New Blog at!

Hello all!


I know it has been a long while since I have posted on this blog, and that is because I have started another WordPress blog on another topic after returning home!

The trip was amazing and after spending time on an organic farm in Turkey, I traveled to Switzerland, Germany, and France.  Volunteered at a plant nursery in Verteillac, France bike around the country side, spent 3 days in Paris, and flew home to surprise my mom!

The new blog is all about bike commuting in New Jersey and New York so I’m working hard on that, so come check it out here: NYMBlog!

Thanks for taking the time to go check it out!  

Catch you soon,


Osprey Kestrel 48L Backpack Review – For Travel

Osprey Kestrel 48 Liter Backpack

The pretty picture of the Kestrel 48, not my pack.



I have only had this pack for about 8 months, but for 6 months I’ve used it every day while traveling, and I have gotten to know it very well.  Each nook and cranny of the pack, its comfort, style, durability, and many uses have become apparent to me in this time.

I’m writing this review for the Osprey Kestrel 48L backpack from the perspective of a travel backpacker(in this review I’ll differentiate between a travel backpacker and a hiker/hiking and camping backpacker), so it won’t be too specific about its functions as a daypack for hikes or a multi-day pack, but of course I’ll touch on it, for the pack is created for this particular type of use.  If you are interested in a more in depth look at the pack for its uses for hikes and outdoor backpacking trips you can check out this review.

Osprey is a brand dedicated to quality packs for hiking, camping, climbing, biking, and traveling.  Founded in 1974 they have been keeping their products up to date with modern technology in design, fabric, and the needs of modern users as well.  The Osprey Kestrel series utilizes Ospreys knowledge of the needs of modern backpackers to create an intuitive, functional and comfortable backpack.  The Kestrel is considered a multi-use pack, and its versatility is a great aid in travel.

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From Istanbul to Kerpe: Travel Update and a Rant on Management Philosophy

Yeni Cammi - Istanbul, Turkey

Bye, Bye Istanbul!

I haven’t written a real post in a little while, so I thought I would write a bit and catch you up.  I’m in Kerpe, Turkey, working on an Organic farm.  The farm is a much better experience than I even anticipated.  However, I would like to start a bit further back, and return to the topic of the farm later on.

Myself and my co-volunteer from Kabul, Afghanistan

My co-volunteer from Kabul and I on the terrace in Istanbul

I left Istanbul about one week ago now, where I was working at a hostel, and of course, like all things, there were positives and negatives.  Istanbul for one is an awesome city, and if you have the chance to visit I would highly recommend it.  It’s a large and busy city, with great food and an amazing mix of cultures which are brought together in a chaotic and beautiful way.  I spent enough time there to mold a routine into the clay of my days, went to the same few coffee shops, bought my fish sandwich from the same man at the same cart, and read my books on the grass at the same park.  This was the good.

On the other hand was only a bit of bad, which was encompassed in the people I worked for in this hostel who were to say the least, unkind, unjust, and infallible.  The management philosophy, “In business I do not recognize you,” were followed to a T — a direct quote from the owner.  Call me old school(go ahead, I don’t care :() but, the “I don’t recognize you” attitude isn’t exactly a part of the way I would, and have run businesses in the past, and also equally as importantly is not a philosophy I want to be under the umbrella of.  People like being recognized; I think it increases performance, but that’s only one of the many benefits a business reaps by properly recognizing employees.

To drive this home just a little bit, I actually searched on Google, “people like being recognized” and six of the first ten results were directly related to management, including two of the first three.  If you Google, “in business I don’t recognize you” zero of the top ten are management related, and at least one of them is a link for lyrics by the artist “2 Chainz”.

2 Chainz

2 Chainz loves telecommunications y’alls

Do I really need Google to prove to you that recognition IS important in business?  Probably not.

I’ll actually lead you to an article I read recently published on the Harvard Business Review website titled, “Love, Trust, and Candor: Today’s Management Priorities” if you’re interested follow the link.  I think you get the idea by the title, this one is not about the iron fist method of management.  In work, as an employee or a manager I certainly believe in open communication, team work, trust, honesty, consistent feedback, and also well outlined expectations.  This article uses the word ‘love’ which as many of the comments on the article mentioned, may not be the correct term, although it was intended, and an alternative was offered — RESPECT!

Respect Cartoon

When discussing the owners of this hostel with friends, and co-workers in the hostel, this was often the word I came back to.  Respect.  It’s important, and this is especially unrelated to business.  It can be beneficial to consider what fosters success in your life, and also in the relationships of your life, and then apply that to business and business relationships.  Respect and mutual respect are good foundations for developing positive relationships.  As a human, I believe I should respect you(until proven otherwise), and I expect the same in return(please).  I use an innocent until proven guilty style.

I want to ruin his business.

Is that wrong? Actually, I am exaggerating a little bit.  Less abruptly I want to say that I don’t approve in any way of running a business without respect, and that a business actually should not have the opportunity to succeed if it is run this way.  The reason that I say that is because, if the business succeeds, the person behind the business, and behind the wrongful treatment, will be positively affirmed of their management style.  And selfishly, what would anger me most, is that at the end of the day, one who hurts another for the betterment of their business can look at their check book and be reassured that they are doing the right things — for their business at least, and the sneering, narcissistic smile, that follows is the worst.  And of course the cycle continues, or develops and worsens.

I’m not calling for boycotting Nike, or giving up your iPod, this is on a different scale.  Small businesses can also do wrong.  We should also do what we can as employees, and employers, and business owners, to work in and run businesses ethically and with RESPECT in HIGH VALUE, and do what we can not to be enablers of negative work environments.  This is not only for the betterment of the business, and we know it can be, but for the people within the business, and the community and beyond.  I believe that even employees can be, and should be a part of fostering this positive, respectful environment in a work place, although it is more difficult, one should consider themselves a part of it, and partially responsible for encouraging positivity and respect.

Anyway, my management rant is over.  But, I’m curious to know what you do to foster respect, trust, and candor in your work environment(at any level), and if you believe in this or not?  Moreover, if you have encountered disrespectful work environments, and how you managed?

This is a long post.

Now I’m back to being in Kerpe. And the management here is great.  I get fed often and well.  The people are kind and respectful and I care about the farm and the success of the business and of the people.  I’m in the open air, and I’m picking everything from pea pods, to apples, chestnuts, peppers, tomatoes, and cape gooseberries(best fruit I’ve ever had).

Picking Green Beans in Kerpe, Turkey

Picking Green Beans in Kerpe, Turkey

There is a mosque near by so every couple of hours it sings loud and clear, and the Islamic prayers rain over the farm.  You don’t have to be Muslim to appreciate it.  The black sea is only 3 kilometers away, so getting to the ocean is easy, and its a sand beach which helps remind me of home.  There are cats, dogs, kittens, puppies, horses, cows, sheep, goats, and more, inhabiting the farm with the people.  No pesticides.  You can pick up any fruit or vegetable and eat it right from the earth.  Maybe all this gushy organic stuff inspired my ANTI-DISRESPECT MOVEMENT!  Just kidding, I think maybe I actually believe in it or something.

Puppies in Kerpe, Turkey

I respect puppies too!

Read more about working-away, or check out more photos from the farm.

The Farm Life in Pictures

A few pictures from my first day on the farm in Kerpe, Turkey. About 2 hours from Istanbul and right outside of Kandira is this great Organic farm where I’ll be working for a couple of weeks picking fruits and veggies, eating well, and playing with the animals. Picking up a few Turkish words along the way!


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Street Food in Istanbul

Street Food in Istanbul 

Street food in Istanbul

Street food in Istanbul

After arriving in Istanbul early Friday morning, I realized quickly that eating cheaply in Istanbul might actually pose a greater challenge than I initially considered.  On my way towards Istanbul, in Serbia their classic cheap and seriously delicious foods like Cevapi and Pleskavica sandwiches, that are enough to fill you up, usually don’t run any more than 2 euros.  And in Sofia I had one large falafel wrap for 1.50 and then later across the street I found another for exactly half that price!  Who knows what the small would cost?  To say the least, I had become used to spending 2 euros and under for a meal, and I didn’t want to budge the budget(hahahhahaha! – I’m this lame for real.) .

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Travelversary Thoughts – 5 Months of Travel and More to Come

Mosque in Istanbul

Mosque at the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul

You’re sitting there and you’re in a café under the shadow of a Mosque.  It’s cool in the shade and a breeze is the perfect complement to break up the hot day.  Soon the sound of the dice hitting backgammon boards will growing with the scent of water pipe tobacco.  A sweet medley of fruits, and vanilla, mixed with soft smoke.  It’s Sunday and the café has filled up by noon.

Half of the days spending went to baklava, and a Turkish coffee in the morning.  You probably won’t be eating too much for the rest of the day.  Sesame bread from outside Yeni Camii will hold me over.  Hemingway wrote that hunger is a good

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