"Confessions of an Incurable Travel Addict" minstrel74's Profile
It can probably be said that most of us who love to travel were inspired in large part by events or people from our early years. Something or someone planted this seed in our heads that began as a mild curiosity about the world, and as years went by, this grew to a burning desire to visit faraway lands or places where people live very different lives from our own. Eventually, we discover that we are consumed by an insatiable appetite for travel and we have to romp around the globe or even just visit someplace close to home we've never been to in order to feel truly alive. For me, the inspiration came from my parents, who commendably carted four kids around the United States and Canada from coast to coast and later throughout much of Europe from Switzerland to Norway, Ireland to Russia. We always tried to stay off the beaten path, and in doing so, we met some amazing people and experienced things I'll never forget.
Those early days of travel left a huge impression on me. Over the last several years I've been able to make some incredible trips on my own and have had some of the best experiences of my life. Nowadays, it seems like I need travel the same way I need oxygen, and as soon as I come back from one place I get straight to work on planning for the next big trip.
I've included on these pages photos, stories, and tips from some of the remarkable places I've had the pleasure of visiting. I have tons of photos I still have to digitize, so I hope to add much more in the weeks and months ahead.
For some of us, travel is definitely not about relaxing. In fact, I usually come back home more exhausted than when I left. I travel primarily to learn about the world and to understand more fully the issues that confront human society. I'm also fascinated by the natural world, and given the choice, I will usually visit a remote patch of jungle or drive across a forbidding desert wasteland rather than spend time in a large city. Although I've had wonderful trips to places frequently visited by tourists, I prefer to travel to locations that don't see many visitors. Places like this change you as a person and teach you more about the world than you could ever learn in any classroom. That's how memories are made, and in my opinion, that is the real joy of traveling.
Here is a partial list of the places I've visited over the last several years:
Summer 1989--coast-to-coast road trip through the southern United States.
Summer 1990--road trip through southern Canada and the northern United States.
Summer 1991--United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands
Summer 1992--Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland
Fall 1997--Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, French Polynesia
Fall 1999--Namibia, South Africa
Fall 2000--Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa
Spring 2004--Suriname, French Guiana
Spring 2005--Bosnia and Herzegovina
Summer 2006--South Africa
After my university studies, a rather unique situation befell me whereby I had lots of time to travel and sufficient funds to do so. I left the comfortable climate of Southern California and moved to the far north of the United States, settling down for a time in interior Alaska. After working various jobs for a year or two (including awkwardly simultaneous stints as a church youth counselor and bar musician), I landed a job as a piano player for a large cruise ship company in Alaska. For four consecutive summers, I played piano for a dinner theater in Denali National Park, Alaska, which left plenty of time in the off-season to travel. I would perform for five months, travel for three months, relax and work a little bit in California for four months, then go back to Alaska to perform again. It was a great few years. And the chance to live and work in Alaska is something I'll always be grateful for.
It was during these years that I had the chance to spend time in southern Africa--my favorite travel destination thus far. Although I don't have any photographs from those trips digitized yet, I intend to take care of this in the coming weeks. I have a lot to share, so come back and visit soon!
Although since 2001 I haven't been able to do as much traveling as I would like, I hope to get back to it in the near future. I have my eye on North Central Africa (Chad, Niger...) as well as a few places I missed in the Pacific islands, including Papua New Guinea. I also hope to visit Greenland and the high arctic regions of Canada.
I visited Bosnia-Herzegovina for a couple weeks last year and hope to have some photos, stories, and travel tips up within the next couple of months. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line if you're interested in traveling there and I'd be happy to pass along some information.
All the best and happy travels!
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