Justin Waltz


Justin Waltz


Former TravelPod Member: wanderingwaltz

Joined: August 22nd, 2005
From: lives in Portland,United States

Asia » Vietnam December 31st 2016

Geo: 21.0243, 105.855Greetings! You are reading the first of a two-part blog on the Waltz Family's observations while traveling in Vietnam & Myanmar since 12/27/15.Our intention to effortlessly upload pictures on the fly has run smack dab into the realities of Internet-connectivity in the least-developed country in Southeast Asia country (Myanmar) with a per capita GDP of $1700 (putting it at 201 out of 228 countries worldwide). It turns out that “free WI-FI” doesn't mean working or usable WI-FI. So our blog's been delayed until we arrived back in a major city (Rangoon) on 1/13 to a hotel where the promise of "free WI-FI" actually meant - in practice - a (working) signal conducive to successfully uploading multiple pictures. Although Jamie and I put our same packs from our year abroad over our shoulders (see 2005-2006 ... read more
Siri all packed up! (in 2011, age ~1)
Piggyback across the chaos
Siri at the fish market

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis January 16th 2016

Geo: 16.7837, 96.1568From Vietnam, we flew to Yangon (nee Rangoon), the former capital city of Myanmar. Whereas Justin had a vague sense of Vietnam based on previous trips (albeit 18+ years ago), Myanmar was a mystery, an enticing one, but one for which we had no intuition, other than from news reports. Myanmar has been a military dictatorship/junta replete with human rights abuses and accompanying US economic sanctions for decades. A democratic thaw in the junta's grip on power began in 2011 with (largely) free parliamentary elections. Also, the junta has also been fighting a series of low-intensity wars, some of the world's longest-running with 17 various ethnic, religious and and narco-terrorist (heroin production) groups for decades. Thankfully for civilians caught in the crossfire, 14 of these groups signed ceasefires by October 2015. http://... read more
Sule Pagoda in Yangon
Ritualistic Washing of Buddha -Shwedagon Pagoda
Temple - Bagan, Myanmar

Geo: 12.1475, -86.2734To us, after a year of "travels" (see 2005-2006:South Asia & Africa) there is quite a distinction between a holiday and travel. Travel is taking a 20-seat bus with 50 other people and various market-bound cargo (squash, fish, chickens, etc.) for four hours (75 miles) whilst being subjected to a horribly tinny rendition of pop diva Celine Dion's music being played at superfast speed on the bus stereo, and then arriving to find a hostel replete with cold-water bucket showers and occaisionally-working electricity... This trip was intended to be, and was, pure holiday. We relaxed, we spent no fewer than three days in one place, we didn't stay in the cheapest places, and we didn't step foot on one local bus. Justin claims it was all for the sake of the baby. What ever ... read more
The Center of the Old Colonial City, Granada
Granada's Colorful Cathedral
A Nightime Shot of the Cathedral

North America » United States » Oregon » Portland November 29th 2006

Geo: 44.7779, -122.695We lived a dream. Over the year, we learned that living a dream has its challenges, but the rewards are numerous. We feel incredibly fortunate to be able to do what we did and to make it home safely and in good health. Now begins another journey in our lives: assimilating back to life in the good ol' US of A: finding jobs, tackling numerous house projects, and wading through the 5,000 or so pictures Justin kept (not just "snapped," but those selected to be burned on CD). We are happy to be home, in our own bed, with our own kitchen and most of all, back amongst our family and friends. Coming home was joyous because of friends who have welcomed us back into their lives. If it wasn't for them, our transition ... read more
02 In Front of Our Neighborhood Grocery Store
03 Just in Time for Fall Colors
04 The Tasty Thanksgiving Turkey

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv November 3rd 2006

Geo: 31.7857, 35.2007The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and Israel and the Palestinian TerritoriesThe scenery on the drive from the international airport outside of Amman, Jordan into town is similar to that of the high desert towns of Oregon and California: moon-like terrain punctuated by scrub brush, with a mix of suburban sprawl. Along the road into town from the airport we saw the "best" offerings of Western culture (ha, ha): McDonalds, Carls Jr., KFC, Burger King, Popeye's Fried Chicken, and Safeway. But how do you know that you're in the Middle East? When the exit signs off the highway read "To Iraq" and "To Saudi Arabia" borders We arrived in the capital city of Amman around 10:30 PM to find the downtown swarming with people and all the shops and restaurants doing a swift business. Wasn't ... read more
02 King Hussein Mosque - Amman, Jordan
03 Pita Bakers - Amman, Jordan
04 At the Fruit Market, Amman, Jordan

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Split October 12th 2006

Geo: 43.7916, 15.7121Our train from Hungary arrived at dawn in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH). As we passed the outskirts of town, in the thick morning haze, we pinched ourselves awake to prepare for yet another transition to a new country - new currency, new language, new names and a new city layout to learn. The nervous anticipation we once felt entering a new country is no longer there.After little sleep on the overnight train - due to the many border crossings (Hungary - Croatia - BiH) we rolled into the main train station at 6AM. We had arranged to be met by the staff of a family-run pension. Yet we did not spot the "bearded Bosnian." That was 0 for 2 with being met at a transport station. While discussing our dawn-time options, we were approached by ... read more
02 Sarajevo Old Town
03 Happy Girls in Sarajevo
04 Sarajevo Rose

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest September 13th 2006

Geo: 46.5699, 18.5504Few things are as instantly evocative as a particular smell. Which is why the next time our noses picks up the pungent, sickly-sweet smell of partially metabolized alcohol, we will be instantly transported in our minds' eye back to our all-night bus ride from Tallinn, Estonia to St. Petersburg, Russia. We had no sooner found our assigned seats on the nightly graveyard-shift bus, when two 20-something guys lurched into the seats behind us. Zzzssip! Two 20 oz, cans of high alcohol beer were opened (certainly not their first of the evening). Soon after, the snoring and belching began. As if on cue, the man right next to Justin, who had been noisily slurping something from a bottle, joined the symphony of spent fuel; his wife staring straight ahead, in indignation (in resignation?). And so ... read more
02 Location of Russia's First Beetles Fan Club
03 Art (?) in a courtyard in St. Petersburg
04 A wedding photo opportunity

Europe » Estonia August 31st 2006

Geo: 59.4389, 24.7545We took the night train from Czech to Krakow, Poland. We had heard many horror stories (thefts) about the night train, but made it to Krakow at 5:30am with all of our marbles and packs intact. At 5:30am, on a Sunday morning in drizzling rain, we fell in love with Krakow as we walked to our hotel. Even in the early, rainy grayness, the images we had of communist Poland didn't seem to fit with the city we saw. Unlike the fairy tale-esque features of Prague, Krakow feels real and lived in.Justin booked us into a lovely room in Kazimierz, the 600-year old Jewish Quarter. Before WW II, around 70,000 Jews could be found in this district (a full quarter of Krakow's population), making it the second largest population of Jews in the world. ... read more
02 Entry to Birkenau
03 An East German Troubant
05 Warsaw - the former King's bath house

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague August 11th 2006

Geo: 50.0878, 14.4205As we walked off our KLM flight from Ghana to our lay-over in Amsterdam, our jaws dropped as we expereinced a few moments of re-entry shock into the developed world. The stores were full of options and things, and things, and things to buy. The airport almost felt sterile it was so clean and organized. Yep, we were most definitely out of Africa. We arrived in Milan for ten days of 24-hour running water and electricity...oh yeah, as well as rest and relaxation. Given the multiple times we have been at Jamie's sister and brother-in-law's place, Milan is no longer a foriegn city to us. Our friends, Amy, Marc and nine month-old Aviv from Portland met us in Milan for three days of non-stop machiatto/ espresso drinking and gelato eating. Somewhat embarrasingly, though joyfully, ... read more
02 Amy & Jamie Enjoying Italian Food...Again
03 Jamie & pregnant twin Barbara, who's due in Dec
05 Liberty Pub in Asola Town Square

Africa » Ghana July 12th 2006

Geo: 7.95185, 0.60071A bit of shameless fundraising.If you are looking to unload your pocketbooks or wallets of a few dollars, we have just thing for you. While in Nkwanta, we have been involved with two incredibly successful organizations that provide much needed services to the communities in rural Africa. You could be the proud owner of some bricks that will be used to build a community health clinic in the village of Keichebi - where people will come to seek health care. The goal is to have 27 Community clinics in Nkwanta district. Right now, they have only realized 12 of those 27. A bag of concrete costs about $7, but goes along way to build a health clinic and house a community nurse who provides the first point of contact for medical care for these ... read more

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