All About That Barter

In some countries when you go to buy souvenirs, they will give you a price, a ridiculous price. They hope being tourists you will pay for it. However, bartering is like a hobby, and to get a semi decent price – you have to play the game.

The price they give you – let’s say it is 100 – some website will say go 80% of the price given. Let’s do a typical exchange.


Seller: 100

You: 20

Seller: No, No, No (some comment about how this product is wonderful, nice, real whatever – don’t believe it. I even had someone set their product on fire to prove their point)

You: Nod your head, agree it is nice (of course because you have great taste)! How about 25

Seller: No, No, No.. For you, I will sell for 80

You: Thank you, but it is okay… Start walking off because I can almost gurarentee you that what they are selling – so will 20 other vendors in that area

Typically a seller will call you back once you walk away. They will lower the price

Seller: Wait, for you, for you 60

You: No, I can’t do more than 40

Now, most of the time, the seller will agree to what you are saying or say a slightly higher price


Some tips to remember:

  • Most of the time, you are not really buying quality products so you are not robbing them of money.
  • They will not sell you anything at price or at a loss. If you go too low, they will stop bartering. That is a sign – maybe you want to go higher.
  • Don’t be mean. Don’t pretend like what you have is junk (even if it is). Be respectful but know they will try to get the most out of you just because you are a tourist.

“I’ll Race Ya!”

“I’ll race ya,’ yelled the battle cry as chubby legs pumped through the grass and rocks running down the hill. Breathing became heavy as feet ran forward but the head was cast in glances to see how close the competitor was. “AGH,” came the yell as the person behind suddenly started catching up, legs pumping harder. All the teasing that led up to this moment caused panic as they realized they would lose.


Suddenly, out of the corner of their eye, came their grandfather, beating them down the hill. The two siblings, once competing, now became one team as their goal shifted from each other to catching their grandfather. Their grandfather, the one they anxiously waited until the afternoon to see when he would get off of work, was home. Driving up, he would walk in the kitchen to smell the food on the table and then head out for chores – feeding and watering the animals, chopping wood, helping tend to the garden, whatever it was that needed to be done.


Two shadows following him around, climbing on fences or matching his stride talking, not even caring if he didn’t respond as much back. Soon enough, the parents will be back to pick them up from at their grandparents, and they would recount the story of how they lost to PawPaw, said in utter shock that they could even lose. However, they never realized at the time that they had truly won.

Best Traveling Apps


There are two types of travelers, those who unplug for peace and those who use technology in their travel. Forbes has a list of the best apps for 2016. They are the following:

Trip Case – organize multiple flihts, hotel reservations and plans

Snapchat – Share quick photos or videos with other users

Pro-tip: Filters

BringFido – Maps out dog parks and pet-friendly hotels

Bravolo – 13-language phrasebook

Currency – keeps track of your finances in multiple countries

CityMaps2Go – Downloadable maps and guides


Karie’s Suggestion:

Before you leave, download all the apps you think you will need in case you don’t have Internet to do it. Also, check to see if the country you are going to has some apps censored.

Apps I would suggest is WhatsApp, to communicate over wifi and any language app that you can use without the Internet.

“What is He Doing in the Kitchen?”


“What is he doing in the kitchen,” asked a frustrated voice. Christian, standing there in his summer tank top and shorts, was eating a Pop Tart and stirring Kool-Aid. The clock was ticking and it was time to leave but he was dancing, a slow calm dancing that resembled the early morning that it was, getting supplies for the rest of the day.


“What is he doing in the field,” asked a perplexed voice, watching underneath the shade of trees folding laundry from the outside washer and dryers. Christian, dancing, was in a field with no one around. The sun is setting, the blades of grass have grown higher than what is comfortable and a shadow plays across the ground, as if he was dancing with it.


“What is he doing on the dance floor,” asked a voice laced in humor. Christian, shadowed by bright lights, dancing outside at Downtown Disney in Central Florida. Laughter erupts as people latch arms swinging each other around, careful to not step on the small children around them. Christian, smiling and encouraging others to join him, threw back his head in laughter as his friends attempted to dance together, bumping into each other.


What makes Christian special? What makes Christian dancing in the kitchen, in the field or at Disney so unique? It is not the dancing that sets Christian apart; it is the music. The music he hears, not through his headphones or from a DJ, is what makes it wonderful. It is the music he dances to, it is why he dances and what he hears in his head that many do not understand. It is waking up dancing, it is going throughout life dancing and it is drawing others into his joy.


Many may see his dancing and not understand, but that is because they do not hear his music. Christian, his zest for life, his joy that overflows and his ability to enjoy the moment, is the music that plays if one will just listen closely.

“The Climb is Worth It.”


The only mountains I grew up seeing was the Smokey Mountains until I traveled to the Pacific Northwest and my eyes landed on Mt. Rainier. Driving up the road to where my group and I would park the vehicle and hike was gorgeous. There were beautiful waterfalls, lakes and green foliage everywhere. It was beautiful, and although I was excited to hike a little bit, I was content staring out the window at what was going on around me.


When I arrived, there was people walking around, visiting the lodge and tourist shops. I started the hike, easy paved walkways but still hills that soon transformed to rocky paths. I was able to see deer that were like none I have ever seen, flowers that looked like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book and marmots. Marmots, very unique animals that remind me of fat prairie dogs that are actually big squirrels, sit along the paths in the meadows acting as if there were not crowds of people around.


I was able to smell the fresh air, see and hear the animals, look at the flowers close-up and feel the rocks beneath my feet. I was able to sit on a giant rock overlooking a steep drop to where a glacier was until it melted and left a giant cavity in the Earth. I would look up and see the snow capped tops when the clouds will roll past, imagining what it would be like to climb the mountain.

I was content and comfortable in the vehicle going up the mountain to where we would walk, but the beauty there, although safe, had nothing to compare to the beauty that I experienced once I stepped out of my comfort zone and climbed.


I think life is like that, we are comfortable with what we know and there is beauty that surrounds us here. However, there is so much to experience if we just take the time to truly see, not on the screen of a phone or a window, but really taking time to see that even if the climb is hard, it is worth it.

“Why is Fancy Standing in the Road?”

“Why is Fancy Standing in the Road?”

“Why is Fancy in the road,” screeched a voice laced in panic. Fancy, a woman who lives behind a local church in small town Mississippi, lives with her husband and their pet dog in a cozy house next to an open lot. As the youth ministry in the local church grew, so did their desire to host the teenagers in their home. What started as one day grew to twice a week as the teenagers would flood the house, making themselves at home.

Fancy and her husband would sometimes cook for the teenagers but always be there to talk to them, invest in them and pray for them. As prom night neared, Fancy went to look at the seniors take photos near the railroad tracks. A truck was driving down the road and saw the students, but the students didn’t see the truck. Fancy stood in the road until the last student walked to the other side on the shoulder. Then she nonchalantly joined them.

Of course, watching Fancy stand in the road with her light pink shirt and a smile on a face caused instant panic. However, Fancy thought nothing of it. Fancy didn’t save a life that day. She didn’t push a child out of oncoming traffic or another other crazy act of love we often read about it. No, that isn’t Fancy’s story for this season of her life.

Fancy’s story is one of radical love, a persistent ordinary person that creates extraordinary results. It is opening the door smiling, listening, praying, watching them play sports and believing in them. Fancy and her husband may not have a plaque on the wall of their achievements from helping this church, may not have a building dedicated to them at a school or even for people all across the world to know their name, but for the teenagers that flood their house, they have found a second home in the love of Fancy, her husband and their dog.


Because a radical love isn’t just a one-time instance, but it is a daily choice that those around you are more important than yourself.