Home and Away
I started blogging on Travelblog in 2009, entering trips beginning in 2007. My intention has always been to document my years of travel since my birth...how else was I to save all the slides my Dad took of my childhood!
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 name 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) 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. 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
In July 1975, at the end of the Vietnam War, we returned to the States; living in the Washington DC area for 2 years (see blogs starting with Home for a couple years in the DC area
In August 1977 we moved back overseas; this time to Germany. We lived in Ramstein for 2 1/2 years (see blogs starting with Three Years in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
) and Boblingen for 4 1/2 years (see blogs starting with Home in Boblingen, Germany
In July 1984 we moved to Belgium; living in Overijse (southeast outskirt of Brussels) for 11 years (see blogs starting with Home in Overijse, Belgium from July 1984 to November 1995
). Our three children, Tamara, Rosanna, and Will were born in Belgium.
In November 1995 we finished our overseas assignments and moved to Falls Church, Virginia (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.
In August 2005 we retired in Colorado (see blogs starting with Retirement in Woodland Park Colorado
), which gives us even more time to travel. However, Linda is tiring of traveling, so is very selective about when she joins me on trips. Our three children are hooked on travel for life, but they have to pay for their travels!
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 Sydney, 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.
In May 2014 Linda and I explored the Pre-Colombian civilizations on our first visit to South America; first the Inca civilization exemplified by Machu Picchu in Peru (77) and Tiwanaku in Bolivia (78). We had a brief stopover 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 ruin of Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula (see blogs starting with Planning our Pre-Colombian Civilizations Trip
In April 2015 I flew to Dubrovnik, Croatia (81) where I took a side trip to Kotor, Montenegro (82) and Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina (83), and then headed north along the Croatian coast to Split, Trogir, Sebinek, and Zadar, before heading inland to Plitvici Lakes National Park, and back to the Istrian Peninsula. I finished my trip at Lake Bled and Ljubljana, Slovenia (84) after dropping off the rental car in Zagreb. See blogs starting at A Day in Kotor and an Evening in Dubrovnik
. Linda decided to skip this trip, so in October 2015 we went to the Big Island of Hawaii (see blogs starting with The BIG Island of Hawai'i Part I: Tropical Forests, Waterfalls, Volcanos, and and Ancient Hawaiian Sanctuary
In 2016 I originally planned to cruise the southern coasts of South America with Linda. However, our dog Bonnie developed diabetes which meant that one of us would have to stay with her. We will each take separate three week vacations except for road trips within North America when we can bring Bonnie along. For the foreseeable future I plan to take overseas trips to destinations in which Linda is not interested. Furthermore, I'm in no hurry to meet my goal of traveling to 100 countries. I have no doubt that by continuing to travel I will eventually reach that goal. But for now there are higher priorities. So instead, in September and early October 2016 I walked a couple hundred kilometers of the Camino de Santiago, the thousand year old pilgrimage Way across northern Spain (see my blogs starting with Planning My Camino de Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage
). I think I'm hooked on pilgrimages for the foreseeable future.
In July 2017 I walked the St. Olavsleden pilgrim trail from the Swedish border across Norway to the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. My blogs related to this trip begin at Planning my St. Olavsleden Pilgrimage
In September 2018 I flew into Venice to visit a colleague from my NATO days. My son Will joined me there. We rented a car to visit San Marino (country #85) as I haven't been to a new country since 2015. We continued on to Tuscany and to Viterbo where we started our walk of the last 100 km of the the Via Francigena to Rome. We only walked about 9 km due to the heat and lack of water along the way. We took the train to the Rome airport where we rented another car and spent three days visiting the Amalfi Coast; returning to Rome for four days. On the way home l visited my daughter Rosanna, Evan, Connor and my new grandson Logan in CT. My blog related to this trip is at My Via Francigena Pilgrimage to Rome
This trip convinced me that 1) my long pilgrimage days are over, 2) tourists have overrun Europe making popular destinations total misery during the high season, which may now be all year long, 3) I like comfort in quaint inns and leisurely exploration off the tourist trail, and 4) traveling with Linda, my favorite travel partner. Therefore, my trip theme has switched from long pilgrimages to visiting ancestral locations where I have been able to produce our family trees stretching back more than 500 years.
In May 2019, I visited England to look up my ancestors in Devon, England (deferred from 2017), and to walk the last 20 miles of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales pilgrim walk to Canterbury. See my blogs starting with Planning my Ancestral Investigations in Devon
Linda and my plan to travel Scotland to visit our ancestral castles and several abbeys for two weeks in Sep 2020 was cancelled due to flight cancellations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our visit was rescheduled to 2021. When Covid continued throughout 2021, we took road trips across America to visit family and ancestors instead (see In Search of Colonial Ancestors in New England
and In Search of Colonial Ancestors in Delaware and Pennsylvania
). In Aug 2022, we will again attempt to visit Scotland!
In 2022 I finally made it to Scotland and added Sweden as in the three year delay I was able to identify many Viking ancestors some of whom are buried in Uppsala. My five blogs start with Scottish Ancestral Visitations in Lanarkshire, Dumfries and Galloway, and Ayrshire
In my recent research I discovered the 1953 flight schedule for the Pan Am Clipper (flying boat) from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia which I flew at that time. It turns out that there was a refueling stop at the Canton Island atoll In Kiribati that isn't included in my count to this point. Also, I also decided to add Scotland and Wales to my number as according to many international sports associations they are separate from England as far as countries are concerned...I'm watching the 2022 FIFA World Cup at this tine. So my number of countries visited is increased by 3, which is reflected in subsequent counts.
In 2023 we finish visits to ancestral locations with Poland (89) and Slovakia, Linda's maternal ancestors, and hopefully also visit Romania (90),and Serbia (91) and Hungary.
After that, I am switching back to achieving my goal of visiting 100 countries. In 2023 we also "plan" to take a Caribbean cruise to Bridgetown, Barbados (92), Kingston, St. Vincent (93), St. George, Grenada (94), Willemstad, Curacao (95), Kralendijk, Bonaire (96), Cartagena, Colombia, Colon, Panama, Puerto Limon, Costa Rica (97), Oranjestad, Aruba (98), Scarborough, Tobago (99), Port Of Spain, and Trinidad (100), or some other combination of island nations, to finally reach my goal.
Of course, my travel won't stop having achieved this goal. I would like to take the cruise from Cape Town to Dubai via a bunch of Indian Ocean countries and from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Santiago, Chile around the southern cone of South American as originally planned in 2016.