Brussels, Switzerland, Austria, Morocco, Jordan, Israel and Palestine, South Korea, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Canada; Most of the United States except the Northwest
Meet Andrea – The Bridge-Builder (@revdocalw)
Profession: Pastor, Preacher, Program director who works globally (Website: West Africa Bound)
Favorite Food: African pepper sauce on anything especially fried bananas, and seafood
Favorite City: I remember getting off the airplane in Dakar and instantly being in love. The chaos reminded me of New York City, yet it has an ancient feel with horse carts and donkeys right alongside the cars. The buses are as colorful as the people and the coast is a dream. There is energy, entertainment and everything in Dakar.
Awkward Travel Moment: For a week in Dakar all my guides had other duties and I was left to my own devices. I had to travel in a taxi every day to language class. I carried a piece of paper in one hand, with the directions to the Language Center, and my cell phone in the other. Both items were to serve in case I had to call someone to explain to the taxi driver where I was going. Yet I was trying to do it on my own. Each day I would tell the driver in my very minimal French (that is if the driver spoke French and not Woolf a language in which I knew only “thank you”) where I wanted to go, get in the cab and off he would drive. Each of the four days I had a different driver and every day I was driven in a different direction. There were no street signs and if I was lucky I recognized buildings, landmarks like mosque and stores. One day my driver stopped the car and said the name of the neighborhood where I wanted to go and opened the door, but I didn’t see anything familiar so I wouldn’t get out of the car. I said mosque in French and he drove a little further. I realized I was only a block away from where I was going……what a relief.
Sacred Travel Journey Experience: I realized that working cross-culturally was what I was called to do when I had my first intensive travel experience in Guatemala where I went to study Spanish. I worked with a teacher for three months who became a fast friend. She invited me into her home, introduced me to her friends and showed me a side of life in Guatemala that most tourists never get to see. I fell in love with the learning of language, tradition, culture and knew that somehow this would always be a part of my life.
Why the Bridge-Builder? For as long as I can remember I have served as a bridge builder between generations, races, and cultures. There is so much that keeps people apart, separated, disconnected, I know that through the love of God bridges are built to foster deeper connections.
Travel Journeys: Guatemala, Mexico, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Israel & Palestine, Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Senegal, The Gambia, Uganda, Madagascar. I have visited all over the USA, every state from Maine to Florida on the east coast, most of the South except Oklahoma and Arkansas. I have actually lived in Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Georgia, California, and have visited Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Washington, and Arizona.
Meet George – The Agitator (@arendes)
Profession: Social activist, Communicator, Change agent (Website: Alternative Voice)
Favorite Food: Anything eatable. I can adapt to make it a favorite.
Favorite City: Amman, Jordan.
Awkward Travel Moment: I was detained in Odessa airport (the Ukraine) for three hours with a group, not because we violated any immigration rules, but because of our skin color, which according to them was suspect. The unfriendly airport officials ushered us into a room where our passports were confiscated for a while as we wondered why we bothered get visa stamped on our passports. We decided to make a scene, yelling in the arrivals hall and turning it into a protest. We danced and sang on how our rights were being violated. These acts of courage & madness led to our release.
Sacred Travel Journey Experience: Most of my travels have been anchored on transforming a life somewhere in my small little way. The smiles of hope visible on the faces of Iraqi refugees living in Jordan after an interview, to the echoing call to action on climate justice from the aging Desmond Tutu in a Durban stadium. My energy is renewed. From the lessons of determination among the young Rwanda genocide survivors, to lessons of living on with heart of forgiveness and less hatred, among abused and abducted child soldiers in Uganda, my learning continues through travels.
Why the agitator? Because when the heart and mind are in harmony one cannot resist to join the dance and agitate for change.
Travel Journeys: Indonesia, Singapore, Jordan, Syria, UAE, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, USA (Chicago, Arkansas, New York, Oregon, Louisiana, Missouri) and Mexico.
Meet Dana – The Advocate (@ddutch318)
Profession: Relationship builder across cultures for God’s mission of accompaniment (Website: Stories from Around the Globe)
Favorite food: That would have to be a tie between nachos and sushi
Favorite City: Singapore – a country and a city all rolled into one!
Awkward travel moment: I was traveling through Malaysia by myself for a few weeks and I took a pedicab around Penang to see some of the sites. The ride itself was enjoyable but I had one of the weirdest conversations I’ve ever had with a stranger.
Driver: Are you married?
Me: No, I’m not
Driver: You should be married. Then you be happy.
Me: Well one day I will be. But not today
Driver: You are young very young.
Me: Are you married?
Driver: Yes, i married in 1977. I have four kids.
Me: Awww thats great.
Driver: But you, you marry and be happy. Marry an engineer, or a lawyer or a doctor. Then you will have beautiful children.
Me: What if he’s an ugly lawyer?
Driver: Okay you marry for love, then you have beautiful children, Helen.
Driver: Yes, your name is Helen
Me: No, I told you my name was Dana
Driver: I like Helen. Helen is a good name, so I’m going to call you Helen. Ok Helen?
He then proceeded to take me through little India to tell all his friends that his new friend ‘Helen’ needed a husband. Too funny!
Sacred Travel Journey Experience: I was on a volunteer trip to Guatemala in 2004 to help put the final touches on a day care center in Guatemala City. Our group was to finish the painting, putting in windows and cleaning out the courtroom. We wanted to make it feel welcoming for the children that were going to be using it. We were told the people in the neighborhood didn’t have enough money to send their children to day care so this establishment would be open to them free of charge. I was expecting a poor city, with no money and knew I would be “roughing it” during the two weeks I was there. Little did I know, the head of the soon to be day care spent all his money on buying new mattress for us to sleep on at night, installing hot water heaters to the showers in the court yard so we could have hot running water, and a cook (Mila) was to come to the house everyday to cook all our meals for us. The radical hospitality that was shown to us was more than anything I could have expected or asked for. It forever changed the way I approached mission. It also showed that hospitality is something that EVERYONE can give, in spite of your economic situation. You can always give something to welcome others and to treat them like family.
Why the advocate? I have always been one to voice my opinions and stand up for what I believe in. I defend myself and others and have never been at a loss for words. I find conversation to be an art form and think it is a skill I’ve learned quite well.
Travel Journeys: Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Marteen, Guatemala, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Nigeria, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Macau