"The Travels of Mark Jochim" MarkJochim's Profile
Having been born in the Dallas, Texas, area to native Californians, many of my earliest trips were to visit relatives in the San Luis Obisbo and San Francisco areas.
Dad owned a small ranch near Tyler, Texas, and we would venture there on long weekends. My younger sister, Marilyn, and I used to make forts there and pretend we were on safari in darkest Africa.
Other early trips included family vacations to the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee and a lost-to-my memory jaunt to Santa Fe and other spots in New Mexico - a location my mother resided during World War II and where I moved in 1994.
We lived in Garland (a suburb of Dallas) until 1972, when we moved to Midland in the middle of the West Texas oil fields. From there, we made frequent trips to Carlsbad Caverns in southeastern New Mexico and my first "international trip" across the border to Juarez, Mexico.
A move to the Nashville, Tennessee, area in 1975 helped cement a burgeoning love of history - and of different modes of transportation, particularly ships and aircraft. It seems that every weekend we toured a "new" area attraction - from the Parthenon reproduction, to Andrew Jackson's home, to cruising the paddlewheeler on the Cumberland River.
We also journeyed to many of Tennessee's great State Parks, made another couple of trips down to the Great Smokey Mountains (Gatlinburg was a lot smaller then), and a very memorable vacation to Washington DC during the preparations to celebrate the American Bicentennial in 1976. This last trip, while visiting relatives in the D.C. area, helped cement my love of America - a patriotism I hold even today in these troubled times.
Yet another move in 1977, brought the Jochim family to the Kansas City area.. In fact, I believe Dad's company gave him a choice between Kansas and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In hindsight, I think he made the right move but at the time he and I wanted to go to the Mideast while Mom and Marilyn definitely did not.
One of our last all-out family vacations was back to California in 1979. This trip included a visit to the "Queen Mary" docked in Long Beach harbor; this ignited a love of ocean liners which continues to this day.
In the early 1980's, Dad and I discovered the thrills of "budget travel." Each summer, the two of us would load up his motorcycle (a Honda 650) with a small tent, two sleeping bags, and camping gear. We would then take a two-week trip - usually to the mountains of Colorado but there was one memorable trip through Minnesota, ending up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada (my second "international" destination), before turning around to come back through one of the worst heatwaves the Midwest had ever experienced.
My favorite "moto trip" was the week we spent at a campsite just north of Silverton, Colorado. We spent much of that week panning for gold in the freezing creek that rushed by just outside our tent.
Appropriately enough, it was on this trip that I first read Peter Matthieson's "In Search Of The Snow Leopard" - which probably ignited my interest in reading adventure travel narratives.
High school brought a few additional dimensions to my world view. Our family hosted an exchange student from Germany; we liked him so much that we sponsored a second visit from him a few years later.
A final family vacation to San Luis Obisbo and San Francisco followed in 1983. I also joined our school's branch of the U.S. Navy's JROTC program and had the opportunity to attend boot camp north of Chicago and later to travel to North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego.
Around this time, my parents took trips to Quebec and Hawaii. In college, I finally combined my love for rock & roll music (particularly Bruce Springsteen) and travel. In November 1984, I took my first-ever music "road trip" to see him perform in Kansas City (I was attending school in Manhattan; previously, I'd only gone to concerts within the towns I was living -- which limited me to the amount of shows I saw; I'd first seen Springsteen play nine years before but this Kansas City show was only my third time seeing him). Other rock & roll road trips followed (all to see Springsteen): to Denver in '85; St. Louis in '88; and Ames, Iowa, in '92. It opened up an entirely new world for me which continues to this day (I may hit 100 shows by the end of his current -- 2003 -- tour!).
Following college, my mother and I took our own road trip together - to her class reunion in San Luis Obisbo, California. Other trips included a family reunion in New Jersey (highlighted by sailing on my uncle's boat and an excursion to Philadelphia), and a solo trip to San Francisco during which I ran into my sister and brother-in-law on Fisherman's Wharf!
In 1993, I participated in a course in Archaeology which culminated in a week-long trip to New Mexico. I absolutely fell in love with the state. It has such a unique blend of scenary with beautiful mountains and wide-open spaces plus a wonderful mixture of history and different cultures. I swore that some day I would move to Albuquerque; that dream was realized a little over a year later when I relocated here on the Fourth of July (American Independence Day) of 1994.
The past several years living in New Mexico have been interesting to say the least. I have travelled all across the northern part of the state (and these pages will include many photos from these travels). Apart from a notable journey to San Francisco in 1997, a nice day-trip to Arizona's Canyon de Chelly, occasional music-related "road trips", and a few family visits, I rarely traveled outside of the state between 1994 and 2001.
I spent much of the late 1990's enjoying my home in the Albuquerque foothills. I have been an enthusiastic "armchair traveler", reading many, many books and magazines about far-off places.
These interests began at a very early age on our family vacations and were nurtured by my mother. She always believed that someday I would see more of the world.
When my mother passed away during the summer of 2001, I swore that I would honor her by travelling to far-flung destinations.
Beginning in May 2003, I began travelling overseas in a major way. My first trip took me to England for nine days: London (where I attended two magnificent Bruce Springsteen concerts and a presentation commemorating the 50th anniversary of Mount Everest's ascent), Southampton, and Dover, in addition to a day-trip to Calais, France.
Less than 22 hours after returning home from Europe, I departed on a 14-day trip to Asia. This journey took me to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong (my "SARS Tour"), Bangkok, and Seoul.
Future traveling is planned -- I've been given the opportunity to assist a dear friend of mine in his travel business. At the very least, I plan to freelance myself to as many destinations as possible before I get married. And probably to many more afterwards as well!
Wow! I can't believe I haven't updated my Virtual Tourist pages in over a year. In fact, this is my first addition to my "home" page here since June 22, 2003!
There have been many ups-and-downs in the past year-and-a-half. I've had some personal losses -- and my travels and these pages are dedicated to the ones who have passed away. There have also been numerous triumphs, many of which have involved further travels. Some of these travels have been quick "blitzes" -- multiple destinations in extremely short periods of time; others have been extended stays in one town or region. I definitely prefer the latter.
I look forward to sharing as many of those as I can -- as usual, I'll add photos and tips in a rather haphazard method (sometimes, I'm in the mood to write about China; other times, I'll be in the mood to scan "ancient" photos in and write about Tennessee or other places). And, as, usual, there may be long periods of silence as I experience life on-the-road or at home.
"But I will walk the road however hard it is, because only on the road can you see that yesterday lies behind you and tomorrow waits on the path"
---Ma Jian, Red Dust: A Path Through China
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