Life is an Adventure!
If it’s Not Feeling That Way Make it Look Different, and Try Again!
My formative adventures were discovering the Great Outdoors of my native island and larger backyard of the Western US. First venturing abroad to hike along the Canadian West Coast in September of 2001. Since then life has been defined by movement. For more than a decade I’ve been learning, working and traveling outside the US, with years in Europe, Asia and West Africa. Home is currently the international community of Vancouver, Canada, where people from all of those places congregate for some reason.
Exploring the wine region around Kakheti, Georgia
Market day in Hotan oasis city in Xinjiang, NW China
Most good journeys involve a wild goose chase or two. In this case my foodie uncle wanted to make central asian flatbread at home. It was easy enough to buy the tools at the bazaar, but required a bit more work to figure out the details of how to use them. So I hung around a bakery in Kashgar, for an afternoon taking pictures and notes while this jolly baker laughed at me, and suggested I go learn Mandarin and Turkic with the kids walking past to school before worrying how to make bread.
These days I could just send my uncle to this article by helpful Aussie foodies… such is life.
Studying donkey cart style, desert oasis road and irrigation systems, Xinjiang in NW China
Thousand Buddha Caves, NW China
SE China near Guilin
Eastern Edge of Taklamakan Desert near Dunhuang, Xinjiang in NW China
Making dinner with a local medical student, after an impromptu 3 hour discussion with an English language class at the only English library in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Hardest question to field diplomatically; “Why don’t more Americans travel to Uzbekistan?”
Spectacular fire dancers, after diving and curry on Koh Tao, Thailand
Lending a hand at wine making for our Georgian host
Black Sea Coast, near Samsun, Turkey
Summit of Mt Olympus, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA
Last evening of Moose Dueling before the snow flies, Denali National Park, Alaska, USA
Phoning home from a Soviet kiosk, Samerkand, Uzbeckistan
Hiking North of Chiang Mai, Thailand
Reporting on local beer brewing techniques while helping peace corps volunteers in Togo, West Africa.
Summer Sunrise over Copenhagen, Denmark
Exploring with friends at Pierrefonds, Northern France
Night Market in Istanbul, Turkey
Sunrise on the road north of Anchorage, AK toward Denali, National Park.
Some Might Ask Why?
What is there to see in places your friends and family have never heard of, let alone considered a destination for travel or residence?
One could wax lyrical about the beautiful vistas, history, art and culture of various places; and that is a draw, particularly to young people who have only read about most of the world. However, the deeper reason for myself, and most traveling companions was to test our own abilities and limits. We needed to discover how it is to live without comforts we had always taken for granted. Rather than go to a remote wilderness to experience this different existence, we chose to spend time with our fellow humans, to whom our homeland seems exotic. To see that the joys and sorrows of life in every corner were more beautiful and complex than soundbites and reporters could ever communicate. There were too many lessons learned to list but these appear to be the big ones:
- That governments around the world loathe each-other for various reasons, but individual people rarely do. So people are as warm and hospitable to strangers as you would be, if people looked lost wandering down your street.
- That international politics is always viewed from the lens of “How does it impact me?” This is complicated by the assumption that people voting in a country on the other side of the world know about any of the things you and your community might be passionately interested in.
- How history books, maps, media and various other communication systems are highly tuned to the interests of each local community, and so report wildly different versions of the same events.
- What one actually values, having seen the vast array of what is possible. This understanding forces one to question certain facets, and value others, of home.
- To understand that it is possible to choose where and how to live, even if exercising that choice often comes at a cost, not least of which is re-defining the concept of home.
For those interested in numbers this is the complete list of countries I have spent at least a couple days in, often much more:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
- Cape Verde
- Hong Kong & Macao
Mentorship & Education
Research & Development