Sunday, July 7, 2013

About 5 Decades of Travel

I recently have hit the age of 50 and I can now say I have been traveling for about 50 years. Honestly my travels are not that impressive to me. I seem to think more about all the places I have not seen rather than where I have been but 50 years of travel sounds impressive.

When I was 1 year old my parents took me on a trip to Yellowstone National Park. I can not remember any of this trip but I have been told the stories about my Dad lugging me around on his back while we were on this trip and here are pictures of me with my parents in the Grand Tetons on this trip.

I learned to love travel from a young age thanks to my parents and from the age of 1 till 18 we had a family trip every year. One year we would go visit my grandparents and the next year was for going somewhere new for us.

I can recall the first time I visited Mexico but honestly all I can really remember is the walk across the bridge. I was talking to my Mom a few years ago and we crossed the border at a completely different city then I thought we did. Up until that conversation I never knew I had been in El Paso.

Here are a couple of pictures from that trip with me and my sister. I was 4 and she was 6 and my parents are saints for not killing the both of us because we fought each and every trip we took together about the entire time we were in the car. The first is from Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico and the second is at Galveston in Texas.

I was about 6 the first time I got to travel on an airplane when we flew from Denver to Los Angeles. It was a big deal for me to be going to visit Disneyland but I think I preferred the rides at Knotts Berry Farm. I also really enjoyed Universal Studios on this vacation.

The first time I really remember leaving the US was a family trip to Canada. The thing that really struck me was that Canada was so much like the US. The only difference in the food that I recall was that “Canadian Bacon” was called “Back Bacon”.

I did enjoy using the different money and it really seemed strange to me and I had the feeling that it was monopoly money. Even to this day I sort of have this feeling with money in different countries. The money just does not always seem real but I find this fun along with visiting places where you have to count the number of 0s on the bill each time you pay. I still have a 1 million Turkish Lira bill that I saved so I can say I am a millionaire (It is no longer valid currency in Turkey). The Euro makes it easier traveling around in Europe but takes some of the fun away from traveling between countries.

We entered Canada somewhere in Saskatchewan north of North Dakota. No one’s first impression of Canada should be the great plains of North America. I though Canada was a lot like Kansas and to this day I hate Kansas. “Dorothy this ain't Kansas anymore” makes me think “Thank God”.

The next thing I remember is we got to Waterton Lakes National park and my complete impression of Canada changed. This place was wonderful. I don’t know if it was in Waterton or Glacier that a moose walked up behind me and scared the holy sh!t out of me. It may be that I was really young but I think I have seen smaller elephants than that moose. I have only been to Canada twice and both times were when I was young but Albert and British Columbia left a lifetime impression on me and these Providences have some of the most spectacularly natural beauty that I have ever seen.

Between the trips with my parents and a few church trips I covered a lot of the US and my last trip with my parents was to Europe to visit my sister and brother in-law who was stationed in Germany with the Army. It was a larger family trip with 2 Aunts and one Uncle also joining us as we drop around Europe stopping in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and briefly in Italy. The following pictures is our group in Germany with the exception of my mother and the 2nd from left to right is me, my aunt Betty, my uncle Joe, my sister and my brother in-law at the Matterhorn in Switzerland.

Betty and Joe were world travelers and were also a great influence on me. I use to cherish the postcards and gifts that they sent me from all over the world. I was lucky enough to live with them for awhile while I attended a technology school and had the pleasure of getting to know them better and hearing about some of their travels. They have recently past away. Their lives were full of travel visiting every continent and they remain in my thoughts as I travel the world. I hope they look down on me approvingly as I go to a new place I have never been.

My travels were less frequent when I left home and entered the work world. I made a number of trips to Vegas and a few other trips in the US but I seemed to mostly look for someone to travel with. I returned to Europe in my late twenties or early 30s with a friend visiting Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. I also made a number of trips to Mexico walking over the boarder as well as flying to Acapulco and then doing a bicycles tour in the Yucatan. Following is a picture of me in Prague and a photo of Chichen Itza from the Yucatan trip.

In 1999 I got a chance to work in Holland for 3 months and I jumped at it. While I was working in Holland I decided I could not wait for someone to travel will and tried to visit somewhere in Holland or a neighboring country most weekends during my 3 month assignment. I also managed to stay for closer to 4 months prior to returning to the US.

I loved being in Europe and discovered that I also really enjoyed traveling alone. Just prior to new year 2000 work wanted someone in Holland for the Y2K scare and I seemed to be the only one willing to go. I was able to return for 6 months and at the end of the 6 months I talked the company into giving me a 2 year deal. I kept traveling a lot during the 2 years and was allowed to go to a local hire when my 2 years were up.

I changed my travel style a bit after going to a local contract. I had more vacation time and started to travel a bit slower. I started taking 1 to 3 week trips and cut back on the city trips on the weekends. I also got to know a lot of people that had traveled for an extended period of time. The extended travel became a dream of mine so in 2007 I quit my job and traveled for 2 years. This was when I started this blog and have blogged about most of my travels since.

This post has rattled on a bit but I just felt like writing something. I have recently quit my job again. I do not have firm plans of where I will go or for how long I will be on the road but I have been homeless for about a month now and loving it once again . I did not finish blogging about my last trip to Italy and I am not sure how much I will blog in the future. I may at some point get my blogging juices flowing again and write if I have something to say but thanks for reading.


  1. Good to get a change of scenery. This hiatus will certainly be a good chance to reboot and figure out what more in life you want to do and what is important to you. Have fun.

    1. Thanks for the comment and reading. I always enjoy a change of scenery and have been enjoying it so far.