A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Isadora

The Primrose, Pine Nuts and Post-It™ Notes

Things That Start With A "P" for $1000, Alex...

Shadow Walk  Photo Courtesy of Isadora

Shadow Walk Photo Courtesy of Isadora


Okay, you caught me. The title of this blog has nothing to do with it's content. But, admit it. You were curious. I can see the look on your face. What is this crazy woman talking about now?! To be honest, I'm here to talk about the TP Foundation once again. If you'd prefer, I could launch into my best rendition of "Let Me Entertain You" by Gypsy Rose Lee. Who is Gypsy Rose Lee, you ask? Well, I'll let you look that one up for yourselves. (Natalie Wood portrayed her in the 1962 film Gypsy".) But, I digress and now will return to the topic at hand. (Just thought I'd throw a little teaser in here for fun.)

For those of you following this blog, you will notice we do not have pictures of this week's Kiva Entrepreneurs. There's a reason for that. Yes, this was to be a "loan" week but we're a little shy on funds presently. Our objective was to make 4 - $50.00 loans every other week. We've done wonderfully so far - 20 loans given since August 5, 2009. Hey, that's nothing to sneeze at and a round of applause is given to all participants!! I know I say thank you a lot. Guess what - here it comes again... Thank you all!!!

Sands of Time  Photo Courtesy of Isadora

Sands of Time Photo Courtesy of Isadora




Our Kiva Credit Account had held steady at $46.54 until yesterday (Oct. 15th) when we received 18 loan repayments totally $73.74. We now have a grand total of $120.28 just waiting for some more friends to arrive. We need $79.72 and we'll back in business. Luckily, we should have that and a tad more by the end of the month. To view our Entrepreneur repayments, please click here.


During the month of September, the TU Blog had three blog entries published for a total of $15.00. YAY!!!!!!!!! Since that time, nada. Not nothin'. Not nowhere. I'm bummed. I seriously have 4 subjects pending (H1N1, Prescription Drugs & Travel, Entering The US With A Criminal Record and (the most important - trust me) Dealing with Diarrhea.) Now, I could write articles all day long but the blog isn't called Gretchen's Gallery of Goo or Isadora's Inn of Important Information. (It could be - but it's not.) PLEASE!!!!!!!!! Someone contact us at unravelled [at] travellerspoint [dot] com with an article. Our editors are really starting to nod off big time. They're even thinking about traveling themselves. We can't have that!


The Book Club has two new published reviews for your reading pleasure:

Amazon should be depositing $11.02 into the TPF bank account at the end of this month. To date, we have earned a total of $14.33 through book club clicks. (Basically, we can thank Peter for ordering all those gift certificates for the photography competitions.) Again, Christmas is coming so follow a link, shop early and often!!!!


We have reached out second $100 threshold through the AdSense program. In fact, there will be $109.27 that will find it's way to the bank account in the next few days.


There is a sum of $8.13 waiting patiently for company.


Everyone likes knowing the bottom line figure so I thought I'd include it. Between March 7, 2009 and September 30, 2009, the Foundation has earned a grand total of $1,142.06. This does not take into account the October Adsense donations. (It's not the end of the month - yet.) Add another $15.35 (as of this exact moment) for a total total. (The day ain't over yet either.)


Well, I don't really have an ending story so I'll just say thanks again and that's my two cents worth...

Posted by Isadora 11:54 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (0)


"Be The Change You Want To See In The World" - Mahatma Gandhi


"If service is the rent you pay for your existence on this earth, are you behind in your rent?"
Robert G. Allen

Okay, you caught me. I'm stuck in "quote" mode this week. If Robert Allen isn't your cup of tea maybe a little Andrew Carnegie might work..

"I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution."

Or, perhaps a touch of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe...

“Don't say that you want to give, but go ahead and give! You'll never catch up with a mere hope.”

I could continue on with some witty repartee or even a few more quotes for the day but I don't think that's why you are here. I'm betting you'd rather get to know our latest recipients instead. We have just completed loans 17-20, covering construction, food, transportation and clothing. (I chose a little of everything this time around.) So, instead of boring you further with my banter, I will let our newest Entrepreneurs introduce themselves.


Mikayil Heydarov, Azerbaijan  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Mikayil Heydarov, Azerbaijan Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

La Paz Group, Nicaragua  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

La Paz Group, Nicaragua Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Soronzonbold Banzragch, Mongolia  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Soronzonbold Banzragch, Mongolia Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Together As One Group, Sierra Leone  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Together As One Group, Sierra Leone Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org




As stated above, we have completed 20 loans to date. We had an ending balance of $42.37. We have gained an additional $4.17 from Aminata Ndao's repayment today bringing us to $46.54 in available funds. Thank you, Ms. Ndao!!


The TU Blog has published two new articles:

Maarat has written a great article on choosing your travel destinations when you just don't know where to go.

Greg has also written a great article and covers the important issues surrounding visa applications.

Again, each published article means a $5.00 donation to TPF. (Thank you Maarat and Greg for the $10.00!!!!!)
If you have an idea for a TU entry, please send an e-mail to unravelled [at] travellerspoint [dot] com. Include your subject, a short description of the material you would like to cover and a request to be added as an author. If possible, send a short sample of your entry. Yup, our Editors are still bored - happy, but bored.


The Book Club has also seen two new reviews published:

  • Europe on a Shoestring by Lonely Planet - Reviewer: Dave (TLWH)
  • Paradise Updated by Mic Looby - Reviewer: Me (Isadora)
  • Stay tuned as there is another review just waiting for the reviewer to click that magic publish button!

I could give you all a taste of the book reviews but that would take all the fun out of it! Besides, if you check out the reviews themselves, you may just follow a link and make a purchase on Amazon. (Hint, hint!!! Our Amazon balance is still $13.31. Oh look - a numerical palindrome!)


The Google AdSense account has reached it's second $100.00 threshold and awaiting review (before release of funds). Since March 7th, we have raised $212.66 - all done one click at a time. Keep up the good work and thank you all!!!!

Last quote of the day (promise):

"Anyone who works is a fool. I don't work - I merely inflict myself upon the public."
Robert Morley

And that's just my two cents worth...

Posted by Isadora 11:00 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (2)

"The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of."

Thank you Sam Spade...

Cloth Maker 1. Photo by Daver141

Cloth Maker 1. Photo by Daver141

Questions Asked - Questions Answered

Not long ago, in the Join the Travellerspoint Foundation, I was asked certain questions about the funding. These questions are worthy ones and definitely ones of import. In case you missed the thread, I am posting the information here.


Quan Zhang asked:

Hey, in the links to the individual applicants, there's a "days left" field on the right hand side. What happens when that time expires? Just out of curiosity. Do the individuals just get what's been donated ? Does Kiva make up the difference ? Do they get nothing?

My reply:

Good questions, Q! And, I think I have the answers for you. (Just went back over Kiva's site and the Kivafriends forum section to verify.)

According to Kivafriends, no loan request - to date as of the end of June - has gone unfunded. That may have changed but it doesn't appear that it has - yet. There is a group of lenders who are literally searching for Entrepreneurs who's time is in the "red zone" (2.5 days or less to go) and they come to the rescue. They are quite pleased with their success rate.

If an Entrepreneur is not fully funded by the end of the 30 days, the request is removed from the Kiva site and the MFI responsible for the actual loan is contacted. The MFI is in charge of supplying the real loan to the Entrepreneur and they do not rely solely on Kiva for the money. Kiva is just one avenue the MFI uses to secure funds.

It is possible that an Entrepreneur could receive nothing in the end. If they are not funded fully via Kiva, and the MFI has not secured funding from any other source(s), then yes - the Entrepreneur loses out at that time. But, the Entrepreneur can reapply again and again for Kiva funding through their MFI. Also, the money Kiva had collected towards the loan would be returned to each lender and placed in their individual Kiva accounts.

This subject (incomplete funding) is of some debate on Kivafriends. The above mentioned group of rescuers are also finding issue with some of the MFIs and the way the Entrepreneur descriptions are written. Basically - quite poorly. The MFIs are responsible for taking the Entrepreneur's information, writing a good description and translating it into English (when necessary). There are some profiles that have not been translated which makes it hard for lenders. If they don't know what's being described, they won't choose that recipient. The group vacillates between rescuing a recipient and letting them go unfunded. If they come to the rescue, the MFI will not likely improve their writing skills. If left unfunded, the recipient may not come back to try again. It appears they have chosen to get the "bad writing" point across to Kiva in other ways at the moment.

Honestly, two weeks ago, I was concerned our Peruvian group wasn't going to be funded in time. They still had quite a sum needed at 3 days out but, within 24 hours, they had it all.


Travellerspoint Foundation has made eight loans during two loan periods (8-05-09 & 8-19-09). To date, all but one (so far) have been fully funded. Within each group of four loans, there has been one Entrepreneur (or group of Entrepreneurs) who has taken longer to become funded. Presently, we are hoping that Abdufatto Ganiev (Istaravshan, Tajikistan) will receive 100% funding within the next 18 days. (The time remaining on his loan request.) I have faith that Mr. Ganiev will receive the full amount of his request in time. If he hasn't been successful by the 2.5 day "red-line" time period, I will be placing a "call" to the Kiva "Rescuers" for help. And, if needed, I will loan an additional $50 to his cause.
(*The "red-line" time period is the period in which an Entrepreneur's status on the Kiva website literally appears in red. It allows Kiva members to see who is in dire need of help.)

Repayments for all of the loans we have made start coming due October 1, 2009. This does not mean that we will receive our full $50.00/loan as of that date. Each Entrepreneur will make their payment, it is divided up by the number of contributors and we will receive our portion. As stated previously - we're in for a penny - in for a pound. In reality, we're in it because it's the right thing to do for those who need our help. Thank you all!!!


In the time it took me to write this blog entry and take care of some laundry - Mr. Ganiev has only has $775.00 left to be funded. He has also been chosen as one of Kiva's Featured Entrepreneurs!!! It looks like he will be fully funded within the next few days which is a good thing!!! It's amazing how this magic really works in mysterious ways...

Posted by Isadora 13:38 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

Paris: Here We Come!!!!!!

The Tour de France Wiki Article Competition (Revised)

"Broadcasting live from Montpellier, France, the TP Foundation has two very big announcements to make - so, take it away, Isa!!!!!"

"Thank you for that introduction!" This is Isa reporting live from Montpellier, France for WTPW!! This report is brought you to by the TP Foundation. Hey, I'm required to put in a plug for the sponsor. It's been a brutal day at the Tour de France time trials. The spokes have been flying out here in Montpelier. But first, a word from that above mentioned sponsor..."

Join in on Travellerspoint's own Tour de France!
As some of you already know, Peter has launched the TP Tour de France Wiki Competition:

"For 3 gruelling weeks, we will challenge any and all of you to help us write the guide articles for the starting and finishing towns of each stage. Travel along with the cyclists by researching these locations and writing up your findings. If you have actually been there, all the better! It will be a great accompaniment to the beautiful footage that is always shown while the Tour is on."

Now, if you follow the TP Tour Route, you will see that there are rewards for authoring wiki articles about the real stage locations:

"For every article about a stage location with over 2000 characters added, we will put $25.00 into the Travellerspoint Foundation." These funds ($50/day maximum) will be used to fund more loans through our favorite organization (yup - you guessed it) Kiva.

The Tour de France wiki sections need your input. Seriously. Nope, not kidding. Hey, someone has to know something about France!!! Besides, do you really want Peter to hang on to that yellow jersey for the duration?? He's already awarded himself the jersey for the first leg. Come on - take it away from him!!! Aussies are good at sailing - not biking!!! (Oooohhhh, maybe we can have an America's Cup Competition for 2010...)

TRAVEL UNRAVELLED - New Travellerspoint blog, looking for articles!
In the previous TPF blog entry, the Foundation announced A Traveller's Self Help Guide Blog would be launched very soon. Well, guess what??? It's here! Again, there are still a few details to be ironed out. But, put on your thinking caps and get ready to write. As you see, the blog now has a bona fide official title. (The Traveller's Self Help Guide subtitle - we like it - but it has issues.)

Along with the Book Club and Tour de France submissions, Travel Unravelled will have a nice little perk also. For each published entry, a $5.00 contribution will be made to the Foundation and used to fund Kiva loans. Now that's a pretty sweet perk!

Just to prove we're serious and really want your submission - I'll paraphrase Peter:

"...if you don't volunteer your own awesome writing, we're going to come knocking on your door and beg!"

Please don't make us coming knocking on your door. Yes, this is my begging you to contribute. The Travellerspoint Foundation Give Us Your Money Good Will All Around The World Project will thank you over and over with each new loan!!!

Isa now gets down on her knees to beg for Tour de France wiki articles and Travel Unravelled entries or she WILL show up on your doorstep armed with the TP crowbar to pry those words out of you - one by one.

Posted by Isadora 08:38 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (0)


As dawn breaks, Isa stands on the street corner hawking the TP Times... "Extra! Extra! Hot off the presses! Breaking news you don't want to miss! You won't be seeing this on your 6:00 news so get a copy while you can! Extra! Extra! Read all about it!!!"


The Book Club - Travellerspoint's Book Review Blog
The Travellerspoint Foundation is extremely proud to announce the launch of it's first, of two, new programs. The Book Club blog is an extension of the Off Topic Forum The TP Book Club is now in session thread, which saw its beginnings in 2005. Due to its success, (our illustrious Overlord) Peter, felt an expansion of the thread to a blog would be an excellent idea. It is. It also appears that no other travel website has an area specifically dedicated to book reviews. (To be fair - none that have been found anyway.) The grand scheme: Let's be the first and conquer the world book by lovely book!!!!! Oh, guess you want to know the rules, eh? Okay - here they are:

    • All members, regardless of rank, are welcome to submit book reviews.
    • Each potential reviewer must contact Peter, Eric or me to be added as a blog author.
    • At that time, each author will have access to the Book Review Style Guide, which will explain how to make the appropriate Amazon affiliation links, insert images, etc. (The Guide and it's format are currently "under construction" by Overlord Eric.)
    • All books - old or new, travel-related or not, are accepted.
    • Note - The "Debbie Does Dallas" comic books do not qualify and will be removed. Just a heads-up.

The TP Foundation applied for and has been accepted as an Amazon Associate too. This is how it works:

    • Reviewed book titles will be linked to Amazon.com. (The Style Guide will explain how authors make these links themselves.)
    • References to any additional titles, by the same or other authors, in a review can also be linked to Amazon.com.
    • Purchases made on Amazon that originated by someone clicking a link on TP, will generate income for the TP Foundation who is listed as the Associate.
    • All Associate earnings will be added to the TP Foundation fund and contributed to Kiva in the form of entrepreneurial loans.

By the way, Peter's feeling a bit lonely out there being the only reviewer thus far... So, let's write some reviews to keep his company and read, read, read, read, read!!!

A Traveller's Self Help Guide Blog
This particular program will be coming to a blog near you any day now! Presently, it is in the final stages of development so you won't have to wait too long to become a participant. As with The Book Club, this guide is being launched under the TP Foundation's umbrella. Yes, we understand it's not the catchiest of titles... But, that's okay because it's not really the title! It's just the subtitle and we happen to like it - a lot. So, what do we mean by "self help guide"? Well, glad you asked!

A Traveller's Self Help Guide will be a blog where TP members contribute helpful information on any number of subjects. As Peter put it to me initially: We would have blog posts on any topics that help travellers be better at travelling. The types of entries I imagine are things like "How to do your banking while travelling" or "How not to get mugged" or "How to keep a blog"... I couldn't have explained it any better myself. With that said, it's time for the "how this blog will work" stuff. Yup, different than the Book Club submissions.

    • All members, regardless of rank, are welcome to submit content.
    • All entries are to be sent to the "Central Submissions Desk" in triplicate. (The submission format and "Central Submissions Desk" aspects are still being worked through at this time.) Okay, just kidding - single copy only unless otherwise requested. No. Really. Don't need three copies.
    • Each entry will be reviewed to ensure proper formatting and grammar by one of the Guide editors. (For more info about Editors - keep reading! Had to keep you interested somehow...)
    • All members submitting entries will have their hands stamped and identities confirmed by robot people.
    • That's all, folks!

A Traveller's Self Help Guide Editors
Please give a rousing round of applause for and a big welcome to the brave souls who have accepted the arduous job of Guide Editor!!! Shall we start with ladies first? Oh, yes, good idea!

    • tway - Our resident copywriter extraordinaire from the land of moose - Canada.
    • GregW - Our resident blogger par excellence, now roaming around the UK somewhere.
    • Piecar - Our resident ex-pat non-sequitur storyteller currently in the Caribbean.
    • zaksame - Our resident Irish writer living and writing in (guess where) Ireland.

THANK YOU ALL - CONTRIBUTORS AND EDITORS ALIKE!!!!!!!! Your sacrifices to the cause are greatly appreciated!! And, we look forward to some very interesting self-help tips. The way we look at it - nothing better than helping someone help themselves while out on an adventure and exploring the world!!

Travellerspoint Wiki/AdSense Program
Yes, I'm almost done! Promise! We reached our $100 threshold on June 12th, which meant the payment hold was removed so the funds could be processed. Those funds are now being audited by AdSense to ensure no click discrepancies. (Part of their T&Cs.) Even though the threshold was reached mid-month, they do their reviews at the end of each month. Sorry - we have to wait just a little bit longer. Not my fault. I'm as anxious to make those first Kiva loans as all of you. The good news - the ending balance for June was $117.28 which ain't all bad!!!

Once again, a very large THANK YOU to all who have chosen to participate!!!!

ps: Sorry - our musical entertainment for this month had to cancel... Oh well... Maybe next month...

Posted by Isadora 13:31 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (1)

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