Category: Traveling at Home

Traveling at Home

June 20, 2020

Well, it has been more than four months since my last blog post, from Colombia. The three additional international trips that Carol and I were planning to take this year—to Japan, to England and Scotland, and to India—will not happen because of COVID-19.

Since we could not travel by plane, I decided to travel by rereading old travel journals and blogs, which has proved to be an unexpected pleasure. Those writings evoke a depth of memories that photos cannot fully capture. I must say that I never expected that I, or anyone else for that matter, would ever read through those writings.

I’ve also used the opportunity presented by reading my old travel journals to reach out and try to reconnect with people around the world who we encountered on our travels and of whom I was reminded by the blogs. I have gotten a large number of responses and am now in touch with people in more than twenty countries, including South Africa, Ghana, Indonesia, Borneo, Vietnam, Colombia, Jamaica, Germany, Turkey, England, Ecuador, India, New Zealand, Myanmar and others.

When my children were young, among my favorite books to read to them was Dr. Seuss’ AND TO THINK THAT I SAW IT ON MULBERRY STREET. In that book, the narrator, young Marco, is chastised by his father for making up tall tales to tell his father each day when he asks Marco what happened walking to school. One day, on his way to school, Marco sees only an old horse-drawn wagon on Mulberry Street. But that can’t be his story for his father, Marco thinks, because it’s way too dull. So the horse in Marco’s mind becomes a zebra, then a reindeer and then an elephant, and it winds up pulling a big brass band in a chariot driven by a charioteer, and police, led by Sergeant Mulvaney, appear, as does the mayor, and a plane that drops confetti on them all.

In a way, traveling is like walking down Mulberry Street in Marco’s imagination. You see and experience the most unbelievable things. Except they actually happen.

Carol and my travel started when we were quite young twenty-five years old.

We continued traveling, as we got older (after a pause when the children were young):

Here are some of the experiences we’ve had, as reflected in my journals:

Photographed Tigers from Elephant back in India, floated over 1000 stupas is in a hot air balloon at dawn in Bagan, swam with whales in Hawaii, ate dinner with a justice of the Constitutional Court in South Africa, walked by blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos, saw sheep herded by dogs in New Zealand, sat with village chiefs in rural Ghana, wandered around the Acropolis in the moonlight in Athens, listened to a leopard chew a warthog up in a tree in Africa, sipped champagne on the great wall of China, watched Rudolph Nureyev and Dame Margo Fontaine dance together at Covent Garden, stayed at the Cottswald cottage of a Supreme Court justice of the United Kingdom, biked in traffic in Beijing, dog sledded in Wyoming, saw zebras swim across a crocodile-infested river in the Masai Mara, marveled at Michelangelo’s David in Florence, rejoiced at watching the Cubs win the seventh game of the World Series in Cleveland, camped at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, drove a dune buggy on the salt pans of Botswana, fly fished in waders in New Zealand, watched the sun set on the Taj Mahal, walked through Wenceslas Square in Prague one week before Russian tanks occupied it, helihiked in the Canadian Rockies, trekked gorillas in Uganda, put the holy Ganges River to sleep in Varanasi, drank tea with the ninth reincarnation of a 9th century guru in his monastery in Bhutan, heard a 95-year-old mother sing an Oriki, birth song, to her daughter in Nigeria, dedicated a well with a granddaughter in a rural village in Ghana, visited with the King of Bastar in his palace, climbed the sand dunes in Namibia, wandered through a camel fair in Pushkar, bird watched in the Pantanal in Brazil, attended the Royal Ascot races in England, stood in the rain in a plaza in Bratislava while the leaders of the communist countries met, was an honored guest at a wedding in Udaipur, walked around the Governor’s Palace at Uxmal, ate dinner with former political prisoners in Myanmar, toured Buckingham palace with granddaughters, trekked chimpanzees in Tanzania, attended a bullfight in Spain, marveled at gigantic stone heads on Easter island, watched kickboxing in a nightclub in Cambodia, passed badminton games at 6 AM in a park in Hanoi, saw trees grown through ancient ruins at Ta Prohm in Cambodia, ballroom danced in a pavilion in Xian, watched cormorant fishermen in Guilin, saw salmon jump upstream in a river to lay their eggs in Alaska, tasted opium tea in India, watched a Jain holy man walk naked through the streets of Udaipur, spotted orangutans in a forest in Borneo, watched snake charmers in Morocco and cruised past ancient temples on the Nile.

And these are just some of the experiences. I could have chosen to add many others. What a privileged life. I hope that when this virus passes, there will be other exciting trips. But, whether or not there are, it’s been a helluva good run.

Over the years, we’ve traveled with small biking, hiking and photography groups, with friends, with children and grandchildren and alone. What’s made all of these trips special for me has been sharing them with Carol during the fifty-five years (today) we’ve been married.

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