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Archive for November, 2009

Friendly Planet tour guide Allan Rabinowitz walks the Israel Trail to fight ALS

Allan Rabinowitz knew there was something special about Israel when he first visited the country over 20 years ago … because he never left! And today Allan is using his love of the country to help him honor the memory of his mother, who in 2008, passed away after battling ALS. Israeltrailsc.jpg

Allan, his wife, and their 18-year-old son are walking the entire length of the Israel Trail to honor the memory of his mother and to raise money to fight the debilitating disease that ultimately ended her life. Here’s what Allan has to say about his trip:

The day we got the message that my mother, Lee, suffered from Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), we knew that from that moment on we were facing a painful and despairing death: Her neurological disorder stole her ability to hug, to speak, to eat, to walk, to move her limbs and even to breathe. With gigantic effort she murmured to us "I love you."But we couldn’t help her.

My mother, Lee Rabinowitz, died of Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) in the summer of 2008.

In her memory , my wife Tzippi, my son Ezra and I, will start backpacking the entire Israel Trail from north to south, some 1,000 winding kilometers (625 miles). Our goal is to raise both ALS awareness and funds for ALS research in Israel. This is the best way we know to express thanks for our miraculous ability to walk.


We will be very encouraged in our journey if you join us: You can do that by viewing our blogs, photos and video clips of Biblical sites as we progress.


And equally important, you can join our effort by "sponsoring" one or more kilometers, at $36/km, so that ALS research can advance as we advance. We deeply appreciate your participation in this effort.
Together we can do it.
Let’s walk the land for those who can’t. Can I count on your support?

Today, Allan is roughly a month into the journey, and he’s raised over $28,000. Our blogger and podcaster Bridget was able to catch up with him over the phone, and we’ll be posting that soon. During their chat, they spoke about what keeps Allan moving during this challenging trip, what inspired him to take his first step, and how the kindness of strangers continues to amaze. So stay tuned!

But for now, you can follow Allan’s progress on his blog, Walking the Land – for those who can’t, and on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Don’t let your wallet get swiped abroad!

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Perhaps one of the worst ways to have a perfectly wonderful vacation go to ruin is to lose your wallet, or worse, have it stolen, especially while you’re traveling abroad. You feel helpless, sick to your stomach, and fearful, because everything you need to transact even the most basic functions of daily life are contained in that little piece of leather and plastic. All doesn’t have to be lost, though, if you keep three basic, easy-to-remember rules in mind as you travel.

1. Don’t carry your wallet. That’s the simplest and best way to avoid the problem of a lost or stolen wallet. Have I lost my mind, telling you not to carry your wallet? What about the money, the credit cards, the ID? You don’t need a wallet for any of these things. I  always put some cash, one credit card, and my driver’s license in a small "purse" that I’ve bought expressly for travel. This purse is small enough to strap to my leg (under my slacks) if I’m not carrying a purse, and has a little pouch for change. But you don’t need anything fancier than a small plastic zip lock bag, which will easily do the job just as well.

2. Call the police. If you are carrying the wallet (despite my best advice) and it’s been stolen, call the police right away. Even if the police can’t recover your wallet, you will need the police report to make an insurance claim. And sometimes, the police even recover your wallet for you, in which case you can lock it into your hotel room safe for the rest of your stay. Even if you’ve lost your wallet, you should report it to the local police. A lost wallet can often turn up (without cash, most likely) but with ID and other important items still inside. Filing a police report will increase your chances of ever getting the wallet back into your hands safely. Otherwise, no one will have a clue how to contact you as you travel.

3. Keep change, receipts, business cards, etc. in your wallet tucked inside the hotel room safe.
If you really want to be able to avoid having that wallet with you as you travel, you’ll have to get used to getting rid of all those collectables you acquire during the day. Chuck the small change, cards, notes, receipts, and other odds and ends that make your normally feather-light wallet feel like a cannonball. These should go into the wallet and be left inside the room safe, unless you absolutely must have the item with you. If you need an item you’ve stored in your locked wallet, take it out, put it into your baggie or purse, but don’t take the wallet out of the safe. Regarding small change, in most currencies, it’s not worth much in terms of buying power. And if you leave what you collect in your hotel room when you check out, your maid will appreciate the tip.