Name: Rebecca Rothney
Name of non-profit organization: Pack for a Purpose
A short travel bio: At the age of 12, I accompanied my parents to the Bahamas for a snorkeling trip. After that, I never looked back, and in the span of the last fifty years I have had the enormous good fortune and opportunity to make travel a part of my life. I have been to Africa eight times visiting six different countries, to three countries in South America, to 16 countries in Europe, and I am not done yet.
How often do you travel? I travel whenever the opportunity presents itself and the frequent flyer miles have accumulated. After our trip this June, we will have traveled to Africa eight times since 2000.
Who are your travel partner(s)? I always travel with my husband, who is a great travel companion, wonderful photographer, and, as he likes to say, “a carry-on mule at the airport.”
What type of travel do you prefer (adventure, luxury, etc.)? For the last 14 years, my husband and I have been focused on travel involving natural places, because, being 63, we know that the environment is dramatically changing. Being older, I know that the ocean I snorkeled in at 14 is no longer available in many places to 14-year-olds today.
How many countries have you visited? 45 countries and all seven continents
What’s your most memorable travel experience? It was amazing to bring two stethoscopes to a clinic in Kenya that had none and to see the joy on a principal’s face when we brought rulers to a school in Botswana where there were no rulers. And, watching the blue light pulsing from the heart of icebergs in Antarctica was breathtaking and magical when my husband and I were married there. Watching two small lion cubs in the Masai Mara cross a stream for the first time to meet up with their mother was both heartwarming and hysterically funny. Having been fortunate enough to travel for most of my life, it is simply impossible to choose one experience.
What is Pack for a Purpose? Pack for a Purpose is a non-profit, based in Raleigh, NC, that makes it easy for global travelers to donate much needed supplies to the local communities they plan to visit. Pack for a Purpose provides online lists of requested items and more than 300 global collection points in over 45 countries, making it simple for travelers to make a difference on every trip. By simply adding a few medical supplies, school supplies or sports equipments in their luggage, these travelers have made a big impact.
Why did you start Pack for a Purpose? I believe that people want to help if they can find an effective and meaningful way to do so. I was also brought up with the expectation that you always bring a hostess gift to say thank you for someone’s hospitality. Taking these two ideas in hand, my amazing team of volunteers and I created the website so that travellers could easily make a big impact whenever they travel. The response has been rewarding.
Tell us about Pack for a Purpose lodgings: All Pack for a Purpose participants, whether lodgings or tour companies, are supporting projects that assist the local community. Each participant could support one project or several. We have high-end luxury accommodations, budget backpacking options and homestays on our website. With some participants, you can even buy supplies locally, depending on what they say on their needs list page.
You have a worldwide partner network. Are most companies / hotels fairly open to being a partner or does it take a lot of explaining? We have created the website so it is very easy for lodgings and tour companies to apply on their own, and this happens on a frequent basis. When we send an invitation to a potential new lodging or tour company found through research or other connections, they are usually very receptive to joining.
What supplies are most in-demand around the world? There is no accurate way to answer this because it really does depend on the project. One size does not fit all, so we work diligently with the local community project to make sure the current and exact needs are listed on the website. Sanitary napkins are a great need in many parts of the developing world as are simple medicines like aspirin and vitamins.
And, last question: What does your suitcase look like when you travel? Usually we travel with just a carry-on duffel because we use any checked luggage we have to take supplies with us. As three of us are going to Zambia in a few weeks, here is a photo of that luggage.
As much as we love to travel, we sometimes need a few weeks at home to do decompress and, unfortunately, take care of those loads and loads of laundry. A travel break gives us time to reenergize, feel grounded, and plan for the next adventure.
This is also when we bring the world home though international wines, culinary experiments, and watching foreign films.
We recently discovered the San Diego Italian Film Festival has a monthly Italian film series. Every few weeks they feature a different genre – fiction, documentary, shorts, new releases, or classics. Tomorrow they’re showing Sentire l’aira (Feeling the Air), a documentary about a teen who chooses to leave his comfortable home to become a shepherd.
We love watching movies that make you think, reflect, and view life from a different perspective. We think this film will deliver on all of these points.
If you’re in the San Diego area, we hope you’ll join us for a slice of Italy tomorrow (Thursday, May 16) at 7pm. The event is at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park. The cost is $10 and you’ll have an opportunity to connect with the Italian community in San Diego.
Can’t make it tomorrow? Mark your calendar for the other film nights.
We’re excited to bring Italy home!
Looking for amazing international cheeses in San Diego County. Check out Venissimo. We’ve been to their Del Mar location a few times to stock up for parties and enjoy the selection.
(Thanks to the San Diego Italian Film Festival for the invitation and delicious basket)
The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has included Spain’s “La Rioja and Rioja Alavesa Vine and Wine Cultural Landscape” in the list of candidates to be declared part of their World Heritage List. This great honor for the region reflects the growth and importance that the Rioja wine has rapidly acquired through the years.
The power of high quality wine has gone further than expected. Not only has it attracted the attention and respect of the international wine community to Spain, but it has inspired
Gran Reserva (Vintage) one of Spain’s best quality and most successful telenovelas. As if that weren’t enough, it has even broken geographical and often tense political boundaries between two Spanish provinces: La Rioja and the Basque Country where the wine is jointly produced. La Rioja wine has given a common identity to this Spanish region as they share the success of their wine.
The coexistence of the Atlantic and Mediterranean climate is what makes it possible to develop one of the world’s tastiest wines that also offers better guarantees regarding the quality and authenticity of their product as they are one of the few regions that require the wine to be bottled at the source for all of its production.
The production of wine from La Rioja is divided into three areas:
- La Rioja Alavesa: South of the province of √Ålava, in the left bank of the Ebro River, it is responsible for 20% of the total wine production. The red wines are aromatic, balanced, tasty, intense and vivid in color, very fruity, medium-grade and medium acidity.
- La Rioja Alta: Northwestern region of La Rioja, their vineyards make up 42% of the production. The wines are fresh and aromatic, a less intense and less vivid color, it is light tasting, intermediate grade and medium to high acidity.
- La Rioja Baja: Northeast of La Rioja and southwest of Navarra, on both banks of the Ebro River. The produce 38% of the wines. Their red wines are of a very deep color, low aromatic, high grade, with a wide body and low acidity.
La Rioja region is one of the greatest charms of Spain with its landscape of large vineyards and historic wineries. If declared a World Heritage Site it would certainly benefit from increased tourism in the region and, not only that, but also to promote its wonderful history and current wine production to better establish the Rioja brand and surely increase its sales worldwide.
Now that Diego has adjusted to life in the backseat of the car, it means we can venture a bit further than we’ve been able to in the past few months. As world travelers, I can’t even begin to describe our relief. So, when San Francisco popped up as our next travel adventure, we traded in airport security lines for a leisurely drive along Highway 1.
We stopped to stretch our legs, grab some coffee, and feed the baby in Arroyo Grande, California. We found this beautiful river and took a nice evening stroll.
Family Car Trip Travel Tip: When planning a road trip, plan to stop often and be conservative with your estimated time of arrival. We quickly realized Diego needed a break about every 2-3 hours, so we’d plan on exploring a new town. Turns out, we actually saw more traveling with the baby because it forced us to slow down and take the time to explore. Without Diego, we never would have taken this beautiful walk in Arroyo Grande.
Our destination for the night was the rustic luxury of the Fogcatcher Inn in Cambria. Located on the ocean with gorgeous views, it’s the perfect place for romance or a fun stopover with the family. Tip: Each room has a fireplace! We arrived just in time for a sunset walk along the boardwalk. Our only regret is not arriving early enough to walk around downtown in daylight.
Oceanviews at the Fogcatcher Inn, Cambria
Starving after a long drive, the wonderful lady at the front desk helped us pick the perfect place for dinner – we headed to Robin’s Restaurant for “handcrafted global cuisine.” The vegetarian options seemed endless and Ricardo couldn’t decide between Slipper Lobster Tail Enchiladas or the Tandoori Chicken. Although we wanted to linger, our waitress easily read the situation (ahem, baby in tow very late in the evening after a long drive) and got us in and out of the restaurant fairly quickly. We were so grateful.
We spent a leisurely morning enjoying the full breakfast that came with our room at the Fogcatcher Inn and then took a stroll along the beach boardwalk. Tip: Bring bug spray. Sad we couldn’t stay another night, we grabbed a last minute tea from the lobby (free!) and headed towards Big Sur.
Tip: Always overestimate the time you think you need driving through Big Sur. You will be stopping every couple of miles to take pictures. It’s also the perfect place to spend a few hours hiking.
Of course, no trip through Big Sur would be complete without the obligatory stop at Nepenthe Restaurant to soak up the sunshine and ocean view. This was our second time eating lunch here and, once again, we found the food to be ‘just okay’ and way overpriced. If you stop to eat here, remember you are paying for the spectacular view, not the food. Instead, we’d highly recommend stopping here for a leisurely beer or glass of wine on the back deck. Tip: parking can be difficult if you arrive at peak times.
The view from Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur
Looking for a taste of African luxury? The Singita Serengeti House in Tanzania is booked on an exclusive-use basis includes all staff, a private vehicle and a safari guide. Besides guided game drives in an open-sided 4×4 vehicle, guests can also do guided walks and horseback safaris.
The house accommodates eight people in two suites in the main house and two further guest suites on either side of the main house, connected by pathways from a central pool deck with an 82 foot rim-flow lap pool. There is also a private tennis court, mountain biking and archery.
Tough life, right?
Well, it gets better…
The private kitchen and resident chef caters exclusively to the needs of the party staying in the house, taking into consideration everything from individual food allergies to favorite cooking styles and flavors. Delicious food and an excellent wine cellar always forms an integral part of the Singita experience, and meals are carefully planned and orchestrated from candle-lit gourmet dinners to informal picnics in the bush.
Sign me up!