Bob and Linda

Home and Away

Bob and Linda

I started blogging on Travelblog in 2009, entering trips beginning in 2007. However, my intention has always been to document my years of travel. Most bloggers write about their trips away from home. Mine, and eventually Linda's, homes have usually been where people travel to. So the idea eventually percolated to rename our blog "Home and Away."

The blog is not intended to be an autobiography, although I spent my entire life traveling, with Linda joining me after college, it may appear to be that way. As this is a travel blog the entries concentrate mostly on the travel aspects of our lives. The blogs about our homes (see the links below) necessarily provide the setting, with an abbreviated description of what brought us to that place, our local travel, and some of the significant events, many of which intersected with history, that might be of general interest to readers. These "home" blogs are followed by blogs about the extended trips we took while living in each place.

To start at the beginning in 1949 just go to The Beginning. I was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and lived in Thailand for a total of 8 years, Dalat, Vietnam for 5 years, and the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia for 2 years; returning to the States for college in 1968. I met Linda at Geneva College; me a senior and she a freshman. We were married in December 1972 following my graduation from college, and that's when Linda was also infected with the travel bug.

In February 1973 we moved to Thailand for 2 1/2 years (see blogs beginning with Back to Thailand with Linda - our home in Bangkok), returned to the States for 2 years (see blogs starting with Home for a couple years in the DC area), and then back overseas to Ramstein, Germany for 3 years (see blogs starting with Seven Years in Germany: Rheinland-Pfalz), and Boblingen, Germany for 4 years (see blogs starting with Home in Boblingen, Germany).

We moved to Overijse, Belgium (outskirts of Brussels) for 11 years (see blogs starting with Home in Overijse, Belgium from July 1984 to November 1995), where our three children, Tamara, Rosanna, and Will were born.

We finished our overseas assignments and moved to Falls Church, Virginia in November 1995 (see blogs starting with Home in Falls Church, Virginia from November 1995 to August 2005 ). While living there for ten years, we took road trips to all 50 states and several U.S. territories looking for a place to retire.

We are now retired in Colorado (see blogs starting with Retirement in Woodland Park Colorado), which gives us even more time, but not enough money, to travel. Linda is tiring of traveling, so is very selective about when she joins me on trips, but our three children are hooked on travel for life.

On December 31, 2011 I completed all blog entries covering the period from 1949 to 2011, including travel to 65 countries. Discovering that, I set a goal of traveling to 100 countries.

So in September 2012 (see blogs starting with Our 40th Anniversary Trip Begins!) rather than flying directly to Sydney for our 40th Anniversary, we flew to Honolulu and cruised to American Samoa (66), Samoa (67), Fiji, Vanuatu (68), French Caledonia (69), to Australia; then flew to New Zealand (70) for several weeks of touring on the South and North Islands.

In March 2013 (see blogs starting with Planning my Silk Road and Baltics RTW), I flew to Beijing, China where I met up with my son Will who flew in from Bangkok. We traveled the Silk Road by train, first to Lanzhou, where we took a side trip to Xiahe (Labrang where my parents we married in 1949), then to Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Turpan, and Urumqi in China. We flew from there via Almaty, Kazakhstan (71) to finish the Silk Road in Uzbekistan (72); visiting the sights of Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara. We then flew from Tashkent to Riga, Latvia (73) and took buses to Vilnius, Lithuania (74), and Tallinn, Estonia (75); and a ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki, Finland (76). We then took our separate ways with Will flying to Rome and I headed home via a stopover in London.

From 30 April to 12 May 2014 Linda and I will explore the Pre-Colombian civilizations on our first visit to South America; first the Inca civilization exemplified by Machu Picchu in Peru (77) and then Bolivia (78). We will have brief stopovers in Colombia (79) and Panama (80), enough time to see the Panama Canal and the old city, before continuing to Cancun, Mexico to see the Mayan ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula (see blogs starting with Planning our Pre-Colombian Civilizations Trip.

Future trips include the following rough order subject to the vicissitudes of life:

2015 - Our plan is to attend my son's graduation from Bangor Law School in Wales, and see a bit of Wales, Scotland and Northern England before flying Dubrovnik, Croatia (81) where we will take short trips to Kotor, Montenegro (82) and Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina (83), before heading north along the Croatian coast to Slovenia (84).

2016 and beyond. From this point we will likely take several cruises to include:
- a cruise from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (85) to Montevideo, Uruguay (86), to Buenos Aires, Argentina (87), to the Falkland Islands (88), to Ushuaia and the Chilean Fjords, to Valparaiso, Chile (89).
- a cruise of the Eastern Caribbean to include Guadeloupe (90), the British Virgin Islands (91), the Netherlands Antilles (92), St Kitts and Nevis (93), Antigua and Barbuda (94), Dominica (95), Venezuela (96), Grenada (97), Barbados (98), St Lucia (99), and Martinique (100) to reach my goal of 100 countries.

So while Travelbloggers shouldn't set such trivial goals, but just travel for the sake of travel, and learning about other peoples and cultures, I have done that. I am intimately familiar with a wide range of cultures, having lived outside my homeland for 36 years. I now look forward to visiting more places as a consequence of having set a goal. Most places will be short visits. But I did that when I first explored Europe after high school in 1968...visiting over a dozen countries in 21 days with the Eurailpass (see Eurailpass trip following high school graduation). But short visits often lead to long visits, and we eventually lived 18 years in Europe.

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney March 11th 2014

Last September one of my favorite Travelbloggers, , as he approached his fifth year anniversary as a Travelblogger, published describing his last day of traveling. He revisited five of his most favorite places around the world; money was no object...a real life "Bucket List!" "Last day of traveling"...what a morbid premise for a blog I thought...I never want to stop. But if given a last chance to relive old memories of places I haven't been for years and may never visit again, perhaps there would be some benefit to having such a day. I resolved to do the same as I approached my fifth anniversary. Picking five or six favorite places was going to be tough. I've had six months to think about it. Dawn is always a good time to start any day. There is ... read more
Thailand - the hill tribes village
Thailand - cooking breakfast
Thailand - the trail to the top of Doi Inthanon

South America » Peru » Lima March 4th 2014

We have been planning to visit South America for quite some time. Years ago Linda's brother visited Machu Picchu and raved about it. As it is the only continent, other than Antarctica, that we have never visited it is about time that we go. As retirees, we have a pretty flexible schedule. We wanted to go when the weather was good (no rain and fog obscuring Machu Picchu) and the tourists few (no crowds and lower prices), which meant May, September or October according to our Travelblog research. We originally targeted mid-Sep to mid-Oct of this year. I mostly use frequent flyer miles for my travels, usually reserving 330 days in advance to ensure the availability of seats using the fewest miles. But last fall I didn't have enough miles for two round trips, so waited ... read more

North America » United States » Colorado » Denver December 6th 2013

Back on June 19th I received the following message from : "Hi Bob, I'll be in Beaver Creek for two nights, the 5th and 6th December...hopefully having some snow and skiing all day long the 5th, 6th and 7th December. Will you be far away? Regards, Pierre-Alexandre." Just how he knew he would be in Colorado in December when the two weeks prior to arriving would include Sudan, Dubai, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Scottsdale, and the Grand Caymans, I'll never know. But never one to miss an opportunity to meet a fellow Travelblogger and fellow Moderator, I responded positively. My friend is not a normal Travelblogger. As indicated by his itinerary above, he is probably the most traveled blogger we have. In a six month period he visited all seven continents, and given that the seventh, Antarctica, ... read more
Christkindlmarkt in Denver
Christkindlmarkt in Denver
Christkindlmarkt in Denver

North America » United States » Colorado » Breckenridge September 28th 2013

28 September 2013 Saturday. This time every Autumn we like to take a day trip in the mountains to see the golden aspens, some leaves tinged with red or orange, and the evergreens; and in the background a white dusting of snow on the Rockies and the deep blue sky. This is also the season when the elk are bugling, adding the aural dimension to the blaze of color. Normally we would drive to Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park, but this year the heavy rains produced flash floods that have eroded roadways and flooded towns all along the Front Range, including Estes Park. So we (daughter Tamara, grandson Liam, Linda and I) decided to drive west through South Park (it's a real place after which the irreverent cartoon in named), and then north ... read more
South Park and COntinental Divide
Scene on the way to Hoosier Pass
Liam and Tamara at the Frisco Marina

North America » United States » New Mexico » Santa Fe August 3rd 2013

Our daughter Rosanna and son in law Evan spent their summer holidays with us. Besides visiting the sights in our local area we took an overnight trip to Santa Fe as Evan had never been to the southwest United States. 4 August 2013 Sunday. We hit the road at 8:30 am, with Linda and I, Rosanna and Evan, and our two year old grandson Liam, whose mother Tamara stayed behind as she had a doctors appointment on Monday...besides someone had to feed the pets. We took I-25 and US 160 to get to Great Sand Dunes National Park, arriving by 11:15 am. After a quick stop at the visitor center, we parked near the dunes and hiked across the sand to climb the nearest dune. Linda and I only made it part way. Rosanna and Evan ... read more
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Evan, Liam, Rosanna and Linda
Liam, Evan and Rosanna hiking to the dunes

North America » United States » Ohio » Cleveland Area July 12th 2013

Every Weekend edition of USA Today includes a Travel section. Recently they had a top ten national parks list. I had been to every one on the list except Cuyahoga Valley National Park just south of Cleveland, Ohio. This is the same Cuyahoga River that caught on fire in the late 1960's and led to America's recognition that something was very wrong environmentally with this country. We soon saw the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, and the Environmental Protection Agency, all under President Nixon...another who knew...that he was an environmentalist!? Coincidentally, I was going to Cleveland for my cousin Larry's marriage to Jenny...flying this more driving across the Great Plains as I have done in 2010, 1011, 2012 and many times before that. Other than my attendance at the wedding, my list ... read more
Family gathering on Saturday morning
Aunt Minnie and Bonnie at cousin Margie and Shawn's home
Guests awaiting the wedding ceremony start

North America » United States » Colorado » Woodland Park April 17th 2013

My last blog was posted from Helsinki just before boarding my flight to London. Because I wanted this to be my last blog for the trip, I forecasted that my subsequent flights home would be uneventful. I admitted to some concern that forecasting the future may result in jinxing the future as fate has a way of wanting to prove us prognosticators wrong. Well, the overnight in London went ok...I didn't spend the evening in London, but relaxed at the hotel instead. And getting out of the tub after a wonderful foot soaking bath in the morning was a bit of a challenge which took about 20 minutes to find a way out. And the wheelchair support at the airport left much to be desired. But the BIG JINX was upon arrival in Dallas/Fort Worth, I ... read more

Europe » Finland April 16th 2013

14 April 2014 Sunday.The morning started out badly. We got our 5:45 am wake up call 10 minutes late, and then the elevator was out so we had to walk down (better then up) five floors. So we didn't catch our taxi until 6:45 am. Fortunately the driver went fast and we arrived at Terminal D just before 7 am, the cut off time to catch the 7:30 am ferry. I was going to get some pictures of the ferry pulling away from the dock and Tallinn, but decided a picture of grey fog wouldn't make it as Photo of the Week. I had forgotten to pack my Sea Bands, but it turned out that the sea was calm so I didn't get seasick. Weather conditions weren't any better when we arrived in Helsinki. I could ... read more

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn April 13th 2013

Actually there is a common theme to my recent blogs...merchants. On the Silk Road we followed merchants over land. In the Baltics we find the Hanseatic League, the merchants of the northern seas. Moving merchandize had always been easier over sea than land...that's why the Silk Road was abandoned when the sea route between Europe and Asia was found. Earlier in my life I learned that the cost of shipping from England to Boston during the age of sailing ships was cheaper than the cost from Boston to only 30 miles inland. That's quite a difference, and the merchants of the north had it nailed. I also learned that the best time to travel the Silk Road...we had delightful sunny weather the entire three not the best time to visit the Baltic Republics. 9 April ... read more
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Vilnius Old Town

Asia » Uzbekistan » Tashkent April 8th 2013

3 April 2013 Wednesday. We checked in with Air Astana at 2:15 am for the 4:15 am flight to Almaty, Kazakhstan. The flight was uneventful, landing at 4:10 am with the time zone changes. Then we had a 5 ½ hour layover where we stretched out on benches to try to sleep. Looking through the duty free shops didn’t help the time fly any faster. We took off at 9:45 am bound for Tashkent, Uzbekistan. We flew over the Pamir Massif. If there was any doubt whether we should have tried going overland, the obviously deep snows in the mountains settled it. We were told that there had been record snows this winter, and that the passes were closed. We arrived in Tashkent at 10:30 am and cleared immigration and customs rather easily. There is an ... read more
$200 in soms
Bob at the Emir Tamerlane Museum
Statue of Tamerlane

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