Tag Archives: Travel

Top Travel Picks

In response to The Wanderer.

Tell us about the top five places you’ve always wanted to visit.

© Samuele Gallini / Dollar Photo Club #1 – Italy, especially Rome.

There’s so much history there.  Being from the US, I’ve always been impressed with places that have such a long term history.  Take the Roman Forum for example, a collection of Roman empire government buildings that began in the 7th century BC.

Then move on to the Colosseum, completed in 80 AD. To think of the size and grandeur of a building so long before technology was invented to aid in construction – it blows my mind.

© Anton Holmquist Soasta

#2 – Sweden.

I have Swedish ancestry from both of my parents and would love to see the places they lived.  Most Swedish parishes are known for their extensive genealogical records, so I would love to get my hands on some of those.  It is also a beautiful country with a ton of history.  I would visit Lund University just to see their glorious library, built in 1666.

© p a w e l / Dollar Photo Club

#3 – Australian Gold Coast.

Beautiful white sand beaches, sunshine, water sports, watching the surfers and maybe dabbling with a board myself.  Count me in!

This would need to be a long vacations because I would also head to the Outback, maybe Mount Isa since it would be nearby.

© Catmando / Dollar Photo Club

#4 – Alaska – to go whale watching!

Beautiful creatures of the deep.  Here we see the humpback whale, but I’ve read that more and more blue whales are being spotted up there, especially in the Bering Sea.  Imagine a creature twice the size of the one shown here.  Amazing!

© Carsten.nebel#5 – Mount Everest.

I love the mountains.  Imagine all of the wonderful motorcycle rides you could take near this big beauty.  Another fun thing would be to go paragliding or hot air ballooning over the mountains and enjoy the wondrous sights.

I’ve never had food from the region, but I’m sure I would love to try it. I love other oriental food.

Far From Home

Far From Home

6,600 miles, by air, I flew as a young soldier who was born and raised in small-town Mecosta County, Michigan.  Prior to this trip to a region with a vastly different culture, different language, different alphabet (for goodness’ sake) – the furthest away from home I had ever been was to Washington, DC for my senior trip.  Long before the DC trip, my family went to visit relatives in a bordering state, about 300 miles away.  One of my mom’s favorite stories about me traveling was that I asked if they spoke English there – in Indiana!  I was probably about 5 years old, so gimme a break!  There was also a little bit shorter trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan – where I supposedly wanted to camp on the pull off spot ON THE BRIDGE!!!  I suspect that I was even younger then than I was on our trip to Indiana.

Culture shock – that was what I felt for the first few weeks in Korea.  I wanted to make the best of it though, to experience this culture, to experience a country so rich with historical traditions and landmarks.  I really wish I had kept better track of the places I visited.  20 years of life experiences has wiped away many of the details of those places.  Some places I remember visiting includes the Summer Garden in Seoul; Jejudo or Jeju Island, also known as the “Island of the Gods” (more on this below); North Seoul Tower; and Gyeongbokgung palace in Seoul.  Other memorable experiences include using mass transit with very little spoken Korean, being a traditional Korean dinner guest, shopping in Itaewon, and partying in Itaewon (because a girl’s gotta have some fun).

Now, back to Jejudo.  There was an Army school on the island to learn Australian Style rappel.  That is where you face forward instead of going butt first.  Pretty scary – right?  My job did not involve ANY rappelling, but I was lucky to be selected to go through the school during their down time.  This is when there aren’t enough “real” students to form a class, so they invite various other Army people to participate in a shorter version of the class.  It was a ton of fun.

Here is a picture of me in my harness.

Australian Rappel harness, Jeju-do, Korea
Australian Rappel harness, Jejudo, Korea

Here is a picture of me hanging 1/2 way down the wall.  😉

Australian Rappel, Jeju-do, Korea
Australian Rappel, Jejudo, Korea

A picture of the beautiful scenery.

Jeju-do, Korea
Jeju-do, Korea

Beautiful beach – too bad it was Spring.  And look at all that HAIR I had 20+ years ago!!!

Beautiful beach, Jeju-do, Korea
Beautiful beach, Jejudo, Korea