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 conceived in China (the Chinese start life then), 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 63 countries. Discovering that, I set a goal of traveling to 100 countries. So in 2012 rather than flying directly to Sydney for our 40th Anniversary, we cruised from Honolulu to American Samoa (64), Samoa (65), Fiji, Vanuatu (66), French Caledonia (67), to Australia; then flew to New Zealand (68) for several weeks of touring on the South and North Islands (see blogs starting with Our 40th Anniversary Trip Begins!
Then from 21 March to 16 April 2013 (see blogs starting with Planning my Silk Road and Baltics RTW
), I flew to Beijing, China where I met up with my son 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 (69) to finish the Silk Road in Uzbekistan (70); visiting the sights of Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara. We then flew from Tashkent to Riga, Latvia (71) and took buses to Vilnius, Lithuania (72), and Tallinn, Estonia (73); and a ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki, Finland (74). We then took our separate ways with Will flying to Rome and I headed home via a stopover in London.
Future trips include the following rough order subject to the vicissitudes of life:
2014 - My plan would be for Linda and I to cruise from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (75) to Montevideo, Uruguay (76), to Buenos Aires, Argentina (77), to the Falkland Islands (78), to Ushuaia and the Chilean Fjords, to Valparaiso, Chile (79). Then we would fly to La Paz Bolivia (80) and overland to Lake Titicaca, Cuzco, Machu Pichu, then flying to Lima, Peru (81), and home. But Linda may think this trip is too long so we will likely have to split it in two, with the cruise portion delayed until 2017 or so...cruises are more appropriate as we get older!
2015 - The plan is for Linda and I to tour southern Poland (82), where her fraternal grandmother was from, Slovakia, where her 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). If Linda decides this is too much, I may drop both Poland and Linda and do the Balkans myself.
2016 The plan is to overland from Panama (93) to Costa Rica (94), Nicaragua (95), Honduras (96), and Belize (97), to Mexico (or vice versa); and tack on a cruise before or after to a bunch of Caribbean Island nations; and in the process achieve my goal of 100 countries.
Unscheduled is an overland trip from Tanzania to Cape Town, South Africa, and the Camino de Santiago. Along the way I also wish to volunteer for EMI as a surveyor for schools, hospital, clinics, and orphanage projects as I did in Guatemala (see Guatemala - Construction volunteer after earthquake
) and Uganda (see Construction Management in East Africa
), which will likely take me to some unusual places in Africa.
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 (see Eurailpass trip following high school graduation
). But short visits often lead to long visits, and we eventually lived 18 years in Europe.