I was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and lived in Thailand for a total of 8 years, Vietnam for 5 years, and Malaysia for 2 years before returning to the States for college. I met Linda in college. Linda was from New Castle, Pennsylvania. We were married after college and moved to Thailand for 2 1/2 years, Germany for 7 years and Belgium for 11 years, where our three children, Tamara, Rosanna, and Will were born. We returned to the States and spent ten years on road trips visiting all 50 states looking for a place to retire. We are now retired in Colorado, which gives us even more time to travel. However, Linda is tired of traveling, but our three children are hooked on travel for life.
I started blogging on travelblog in 2009, entering trips beginning in 2007. However, my intention has always been to document our years of travel. Most bloggers write about their trips away from home. Our 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 having spent our entire lives traveling, it may appear to be that way. However, as this is a travel blog the entries concentrate mostly on the travel aspects of our lives. The descriptions of our homes necessarily provide the setting, with an abbreviated description of what brought us to that place and some of the significant events, many of which intersected with history, that might be of general interest to readers.
On December 31, 2011 I completed all blog entries covering the period from 1949 to 2011, including travel to 63 countries. Discovering that I set a goal of traveling to 100 countries. So in 2012 rather than flying directly to Sydney, we cruised from Honolulu to American Samoa (64), Samoa (65), Fiji, Vanuatu (66), French Caledonia (67), to Australia, and took a flight to New Zealand (68) with several weeks of touring.
Then from 21 March to 16 April 2013, I flew to Beijing, China. I traveled with my son by train to Lanzhou, where we took a side trip to Xiahe (Labrang where my parents we married in 1949). Then we followed the Silk Road to Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Turpan, and Urumqi in China; flying from there via Almaty, Kazahkstan (69) to finish the Silk Road in Uzbekistan (70). We saw the sights in Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara. We then flew from Tashkent to Riga, Latvia (71) and took buses to Vilnius, Lithuania (72), and Tallinn, Estonia (73). We took a ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki, Finland (74). Will flew to Rome and I flew home via a stopover in London.
Future trips include:
2014 I want to cruise from Rio de Janero, Brazil (75) to Montevideo, Uruguay (76), to Buenos Aires, Argentina (77), to the Falkland Islands (78), to Usuaia and the Chilean Fjords, to Valparaiso, Chile (79). Then I want to fly to La Paz Bolivia (80) and overland to Lake Titicaca, Cuzco, and Machu Pichu, Peru (81), but Linda may think this trip is too long so we will have to split it in two.
2015 Linda and I will tour southern Poland (82), where her fraternal grandmother was from, Sovakia, where the maternal grandparents were from, Hungary, and the Balkans including Romania (83), Serbia (84), Bulgaria (85), Macedonia (86), Albania (87), Kosovo (88), Montenegro (89), Bosnia-Herzegovina (90), Croatia (91), and Slovenia (92).
2016 Overland from Panama (93) to Costa Rica (94), Nicaragua (95), Honduras (96), and Belize (97), to Mexico.
2017 Cruise to a bunch of Caribbean Island nations and in the process achieve my goal of 100 countries.
So while travelbloggers shouldn't set such trivial goals, but just travel for the sake of travel, for learning about other peoples and cultures, and for self awareness, I have basically done all of that. I am intimately familiar with a wide range of cultures, speak four languages, and I know myself. 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. But short visits often lead to long visits, and we eventually lived 18 years in Europe.
To start at the beginning in 1949 just go to The Beginning
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
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
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 weeks...is not the best time to visit the Baltic Republics. 9 April ... read more
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
April 1st 2013
31 March 2013 Sunday. Our driver was waiting for us at 9 am and drove us to the Dunhuang’s new train station, in time to catch the 9:45 am train to Jiayuguan, which arrived there at 2:45 pm. This leg of the trip was backtracking to the northern Silk Road, but we didn’t want to miss Dunhuang, which was probably our favorite stop along the road. Jiayuguan was an important stop on the Silk Road…the end of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall and the final outpost, beyond which was the barbarian lands of empty desert. The fortress there was built in 1372 and expanded in 1539. Those exiled by the emperor for some infraction were taken to the gate facing west, and then kicked out of China. Exiles would toss a stone against the Wall to ... read more
March 30th 2013
The Silk Road has always fascinated me. A few years back I attended the Smithsonian's Folklife festival on the Washington Mall which featured the Silk Road cultures, mostly food, dance, and story telling, for each country along the Silk Road from Turkey to China. It was inspirational! It is difficult to date when long distance trade between the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, India and China began, but we can identify some of the conditions. The merchants had to be exceptional entrepreneurs, their merchandize had to be light and very much more valuable in distant lands, and there had to be sources of fresh water along the routes between markets. These entrepreneurs were less like Leiws and Clark who traveled across the North American continent with sufficient resources all around them; and more like Columbus without access ... read more
March 28th 2013
26 March 2012 Tuesday. As breakfast wasn’t served until 7 am we decided to take the 8:30 bus to Xiahe (the other departure times are 7:30 am, 2 and 3 pm; cost: 76.5 RMB). Even then due to the time it took to check out and deposit some bags with the hotel for our return, and then the taxi ride to the South Bus Station, we didn't get there until 8:30. We easily found the place that sold tickets and upon loading our luggage and climbing aboard they immediately departed…another close call as the next direct bus wasn’t until 2 pm. The bus was very nice, and for entertainment we were treated to the Chinese version of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles;” but in this case there were a few additional forms of transportation…hay wagons, boats, etc. ... read more
March 25th 2013
24 March 2013 Sunday. The massage I had the evening before seemed to work wonders, and my knees (sore from compensating for my foot) were feeling much better. I was almost tempted to do without the wheel chair, but in the end decided that two and a half hours of walking through Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City would likely deal me a sever setback. My son Will turned out to be a life saver by pushing me in the wheel chair for the longer distances across the courtyards, and I walked thorugh the palaces. In addition to the Forbidden City, our tour took us to a traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy, the Temple of Heaven, and the Summer Palace. The tour included all the amenities provided in the previous day's tour at a cost of $48/person...another ... read more
March 23rd 2013
My arrival in Beijing was the end of my 12th trip around the world; and onward travel would be the beginning of my 13th RTW as it all started here in 1949; not in Beijing itself, but in Xiahe, China (home the the Labrang Monastry), which Will and I will visit in a couple days. As mentioned in my previous blog, this trip kind of evolved; and it wasn't without moments of anxiety. I had surgery for a broken ankle on 6 February, six weeks and one day before the trip was to start. I met with my surgeon on 18 March where he declared I was healed, although the soft tissues would continue to heal over the next six months. I could get rid of the crutches, but should wear the black boot (think ski ... read more
March 11th 2013
My son Will, who has been teaching English for the last year in Bangkok, Thailand, was planning to move to Europe to attend law school. He didn't want to fly there directly; preferring to take an overland route across South Asia. I suggested to him that this route was difficult...not sure if you could even go from Thailand through Burma to get to Bangladesh...and certainly going through Pakistan and Iran would pose some dangers. Perhaps he should consider overlanding at a higher latitude...like the Silk Road. He agreed and asked me to go with him. Having just spent beaucoup bucks on our 40th anniversary trip across the South Pacific to Sydney and then New Zealand, I wasn't sure I could afford such a trip. I turned him down initially. But in the back of my mind ... read more