- Politics and Social Issues
The Five Dollar Vacation - A Worldwide Charity Project with a Difference
What is The Five Dollar Vacation?
It may seem strange for a Briton like me - who has never even visited the United States - to talk about The Five Dollar Vacation when of course this title would perhaps seem slightly less mysterious as his creation were he to brand it, "The Five Pound Holiday." The origins of The Five Dollar Vacation, however, lie with one of Squidoo's best known, most talented and productive contributors, Jaguar Julie, and the credit for this venture begins with her...
The Origins of The Five Dollar Vacation
An explanation is probably in order
It was in March 2009 that I was afforded the great honour by Jaguar Julie of being invited to become the first recipient of the Journal of the Traveling Squid. This related to a charity project which Julie had conceived of, attempting to send a journal and t-shirt around the world via Squidoo participants to the ultimate benefit of any number of worldwide charities and charity projects. It was my pleasure to accept her invitation, to write in the journal and to have my photograph taken with the t-shirt and journal prior to passing the whole lot on to the next participant.
It was only when I was in Edinburgh at The Last Drop Tavern to have photos such as the one above taken that I first unwrapped the t-shirt to find in it an envelope containing five US Dollar bills, which Julie had sent me to assist with the postage for subsequently sending the package on its way. I had not expected this and certainly did not want to be "compensated" for playing my part in this noble venture, so I first of all deemed to donate the dollars to one of Julie's nominated charities.
Then I reconsidered. I would first of all have had to change the dollars to pounds sterling before donating them, a process which would ultimately have meant that mere peanuts were donated to the deserving charity. I decided therefore to come up with an alternative plan and it was on the train home from Edinburgh that evening that the first seed of an idea for this sub-project began germinating in my mind...
I essentially decided that I would take and send The Five Dollars on Vacation. They would be made to visit several different and interesting places, be photographed, and an attempt would be made to raise as much money for deserving charities in the process as possible.
I very much hope that I can on this page do the spirit of Julie's parent project justice.
Juan, a receptionist at The Hotel Bali, Benalmadena, Spain, starts The Five Dollars off on their Vacation
Why The Hotel Bali, Benalmadena?
Did I just stick a pin in a map?
There is a somewhat amusing story and a huge coincidence behind the origins of the starting point of The Five Dollar Vacation. When Julie first asked me to be a part of her project, we established that we were both to be visiting Spain's Costa del Sol in the Spring of 2009. Unfortunately, Julie would depart three days before I arrived, so a personal handover of the material was not possible. Julie therefore suggested leaving the "package" for my collection at The Hotel Bali, in Benalmadena, where I would be staying.
At first I agreed that this was a good idea but then I started thinking. Essentially, an American woman was going to go in to a Spanish hotel and request to be allowed to leave a "package" for a British man who would be arriving several days later, travelling in the company of a Russian woman!
May this not look a little bit "suspicious?"
We decided, therefore, that Julie would send me the package direct - but she did leave a "test" package for me, which I received on my arrival!
Would You Like to Make a Donation to a Noble Cause in the Spirit of this Venture?
Any small amount which you can afford would be much appreciated!
The whole purpose of The Five Dollar Vacation is of course to raise money in the name of charity. At various stages throughout this page, therefore, I will include simple opportunities for you to donate whatever you can afford to a noble cause.
Your help and generosity is very much appreciated by Jaguar Julie, Gordon Hamilton and all associated with the project in any way.
It would also be appreciated - even if you are not in a position to make a financial donation to any of the causes on this site - if you could help to promote the site and the project in any way you can. Favouriting it on any social bookmarking sites of which you are a member, such as Digg, Reddit, or Stumbleupon. Linking to it from your blog or your own web page. Even e-mailing it to your friends, talking about it on your Messenger Service or on your MySpace page. All these gestures are beneficial to the greater cause and involve no financial outlay in any way.
Thank you very much indeed for your help, in whatever form it takes.
Spain's Costa del Sol - The starting point of The Five Dollar Vacation
There are a great many who visit the Costa del Sol on a regular basis who have simply no knowledge of it beyond the beaches and entertainment outlets provided by the top tourist resorts. This fantastic little book looks at the area in far greater detail and provides not only suggestions of places to visit somewhat off the beaten track but precise directions as to how to find them and details of what one may expect to encounter upon arrival.
The Five Dollar Vacation takes in Malaga Castle
A Moorish castle meets the five dollar bills
Malaga is the principal city on the Costa del Sol and the location of the area's only international airport. It is likely therefore that although most tourists will arrive at the airport, few will take the time to explore the city itself.
Malaga was of course ruled by the Moors - as was much of Spain - for eight centuries and there remain a great many relics of that period. The castle at Malaga, however, boasts ruins which precede the Moorish occupation of Spain by almost a millennium to the dark and distant days of the Roman Empire.
I would recommend a day in Malaga and the varied experiences it has to offer to anyone. I promise: The Five Dollars had a great day in this beautiful and historic city!
Dr Yulia Matskevich looks after The Five Dollars during their visit to Malaga Castle
Still to come on The Five Dollar Vacation...
A look at what the future may hold
The Five Dollars are presently enjoying their vacation in as many destinations as I can find to take them, request they be taken to or send them. I will update this page at the earliest juncture with their latest adventures and details of all the wonderful and interesting places they have visited. I hope therefore that you will bear with me and return on a regular basis to keep right up to date with The Five Dollar Vacation and all which it entails.
As regards what will become of the Five Dollar bills at the end of their vacation, it was my original intention to keep this a closely guarded secret until nearer the end of the project. I have now revised my thinking, however. Since The Five Dollars will eventually go their separate ways, I will impart the information regarding their ultimate fate on a gradual basis.
I will therefore proceed to release the information pertaining to the outcome of the five dollars in ten stages. In the first five stages, I will reveal what each dollar is to be made to represent. In the next five stages, I will reveal how each dollar is to be made to do so.
Dollar One - Faith
The basis of so much that we hold dear
Faith is a very small word but it has a huge meaning. It is very important in life, in so many different ways. It can mean Faith in one's God, faith in one's friends or family, or even faith in oneself. Faith is essentially an unshakeable belief in the insubstantial or unverifiable and is not something which is always easy to maintain.
I believe that it was faith which I displayed when I decided that I could put The Five Dollars to far greater good than simply donating them as they were to charity. I still very much retain this faith and it is my sincere hope that all who read this page will in some small way help me to do so.
Dollar One will therefore be made to represent, "Faith."
Amazing Grace by Elvis Presley - Words by John Newton; Music by Unknown
It was Englishman John Newton's newfound Faith in God which turned him against the slave trade in which he had participated in his earlier life. Having joined the Ministry, he wrote this song based upon the Bible and the words of a sermon he was preparing to preach.
To play this, or any of the videos on this page, simply click on the arrow in the centre of the relevant screen.
Notre-Dame de Paris, France
Notre-Dame de Paris (which means, "Our Lady of Paris") is a cathedral in Paris, France. Notre-Dame is probably most famous through the French novelist Victor Hugo's work, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," and the subsequent cinematic productions of same but it has a rich and colourful history, dating back to the twelfth century.
Many thanks to business student Natasha Kondakova for helping The Five Dollars on their ongoing Vacation when they visited Notre Dame (and, of course, to guest photographer Dr Yulia Matskevich!)
Natasha Kondakova and The Five Dollars at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
A Paris Travel Guide - Essential for all Visitors! - by Alan Tillier
The Eyewitness Travel Guide to Paris covers all the city's many attractions in great detail, splitting the city, area by area, for greatest ease of reference. It includes detailed maps and many stunning photographs and illustrations.
Dollar Two - Hope
A genuine concern for the future and all that it will bring
Hope is something which each of us express every day in life. We may say, "I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow!" or, "I hope that train is on time!" It is a word we use in so many different contexts, almost always without considering its true meaning and the bigger picture.
The, "Hope," I am referring to here is nothing to do with rain, or trains, or any other such inconsequential matters. The, "Hope," I am referring to here is the noun, the genuine concern for and interest in the future and what it will bring for the wider world at large.
Dollar Two will therefore be made to represent, "Hope."
What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong - Words and Music by George Douglas and George David Weiss
It truly is a wonderful world in which we live, in so many different ways. It should be the fervent Hope of all of us that we can each contribute in some small way to not only keeping it that way but to its improvement.
Five Dollar Newsflash
Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 saw a charity event held at The Horseshoe Bar in Motherwell, Lanarkshire in the name of Dollar Two: Hope. The beneficiary was The Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Yorkhill) in Glasgow and the sum of 800.00 (circa US$1,200.00) was raised for this magnificent cause.
The Five Dollars visit Southern Germany
Tuebingen is a beautiful little town in Southern Germany. Once again, Gordon Hamilton has to thank Dr Yulia Matskevich for her assistance in taking this photograph of another lovely lady taking care of The Five Dollars during their visit.
Alla Ignashchenkova Cares for The Five Dollars in Tuebingen, Germany
Handbook for Travellers in Southern Germany - A comprehensive guide
Dollar Three - Charity
The concept around which this whole project was born
Charity is essentially how The Five Dollar Vacation began. It was the idea to raise as much money as possible to benefit same which brought about this site. The idea has of course developed significantly since that time but charity is still the over-riding principle.
There are of course more deserving charities in this world than anyone could ever name never mind hope to benefit but the concept of Charity - the bigger picture - is one which all of us can find in our hearts.
Charity is about concern- caring for others - and doing all within our power to help them. Charity is not just about donating money, it is about the physical act of being charitable.
Dollar Three will therefore be made to represent, "Charity."
Feed the World by Band Aid - A project originally organised by Bob Geldof
This worldwide project was of course arranged to coincide with Christmas 1984. Charity, however, is not just for Christmas...
Wishaw, Lanarkshire - My Old Hometown
A stopover for the Five Dollars
As I am presently back living in my home town of Wishaw, I felt it was perhaps appropriate that The Five Dollars should take a breather from their ongoing vacation and pay me a visit. I took them along to see one of Wishaw's public parks, Belhaven Park, which was gifted to the town by Lord Belhaven in memory of his son, who was killed in the First World War. I offer my sincere thanks to Shelley Hughes, who very kindly assisted me in this leg of The Five Dollar Vacation.
Shelley Hughes Introduces The Five Dollars to Belhaven Park and Wishaw
Dollar Four - Freedom
A concept which so many take for granted
Freedom is something which tens of millions of people in the Western world in particular take for granted. Freedom is about the ability to go about one's daily life without undue restriction or interference. Freedom is about the right to make choices as to how one conducts one's own life and the ability to follow through these choices with actions. Over the centuries, wars have been fought and continue to be fought over the right to freedom and many lives have been lost in the destruction of oppressive regimes.
There are in this world, however, many millions of people for whom freedom remains but a dream. Whether they live under a regime which suppresses them on grounds of religion, race, political beliefs or anything else, they do not know the comfort of making their own decisions in life. These people do have as much right to their freedom as any of us and it is up to all of us to do what we can, when we can, to help and support those so oppressed and back all who venture to assist them in any way they can.
Dollar Four will therefore be made to represent, "Freedom."
They Gave their Tomorrows for our Today's
They fought and in many cases died in the name of Freedom
For the Fallen (Fourth Stanza)
"They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn;
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them."
- Laurence Binyon (1914)
"Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."
- Sir Winston Spencer Churchill, 4th June 1940
World War II - A complete history, by Sir Martin Gilbert
The madness that caused The Second World War cost almost fifty million lives, both military and civilian. This incredible publication examines in great detail the causes and events of World War II.
Taking The Five Dollars on Vacation is Thirsty Work
So I decided thereafter to take them for, "A Wee Dram"
After all that vacationing, I decided that I needed some spiritual restoration in the form of some uisge beatha, "The Water of Life" - single malt whisky. I therefore took The Five Dollars in to The Yard, a pub on Wishaw Main Street, where Dawn Colligan introduced the visiting Five Dollars to a choice of fine single malts.
Dawn Colligan introduces The Five Dollars to Single Malt Whisky
The Five Dollars meet Braveheart in The Royal Burgh of Lanark
A symbol of the future meets the far distant past
It was in the town of Lanark that William Wallace (Braveheart) met and married Marian Braidfute. Following an assault on the town by Wallace and his men and their subsequent escape to Ettrick Forest, the English Sheriff (Hazelrig) had Marian put to death, to at least have the satisfaction of denying Wallace the woman he loved. The small plaque in the photograph below marks the spot where once stood William Wallace's matrimonial home. Thanks go to Etta Lewthwaite for her assistance in this instance.
Note: The photograph to the above right is of The Clyde Valley, just outside Lanark.
Etta Lewthwaite Introduces The Five Dollars to Braveheart
The Dogs Trust
The largest dog welfare charity in the UK
If you live in the UK and wish to help our canine friends with a donation, The Dogs Trust would love to hear from you. The Dogs Trust is a charity dedicated to helping dogs which have not been lucky enough to be taken in to a loving family home. It is possible to sponsor a specific dog, apply for and use a Dogs Trust credit card or even find that loving pet for which you are searching.
Click here to visit The Dogs Trust website today and help The Dogs Trust to help man's best friend.
PS: The dog pictured is not available to sponsor or take as a pet - this is my mother's dog, Robbie!
Dollar Five - Love
The most powerful of all emotions
Let us just for a moment set the Freedom and Charity aspects of this project on the back burner. "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (I Corinthians 13:13)
I am aware that the translation and interpretation of the Bible verse above varies depending upon which version of the Bible one consults. The meaning, however, of these immortal words is not diluted by translation. These words are among the most powerful found anywhere in the Scriptures and what a wonderful world we would live in were more people to read and take careful note of them. As hatred, blind prejudice and disrespect continue to invade and pollute our daily lives, however, these words are all too often forgotten or simply ignored.
Dollar Five will therefore be made to represent, "Love."
The Power of Love by Jennifer Rush - Co-written by Jennifer Rush
Love comes in a great many different shapes and forms. None of us, however, should ever underestimate, "The Power of Love..."
The Five Dollar Vacation - in Verse
A poem by Gordon Hamilton
These Five Dollars came to me by what I now deem fate,
I only hoped a greater cause, I could substantiate;
Vacations come in many forms, consist of many thrills,
So that is what I planned for them, these plain Five Dollar bills.
Across the land and sea they roam, from Scotland's shores to Spain's,
And everywhere these dollars go, it's charity that gains;
From Paris, France, to Germany, the dollars boldly go,
But where each one will come to rest, there's no one does yet know.
So few things last forever, vacations reach their end,
We know not what's ahead of us and lurks just round the bend;
Our Faith, though, is eternal, in Father and in Son,
And so to Faith I dedicate, my Dollar number One.
I hoped to do so much with them, my new Five Dollar friends,
I hoped that I could use them well, a means unto an end;
I hope that soon I will have done, 'bout all that I can do,
And so to Hope I dedicate, my Dollar number Two.
Good causes, there are many and likewise those in need,
It's up to us to help them, with thoughtful word or deed;
If we each shine a little light, a bright world this can be,
To Charity I dedicate, my Dollar number Three.
The Dollars have roamed far and wide, so much they have now seen,
I scarcely can believe myself, the places they have been;
They've tasted fruits of liberty, they've seen great sights and more,
To Freedom I now dedicate, my Dollar number Four.
And now but one bill does remain, most special one of all,
What can it mean? Where should it go? I have to make the call;
So what eclipses everything and makes us feel alive?
To Love I humbly dedicate, my Dollar number Five.
The Five Dollar Vacation Continues
The five dollars have enjoyed their travel break
It is now time for The Five Dollars to once again be on their travels, now that the ultimate nature of each of their fates has been revealed. I still have a few destinations in mind for them before they go their separate ways, so don't forget to check back on a regular basis to see what they've been up to, where they have been and with whom!
The Five Dollars Visit Stuttgart, Germany
The home of the German auto industry
In mid-September, 2009, two friends of mine visited Stuttgart, Germany to watch the VFB Stuttgart v Rangers football (soccer) match. They very kindly offered to take The Five Dollars along for the ride and not only took them to see the match, they took them to see the Mercedes Benz Museum, straight across the road from the stadium.
Thanks in this instance go to Archie Park (pictured below outside the museum) and to Lindsay Robertson behind the camera lens.
Any Rangers supporters wishing to donate to charity in the spirit of The Five Dollar Vacation and in the name of Rangers Football Club may do so via the link below:
Archie Park introduces The Five Dollars to Mercedes Benz in Stuttgart, Germany
The Five Dollar Feast - My own personal, symbolic interaction with The Five DollarsClick thumbnail to view full-size
It was on Sunday, September 20th, 2009, just before I sent The Five Dollars off on the latest leg of their Vacation, that I came up with the idea of The Five Dollar Feast. I was not sure at this point how many more times I would in fact see all Five Dollars together, so I thought the time was right for me to make my own, very personal contribution to the greater cause of these Five Dollars. In my capacity as Food and Drink Channel Steward on Helium.com, I decided to share with them a meal.
I began thinking about how symbolic food can be in our lives and how eating can be such a social event. I developed this idea until I thought about what foods could be made to represent and I came up with the following:
The Five Dollar Feast
You will hopefully recall that The Five Dollars have each in turn been made to represent Faith, Hope, Charity, Freedom and Love. What follows is my humble attempt to make them do so in a culinary sense.
Dollar One can be seen above to be the broken bread - as in the Christian Celebration of Holy Communion - representing Christ's broken body on the Cross and how our Faith tells us He died that we may some day join Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Dollar Two in a similar fashion is wine, representing the blood of Christ, spilled at Calvary to give all mankind new Hope for Resurrection and Eternal Life.
Dollar Three is maize, one of the crops which world Charity organisations help people in the Third World to tend and grow that they may begin to know self-sufficiency.
Dollar Four is free range chicken, a chicken leg which has come from a bird that knew the Freedom to roam in life and was not cruelly caged and force-fed.
Dollar Five is chocolate, the most common foodstuff given as an expression of Love and associated with same the whole world over.
These five ingredients may not form the most appetising of meals -though I did manage to craft a chicken and corn salad with croutons from them (pictured above right,) with chocolate and wine for dessert! - but collectively they have to represent one of the most spiritually rewarding meals I have ever eaten.
The final dedication and representation of each of The Five Dollars has of course yet to come, here on The Five Dollar Vacation!
The Five Dollars Climb Zugspitze
The highest mountain peak in Germany
When The Five Dollars made their third visit to Germany, it was my Dad and Rita Leierer who took them to the summit of Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany, and took these photographs.
Zugspitze scales 2,962 metres (about 9,000 feet) above sea level. The first 2,600 metres are ascended by train but the last 400 or so are ascended in the pictured cable car at an angle of approximately sixty degrees.
Rita Leierer Holds The Five Dollars at the Summit of Zugspitze
The Five Dollars Visit Munich, Bavaria, Germany
My second favourite city
Although I personally have never been out of Europe, I am reasonably well travelled within Europe itself and, other than Edinburgh, Munich is by far my favourite of all the cities I have lived in or visited. There is something special about the city which I can not fully define and this varies with the different seasons. It may surprise many but my least favourite time to visit Munich - if there can in fact be such a thing - is during the world famous Oktoberfest, simply because it is too busy and there is often trouble of a kind not witnessed in Munich at any other time of year. What is almost certainly The Five Dollars' last photoshoot in Germany simply had therefore to be in Munich.
The biergarten to the above right is one of my favourites in the whole city (and there are plenty to choose from!) and it is located on the Viktualienmarkt, near the City Centre. Countless times I have breakfasted here on Weisswurst and Weissbier, or lunched on the likes of a pickled herring Semmel and a Mass or two of Helles.
My Aunt Audrey Introduces The Five Dollars to Marienplatz, Munich - the large Square in the City Centre
The Five Dollars Visit The Lake District
One of the most beautiful parts of England's green and fertile land
The Lake District is a part of the UK which - to my ongoing regret - I have not yet had the opportunity to explore. I have passed through the general area many times on trains to or from London but that has been the extent of my visits to date. I intend to put that right at the earliest juncture.
When Sue and Peter Dixon very kindly offered to show The Five Dollars not only The Lake District but Dove Cottage, the one-time home of William Wordsworth, I was therefore delighted. My sincere thanks go to Sue and Peter for taking the time out from running their nearby White Moss House Guest House - also once owned by Wordsworth - in order to take the photos featured here.
Sue Dixon Introduces The Five Dollars to William Wordsworth's Dove Cottage
When The Five Dollars left The Lake District behind, I very much doubt that they could have begun to imagine what lay in store for them next...
My Dad Introduces The Five Dollars to The Great Wall of China During his Recent Asian Trip
I must admit that at the start of The Five Dollar Vacation, I never for one second imagined how far it would progress and how far these dollars would ultimately travel. These pictures from Asia - which my Dad and Rita Leierer very kindly took for me recently - are beyond what I could ever initially have hoped for.
The picture to the right and one of the ones below show The Five Dollars in a compound run by Buddhist Monks, near Bangkok, Thailand, who care for the live tigers. My Dad and Rita were required to sign a disclaimer prior to entering that they did so at their own risk! There is also a picture below of Rita on The Great Wall of China at a Great Wall Gift Store.
The Five Dollars are behind the camera lens in the photograph taken at The Bridge on the River Kwai. It is estimated that over 15,000 Allied POW's and more than 100,000 civilians died during their enforced construction of the Thailand/Burma Railway during World War II.
When The Five Dollars visited the cemetery near The Bridge on the River Kwai - where more than 3,000 British, Australian and Dutch soldiers are buried - I very much hope that the placing of these American Dollars on the graves by a British hand serves as a very poignant reminder that Good does triumph over Evil, Freedom over Tyranny, Love over Hatred and that these two brave young men and so many millions like them did not pay the ultimate price in vain.
In God's name, may this long continue to be the case...
The Five Dollars Visit The Ship Inn
The oldest pub in Irvine, Scotland
It was while visiting the town of Irvine recently that I was taken to the town's oldest pub, The Ship Inn. The original cottage was built in 1567 and the building was first licensed as a public house in 1754. The Five Dollars and I thoroughly enjoyed our all too brief visit to The Ship Inn and the meal I had of braised steak, peppercorn sauce and various side dishes of vegetables was absolutely delicious.
I would like to extend my thanks to The Ship Inn staff members (pictured from left to right below) Beverley Campbell, Sarah Gilmore and Katie Walker for assisting me in this latest leg of The Five Dollar Vacation.
Beverley Campbell, Sarah Gilmore and Katie Walker Introduce The Five Dollars to The Ship Inn, Irvine
The Five Dollars Visit Glasgow - One of their final stopovers before they go their separate waysClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Five Dollars Visit Bucharest, Romania
Attending yet again a UEFA Champions' League match
In early November 2009, The Five Dollars were once again kindly taken by Lindsay Robertson to watch Rangers in action in the UEFA Champions' League. On this occasion, the venue was Bucharest, Romania and although we had a slight technical issue with the photographs on this occasion, The Five Dollars can clearly be discerned in the photograph below, being held by a young Romanian lady by the name of Georganna.
A Young Romanian Lady by the Name of Georganna Introduces The Five Dollars to Bucharest
The Five Dollars Meet Luddy Samms at Glasgow Central Station
It was by sheer coincidence and nothing more that The Five Dollars and I happened to encounter legendary soul singer Luddy Samms at Glasgow Central Station, while we were both waiting for different trains. Raised in Texas, USA, Luddy Samms has lived in the UK since the 1970s and his glittering career has included everything from singing with The Drifters, to dueting spontaneously on stage with Bruce Willis, who had gone to see him in concert.
The Five Dollars, their charitable causes and I would like to thank Luddy Samms for pausing while heading for his train to have the above picture taken.
The Conclusion of The Five Dollar Vacation
The British Weather and The Five Dollar Vacation
The unavoidable reason for the delay
It is to my regret that I have to explain why The Five Dollar Vacation did not conclude as promised on December 31st, 2009. The simple answer, I'm afraid, is that the weather and the total lack of ability of the local authorities to cope with what I am aware is but modest snowfall in terms of that experienced elsewhere on the planet, is the culprit. I am writing this paragraph on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 - some three weeks after snowfall brought not only my part of the UK but many others to a complete standstill. When the weather is going to ease, I have no idea - but it would appear that I am dependant upon conditions improving naturally, rather than such as gritters clearing roads, before I can proceed to disperse the remaining dollars as planned.
I apologise for this delay and hope that you will bear with me until I can take up from where I left off.
I very much hope that you approve of the concept of The Five Dollar Vacation and that you have been able to donate a little something to one of the featured charities.
I hope also that you will come back again to monitor the progress of the five dollars on their vacation!